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The Luxury Body Cream – What’s in it?

Last Friday saw the release of the brand new Luxury Body Cream in eight varieties, and I promised to write a blog post explaining what each ingredient is, and why I’ve used it in this product. So here we go.

A set of eigh different tins of body cream

Over the last few years I’ve found myself getting more and more frustrated, and frankly, irritated, by the whole ‘everything must be natural, preservatives are evil, “chemicals” are toxic‘ movement. There seems to be a huge swathe of the population that doesn’t understand how ludicrous it is to claim that any product can be made ‘without chemicals’. There also seems to be a belief in some quarters that anything with a scientific sounding name must be a ‘nasty chemical’. I’ve seen a good few blog posts that claim that if a product contains ingredients that you don’t recognise, or are unpronounceable, then it must be bad for you, and should be avoided. I’m here to tell you that a lot of this is baloney. Not everything natural is good for you, or necessarily safe. Synthetic ingredients are not bad for you, and are always (certainly in the UK and Europe) used at safe levels. Preservatives are safe to use and are ESSENTIAL in many products. Chemicals are not inherently bad – arrgghhhh – do I really have to go there? I know most people reading this will understand the ridiculousness of this argument. Water is a chemical, our foods are chemicals… I’m not going to labour that point any more.

But I digress. Let’s dive into the Body Cream ingredients list. It’s worth noting that it is a legal requirement for all ingredients to be listed on products AND at point of sale* in their INCI (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient) format. You may also list them in plain English, but the reality is that most packaging doesn’t have the space for that kind of duplication. Here I’ll first list the ingredient as it appears on the packaging, and then in plain English if necessary.

Aqua = Water. The ultimate skin hydrator. Distilled water is used to ensure purity.

Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter = Cocoa Butter. Cocoa butter can improve skin elasticity and, like shea butter, contains fatty acids and vitamins which nourish the skin. The fat content in cocoa butter helps create a skin barrier to reduce moisture loss.

Butyrospermum Parkii Butter = Shea Butter. Shea butter is a great skin conditioner which has high concentrations of fatty acids and vitamins which add to its skin softening properties.

Isoamyl Laurate. A vegetable-based emollient derived from sugar beet or coconut and in this formulation is used as an alternative to Dimethicone. While dimethicone is perfectly safe for use in skincare, I chose a naturally derived alternative because Dimethicone is not biodegradeable, and Isoamyl Laureate is. Isoamyl Laureate aids in softening the skin without leaving a greasy feeling.

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride = Fractionated Coconut Oil. Made by separating out different fats in coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil is, in its natural state, a clear, lightweight liquid which again is used as an alternative to non-biodegradable silicones in skincare products. It is a great emollient which helps soften and hydrate skin while being quickly absorbed, leaving the skin feeling silky and smooth.

Glycerin. Added to the formulation because it is an excellent humectant. This means that while it doesn’t actually add moisture to the skin, it attracts moisture and helps the skin retain moisture and therefore helps improve skin hydration. It also has emollient properties which means it adds to the skin softening properties of the cream.

Peg-100 Stearate / Glycerol Stearate. I’ve bundled these two ingredients together because that’s how I buy them, already combined. Together they form an emusifying wax, which is what turns the water into a cream-like consistency. Both ingredients are derived from plant sources – palm oil and/or palm kernel oil, coconut or sugar beet. Unfortunately there is currently no supplier in the UK that can guarantee their supply is palm-free. But I keep searching.

Cetearyl alcohol, chemically speaking, is a fatty alcohol derived from coconut or palm. Again, I’ve been unable to find a supplied that can guarantee that their product is palm-free. It is used to stabilize emulsified creams and is also adds a thick and creamy feel to skin products. It has the added benefit of being moisturising and skin softening.

Cetyl alcohol is a flaky, waxy, white solid derived from coconut, palm or vegetable oil.  Like Cetearyl alcohol above, it shouldn’t be confused with more aggressive alcohols like isopropyl alcohol or ethanol. Cetyl alcohol is a fatty alcohol that is gentle on the skin and is actually used to treat skin irritations. It’s used as a thickener, and emulsifier, but more importantly, for its moisturising properties.

Parfum = Fragrance. This might be naturally derived essential oils or synthetically produced fragrance oil.

Xanthan gum. This is a thickening agents which enhances the texture of cosmetic creams also stabilizes the emulsion to ensure that it doesn’t separate. It’s produced by the fermentation of glucose and sucrose (plant based forms of sugar)

Tocopherol = Vitamin E Vitamin E is a strong antitoxidant and anti-inflammatory, making it an excellent addition to skincare. It’s also a very effective emollient and humectant, which means like other ingredients above it can attract moisture to the skin and help create a barrier to stop that moisture from escaping.

Phenoxyethanol = Preservative. This is what prevents fungi, bacteria and yeast from growing in the cream. It gives them a longer shelf life and ensures safety. If your cosmetics products aren’t correctly preserved and become contaminated, they can be very harmful. Products which proudly claim to be ‘preservative-free’ are only good for a week or two at the most before they start to become dangerous.

So there we go, a full run-down of all the ingredients and their purpose in the new luxury skin cream. I hope this is helpful and answers any questions you might have. Please do ask if there’s anything else you’d like to know.

*If you come across a company online which does NOT share its product ingredient lists on its website, it isn’t legally compliant and personally I would avoid it.