Quite possibly the greenest city in the country, San Francisco prides itself on eco-conscious features like a science museum with a grass-covered "living" roof and a no plastic shopping bag policy. It is a unique place where electric buses and plenteous Priuses seem outnumbered by walkers and bikers. When I checked into my room at the Hotel Vitale on San Francisco's waterfront last week, I excitedly rummaged through the basket on top of the mini-bar. Among all sorts of tempting organic and healthy-looking goodies available for purchase, I found a few items by Juice Beauty, which we have awarded top marks for its Antioxidant Serum and Green Apple Body Peel (available in the TIA Shop).

Coincidentally, I had packed Juice Beauty's Cleansing Milk in my cosmetics bag for the purpose of this trip. My 2 oz. bottle had been included in a promotional kit from Sephora, and I assumed it would be the perfect size and consistency to take care of all my facial cleansing needs while travelling. The comforting creaminess would soothe my airplane-ravaged skin and the reliable organic nutrients would impart a much-needed glow. With smug satisfaction, I stepped away from the outrageously marked-up beauty products in my hotel basket and pulled the Juice Beauty Cleansing Milk out of my suitcase.

Traveling never fails to take a toll on my skin. My usual moisturizers suddenly become impotent against an inopportune shift in skin tone, and my time spent scrutinizing and fixing my face with makeup often doubles (or triples when equipped with a magnifying mirror). However, throughout this trip, as I washed with Juice Beauty every morning and night, I never had a single blemish, dry patch, or bit of inflammation to bemoan. I can attribute this reassuring reliability to one thing alone, and that's Juice Beauty.

In typical form, I faced the product with liberal skepticism, since surely such an adored skincare line must be hiding some oft-overlooked flaws, right? For the most part, the ingredients far exceeded my expectations. Beyond the white grape, red rasberry, and aloe leaf juices (which, as we've learned before, contribute potent antioxidants and hydroxy acids, as well as reduce the need for non-organic preservatives to stave off bacteria that thrive in water-based formulas), we come across all manners of botanical oils and extracts. Vitamins A, E, C, and B5 rub elbows with polyphenols, phytonutrients, and phospholipids.

Even though many cleansers do not sit on the skin long enough to allow the actives to penetrate, Juice Beauty's cleansing milk leaves behind a light layer that softens and feeds the skin with the above anti-aging nutrients. Its soap-free formula does not foam up at all, but rather, feels more akin to a rich face lotion. I was able to remove pore-clogging impurities and makeup with a single wash and felt hydrated enough to forego following up with a cream. The fragrance is subtly sweet, but not so much that it would turn off male users (take note, Father's Day shoppers).

Some caveats to mention: Oily skin might feel weighed down by the thick creaminess of Juice Beauty's Cleansing milk. If you prefer your face cleanser to leave a tight sensation, indicating that it has stripped all remnants of oil and build-up, this one may not be for you. Also, organic sticklers may want to avoid this product for its unfortunate use of phenoxyethanol and benzyl alcohol as preservatives, which could irritate sensitive skin. Other than that, you'd be hard-pressed to find a truer emblem of the green-loving City by the Bay.


organic juices of vitis vinifera (white grape) juice, rubus idaeus (red raspberry) juice & aloe barbadensis leaf juice, organic botanical extracts of calendula officinalis flower, matricaria chamomilla flower & tilia europea (linden) leaf, glycerin, organic plant oils of carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond), helianthus annuus (sunflower) & sesamum indicum (sesame), vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cetearyl alcohol, cetearyl glucoside, tocopheryl acetate & tocopherol (vitamin E), sorbitan stearate, retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), phospholipids, ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C), panthenol (vitamin B5), allantoin, phenoxyethanol, xanthan gum, benzyl alcohol, potassium sorbate, citric acid, citrus aurantium (sweet orange & orange blossom), anthemis nobilis (chamomile) & boswellia carterii (frankincense) pure essential oils.