When it comes to eating, sleeping, and defecating, babies get the royal treatment. Shouldn't that same care be bestowed upon a baby's oh-so-soft, virginal skin? Well, take a close look at the ingredients lists on some of the most mainstream drugstore baby products, and you might wonder, Where's their poison symbol? Big-name brands like Johnson & Johnson and Huggies seem to have thrown caution to the wind when crafting cosmetics for young skin. Luckily, a lesser-known skincare line named Episencial was developed by a real parent with an eye for affordability, sustainability, and safety for sensitive skins.

One of my favorite books growing up was The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. So when I saw the packaging of Episencial's product line--each item sporting its own colorful etching from the book-- I instantly had a warm and fuzzy flashback. That feeling did not subside once I got a closer look at the products' ingredients. Episencial's range is designed to support the connection between a child's delicate skin and vulnerable immune system. And if it's gentle enough for babies, whose skin is less physiologically developed, you better believe it's equally safe and effective for adults.

Episencial appeals to green parents looking for a high-quality alternative to expensive, kid-friendly, organic cosmetics. Beyond using solar manufacturing processes and packaging in sustainable materials, its formulas are entirely natural and there is not an alarming chemical in sight. At the bare minimum, each product is 50% organic, which means that for plants which tend to be laced with pesticides during commercial production, the formulators sourced these ingredients from organic producers; for plants which have a lower likelihood of contamination, they relied on non-organic agribusiness. This careful balance manages to keep price points refreshingly low, ranging from $5.99 to $14.99. Understanding the thought process that went into each formula should allay the fears of certain organic sticklers.

I took Episencial's Soothing Cream for a spin on my dry and inflamed patches of skin. This almost gelatinous lotion spreads on beautifully and doesn't leave a greasy sheen, making it functional for both face and body. I tried it on my itchy hands, my cracked heels, and in the peeling creases around my nose. Each trial felt like a cool dip in the pool on a sweltering summer day. On top of excellent natural emollients like plant-derived glycerin, beeswax, shea butter, avocado oil, borage seed oil, jojoba seed oil, the formula is fortified with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. I was intrigued to see the inclusion of probiotics (extracted from yogurt), which are more commonly known for their ability to balance the flora and fauna within the digestive system. But new research is suggesting that probiotics administered topically may help balance skin pH and address a range of skin disorders.

Young skin loses moisture more readily than mature skin, making it more prone to dryness and irritation, which can ultimately leave the body vulnerable to infection and immune inefficiency. When children's skin comes into contact with toxic cleaning products, allergenic laundry detergents, or cosmetics containing artificial fragrances and other harmful chemicals, it can lead to eczema. Episencial's all-natural formula is designed to relieve eczema breakouts. Thanks to organic aloe vera and cucumber extracts, the lotion cools and soothes bothered skin on contact. Organic green tea, calendula, chamomoile, safflower, and neem oil naturally boost epidermal defense against environmental evils. With the swelling, heat, and pain removed from the area, skin can begin the healing process.

Compare nutrient-rich, all-natural formula to Johnson & Johnson Cooling Cucumber Melon Baby Lotion, whose first ingredient after water is mineral oil, followed shortly thereafter by phenoxyethanol, artificial fragrance, three parabens, and propylene glycol. Or compare it to Palmer's Bottom Butter, which claims to be brimming with vitamins A, D, and pro vitamin B5, but offsets the middling amounts of these vitamins with petrolatum (30%), aluminum, artificial fragrance, propylene glycol, diazolidinyl urea, two parabens, and a PEG. No skin of any age should come into contact with that many chemicals in one dose.

Episencial is quick to identify the origin of every raw material, especially those with a checkered past. Take, for example, PEG-120 methyl glucose dioleate, used in cleansing products for its thickening properties. At TIA, wte have pointed out the risk of contamination associated with PEGs. But Episencial notes that its PEG-120 is produced from sugar, not petroleum, and that it employs additional precautions to test for contaminants and purify every product. Unlike other cosmetics manufacturers, Episencial appears to recognize that a baby's skin deserves only the best.

Ingredients:
Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis (ORGANIC Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract, Glycerin (Plant Derived), Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, Octyldodecanol, Simmondsia Chinensis (ORGANIC Jojoba) Seed Oil, Beeswax, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil Unsaponifiables, Persea Gratissima (ORGANIC Avocado) Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Extract, Melia Azadirachta Leaf (ORGANIC Neem) Extract, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil, Lactobacillus/Milk Ferment Lysate Filtrate (Yogurt Derived), Cucumis Sativus (ORGANIC Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Chamomilla Recutita Matricaria (ORGANIC Chamomile) Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (ORGANIC Safflower) Seed Oil, Camellia Sinensis (ORGANIC Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Calendula Officinalis (ORGANIC Marigold) Flower, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Borage (Starflower) Seed Oil, Rubus Idaeus (ORGANIC Raspberry) Juice, Sclerotium Gum, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Capryl Hydroxamic Acid (Natural Preservative), Ethylhexylglycerin (Plant Derived Preservative), Caprylyl Glycol (Natural Preservative).