Skincare for the Almost Vegetarian: Juice Beauty and Pangea Organics AND a contest to win loads of FREE natural care products!

On Monday we looked at the key ingredients we should know about when shopping for natural skin, body, and hair care products. On Tuesday, we looked at one of the biggest health food store lines: Dr. Hauschka. Wednesday, we interviewed an expert from Whole Foods who gave very specific recommendations.

Yesterday, we looked at three natural lines: Naturopathica, Lavera, and Suki.

And today? Today we continue our look at natural skin care products with a peek at two more lines, one that worked rather well, and one that worked less well.

(And the contest? I thought you'd ask! It's coming and you can win all sorts of lovely free treats.)

Juice me up!
It was bound to happen that I would hit a line that I just didn’t have great luck with. Juice Beauty is that line. But do, please, bear in mind, that just because it wasn't perfect for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work well for you. Let's look at a few products and you'll see what I mean.

Antioxidant serum
Designed for dry, sensitive skin, which is exactly what I have, the antioxidant serum should have been perfect, right? Now, this may be a perfect product, but one problem kept me from finding out: The texture is unpleasantly sticky, perhaps due to the first three ingredients in this long ingredient list:
organic juices of vitis vinifera (white grape) juice, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) juice & aloe barbadensis leaf juice, and glycerin. At first, I thought I had used too much, so I washed it off and tried again with less. But, no, it had an almost cloying feel I didn’t like. So I washed again and went back to my usual products.

And because I didn’t leave the product on, I had no way of knowing if it worked or not. Which I wasn't all that eager to find out anyway with the plethora of tongue-twisting ingredients in here, such as dipeptide-2, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3, sodium hydroxide, hyaluronic acid, and dimethylaminoethanol(DMAE).

Soothing serum
Another product which should be ideal for me because it is designed to help soothe and alleviate redness (just look at me funny and I go all red) is the soothing serum. But it, too, just didn’t work. But it didn’t work in a way that was quite different from the antioxidant serum.

Also with a lengthy ingredient list and quite a few tongue twisting ingredients - the first three items on the list are organic juices of vitis vinifera (white grape) juice, rubus idaeus (red raspberry) juice & aloe barbadensis leaf juice, and glycerin - this product was a pleasure to put on: Creamy, gentle, and with not much in the way of a scent. It absorbed quickly and thoroughly, leaving no sticky residue. In fact, it was totally perfect except for one, small thing.

It did nothing.

It did not calm, it did not soothe, and my skin was just as happy to go red on me afterward as it was before.

Green Apple Nutrient Mask
While I didn’t have much luck with the antioxidant serum or the soothing serum, I had better luck when I turned to green apples. Specifically, to the Green Apple Nutrient Mask.

The first three ingredients on the lengthy ingredient list (also replete with it's share of tongue-twisting items) are organic juices of pyrus malus (apple) juice (malic), citrus medica limonum (lemon) juice (citric), vitis vinifera (white grape) juice (tartaric) & aloe barbadensis leaf juice. It has a gentle, green color, light scent, and soft texture, all of which made the mask quite inviting. Now, they do suggest you use it three times a week, which seems like a lot, but then, hey, it only has to stay on for ten minutes, and we all should be able to find ten minutes every other day or so.

Is what's good for one, good for all?
A lot of the products in the Pangea Organics line are recommended for all skin types. For example, there is just one facial cleanser in the entire line: Egyptian calendula & blood orange (in contrast, they have five different types of facial creams) and it is advertised “for all skin types.”

But should a 17-year-old with rampant hormones and acne and a horrible diet use the same cleanser a 70-year-old with sensitivity and dryness and wrinkles? I don't know. But I worry.

So let’s look at some products and see what we can see.

Egyptian calendula & blood orange
Calendula in the Egyptian calendula & blood orange cleanser has properties ranging from “... antifungal, antiseptic, astringent ...“ to “... anti-inflammatory and antibacterial,” all good things in a cleanser. It is also supposed to “... increase peripheral circulation ...” and “... improve skin conditions such as acne...” And the orange also has “... anti-inflammatory effects.”

Interstingly, however, neither of these products are at the top of the ingredient list. In fact, the first product is purified water, meaning you are buying more water than any other ingredient, followed by organic lavender alcohol, and organic coconut oil. If you want to find the calendula and blood orange, you have to head down to the bottom of the list.

The scent is interesting, sort of a dusty orange. It is both a little off-putting and a little inviting, at the same time. I suspect, over time, I will get used to it and love it. Once, that is, I get the chemical smell of non-natural skin care products out of my nose.

You should also know that the texture was as luxuriant as silk and it left my skin incredibly smooth. So this worked nicely for me (But the true test would have been if I could have found a 17-year-old and a 70-year-old to see if it worked nicely for them, too. Now that would have been fun!)

Oh ... and the molded fiber box is embedded with the seeds of Genovese Italian sweet basil (as is the box for the next item). Just plant and water and wait. Great idea!

Japanese matcha tea with acai & goji berry
The matcha tea in the Japenese matcha tea with acai & goji berry mask is supposed to be both soothing and energizing (which seems contradictory to me) while the acai is a revitalizing antioxidant and the goji berry is anti-aging and nutrient-rich.

So what's in it? Well, the first three ingredients are purified water (meaning, once again, you are buying more water than any other ingredient), vegetable glycerin, and organic lavender alcohol. The matcha tea was in the top half of the ingredient list, but the acai and goji berry were way, way, down near the bottom.

The scent reminds me of a lettuce bowl left in the sun: A warm, light, almost green odor that is rather nice. But I couldn’t find instructions on how to use the stuff, beyond the advice to “Treat yourself once a week.”

No problem. I’ll just slather it on and leave it for, erm, I dunno. A bit. Ten minutes? Okay. Sure.

Thirty minutes later . . .

Erm, I was working on an article and forgot about my green face for about a half an hour (thank heavens no couriers came to the door). The stuff dried like concrete and took quite a bit of rinsing and light scrubbing (exfoliating!) to get off, but this is amazing. It left my skin soft and gently pink and glowing. Now if only I could find a 17-year-old (to heck with the 70-year-old!) to test this one, too!

Win big!
Next week, in week two of our two-week look at skin, body, and hair care products, I am going to announce the details of the contest. Yep! The one where you can win a grab bag of all sorts of natural products you can try for yourself. So enjoy your weekend!