Aveda has finally launched its long-awaited Green Science range. I am especially interested in trying it out for two reasons. The first is that one of the key ingredients is argan oil (great for skin and hair care). Secondly, I was intrigued by accusations on some eco web sites that Aveda is green-washing us.

After scrutinizing the packaging of Green Science's Firming Face Cream ($55), my verdict is that, whilst not perfect, Aveda is trying pretty hard earn its planet-friendly stripes. Aveda, it is claimed, is the first beauty company manufacturing entirely with wind power. The packaging is 50% post-consumer recycled and Forest Stewardship certified fiber, printed with soy ink.

It is true, that ingredients include some synthetics such as silicone. But the really unforgivable thing is the use of PEG-100 stearate. PEG stands for polyethylene glycol and there are several animal studies linking it to tumor formation at moderate doses. Even the FDA doesn't like the use of PEGs in cosmetics.

Hopefully, this will be offset by spike moss, which according to a Taiwanese study may have some "anti-tumor activity". A Korean study claims that spike moss has biflavonoids that inhibit UV damage and increase the activity of growth proteins in human fibroblasts. There are plenty of other good things in Green Science Firming Face Cream. Argan leaf extract and oil are the most notable. Clinical trials demonstrating that there are high proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E in argan (a Moroccan plant). I use it in the form of a product called Kaeline, with good results, as a neck and decollete treatment.

Like argan, astrocaryum murumuru (a Brazilian palm) is rich in oleic acid. Then there is opuntia robusta (prickly pear cactus), which was shown by an Austrian study to have antioxidant properties. The skin of the cactus leaves, in particular, have high levels of calcium and potassium. Lady's thistle (which goes by the wonderful botanical alias of silybum) has been used medicinally for centuries. A study on mice suggests that has antioxidant properties that can prevent skin cancer. Of interest as well is the inclusion of calophyllum tacahamaca (also called tamanu oil), a plant that has HIV-curing properties and is, as far as I can work out, an anti-inflammatory.

Overall, I think that the forces of good in Firming Face Cream outweigh the forces of evil. I shall try it out as an alternative to the Kaeline and will, of course, report back in a few weeks.

Ingredients in Aveda Green Science Firming Face Creme

Water, rosemary extract, selaginella tamariscina (spike moss) extract, stearic acid, jojoba butter, glycerin, shea butter, C14-22 alcohols, glyceryl stearate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, dimethicone, astrocaryum murumuru seed butter, argania (argan) leaf extract, opuntia robusta, silybum marianum (lady's thistle) extract, acetyl hexapeptide-8, ginger root oil, ceramide 3, glucosamine HCL, algae extract, soybean seed extract, calophyllum tacamahaca seed oil, argania (argan) seed oil, brazil nut seed oil, yeast extract, sunflower seed extract, caffeine, boswellia serrata extract, chlorella vulgaris extract, palm oil, soybean protein, aloe barbadensis leaf, tocopherol, cholesterol, soybean oil, behenyl alcohol, C12-20 alkyl glucoside, salicylic acid, sodium hyaluronate, scutellaria baicalensis extract, mulberry root extract, grape extract, caprylyl glycol, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, xanthan gum, sodium gluconate, PEG-100 stearate, fragrance (made from certified organic oils), limonene, geraniol, citronellol, linalool, citral.