Olive Essence Organic Moisturizer Review

Reviews, Skin Care


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.

Ingredient Rundown

Rice extract helps improve the oxidative stability of some oils.

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?

While I think "optional gold" is a phrase most people are pretty excited to hear, putting it on your skin hasn't been shown to do much.
While I think “optional gold” is a phrase most people are pretty excited to hear, putting it on your skin hasn’t been shown to do much.

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”?

Organic SafeGuard is hopefully the answer to preservatives in natural and organic skin care.
Organic SafeGuard is hopefully the answer to preservatives in natural and organic skin care.

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

oliveessence4Olive 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.

Bottom Line

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.

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  • Natalie Bell

    @Katie — Thank you for you comment! I’m so glad you posted this. It’s always good to remind people to use UV protection in winter.

  • Natalie Bell

    @Laurie F — Thank you for your comment! I see Katie beat me to it, but it’s true that you’re still getting sun damage, even when it’s cold and snowy outside.

    Dr. Glenn Kolansky talked about it in our Q&A when he said he had a lot of patients who came in with winter sunburns: https://www.futurederm.com/2012/12/07/how-should-you-take-care-of-your-skin-in-winter-an-interview-with-dr-glenn-kolansky-m-d/

    I also wrote about why sunglasses are important in the winter here: https://www.futurederm.com/2012/12/28/uv-protection-still-important-in-winter-sunglasses-and-sunscreen-still-matter/

    Nonetheless, I hope if you try this that you really enjoy it.

  • Natalie Bell

    @Jules — Thank you for your comment!

    @Makeup by Merry — Thank you for your comment! There’s not a lot of olive oil in it, but that might not necessarily be a bad thing. I wrote in this review about how sunflower seed oil is actually better for your skin than olive oil: https://www.futurederm.com/2013/03/26/dermatude-active-hydra-booster-facial-cream-review-plenty-of-moisturizing-ingredients/

  • Laurie- It’s actually a common misnomer to think that you don’t need sunscreen in the winter- actually, if you are spending any time outside and exposed, then you should absolutely be wearing sunscreen as the UV rays can actually be worse. It’s just that most people are covered up and not outside for very long in the winter.

  • Laurie F.

    Thanks for the review, the lack of sunscreen is no big deal in my area too much snow right now :)…I would be curious to try it out. The cold weather always leaves my skin dry, especially on the shoulder and arms.

    I will take note of that product and try to see if it can be bought in my area, if not, than amazon is always a safe bet.


  • I only heard that olive oil will be used for makeup removing so its most interesting that olive in moisturizing cream.

  • Hmmmm….interesting. I am thinking of trying it out eventhough it does not include sunscreen. I am amaze with its ingredients that are beneficial to the skin. I am curious on how it will go with my skin.

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