It is inexplicable that Essential Body Wash Cleanse and Invigorate would carry the claim "free from skin irritants" when in fact it contains a notable mix of potent fragrant irritants (see More Info for details on why fragrance isn't helpful for skin). Although this does contain a good array of mild cleansing agents, there isn't anything remotely gentle about the overall formula of this body wash (including its price tag, which is surprisingly high for this type of product and the small amount).
This product claims to be free of sulfates, which is irrelevant because there isn't any research demonstrating that sulfates are inherently bad for skin (or hair) or that sulfate-free formulas are any better. The "sulfate free" claim is ironic, given KORA Organics' decision to include such irritants as sandalwood, ylang ylang, and patchouli oil. An irritant is an irritant, whether it's natural or synthetic!
Note: Despite the "paraben free" label, there isn't anything wrong with parabens as preservatives in cosmetics. They have a substantial, decades-long (and global) safety record for use in both food and cosmetics. For more information on parabens in cosmetics, see our article on the topic.
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).
A delicious aromatic blend of organically sourced Essential Oils, Ylang Ylang, Noni Extract, Sandalwood, Rose and Patchouli. Free from Parabens and skin irritants, KORA Organics Body Wash while cleansing and hydrating helps provide the skin with all over anti-oxidant protection. Leaves the skin feeling fresh and invigorated.
Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea), Rosa Centifolia (Rose) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Decyl Glucoside, Coco-Glucoside, Glycerin, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Xanthan Gum, Morinda Citrifolia (Noni Fruit) Extract, Glyceryl Oleate, Dicapryl Ether, Lactic Acid, Sodium Chloride (Macrobiotic Sea Salt), Benzyl Alcohol, Santalum Spicatum (Sandalwood) Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Oil, Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Oil, Dehydroacetic Acid, Lecithin, Aqua (Water).
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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