We wonder whether Miranda Kerr actually had her heart set on developing a line of perfumes, because most of her products are far more about scent than skin care. While her Calming Lavender Mist is marketed as a skin-care product, it's really best described as eau de cologne because it is composed almost entirely of two ingredients: lavender oil and alcohol.
Although the scent of lavender may be calming, it's an irritant to the skin, and the high concentration of alcohol doesn't do your skin any favors, either. See More Info for additional details on irritation from fragrance and alcohol in beauty products.
Given the primary base of lavender and alcohol, it's almost not worth mentioning the few beneficial ingredients—aloe vera, glycerin, and sodium PCA—as there's not nearly enough of them to compensate for the disappointingly ingredients. In fact, why put up with any irritating ingredients in products when there are so many better-formulated alternatives available?
The noni juice in this product (the hallmark of the KORA Organics line) has little research demonstrating any special benefit for skin beyond the antioxidant capacity, which you can get from hundreds of other non-fragrant plant extracts. It also contains acerola powder (Malpighia glabra), which is indeed a viable source of vitamin C when consumed orally, but this delicate vitamin doesn't survive the formulation process in topical skin-care products, and fails miserably in comparison to stabilized sources of pure vitamin C (Source: naturaldatabase.com).
Rather than attempt to calm your skin with proven irritants, skip this (or use it for perfume) and look to the superior formulas we recommend in our list of GOOD to BEST Toners. A well-formulated, gentle toner can be a wonderfully soothing product for skin, but this one is not it.
Irritation from Fragrance: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Alcohol in Skin Care: There is a significant amount of research showing alcohol causes free-radical damage in skin even at low levels. Small amounts of alcohol on skin cells in lab settings (about 3%, but keep in mind skin-care products contain amounts ranging from 5% to 60% or greater) over the course of two days increased cell death by 26%. It also destroyed the substances in cells that reduce inflammation and defend against free radicals—this process actually causes more free-radical damage. If this weren't bad enough, exposure to alcohol causes skin cells to self-destruct. The research also showed that these destructive, aging effects on skin cells increased the longer their exposure to alcohol; for example, two days of exposure was dramatically more harmful than one day, and that's at only a 3% concentration (Sources: Journal of Investigative Dermatology, August 2009, pages 20–24; "Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In," Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; Alcohol, Volume 26, Issue 3, April 2002, pages 179–190; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, April 2001, pages 109–166; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).
For more on alcohol's (as in, ethanol, denatured alcohol, and ethyl alcohol) effects on skin, see our article on the topic, Alcohol in Skin Care: The Facts.
A relaxing and gentle facial mist enriched with Noni Extract and Essential Oils to soothe and refresh the skin. Providing antioxidant protection, reducing tension and stress, promoting restful sleep and uplifting moods, this aromatic mist gently improves the skin’s appearance while calming the mind and body.
Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Water, Alcohol, Morinda Citrifolia (Noni Fruit), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera), Sodium PCA, Glycerin, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment, Polyglyceryl 10 Isostearate, Malpighia Glabra (Acerola Cherry Powder), Maltodextrin, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Sodium Chloride (Macrobiotic Sea Salt), Potassium Hydroxide, Aqua (Water), Linalool.
Strengths: No jar containers, which helps preserve the beneficial antioxidants and other light- and air-sensitive natural ingredients.
Weaknesses: Products contain an overwhelming amount of fragrance; nearly all have multiple irritating ingredients; makes unsubstantiated claims about ingredients; no reliable sunscreens; average, dated formulas that are overpriced for what you get.
Our introduction to KORA Organics began with this quote from its founder, Australian Victoria’s Secret lingerie model Miranda Kerr: “All of the water used in our mists has been infused through rose quartz crystals … so that the vibration of love associated with rose quartz flows through each product.”
That’s one way Kerr describes the science behind how her products have been developed. It also succinctly summarizes why, from our perspective, celebrity status of any kind does not make anyone a skin-care expert. We can’t think of a bigger mistake than trusting your skin to a love-infused vat of problematic formulas, at least not when it comes to dealing with concerns like acne and wrinkles.
Kerr created the KORA Organics brand with the belief that only organic ingredients are suitable for skin. The KORA line makes the unsurprising (and unsubstantiated) claims common to many natural brands, which is that “natural = good” for your skin and everything else is terrible for your skin.
Let’s begin by addressing the “organic” claim. First of all, the term initially was used primarily in reference to food products, where “organic” referred only to the raw materials (i.e., the vegetable you pull out of the ground) and/or described food produced without the use of pesticides or artificially created or administered hormones—it didn’t have any bearing on skin-care products. Nowadays, as we’re sure you’re aware, it’s commonly used in marketing for cosmetics and their ingredients. BUT—and this is a big BUT—there is no legitimate, published research that demonstrates organic ingredients have any special benefit for skin. There’s literally zero research—it’s all about the emotional pull of the term “organic.”
It’s important to note that any natural ingredient must be processed to make it safe and usable as a cosmetic ingredient, and that processing modifies the ingredient significantly, leaving it about as natural as polyester!
Many natural ingredients have benefits for skin, but many natural ingredients also are irritating and skin damaging as well. The natural pleasant-scented lavender oil is a notable example, as are most citrus extracts, some of which can cause phototoxic reactions when skin is exposed to sunlight. On the other hand, some of the best ingredients in skin-care products are synthetically derived, such as retinol, salicylic acid, peptides, and others. When it comes to evaluating skin-care ingredients, the critical factor is what the published and peer-reviewed research has demonstrated to be true, especially if your goal is to take great care of your skin.
Among the key natural ingredients present in KORA Organics products, those called out most often are rosehip oil and noni juice. Kerr claims she has been applying noni juice topically for years to treat all her skin-care woes. Unfortunately, noni juice has little research demonstrating any special benefit for skin beyond an antioxidant benefit, which is found in hundreds of other plant extracts as well. Kerr claims that the noni plant contains “more than 170 vitamins and minerals alone,” but that’s inaccurate—the noni plant is a fairly simple mix of about 40 chemical compounds, none of which are unique.
Rosehip oil does contain high amounts of vitamin C, but only when freshly extracted—when rosehip oil is processed and added to the formula of a skin-care product, the majority of its vitamin C content is destroyed. Fortunately, even after the processing, rosehip oil remains a good emollient for dry skin, but it isn’t as magical as Kerr makes it out to be. Pure, stabilized vitamin C is a far better ingredient for skin, but that’s not what these products contain.
What you’re left with in this line is a collection of products that are potently fragranced—the toners could actually double as perfume in a pinch. Almost every product in the line has a formula that’s a blend of ordinary plant-based emollients, such as olive and jojoba oils, aloe, shea butter, and fatty acids (which is nice for dry skin but that’s about it), and a mix of irritating essential oils and fragrant flower extracts. Unfortunately, all of the products are quite expensive considering what you’re getting in return, which is a mostly just a headache for your skin.
If you’re interested in natural products, there are far better options than the disappointing ones from KORA Organics. Check out our reviews of Alba Botanica or Yes To for comparable or superior alternatives for far less money.
For more information about KORA Organics, visit www.koraorganics.com or call +61 2 9979 5672.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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