Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Product Review:
Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin Solutions

Recently, I was invited to participate in my first BzzAgent campaign and got the chance to try two new products from Burt's Bees. Both items were from the company's new Natural Skin Solutions for Sensitive Skin line. Burt defines sensitive skin as skin that shows signs of redness, irritation, stinging, dryness, itching, blotchiness, rashes or even skin that easily breaks out. Since I exhibit all of those symptoms (though luckily, usually not all at the same time) I certainly fit into the line's target demo.

The products I was sent were the Sensitive Facial Cleanser and the Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream. Both products, as with all products in Burt's Sensitive line, are fragrance-free, hypo-allergenic, allergy-tested and dermatologist-tested. It's important to remember though, most of those terms are marketing terms, not scientific ones. There's absolutely no regulation for use of the term hypo-allergenic, and all "allergy tested" and "dermatologist tested" tell us is that they were tested. The terms alone don't tell us what they were tested for, whom they were tested by, or even what the results are. Of course, having these terms doesn't automatically make the product bad, but it doesn't necessarily make the product better either.

Burt's Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser ($10 for 6oz) is a rich cream cleanser that is designed to cleanse skin without causing irritation or stripping skin of its natural protective barrier.

I found this cleanser to be gentle and non-drying, and while it's not greasy, I do think it's a formula best left to drier skin types. The cleanser contains plenty of emollient ingredients, and while it does rinse away mostly with water, I felt like it left a waxy film behind. A peek at the ingredients shows several potentially comedogenic ingredients, notably the coconut and cotton oils. This may not be as big of a deal in a rinse-off cleanser, but it's certainly something break-out prone individuals should be aware off. I also felt like this cleanser lacked a little bit in the makeup removal category; I definitely saw traces of foundation left behind after cleansing.

Burt's Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream ($15 for 1.8oz) is non-SPF hydrator that has a nice not-too-thick, not-too-thin lotion consistency.

It smooths on easily and leaves skin feeling slightly balmy, though on my dry skin it was not at all oily. I actually feel like this is just on the borderline of not being rich enough for my dry skin, and would guess that the formula would be best for normal skin that is not excessively oily or excessively dry. I like the pump bottle: its opaque, airtight design keeps antioxidants and soothing ingredients at peak performance, and it was very easy to control the amount coming out of the tube. Pumps are also more sanitary than jars, an important consideration for all skin types.

I did notice that both versions of the Sensitive moisturizers (this one and the Night Cream, which I did not test) have corn starch listed quite high on the ingredient list, which I find concerning. Corn starch is used as a thickener, skin protectant and absorbent in skin care, but is also abrasive, which is not good for anyone with sensitive skin. It also can promote fungal and bacterial growth, which is why it's generally recommended that acne prone skin types avoid it- the corn starch actually feeds the bacteria that cause acne!

One last thing I have to concede is my confusion of Burt's use of "Cotton Extract" and the claims that the brand makes surrounding it. While the picture of cotton on the label certainly conjures up feelings of comfort and gentleness, I couldn't find any evidence that this "extract" (more commonly known as cottonseed oil) functions as anything but an occlusive emollient. While occlusive ingredients (even basic petroleum) may help to keep skin hydrated and promote healing, I think more is implied by Burt's claims. Sure, eliminating irritation may make skin softer and reduce redness (which would, in turn, make skin appear more even-toned) BUT irritation is not the only cause of such symptoms. If you have such issues in the absence of actual irritation, cotton extract won't do a thing for you. 

Despite the exaggerated marketing, Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin solutions seem like a decent choice for those with sensitive skin who are looking for reasonably priced, no-frills skincare. Personally, I would have liked to see more protective antioxidants, and soothing anti-irritants and anti-inflammatory ingredients, but there's something to be said for the less-is-more approach. The less that's in the product, the less of a chance there is of reacting to it!

The products featured in this review were submitted for promotional consideration by a representative of the company. What does this mean? I didn't pay for it. My commitment is to you- my readers- and to myself (it's called integrity, I like to have it). The opinions expressed on are my own, based on my own research and experience; I am not paid in any way nor is the final outcome of the post influenced by any outside party.


Sammi said...

Love this review. I feel the exact same way. I really felt like the cleanser didn't clean all of my makeup off, especially not foundation. But surprisingly it's stopped me from breaking out as much as I did on previous skin routines (especially Clinique's Acne three step). Thanks for the review!

Ana said...

I love the way this review was written.

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