Thursday, November 28, 2013

Natural Moisturizers: DIY or Buy

Review of natural moisturizers
By far the most popular questions that I am asked by readers are about moisturizers. Let's face it-- it's really, really hard to find a product that works and doesn't contain a bunch of crap-tastic chemical ingredients.

I'm really excited to talk to you about some of the products that I use, but first.. some housekeeping:

I'm sad to announce that I got yelled at by a reader recently about my qualifications about writing a blog ::insert sad face::

So, please, let me clarify-- I am NOT a dermatologist. I am a nurse. However, as a nurse, I cannot diagnose or give prescription treatments for skin conditions. So, I am giving you recommendations as a human being who happens to have some scientific knowledge and who has also been there and done that once or twice due to bad skin.

Whew! I'm so glad we got that out of the way. 

If you have any questions please comment or email me. I love hearing from you guys (just please don't yell at me)!
Light Moisturizers:
I've covered these moisturizers in other posts so I won't spend too much time on these. If you have questions-- just ask!! 
    Make natural moisturizers
  • DIY aloe moisturizer-- this is by far one of my most popular posts and it's for a reason. It works really, really well. It's a light moisturizer, but if used regularly you WILL see a difference in fine lines and wrinkles, decreased redness and inflammation, and regulate oil production. 
  • Argan Oil-- This is so easy because all you need is a bottle of Argan oil and you just take 2-3 drops and spread it over your face. This absorbs quickly and is tolerated well by most people. 
  • Rose Water with Vegetable Glycerin in a mist bottle--- this is wonderful. I'm kind of obsessed with the smell of rose water and spraying it all over my face is just refreshing and lovely. It is a light moisturizer and I often use it as an afternoon skin pick me up. You can even spray it on dry hair and it'll give it a nice moisturizing boost with some anti-frizz benefits, too! 
To make the Rose Water Moisturizing Spray just mix the following ingredients into a misting bottle and squirt a way:
Moisturizing Creams: 
Okay, now this is where the problems begin because heavy moisturizers are just a pain in my booty. A lot of them seem to be too greasy or don't absorb well into my skin, while others cause breakouts. I have tried making DIY cream based moisturizers and my skin doesn't appreciate my efforts at all (it's such a little biotch). 

Over the last year I have really only found three options which work well, but each have an "issue" surrounding them:
  • Shea Terra Moisturizers
  • 100% Pure Moisturizers
  • Primavera Oil Moisturizers
Shea Terra Moisturizer Rose Hips It is a very rich cream which has a lovely heavy floral fragrance. It absorbs into the skin very easily which is impressive especially considering how thick the cream feels. Shea Terra Moisturizers will leave you with a lot of moisture which is why I've used them for so long. 
Shea Terra Moisturizer Review
I really like how the moisturizer behaves, but what I don't like is that it is only 99.7% natural. The ingredient in question is sodium benzoate which may be a carcinogen (aka cancer is bad). However, this is used in small levels, so they claim it's safe, but I'm sticking a disclaimer on this one: Use with caution. 

On the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database Sodium Benzoate received a score of 1 (fair, minimal hazard).
100% Pure Moisturizer Review

100% Pure Moisturizer, Jasmine and Green Tea It is also rich and creamy, but not nearly as thick as the Shea Terra Moisturizer. I appreciate that it's not greasy and absorbs very quickly into my skin and compared the to Shea Terra brand the scent is remarkable light, but also pleasant. 

What you will notice right away about this moisturizer is how soft your skin will feel after you use it. I swear, it's like my cheeks have transformed into a baby's ass! I just keep rubbing it. It's wonderful. Really. Wonderful.

The all natural ingredient profile on 100% Pure is really impressive to me. It's also 100% vegan.

Some people have an issue with the Japanese Honeysuckle that is used in 100% Pure. The concern is about para-hydroxy benzoic acid (that's a mouth full) which is found in the Japanese Honeysuckle, but it is also in many other types of plants and even animals that we consume or use topically. When chemically altered, it is the base of many parabens. This is not chemically altered, so I think we're all good, but if you have an opinion- let me know! 

You can read more from the Organic Consumer Website which was the only really reputable source I could find that appeared to have science to back it up. The rest were crazy bloggers like me. You can't trust crazy bloggers. ;)

My Crazy Personal Opinion: There's no doubt that it's a controversial ingredient, but personally I'm not nearly as concerned with Honeysuckle as I am with Sodium Benzoate. Even IF Japanese Honeysuckle was a paraben it would be so weak that there would be very little hormone disruption. Also, there is zero literature that links Japanese Honeysuckle to cancer or any other major ailment. 

