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I spend a lot of time on the go, and I’ve noticed one of the unanticipated consequences is that my hands get dry. Between winter’s cold and washing, my hands can get a little dry around the knuckles, as can my elbows. Sometimes I have lotion on me, but it’s often messy or I accidently take it out of my purse. Subsequently, I’m a huge fan of sticks that can be carried around — not much bigger than lip balm — to rub onto dry spots quickly, like Rinse Almond and Honey Skin Stick ($8, rinsesoap.com).
Shea butter is an emollient that has been shown to have benefits for the skin. There’s vitamin E in it that serves as an antioxidant, as well as a mix of rich hydrating fatty acids, including oleic acid (40-60%), stearic acid (20-50%), linoleic acid (3-11%), palmitic acid (2-9%), linolenic acid (<1%) and arachidic acid (<1%) (Journal of Nutriceuticals). However, different sources of shea butter will have different amount of these ingredients, which means the hydrating power of one product containing shea butter could be different from another (Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry).
However, until recently, despite how often shea butter was found in products, it’s efficacy hadn’t been tested. In a study that worked to test it, researchers found that after daily washing with ethanol, the skin suffered transepidermal water loss and two hours after applying shea butter, the TEWL was recovered. After two hours, skin was back to basement levels and within three to four hours the skin barrier was better than before the treatment. Mineral oil did not garner the same results (Formulation and Science).
While it’s great at hydrating skin, there isn’t a lot of evidence that it’s particularly soothing. In a test with skin irritant sodium lauryl sulfate, shea butter was found to have little effect on irritation (Skin Therapy Letter).
Almond oil is most frequently used in massage oils because it absorbs quickly (About.com). There isn’t a lot of conclusive scientific research on the benefits of almond oil, but it’s been used for its apparent anti-inflammatory effects. It’s been used particularly in ethnomedicines, like Ancient Chinese, Greco-Persian, and Ayurvendic medicine for it’s skin soothing properties on skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema (Complimentary Therapies in Clinical Practice). In a study done on mice, almond extract applied before sun exposure was found to prevent the damage done by UVB rays and to decelerate the photo-aging process (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology).
This product has more cocoa butter than anything else. Cocoa butter is a skin softening, moisturizing, and conditioning agent. It is used in a lot of products but there’s not a ton in the way of scientific evidence about what it does. In one ex vivo experiment using surviving human skin explants, researchers found that cocoa butter improve skin tone and elasticity (International Journal of Cosmetic Science). They believed this was due to the polyphenols and called for further testing.
On a note of myth busting — cocoa butter often gets touted as a stretch mark eraser and that isn’t proven. Though some may have anecdotal evidence, a double-blind study done on pregnant women found no difference in stretch marks after several months between women who used cocoa butter daily and women who didn’t (BJOG).
Personal Use and Opinion
Rinse Honey and Almond Skin Stick must be named for its distinct scent because it doesn’t appear to have any honey — though there is beeswax — and the almond is the third to last ingredient. Regardless, the smell is a cloyingly sweet almond candy scent that’s really quite lovely. The consistency is like a chapstick, so it rolls on smoothly. However, it doesn’t quite live up to its promise to being immediately absorbed into skin — that texture stays on top of the skin for quite a while. However, I love sticks like these despite that to carry around in the winter. When my hands get chapped at the knuckles they’re the right amount of extra coverage to really cover the driest parts without having to reapply lotion constantly.
Rinse Honey and Almond Skin Stick is good as something to throw in your pocket or purse in case you get dry spots during the day. It has some pretty effective ingredients besides the ones just listed, such as avocado oil, that give it a skin smoothing and protective effect. The application is easy and the smell is pleasant, but the formula doesn’t sink into skin very quickly.
Product Rating: 7/10
- High or optimized concentration of proven effective ingredients: 2/3
- Unique formulation or new technology: 2/3
- Value: 3/3
- Sunscreen: 0/1