People with a penchant for natural skincare products often tell me they use Boscia, a line that touts itself as “preservative-free skincare” and big on botanicals. Boscia looks so pure and innocent with its simple white packaging and leaf motif that when I pounced on the Oil-Free Daily Hydration SPF15, I didn’t give the ingredients more than a cursory glance. Big mistake.

Much to my dismay it contains an ingredient that has been banned in Europe. Boscia’s Oil-Free Daily Hydration remains unopened and impulsive waste of $36.

Bishydroxyethyl biscetyl malonamide is regarded as a reproductive toxin and in Europe it was banned under the Cosmetic Directive 76/768/EEC (source). Does this mean that Boscia's Oil-Free Daily Hydration SPF15 (which was made in Japan, incidentally) would be illegal for sale in Europe? In Spain in 2010 there was a recall of a brand that contained bishydroxyethyl biscetyl malonamide. And a fuss was made by a consumer watchdog when a face cream with bishydroxyethyl biscetyl malonamide made by an Italian company was found on sale in Spanish shops (source). I have a feeling that this watchdog wouldn’t be too pleased if this Boscia product showed up in its back yard.

Although paling beside this, I wasn’t any happier to see that the SPF is provided by octinoxate and avobenzone, Octinoxate is a chemical sunscreen that I prefer to avoid as research indicates that it is toxic and although there are disagreements as to how much it can penetrate the skin, it should probably be best left alone by pregnant women and children. The same is also advised for avobenzone as it can be absorbed by the body and secreted into urine.

Even the good things in this moisturizer aren’t terribly convincing. Boscia stakes its reputation on two botanicals. It describes willowherb (epilobium) as a “unique anti-irritant” and given the propensity for chemical sunscreens to make me break out, this is probably a good addition. The other is jojoba leaf, which Boscia claims is a powerful antioxidant. I could find no research to back this up.

To be fair, Boscia’s day cream has a few other botanicals with better pedigrees, including antioxidant rosemary, algae, and arctium lappa, an anti-inflammatory that stimulates collagen synthesis.

Oil-Free Daily Hydration SPF15 has not made me a convert to Boscia, if anything I’ll be likely to give it a wide berth.

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate, Avobenzone, Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Silica, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Pentylene Glycol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Leaf Extract, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/leaf/stem Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Algae Extract, Hydrolyzed Yeast Extract, Bishydroxyethyl Biscetyl Malonamide, Arctium Lappa Root Extract, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Hydrogenated Rapeseed Alcohol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sclerotium Gum, Aluminum Hydroxide, Potassium Phosphate, Sambucus Nigra Flower Extract, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide.