Sometimes, perfectly good brands fall off my radar. Take Arcona. This company makes antiaging cosmetics that use powerful ingredients, doesn't charge the earth, and does no evil. But for some reason I completely forgot about them until I saw the Arcona Berry Fruit Bar (proving that the maligned soap bar has cleaned up its act) and was reminded that I had once liked the peptide-packed Peptide Firming Complex Regenerate. So I set out to investigate some of the other products in the Arcona range.

I decided to start with a potion called Arcona Magic White Ice ($40). When I tried it out, memories came flooding back to me and they weren't necessarily good ones. Like the Peptide Firming Complex, Magic White Ice has a strong smell and is a little sticky. In this case, it has pleasant lemony undertones, but there is a much more pungent pong that is sort of musty and medicinal. Eventually, I worked this out. It is actually apple (malus fruit extract) and what I am getting is both a nice, fresh apple scent and a strong rotting fruit smell. The other thing I don't much like is the tacky feeling that remains for quite a long while.

I would like to get past these relatively superficial issues as the ingredients are good. The aforementioned apple has a high amount of polyphenols that are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Cranberry, aloe and tea join forces on the antioxidant front and hyaluronic acid and glycerin ensure the skin feels moisturized.

Wondering how Arcona gets away with no preservative? Actually, there is one: totara extract. Totarol is a natural preservative derived from the totara trees of New Zealand, which are known to grow for over 1,000 years. Their longevity is thought to be extended by the antibacterial properties of the wood.

Ingredients in Gentle Solution

Agua (Distilled Water), Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (Witch Hazel), Hydrolyzed Soy Extract, Glycerine, Glycolic Acid Polymer, Lactic Acid Polymer, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil (Apricot), Glycogen, Beta Fructan, Glucosamine HCl, Chlorophyll, Guava Extract (Psidium Guajava), Grapefruit Seed Extract (Citrus Grandis)

Ingredients in Golden Grain

Agua (Distilled Water), Corn Meal, Oatmeal, Glycolic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin, Olea Europaea Fruit Oil (Olive), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum Peel Oil (Lemon), Retinol, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil (Sweet Almond), Allantoin, Fruit Enzymes, Plant Enzymes, Althaea Officinalis Root Extract, Lecithin, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa Seed Extract (Carrot)

Ingredients in Magic White Ice

Agua (Distilled Water), Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (Witch Hazel), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Glycerin, Vaccinium Macrocarpon Fruit Extract (Cranberry), Camellia Sinensis Extract (White Tea), Totara Extract, Pyrus Malus Fruit Extract (Apple), Allantoin, Beta Carotene (Vitamin A), Panthenol (Vitamin B-5), Ascorbic Acid Ester (Vitamin C), Tocotrienols (Vitamin E), Grapefruit Seed Extract (Citrus Grandis)