I am always on the lookout for gentle facial cleansers. Some can be too harsh, while others can be too gentle. As I discuss in my latest beauty article for Mother Earth Living (watch out for it our November/December issue), our skin is a complex organ, and we should only use cleansers to remove contaminates from our skin without stripping of its natural oils. Elemental Herbology’s Delicate Cleanse strikes that balance.
Elemental Herbology uses bio-active ingredients and indulgent plant oils to create a natural line of luxurious skincare. The star ingredients in this facial cleanser are the healing herbs, including chamomile, calendula and marshmallow (soothing and helps reduce redness); chickweed (cooling); horse chestnut (balances circulation); and rosehip oil and rose water (rich in antioxidants).
Elemental Herbology’s Delicate Cleanse Ingredients
Here is a full list of this product’s ingredients:
Aqua, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Glycerin, Myristyl Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate/Succinate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Isostearyl Isostearate, Sorbitan Stearate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Glucoside*, Octyldodecanol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Benzyl Alcohol, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil*, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Xanthan Gum, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Cardiospermum Halicacabum Flower/Leaf/Vine Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Oil, *Geraniol, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Panax Ginseng Root Extract , Alcohol Denat., Althaea Officinalis Extract, Sorbic Acid, Stellaria Media (Chickweed) Extract, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Citric Acid, Citronellol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide
The bolded ingredients in this list scored between a 3 and 5 on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, sparking moderate concern, except for geraniol. Geraniol was ranked in the red zone at a 7 concern.
Is There a Problem with Geraniol Oil?
Geraniol is a naturally occurring scent ingredient found in various essential oils such as rose oil and citronella oil. So why is it ranked high on the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database? Although the FDA has listed geraniol on its lists of flavoring substance considered Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS), the International Fragrance Association restricts its use in fragrances because of potential sensitization. It has also been banned by the European Union, as it’s considered a human immune-system toxicant or allergen. A small number of individuals have experienced a sensitivity or allergic reaction to geranium essential oil, but some beauty experts feel that geraniol is generally great for skin. If your skin is extremely sensitive or you’re concerned about your skin’s reaction to geraniol, conduct a patch test or avoid this product.
Here’s what Elemental Herbology had to say about their use of geraniol:
Geraniol isn't actually an ingredient but comes from rose essential oil. All essential oils (including oils like lavender, chamomile, etc.) have potential allergens, which must be listed separately in the [International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients]; however they are not actually a separate ingredient. Rose essential oil is considered non-hazardous and non-allergenic.
My skin is not overly sensitive, so I had no problems with the geraniol, or any other ingredients in this product, for that matter. In fact, I thought the cleanser was perfectly gentle for my complexion. As a milk cleanser, its consistency is thinner than traditional cleansers, but I was happy to discover that it was a little thicker than most milk cleansers. It omits a light, earthy fragrance, and—best of all—this herb-rich product didn’t put my pH balance out of whack. Instead, it left my skin feeling fresh, clean and soft. Massage it onto damp skin then rinse off with a warm washcloth. This milky white cleanser goes on smooth. I like to use it in the evening to get rid of the day’s debris, followed by a toning mist and my favorite moisturizer.
This 4.2-ounce cleanser costs more than most may be willing to spend (especially seeing as how cleansers stay on your skin for a short period of time), but if you’re looking for a milky cleanser rich in herbs, and you’re willing to splurge, find it at a store near you or buy online for $52.
Gina DeBacker is the associate editor at Mother Earth Living. She loves that part of her job entails testing beauty products enriched with natural ingredients.