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When I was asked to take a look at Neutrogena naturals and what was really meant by “bionutrients” (Neutrogena’s secret sauce), I was at first pleasantly surprised — then, a little skeptical. Ultimately, I was disappointed, but with the caveat that for a big beauty brand with drugstore prices, there are some good things going on.
First, the good part. Neutrogena walks the talk with a website that is “100% powered by nature,” and it continues to be a green beauty warrior with recycled paper and plastic and formulas that are “on average” 94% natural.
Taking a closer look at those formulas, I was curious to see what “bionutrients” would turn out to be. According to Neutrogena, they are “highly concentrated chemical compounds found in nature that are essential for healthy-looking skin.” Neutrogena then goes on say it has identified five classes of bionutrients: vitamins & minerals, amino acids/peptides, omegas, antioxidants and sugars.
A scan of the products in the Neutrogena Naturals range turned up a few botanical extracts. Typically no more than two of them — even in the heavy hitters of the range, the day and night creams. These both contain yerba mate tea and inca inchi oil.
Yerba mate was traditionally used by South American cowboys to supplement their Atkins-heavy diet of meat and cheese and has since become a super plant with 196 active chemical compounds. Since they include amino acids and vitamins, it certainly qualifies under Neutrogena’s definition of bionutrients. Inca inchi oil is rich in omegas.
Their presence alone makes Neutrogena naturals Multi-Vitamin Nourishing Moisturizer fairly respectable for a $10 drugstore product. The rest of the ingredients — indeed, the most dominant — are coconut, castor and olive oils. The non-natural ingredients include a chemical fragrance, which is potentially a skin irritant, and sodium benzoate, a preservative that can damage cells.
With the high oil content and benzyl alcohol, Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Nourishing Moisturizer might not suit breakout-prone skin. Personally, I would have liked to have seen a couple more of those bionutrients, even if it meant the price going up a couple of dollars. With this formulation, I really wouldn’t expect much in the way of moisturizing and certainly not anti-aging. But for someone who doesn’t have those expectations and wants to put their money in a “green” product, there’s a lot worse out there.
Ingredients: Water, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Heptyl Undecylenate, Castor Oil, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Stearic Acid Palm Oil, Gluconolactone. Benzyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sclerotium Gum, Tocopherol, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance, Ilex Paraguariensis Leaf Extract, Maltodextrin, Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum, Hydrolyzed Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum
Marta Wohrle is an anti-aging skin care and beauty expert and the founder/CEO of Truth In Aging. Marta is dedicated to uncovering the truth behind anti-aging product claims.