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Olive Essence Organic Day Moisturizer ($29.99, amazon.com) encompasses a few recent trends, including organic and precious metals. The cruelty-free cosmetic claims to hydrate skin and protect it from free radical and environmental stress. On the bright side, it has a promising — albeit minimally tested — organic preservative, but on the downside, there’s no sunscreen, which is essential for a daily routine.
Organic Olive Day Moisturizer is chock full of natural ingredients that soothe and moisturize skin.
Aloe vera, the first ingredient listed, has been used for burn and wound care for a long time. The plant juice softens skin and helps to reduce inflammation. Whether or not it speeds healing time is up for debate (University of Maryland Medical Center, Journal of Ethnopharmacology).
Oryza Sativa (Rice) extract is a moisturizing oil with plenty of gamma oryzanol (African Journal of Biotechnology). Gamma oryzanol is a free-radical-scavenging antioxidant that has another use as an ingredient that improves the oxidative stability of oils that contain a lot of polyunsaturated fatty acids (International Journal of Pharmaceutics).
Coconut acid or oil is a very gentle emollient (Indian Pediatrics). It appears to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties (Indian Journal of Pharmacology). This might be, in part, because it contains antimicrobial agent lauric acid (Biomaterials).
While there are many beneficial ingredients in this, I’m disappointed to see lemon and orange oils, known skin sensitizers, without the presence of a sunscreen.
What Does the Optional Gold Do?
In an ironic twist, gold is not a “gold standard” in skin care — particularly not in flake form. There are an unbelievable number of claims about gold — it tightens skin, smoothes lines and wrinkles, increases blood flow, it’s non-irritating — that have virtually no scientific backing. It’s tempting to suggest that perhaps this is an example of falling prey to the “expensive is better” mentality; at $1,200 an ounce, gold is a pretty pricey good (New York Times).
There is virtually no scientific research on skin care and gold particles. At best, you’ll find articles about ionic gold nanoparticles and their effects on rheumatoid arthritis when injected (SNTI Nanotech). Preliminary tests in one study show they reduce inflammation, but we don’t know the mechanism of action. But a study on rats showed little to no results with injections of precious metals (Analyst). And while gold salts were once used more frequently to treat this condition, they’ve fallen out of favor (The Johns-Hopkins Arthritis Center).
And claims that it’s “hypoallergenic” are unfounded. As it turns out, gold is a “relatively common” allergen that can cause contact dermatitis (Cutis).
So there really aren’t any studies to back up gold’s effects on your skin and there’s a chance of contact dermatitis and irritation. It seems this is one time when gold might not be worth its own weight in a product.
What is “Organic Safe Guard”?
I assume the “Organic Safe Guard” in Olive Essence Organic Day Moisturizers is Earth Supplied Products’ (ESP) Organic SafeGuard, which the company claims will be effective at a percentage of just 0.2 percent (Cosmetic Design USA, Organic Processing Magazine).
The company did a test on a lotion with 0.15 percent Organic SafeGuard to see how effective it was against E. coli, Staph. Aureus, P. aeruginosa, Candida albicans, and Aspergillus niger over a 28-day period. The results for all but Aspergillus niger, which had a reduction of 99.206 percent, was a 99.999 percent reduction in the microbes (Earth Supplied Products).
While these results are excellent, I’d like to see a study looking at Organic SafeGuard compared to other non-organic preservatives that’s not industry-sponsored. It’s absolutely crucial that organic preservatives be up to the same standard as non-organic preservatives.
Nonetheless, if this is a beneficial organic preservative, it will be very beneficial for future natural products, which often contain irritating and ineffective preservatives.
Personal Use and Opinion
Olive Essence Organic Day Moisturizer was thick and had a very strong (perhaps too strong) citrus scent. The cream was rich, but absorbed quickly into skin and didn’t leave a greasy feeling behind. I sprinkled the gold flakes in for good measure, though I know they don’t have much of an effect beyond prettiness. I’m still disappointed in the lack of sunscreen. I think this could be a pretty good day moisturizer, but you’d have to layer another sunscreen overtop.
Olive Essence Organic Day Moisturizer has a lot of beneficial ingredients: aloe vera, rice extract, and coconut acid, to name a few; but it also has a few duds: gold and citrus oils. Overall, it’s a rich cream (just make sure to patch test as natural products can be irritating) that made my skin feel soft, but it doesn’t include any sunscreen and it does include sun sensitizers. With the addition of sun protection, I’d more happily recommend it.