Me = not concerned.

The Skin Deep Cosmetic Database gave Japanese Honeysuckle a rating of 0 (no hazard). I think that's a win and, personally, I'm giving it the green light

Primavera I used was the Moisturizing Intensive Seed Oil Capsules which were a sample in one of my subscription boxes (I love those things). They are these tiny capsules that you break apart which releases oil that you spread on your face. 

OMG. Pure Bliss. The oils absorbed easily and left my skin feeling really amazing. 

I was so excited to buy some more until I saw the price tag: 

$78 for 30 capsules.

WTF. It's oil people. Oil!! {throws hands up in exasperation} Granted, they use really high grade organic oils which are relatively expensive if you were to buy bottles of them, but it's just a couple drops in each seed. Uhhh… ideas?

I. Have. No. Clue. 

$78 just seems excessively high and I can't do it. I need money for other stuff, like shoes. 

ALSO, they used Benzyl Benzoate which is an old school treatment for scabies and lice. Weird, right? I'm guessing they use it as a preservative unless they are worried about a facial lice epidemic. {shrugs}

On the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database Primavera was not registered, but the benxyl benzonate got a rating of 6 (moderate hazard). 

Warning label: Use at your own risk!

So, that wraps up my completely non-expert opinion. Personally, I'm using 100% Pure products and I'll let you know if I get some weird disease from the Japanese Honeysuckle besides my super soft baby butt cheeks. 

So I have to ask--- What moisturizer do you use? Have you found something that's 100% natural or do you make your own? I'd love to hear from you! 

If you're interested in buying any of the products I mentioned-- here's some links:

100% Pure (amazon) or 100% Pure (their website--- you do get FREE samples if you buy directly from them)
Facial Oil: Primavera

And Happy Thanksgiving to the USA and Happy Thursday to all the other Countries of the World!! I'm off to get fat. :)

If you'd like to join my Natural Living Support Group on Facebook please fill out this form or you can read DIY Beauty Basics 101

Disclaimer: this is my opinion. I was not paid nor did I receive any kind of compensation for this review. 


  1. Benzyl Benzoate is naturally occurring in essential oils like jasmine and ylang-ylang. Primavera doesn't "add it", they are disclosing that it's a compound in the essential oils they use. You should really not pretend that you have any kind of scientific or medical knowledge.

    1. Hi! Are you a rep for Primavera? I'm wondering because you are speaking as if you know how they label their products. It's funny because on their label they will say a scientific name and then in parenthesis say which oil or what plant it's from, but on the benzyl benzoate they don't do that-- no parenthesis and no essential oil name.

      If you are a rep, then please tell us about the labeling and why it doesn't have (essential oil) next to benzyl benzoate. Also, what is the 5% in the products that's not natural/organic if it is not the benzyl benzoate. We'd love to know!

      And I find it interesting that you discredited all of my scientific knowledge based on the fact that my info is actually correct, but I didn't say that benzyl benzoate (if not man-made) can be part of some essentials oils, which still doesn't validate it's safety in the Primavera product. If you have safety information, then please share!

      In fact, my research tells me that Benzyl Benzoate is usually NOT naturally occurring in cosmetic lines anymore. In products, it is usually synthetic unless they say "oh, this is from cinnamon oil.. blah blah blah" on the label. Here's a quote from an aromacologist, Nadine Artemis (an expert on aromatherapy and essential oils):

      "Benzyl benzoate: Preservative and fixative. Like many ingredients, benzyl benzoate was initially derived naturally and used as a whole-source from cinnamon essential oil. Those days are past. It is now made in a laboratory and associated with itchy skin, blistering and nervous system problems".

      Even if it did come from an essential oil then it's usually derived from cinnamon and that's considered a "toxic essential oil" which has a high rate of skin irritation (aromatherapy bible, Anglefire, herbal safety). So, does it really even matter where it comes from? Probably not.

      The World Health Organization, The Environmental Working Group, the Library of Medicine, MSDS, and various other organizations all state that benzyl benzoate can be harmful regardless of it's source. The EWG (skin deep cosmetic database) gave it a rating of 6 which is definitely not so great.

