Tilvee’s face mask with acai and pomegranate was one of my products of 2010 for being well priced, authentically natural and fun. The same company’s Cranberry Balancing Lotion ($31) doesn’t have the fun factor of fruit powders that can be part of an imaginative DIY arsenal, but it matches on price and the quality of its botanical and partly organic formulation.

I find that I use Tilvee Cranberry Balancing Lotion as a gentle moisturizer on days when my skin needs a bit of a reset. In winter, I tend to reach for heavy moisturizers and sometimes they can get a bit much. There are days when my skin feels a little oily, out of whack and in need of rebalancing. That is where Cranberry Balancing Lotion comes in. Although it comes in a pot, the texture (as the name implies) is more that of a light lotion than a cream. It goes on easily and is well absorbed.

There’s a lot to like about the formulation. And nothing to dislike – no nasties at all. What I especially like is the inclusion of a couple of botanicals that, in my view, deserve wider use in beauty products. The most notable is milk thistle and I can’t understand why we don’t see more of this remarkably potent plant in more beauty products. The powerhouse of milk thistle extract is silymarin, an antioxidant that protects against cell damage, and its most active compound, silybin. Silymarin and silybin may protect the body from chemicals by blocking toxins from entering the cell or by moving toxins out of the cell before damage begins. Studies show that it also helps with acne and rosacea sufferers see significant improvement in skin redness, papules, itching, hydration, and skin color.

The eponymous cranberry should also be called into service more often. Cranberries are a source of vitamin C, but they really come into their own as an antioxidant due to the high presence of polyphenols. The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of 100g of cranberries is 9,584. A University of Maine study compared cranberries to 22 other fruits and found that they had the highest number of phenols, leaving red grapes standing.

Other antioxidants include rooibos tea, which is not actually tea but a member of the pea family. Ten flavonoid antioxidants have been identified in rooibos. When I looked up information on avena sativa, or oat straw, I was amused to find that it is sold as an aphrodisiac. That seems to be taking the notion of “sowing wild oats” a bit too far.

Ingredients

Aloe barbadensis (Aloe) Juice*, Cocos nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Aspalathus linearis (Rooibos Tea) Extract*, Olea europaea (Olive) Oil*, Emulsifying Wax NF, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Palm Stearic Acid, Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel), Camellia sinensis (Green Tea) Extract*, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Extract*, Urtica dioica (Nettle Leaf) Extract*, Stellaria media (Chickweed) Extract*, Ulmus fulva (Slippery Elm) Extract*, Silybum marianum (Milk Thistle) Extract*, Althea officinalis (Marshmallow Root) Extract*, Avena sativa (Oatstraw) Extract*, Aphanizomenon flos-aqua (Blue Green Algae)*, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Xanthan Gum (Polysaccharide gum), Salix nigra (Black Willowbark) Extract, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Oleoresin, Azadirachta indica (Neem) Oil, Essential Oils of: Citrus sinensis (Sweet Orange), Citrus paradisii (Grapefruit), Citrus reticulata (Tangerine), Citrus limonum (Lemon), Citrus aurantifolia (Lime), Citrus bergamia (Bergamot).