If you’re an eco-friendly woman living in a crowded, polluted city, then I might have found the perfect daily moisturizer for you. With certifications from Ecocert, PETA, and Cruelty Free International, Orico London’s Streetwise Oxygenating Day Cream ($42, oricolondon.com) promises to protect your sensitive skin from the environmental stresses placed on it from urban living. Containing ingredients like Chondrus crispus, hemp oil, argan oil, and a lysate extract bioactive, it’s hard to go wrong with some things that are just so good.
Found in the wondrous beauty that is Ireland, Chondrus crispus (hereafter known as Irish moss) is a type of red seaweed that belongs to the Rhodophyca class. Irish moss is the main source of carrageenans, which are sulphated linear polysaccharides. Typically, they have been used in the food industry as a vegan form of gelatin due to their thickening properties (Carbohydrate Polymers).
As far as cosmeceuticals are concerned, carrageenan has been used in research because of its inflammatory properties, allowing researchers to test anti-inflammatory treatments (Federation Proceedings). In minimal amounts, this would help to plump skin, making it appear smoother.
New research suggests that it might possess antiviral and immunomodulatory properties, which would explain its inclusion in a moisturizer meant for those living in an urban environment (Carbohydrate Polymers).
Lysate Extract Bioactive
According to Ordico London’s website, this bioactive has been clinically shown to produce “beneficial growth promoting properties when exposed to stress,” which could include the environmental stresses of your big-city life.
In its clinical in vivo study, 23 subjects were asked to apply a cream with lysate extract to one half of the face for three weeks. Of those, 19 reported a “significantly smoother and improved skin appearance,” with a further study showing six out of six subjects reporting an immediate cooling effect after application.
However, I wasn’t able to find independent research to support these claims.
Obtained by pressing the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant, 80% of hemp oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), including a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which can provide a host of beneficial health effects (Euphytica).
These fatty acids possess anti-inflammatory effects (Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy), stimulate fibroblast production of collagen (Journal of Cellular Physiology), and, according to Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, can even inhibit linoleic acid oxidation in the skin, resulting in potential use in oxidative stress-related diseases.
However, take these results with a grain of salt — most of the credible research has shown hemp oil’s effects to be significantly greater when orally consumed, rather than topically applied.
Virgin argan oil contains 620 mg/kg of tocopherol (olive oil only contains 320 mg/kg), including the most-efficient gamma-Tocopherol; this helps to prevent signs of aging due to its strong antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities (Alternative Medicine Review).
Argan oil is also comprised of carotenoids, which protect eyes and skin from UV radiation and free radical damage; ferulic acid, which helps prevent photodamage, especially when combined with vitamins C and E; and squalene, which helps moisturize skin and acts as a free radical scavenger (Nadim A. Shaath).
Like hemp oil, however, there is little scientific backing for topical application of argan oil; one study had participants apply a cream containing argan oil on their faces, but decreased sebum activity stopped after only four weeks (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology). Thus, more research needs to be done to determine how effective it is when applied directly to the skin.
Personal Use and Opinion
I’m always on the lookout for a better moisturizer, but even after using Orico London’s Streetwise Oxygenating Day Cream product for about a week, I’m still not sure how I feel about this one. I like that it’s both odorless and colorless; it doesn’t feel like I’m piling a bunch of chemicals on my skin twice a day. While I feel like my skin looks better, I don’t think it feels better; I have dry skin, and this almost makes my skin feel drier after application. This is probably a better product for those with normal to oily skin.
Orico London’s Streetwise Oxygenating Day Cream is a great moisturizer for those with normal to oily skin; the cream is full of ingredients containing antioxidants and moisturizers that help combat the environmental stresses provided by metropolitan living. Unfortunately, more research needs to be conducted to determine the topical effects of the ingredients, but until then, there’s nothing to suggest that this won’t give you great skin in the meantime. Just make sure to layer sunscreen overtop!