      And FYI: I'd really appreciate kindness in people. You could have simply asked a question or giving me resources to educate myself if you thought I was wrong. Why not just be a nice person? It seriously blows my mind.

      If I was wrong, I would gladly amend my blog post and give you credit for teaching me something new, but I don't think I'm wrong and I don't appreciate insults. If you can't be nice-- I won't publish your next comment.

      Here are a couple of articles where I got my info if you want to read them:

      Environmental Working Group:

      World Health Organization:

      Library of Medicine:

      Chemical of the Day:

  2. Well written response Sherri. Thanks for all the info.

  3. I have only just found your blog and LOVE it! I made the Rose Water Moisturising Spray to finish off my Coconut Oil Hot Facewash Cleansing regime (which I only have just started doing and it works a treat!!) but found it really sticky. So I added another 3 TBSP of water and, voila, perfect! BTW, what is Vegetable Glycerine good for, apart from tasting sweet (yes, I licked my lips after spraying)?? Ive seen it in other natural cleansing products but don't know why it is used.
    Keep up the good work .... very informative! =D

    1. Monika, thank you! I'm so glad you're liking it. I'm glad that you've found a way to make the rose water spray work for you! :) Just curious-- are you using a spray bottle or a misting bottle?

      I love that you asked how vegetable glycerin works! It's is such a cool natural beauty product for both your hair and your skin and I use it quite a bit. It is great for it's anti-aging properties and it is also a powerful moisturizer. Unlike other products, vegetable glycerin actually draws oxygen into the cells which helps you look more youthful. And who doesn't like that! It's also great for hair to calm fly aways and humidity causing frizzes. I use the same rose water mist on my face as I do my hair. :)

  4. Thanks Sherri for that info on the Veg Glycerine! My computer is really playing up (well the internet is!) and it won't let me respond via the 'reply' section. Grrrr
    Anyway, good to know the Veg Glycerine is a good moisturiser. To be honest I thought it was just something used for cooking, but I think I am getting that confused with something else.
    I put the Rose Water spray into a small misting bottle. My son was decanting some Glass Lens cleaner from a (nearly used up) small bottle into a larger one and threw the small bottle in the bin....the exact moment I walked into the kitchen to start making this Rose Water spray. It was meant to be!! =D Perfect size - 1/2 in the bottle and 1/2 is stored in the fridge. How long should this last, btw??

    1. Computers are supposed to make our lives easier, right? :) Mine is always acting up, too!

      Well, people do NOT make the whole concept of glycerin easy because there is a medication called glycerin, vegetable glycerin and an animal based glycerin. And most people just refer to all of them as "glycerin".

      Haha! I love how things work out like that! Perfect timing! :)

      How long will they last? Rose Water, distilled water and veg glycerin have a really long shelf life. They will be stable until the expiration date on one of the products is reached. Veg glycerin lasts around 3 years, distilled water is 2 years, and rose water really depends on the brand you buy, but it normally lasts 2+ years. Of course, storing them in the refrigerator or in a dark, cool place will make them last a bit longer, too. So I don't think you have to worry about them expiring anytime soon! :)

  5. Thank you for sharing your personal research and experiences on this cool blog, and especially for doing it with such aplomb and grace. Normally I'd advise, "Do not feed the attention starved trolls," but the way you answered "anonymous" won a point back for anyone and everyone who has ever had their mind blown by ignorant, arrogant, misinformed wannabes walking everyday amongst us.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to write this comment. I appreciate it.

  6. Hi Sherri! Thank you for sharing all this great beauty tips. You are a blessing to all of us tryjng to find diy natural products. Wich of this moisturizer would you recomend for combination oily skin? Thank you! :)

    1. Hi! Thanks for checking out my blog! You are sooo sweet! Thank you! I'm glad you found it useful :)

      I personally really like the 100% pure line. They have a Mint White Tea Moisturizer which I've heard is excellent for oily skin.

      If you rather DIY your own moisturizer, then you could use oils like jojoba, grape seed, argan or rose hips. If you don't need a lot of moisture the option to mix with the rose water is wonderful. It's very light and non-greasy, but it only provides minimal coverage.

      If you want something heavier, I personally love rose hips oil -- it's a bit thick, but a little goes a long way. It helps support the aging process (less wrinkles/fine lines) and to achieve smooth skin. Lately, I have been using rose hips with a bit of high quality lavender essential oil and loving the effects-- it really helps to balance the skin.

      If you have any questions please let me know :)

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