As a beauty reviewer for both EcoCult and my own ethical blog, I am always careful about the products I choose to test. Approaching most claims with a sense of skepticism, I prefer to see how skincare items react to my specific skin type, which is probably different from yours. We all know that there’s no such thing as a One-Size-Fits-All product, and it’s especially important to remember this while reading natural beauty reviews and trying new products.
Recently, I had the opportunity to try Aimee Raupp Beauty, a line created by the acupuncturist, herbalist, and author Aimee Raupp. Her story is familiar in some ways: Raupp struggled with unspecified health issues and found a lack of information and relief in Western medicine, so she turned to acupuncture as a way to treat her concerns. Armed with a biology degree, Raupp pursued training in Oriental Medicine and now runs a wellness practice that seeks, according to her site, “to educate and inspire women, improve their vitality, celebrate their beauty, and guide them to reconnect to the presence of their optimal health.” Raupp is the author of two health books, including one about maintaining your fertility into your 40s. A new book about autoimmune issues is set for publication next year.
In 2012, Raupp launched her own line of organic, handcrafted beauty products described as free of hormonally-disruptive chemicals and largely vegan, with the exception of two products containing beeswax and ghee. For review, I was sent the new Green Goddess Mask, Organic Tinted Lip Butter in Rose Cinnamon (not vegan), Organic Rose Facial Toner, and Argan Oil Facial Cleanser. Overall, I was very pleased with the quality and ingredients of the products, and they are simple and effective. I am concerned, however, that some of the claims made about the line are inaccurate or misleading.
I’ll tell you why later, but first….
The Product Review
The Green Goddess Mask is one of the newest products in the line and contains spirulina, activated charcoal, and French green clay. After mixing a bit of the mask with water in your hand, you can use the enclosed fan brush to spread it across your face. This is a cleansing mask, not a moisturizing one, so it should be removed as soon as the mixture has dried on your face. It’s a quick way to treat blemishes or clogged pores, and you can also add a small amount to a moisturizing mask if you prefer longer mask treatments.
The Organic Tinted Lip Butter in Rose Cinnamon is made from ghee, cocoa butter, beeswax, and a hint of cinnamon. It’s a good, everyday lip balm and the flavor reminds me of gingersnap cookies. The final ingredient is non-toxic color by Modern Minerals, and while the lip butter itself is tinted rosy pink, I didn’t detect any color on my lips. This lip balm is great for colder weather and works well under other lip products, too.
Aimee Raupp Beauty’s Organic Rose Facial Toner is one of the best products I tried, and is formulated with rose hydrosol, apple cider vinegar, and lavender, tea tree, and lemongrass essential oils. I am a fan of apple cider vinegar toners, and this is especially gentle and refreshing. The essential oils help to mask the vinegar smell and it’s a nice step to add to your routine after cleansing.
The Argan Oil Facial Cleanser is a wonderful oil-based cleanser and contains several gentle oils, including sesame, argan, and pomegranate, as well as blue chamomile, tea tree, lavender, and geranium essential oils. This cleanser is gentle and can be massaged onto the skin for a minute or so, then rinsed off. I prefer to double cleanse, and Aimee Raupp recommends doing this if you are wearing makeup. The cleanser pairs well with the Organic Rose Facial Toner.
I enjoyed trying Aimee Raupp Beauty’s natural products, and appreciate the fact that the ingredients are simple and not irritating. As an extension of her wellness practice, Aimee Raupp markets her beauty line to women seeking products free of toxins, a vaguely terrifying term with no substance behind it. This is a common trait found among many health and wellness brands currently, as more and more consumers seek “clean” products to fit their healthy lifestyles.
While it is true that hormonal issues can affect the skin, applying small doses of essential and carrier oils will do little to nothing to alter the state of your endocrine system.
In the FAQ section of Aimee Raupp Beauty, it states that the products contain ingredients that both balance hormones and aid in liver detoxification. From my previous research, I know that these ingredients, mostly essential and carrier oils, have not been found to have any major health benefits beyond the placebo effect. In recent years, strategic marketing techniques have increased the sale and use of essential oils, and several major essential oil brands have received warning letters from the FDA for promoting their products as cures for serious illnesses, including Ebola.
Although these ingredients will moisturize and possibly calm skin, the claim that Aimee Raupp Beauty products help to detoxify the liver is pure marketing. Human bodies are amazing machines, and our natural human processes, like sweating and using the bathroom, allow detoxification to occur while we go about our lives. There’s nothing we need to do or take to encourage the process; in fact, there’s nothing we can do.
Another statement on the site claims that the ingredients used will help balance hormones. While it is true that hormonal issues can affect the skin, usually in the form of acne, applying small doses of essential and carrier oils will do little to nothing to alter the state of your endocrine system. Yes, these same oils possess moisturizing qualities that can improve your skin’s appearance, or possibly worsen it if the ingredients irritate your skin. When using products containing essential oils, it is important to watch for signs of irritation and discontinue use if that occurs. A doctor can diagnose hormonal imbalances through lab tests and work with you to find an appropriate treatment plan.
When it comes to natural and organic beauty products, the FDA does not regulate these terms. In fact, all beauty products must adhere to the same safety standards no matter where they come from. After that, it’s really up to you to decide which products to purchase. Beautiful packaging and marketing campaigns can make products irresistible to consumers, so it’s important to maintain a healthy dose of skepticism when you encounter claims that seem too good to be true.
Aimee Raupp Beauty products are obviously made with much love and thought, even if that message gets lost within its own marketing. Though they won’t detox your liver or cure any endocrine issues, they are elegantly packaged and fun to use, and there’s no harm in that.
What do you think? Do you trust claims made by non-toxic beauty companies, or are you skeptic? Let us know in the comments!