UPDATE (March 2012): This product is now called Purely Age-Defying Refining Treatment.

The first step in Jurlique's Biodynamic Beauty line is the Refining Treatment ($35, 1.4 fl. oz), which is like those familiar apricot scrubs only haute couture.

Encased in the most luxurious-feeling of creams, apricot seed powder gently, yet most effectively, polishes the face without damage or irritation to the skin. Apparently, the apricot seed particles are particularly ideal for epidermal scrubbing because they have a rounded structure that does not damage the skin.

The Refining Treatment also includes its namesake blend--"the biodynamic beauty blend"--that includes a proprietary blend of biodynamic and organic licorice root, black elder flower, chamomile, pansy and violet extracts to help combat the appearance of redness, fade discoloration and brighten the skin. You can read more about this blend, as well as some of the unique attributes of biodynamic products here.

What's nice about this refining treatment is that it lathers up a bit - something I miss when using the balancing cleansing lotion. Horse chestnut extract is the main ingredient responsible for this and it also works to increase skin micro-circulation with anti-inflammatory effects.

Willow bark extract is the natural source of salicylic acid here, gently dissolving away dirt that may clog pores and helping to promote cell turnover by exfoliating the skin.

Jurlique also adds in a bit of natural bisabolol (from chamomile) to reduce redness, irritation, and for its generally calming, soothing effect.

In addition to removing dull dead skin, with continued use Jurlique claims that the refining treatment will improve radiance, luminescence and clarity, restore hydration, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reduce the appearance of pores and repair flaky, rough and uneven skin.

So far I can say that it has 100% lived up to these claims.  I only wish that there was more of the stuff.  At $35 for 1.4 fl. oz, I could easily go through this in a month.  But I guess ~$1 a day is not that much considering the wonderful results.

In addition to the active ingredients mentioned above, the refining treatment contains a bounty of other botanicals that deserve some recognition.

Perhaps the most interesting is totarol. Extracted from the recycled heartwood of the totara trees in New Zealand, it's a naturally occurring antioxidant with potent anti-bacterial properties that is, purportedly, the contributing factor to the tree's 1000-year life span. Add to that antioxidants tocopherol (Vitamin E) and grape (vitis vinifera) seed powder, along with dandelion (taraxacum officinale) root--an excellent source of beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C--and you've got yourself a well-round dose of free-radical scavengers.

Witch hazel, daisy flower and echinacea all work as natural astringents with clarifying and toning properties, while burdock (arctium lappa) cleanses. One interesting fact about burdock, which up until now I had only encountered within my vegetable sushi roll, is that it traditionally has been used in shampoos to promote hair growth and to reduce hair from falling out! Not exactly an attribute that I want in my face treatment. When it comes to skin care, however, it has been shown to be a very effective treatment for relief from acne, dry skin and eczema.

Shea butter, along with sunflower seed oil, sesame seed oil, jojoba seed oil, and clover oil are what gives the refining treatment (and your skin) that luxurious, silken feel.  And who would have known that sunflower seed oil was so great for your skin?  Also an antioxidant, sesame seed oil is high in amino acids, vitamins and essential minerals that provide protection and hydration for the skin.

Calendula flower extract has been used throughout history for its soothing, calming properties, and is the primary ingredient for another Jurlique product: the Calendula Cream, designed for especially sensitive skin, or skin that has been sunburned or otherwise irritated. Acting as a natural antiseptic, calendula gently cleanses while reducing skin irritation and inflammation. Accompanying this is chickweed (stellaria media) extract. High in flavonoids and Vitamin C, chickweed is particularly good for irritated, flaking skin as it works as an astringent and wound healer to stop itching.

Olive (prunella vugaris) leaf extract is another skin soother that has been shown to be especially effective when used to combat UV-induced skin damage and other trauma.  The oleanic acid and flavonioids in the extract stimulate certain components in the connective tissue in the skin to promote regular cell growth, while oleuropein--a chemical thought to give olive trees a level of disease resistance--constricts surface veins in the skin for an all-around smooth and clear complexion.

The only thing that I don't like is the inclusion of the controversial linalool and limonene at the very bottom of the ingredient list. As mentioned elsewhere on Truth in Aging, these two have been shown to be known skin cell killers.  Here they're used for their lavender fragrance. Check out Lavender and Skin Safety for more information.

Ingredients:

Aqua (Water)/ Eau; Glycerin; Prunus armeniaca (Apricot) Seed Powder; Hydrogenated Olive Oil Cetyl Esters; Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil; Cetearyl Olivate; Cetearyl Alcohol; Sorbitan Olivate; Salix nigra (Willow) Bark Extract; Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter); Sesamum indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil; Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil; Vitis vinifera (Grape) Seed Powder; Bambusa vulgaris Leaf/Stem Extract; Calendula officinalis Flower Extract; Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract; Echinacea purpurea Extract; Viola odorata Extract; Spilanthes acmella Flower Extract; Viola tricolor Extract; Trifolium pratense (Clover) Flower Extract; Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) Root; Usnea barbata (Lichen) Extract; Bellis perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract; Stellaria media (Chickweed) Extract; Aesculus hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract; Prunella vulgaris Leaf Extract; Arctium lappa Root Extract; Rosa canina Fruit Oil; Quillaja saponaria Bark Extract; Tocopherol (Vitamin E); Bisabolol; Sclerotium Gum, Sucrose; Totarol; Magnesium Aluminum Silicate; Ethylhexylglycerin; SD Alcohol 40-A (Alcohol Denat.); Fragrance/Parfum*; Sodium Dehydroacetate; Phenoxyethanol; Linalool*; Limonene*. *From Natural Essential Oil.