Oprah-List favorite Farmhouse Fresh is a brand that is as cloying nostalgic as clotted cream and as annoyingly whimsical as The Tale of Mrs Tiggy Winkle. Skincare such as fine grain sea salt scrub, body milk and Strawberry Smash moisturizer come in packages reminiscent of jelly jars and cruets and ooze fresh off the farm goodness. But beyond Farmhouse Fresh's carefully crafted picket fence there are the long sheds of chemically assisted factory farming. If Sweet Cream Milk body lotion ($26) were a cow it would not claim to be grass fed.
Oprah's specific favorite is the salt scrub ($32). It isn't the worst offending in the range, but nothing - with exception of rice bran - could be said to have come from a farm. And rice bran
is one of those frenemy ingredients. It has antioxidant ferulic acid, but just when you thought you should get to know it, Scottish scientists decided that it has "inappropriate" levels of arsenic (toxic and carcinogenic. Triethanolamine lauryl sulfate is only a mild irritant - unless it is contaminated with nitrosamines, which can be carcinogenic. Same thing for another emulsifier, coco diethanolamide.
The Milk body lotion doesn't of course have any milk, or any other dairy. Perhaps that it is why it comes in a vessel more commonly used for serving vinegar and oil. There are oils a plenty, including rice bran again and genuinely through and through good for you avocado. Along with sesame oil, avocado can't really make up for the carcinogens in stearyl alcohol
is another frenemy that is thought to be a retarder of cancer, but a comprehensive survey of available research concluded that its cancer causing properties outweigh the preventative ones. Propylene glycol is an irritant that is very easily absorbed by the skin. Similarly, PEG-100 stearate should not be used near open cuts.
I don't know if Farmhouse Fresh grows its own polysorbate. There is p-20 in the Milk, an irritant at moderate doses, and p-80
in the Strawberry Smash, about which in 2006, animal studies showed reproductive effects at very low doses; in vitro tests on mammalian cells showed positive mutation results. A particularly wholesome ingredient is sodium hydroxide
: solutions as weak as .12% have shown to destruct healthy skin cells within one hour. If that doesn't get you longing for life in the big city, there is always DMDM hydantoin
, which contains formaldehyde.
Throw in the usual suspects in the preservative dept, and we should rename this Cold Comfort Farm.
Ingredients in Salt Scrub
Fine, fresh Sea Salt (Sodium Chloride), Natural Rice Bran Oil (Orza sativa), Purified Water, Triethanolamine Lauryl Sulfate, CocoDiethanolamide, Cocamidopropyl Sulfate, Methylparaben, Fragrance.
Ingredients in Sweet Cream Milk
Water, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Sorbitol, Propylene Glycol, Fragrance, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Stearate, Natural Rice Bran Oil (Orza Sativa), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Stearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Polysorbate 20, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, BHT, Sodium Benzotriazolyl Butylphenol Sulfonate, Tetradibutyl Pentaerithrityl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.
Ingredients in Strawberry Smash
Water, Glycerine, Glycine Soya (Soybean) Oil, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Polysorbate 80, Polysorbate 20, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Fragrance, Fragaria Vesca (Strawberry) Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate, Menthone Glycerin Acetal, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, Red 40, Red 22.