With Earth Day coming up, we are scanning with even more energy than usual for products that do us good and the planet no evil. And then Copley mentioned that she's planning an upcoming series on faux green products. You know, when there is a picture of a flower on the box, liberal use of words such as 'natural' and 'organic' and then an ingredients list that looks more like a recipe for a weapon of mass destruction. Befine isn't as bad as all that, but it is dangerously close to being nominated for Faux Green membership.

For all that Claire liked the Befine Lip Serum, I can't bring myself to be positive about the same company's Lip Exfoliator ($19.99). The first problem I have is that I can't quite see the point of a separate exfoliator for the lips - especially when you are instructed to rub it on and rinse it straight off. If I am to introduce yet another step into my skin care routine, then it has to bring something new to the party. And I certainly don't want it to bring something that's going to contribute to my hangover - you know, the bottle that a guest brings that was clearly left over from their last party.

Now Befine's Lip Exfoliator does have some good things going for it. It has pineapple enzymes to gently do the exfoliating part, soothing chamomile and antioxidant raspberry extract and I like the inclusion of sesame seed oil, which in addition to vitamin E has copper, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin B6.

Yet all this isn't quite enough to make the party hum. Pineapple enzymes and these other ingredients are in any good exfoliator and, hence, I can't get really motivated to give my lips a separate treatment.

Then there is that dubious-looking party contribution. Of most concern is phenoxyethanol. The FDA issued a warning on this last year in relation to a product that could be ingested by infants. True, Befine tells me to rub this product on and then wash it off with warm water. But I'm not sure I want phenoxyethanol near my mouth, however briefly. Methylchloroisothiazolinone is an irritant and and has been largely removed from most cosmetic products except for those with only short duration skin contact such as rinse-offs.

There is also the similar-sounding methylisothiazolinone. It has been identified as a neurotoxine, according to one study on rats, while some in vitro researchers concluded there was good reason to investigate toxic effects on humans. However, in 2004 the European Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products Intended for Consumers (SCCNFP) "at a maximum concentration of 0.01% (100 ppm) in the finished cosmetic product does not pose a risk to the health of the consumer." The thing is, as far as I am concerned, that no one seems have researched what these miniscule concentrations build up to over multiple products and years of use. Plus, in this case, I am putting it on my mouth!

Against my better judgement, I did give Befine's Lip Exfoliator a try a couple of times. I rubbed it in and rinsed it off. The sensation, which lasted a couple of hours, was of a faint stinging.

Ingredients

Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, TEA Lauryl Sulfate, Glyceryl Stearate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Carthamus Tinctirius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Polyethylene, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Meal, Anasas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Disodium EDTA, Titanium Dioxide, Jojoba Ester, Cetyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit