Advantages – Moisturizes, Hydrates, Refreshes, Smoothens, Softens, Firms, Tones, Anti-Aging, Absorbent.
Disadvantages – Not so much rose? A lot of ingredients for the formulation of the lotion as well as the nutrients.
I recently came down with an inflammatory illness that lasted 2.5 months and was pretty much bedridden for approx 1month of that. It started with joint swelling and then all over in some places. Some of the heaviest swelling was on my jaw which ended up ‘locked’ and so I liquid fasted for that month. I just wasn’t in the mood to think about let alone keep up with a skincare routine but I was still worried about the effects prolonged stretching and contracting would have on my skin – stretching from the swelling, contracting from the major weight loss and then subsequently weight gain after being able to eat again. Then there were the effects of alternating hot and cold e.g. hot water bottles and ice. I didn’t want stretch marks, loose or extra dry skin. I needed my skin to stay supple yet firm and be able to manage transitioning for a long time especially in the recovery period when joints were not back in place, and then hopefully go back to its original texture.
Other factors I took into consideration were my age, soothing properties for swelling and the weather. Being early 30’s in addition to the illness meant I wanted something ‘extra’ in comparison to what I usually go for, so I decided on something specifically anti-aging. The weather being mild meant that I didn’t have to worry about the product being too heavy or light but I did intend to use lots of it hence I didn’t want taking too long to absorb yet I did want to feel the benefit of instant hydration as well rather than moisturizing without thirst quenching. Asking a lot eh?
Thankfully I came across Dr Organic Rose Otto Lotion at just the right time and it falls into the ‘affordable’ price range for organic beauty/health products.
Dr Organic or ‘dr.organic’ is an extensive and attractive skincare brand primarily available at the ever wonderful Holland & Barrett, purveyors of more ethically friendly food and health items (e.g. vitamins and cosmetics) for those with special diets, health needs and just a general interest in improving/maintaining health with a purer quality of product. The ‘Dr’ is a British brand with an international reach in the ingredients they source (though I’m not clued up about their ethical policies for sourcing, fair trade, transporting etc), are enrolled in a number of organic standard certifications and have a plethora of awards.
Organic ingredients – We strive to use organically grown ingredients. Where an organic ingredient cannot be used we will always source sustainable natural alternatives
No harsh chemicals
No parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), perfumes or artificial fragrances.
All our products are suitable for vegetarians.
No animal testing
No mineral oils – Petro-chemicals such as paraffin and petroleum are avoided, plant based oils and extracts are used.
No GM ingredients
Preservatives – Where necessary preservatives are used to guarantee product safety and shelf life. Only the highest grade broad spectrum naturally derived preservatives are used.
What does bioactive mean?
I posted some Dr Organic lotion reviews on my blog a while back HERE and have found them to be amongst some of the most popular search items in my reader statistics and the term ‘bioactive’ comes up a fair bit too.
They describe themselves as providers or ‘bioactive skincare’; bioactive basically means a substance that can be used to affect or promote a response from a living organism, and/or can extracted from a living organism. To me it sounds like a very general slogan which can be applied to any number of cosmetics and non-cosmetics alike.
I couldn’t find an exact definition on their website. However they do state that they are committed to creating products that are ’ functional by design and formulated to capture the key active properties within the ingredients used’ To me that implies that Dr Organic are interested in conveying the beneficial properties of the items used without clashing or heightening/playing down some characteristics over others and attempting to bring out the best in most if not all them. That’s no easy task and a big claim and since they can’t please/cater to everybody at the same time with a product I don’t doubt that some are hit and miss for different people. But in conjunction with the ingredient lists I’ve seen on products in general in the past I respect that ethos/aim because more often than not I come across products that use key words to promote products and then you find that the corresponding ingredient(s) is only included in a very minor percentage or as a topnote. Such disappointing advertising is also often accompanied by numerous filler ingredients both natural and synthetic but mostly synthetic and possibly some other ‘nasties’ that can cause skin irritation as well as other speculated undesirable side effects. The ingredient lists I’ve seen on Dr Organic lotions are not top notch and have more ingredients then I would ideally like for aesthetics rather than nourishing properties but they’re hardly synthetic or as unhealthy as a whole than the majority of highstreet buys e.g. I’ve seen formaldehyde in some hair conditioners. In comparison to those Dr Organic is quite mild so worth checking out for sensitive skin types but for those with grain intolerances bear in mind the Xanthan Gum and Sodium Phytate in the ingredients.
The ranges available are Aloe Vera, Pomegranate, Tea Tree, Vitamin E, Lavender, Manuka Honey, Olive Oil, Royal Jelly, Rose Otto, Coconut Oil, Moroccan Argan Oil and Dead Sea Mineral. All of the ranges are vegetarian friendly and most vegan friendly; the lotion in this review is vegan friendly and 200ml in size.
Each range has a variety of products available including the usual Lip Balms, Body Butters, Hand & Nail Creams, Face Masks, Face Scrubs, Soaps, Body Scrubs, Body Washes, Face Washes, Shampoos, and Conditioners etc. Some more interesting items are toothpastes, deodorants and items focusing on the foot care.
This product has the Rose Otto signature so I would have thought Rose Oil, Extract and perhaps Rosehip would be the main ingredients. There is no Rosehip and the Rose Oil and Extract are quite far down in the list. I’m not a chemist so I can only give Dr Organic the benefit of the doubt due to their ambition for ‘bioactive’ skincare and rely on Rose being one of if not the main active component in this lotion and as such will give a few properties here.
It’s one of those multi-faceted oils being known for antidepressant, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, aphrodisiac, astringent, bactericidal, cholagogue, cicatrisant, depurative, emenagogue, haemostatic, hepatic, laxative, nervine, stomachic and uterine properties. Generally rose oil can be used to aid stress/anxiety relief as it is soothing and uplifting and in cosmetic skincare has maintained popularity in older women due to its fatty acids and vitamin content that nourish, moisturize, fill out the skin as well as stimulating skin cell renewal which is helpful for new skin but also can potentially help with scars and pigmentation.
Note that Geranium Oil and Geraniol are in this mixture. The Geranium is before the Rose ingredients; Geranium is often used as a substitute and/or filler for Rose in Rose products as it is cheaper and the Geraniol at the end of the ingredient list is harder to speculate on as it can come from Roses, Geraniums or a number of other plants.
The lotion was a thick, pure White cream which felt very soft and silky smooth and I really mean silky – it felt slippery to the touch though not thin at all and yet rich at the same time. To me it didn’t smell very rose like but there’s a heck of a lot of oils in it so in that sense I wasn’t surprised but was surprised and amused that the overall blended smell reminded me of lychee/litchi fruit with an after-smell/hint of rose. I love litchis so found it pleasant but obviously something to think about for those who don’t like sweet, fruity scents.
Though a thick lotion it wasn’t greasy to the touch and absorbed quickly as well giving instant hydration in a reinvigorating and soothing way. It made both an effective day and night cream, I didn’t try it under make up but I think a small amount could work and for touch ups to awaken tired eyes and on/around the mouth after eating.
‘Apply liberally to the skin. Repeat as often as required. Suitable for use all over the body. Avoid contact with eyes. Due to the ingredients natural origin, colour and consistency may vary from batch to batch. This does not affect the quality of the product.’
From my experience a little of this goes a long way as it spreads really easily, perhaps an effect of its silky consistency. I also found it very gentle and soothing on both the sensitive swollen (both hard and soft swollen) areas and areas that are generally sensitive due to thinner skin such as around the eyes. A 200ml bottle would usually last me approx 2 months but since I was slathering it on it lasted half the time.
HOW WELL IT WORKS
Taking into account the properties described above the lotion did everything I’d hoped for; it refreshed, soothed, moisturized, hydrated, toned and prevented the rapid aging I’d worried about – the swelling underneath it would go down a little too when I’d first apply it which was helpful. It softened the harder areas directly over joints like elbows and knees and really softening and filling out the dry skin on my hands. It didn’t make my skin radiant or glowing with youth as some oils I’ve have but I really just wanted it as a preventative and for damage control and in that sense it got top marks. On areas of loose/loosening skin it shrunk/toned and on the ‘regular’ skin it maintained and thirst quenched like a thicker body butter would do.
For those with stretch marks and scars I wouldn’t say this decreases the visibility of them but it should help prevent them spreading or new ones.
Regardless of my age and health I’ve always had spot prone skin, yet I was using a lot of this and constantly but amazingly my skin didn’t breakout so I found it really breathable and non-irritating.
In regards to layering I did try it with other lotions and oils and at no point did I find it created any bad smells or negative affect on my skin, all in all it was like a nursemaid throughout. I would think that it would layer ok with fruity, sweet fragrances should you choose to wear it alongside a scent but of course let it sink in fully first.
In terms of lasting ability I’m pretty confident in thinking that had I not been ill it would have not only been a great assistance during that time but would have improved the quality of my skin in general and with further use the anti-aging properties would probably have been more noticeable. As it was, it helped keep my skin the way it was before I got ill.
INGREDIENTS – Know What You Put in Your Body and Why
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Aqua, Dicaprylyl Ether, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isocetyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Myristate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Glyceryl Caprylate, Tocopherol/Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Xanthan Gum, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Pelargonium Graveolens (geranium) Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllata (clove) Flower Oil, Rosa Damascena (rose) Flower Oil, Parfum (Natural and food grade), Rosa Damascena Flower Extract, Passiflora Incarnata Extract, Tilia Europaea Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Phytate, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Geraniol, Linalool, Citronellol, Eugenol.
Breaking the above down abit:
The base includes Aloe Vera Juice, components of Olive Oil, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Sunflower Seed Oil, Liquorice and Vitamin A,C&E.
Then Irish/Carrageen Moss (a type of Red algae), and the oils of Geranium, Clove, and Damascena Rose.
Then Damascena Rose, Passionflower, Lime flower, Calendula and Chamomile Extracts.
Quite a power house and packed with properties I could benefit from. They all share/overlap in quite a few of their properties but generally:
Aloe, Lime Flower and Chamomile all have soothing, calming and healing properties.
Irish Moss and Clove have anti-inflammatory properties.
Liquorice and Passionflower both have pain relief properties.
Calendula is revitalizing plant, a wake-up call, giving immediate energy.
The Vitamins are all antioxidants preventing degenerative oxidative stress on cells, and are all immune system maintainers/boosters. They have individual properties but in general for skincare Vitamin A promotes and maintains skin tissue quality and can help with acne, E is a soluble fat helping to keep the skin plump/youthful C prevents discolouration of skin.
Bear in mind the ingredients list isn’t the most natural you can come across but I was compromising due to lack of choice at the time, choosing a lotion for thirst quenching hydration combined with soothing plus texture convenience over the heavier/thicker/messier/longer to absorb body butters and oils, and price. At this level it was unlikely I was going to find a pure formula with less and completely ethical, natural bonding and liquefying agents and preservatives – things that are necessary to making and keeping solids and oils in blended lotion/cream form. Plus it’s cheaper than buying all the ingredients and making my own.
In regards to the less recognizable ingredients in the base;
Dicaprylyl Ether – derived from coconut or palm kernel oil, skin conditioning ingredient promoting quick absorption.
Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate – an emulsifier, sometimes emollient, provides water resistance (prevents separation of ingredients) and maintains the cream consistency when combined with stearate – stearate can be an irritant, though considered low hazard in this mixture.
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride – again from coconut or palm oil, this time specifically the Caprylic/Capric fatty acids of the oil, making it lighter than a carrier oil, more compatible with emulsifiers and silky. Not the same as ‘fractionated oil’ which is from distillation combining all the fatty acids.
Isocetyl Palmitate – A combination of Isocetyl Alochol and Palmitic Acid. A viscosity increasing agent, water resistant – again to help maintain the consistency of the cream whilst including the most common fatty acid found in plants and animals, in non-animal cosmetics most likely to be from palm oil. (Palmitic is often an added to cosmetics and food to add texture.)
Myristyl Myristate – Mix of myristyl alcohol and myristic acid, vegetable derived, primarily used for making cosmetics White and holding them together particularly where there’s lots of oils/butters, and thickens the product.
Glyceryl Caprylate – natural thickener and emollient produced from vegetable oil and fatty acids from coconut or palm oil, it also maintains the ‘wet’ texture of the cream.
Sodium Benzoate – also known as E-Number E211. It’s a salt derived from benzoic acid found in some fruits and spice. It’s commonly used in food, perfumes, medicine and cosmetics. It’s a masking agent, anti-corrosive, prevents bacteria and fungus but is controversial in the natural health sphere. The original benzoic acid is not the issue but the sodium benzoate can interact with Ascorbic Acid (part of Vitamin C) to make the known carcinogen Benzene. Light, heat and shelf life can affect the rate at which Benzene is created.
Potassium Sorbate – A salt derived from Sorbic Acid, a common preservative and ingredient often found in fragrances too. It’s naturally occurring and aids against fungi, mold and yeast though not anti-bacterial. A paraben alternative with shorter shelf life and one that needs to be used with other preservatives. Considered a mild preservative and safe long term though can cause skin irritation for some and has lesser carcinogenic concern regarding neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption.
Sodium Phytate – A salt from of Phytic Acid which is found in the seeds of cereal grains and is derived commercially from corn. Sodium Phytate is a chelating agent usually used in oral care for detoxifying metal agents or treating hard water…
More natural, streamlined and presumably higher priced lotion/semi-liquid/easily absorbed products (as long they’re high quality) should be expected to perhaps harden a bit in cold weather or separate/go a bit runny in hot conditions or after some time. Either is easily remedied though by warming the product a bit or shaking/mixing it. Whereas products like this lotion tend to last longer due to the less desirable ingredients and the amount of them but even many of the ‘best’/priciest brand products will have a blend of synthetic and natural preservatives in which some of the natural ingredients will likely not be labeled or thought of/used as preservatives but do have the properties. Whenever water/aqua is a base ingredient alcohol is often used and preservatives are needed to retain quality and prevent contamination unfortunately. Pure oil or shea/cocoa butter bases don’t need that so much if at all and have longer shelf lives (unless compared to products with parabens in them), they’re not immune to contamination but as long as they’re kept safely and hands are washed before use it’s not such a worry.
Really pure, minimal ingredient products are usually custom made in small batches with a short shelf life and sometimes need to be refrigerated. It’s the age old paying more for less/pure formulations and paying less for more cheap, filler ingredients. Particularly ingredients from palm oil that anybody interested in ethical products will know is a massive environmental issue, not the tree or oil itself by the methods of cultivating, deforestation/loss of habitat and fertile land, use of workers and pollution. Dr Organic state on their website that whenever they can’t source an organic ingredient they use a sustainable natural alternative instead.
That’s the toss up in using lotions over or along with high quality body butters and oils.
£7.39 currently at Holland & Barrett, I think that’s a bit more then when I bought it but remember that H&B do frequent buy-one-get-one-half-price and buy-one-get-one-for-a-penny sales.
THE PACKAGING – Mainly a Disadvantage
I find their packaging to be quite heavy/bulky and for some products less could be more making it easier on you and recycling. The lotions come in the form of squeezy containers, very thick plastic which is very secure against damage and spillage but a pain once you’ve used half of it and have to put more effort into getting the product out. When I get to the point where squeezing the bottle yields nothing and it feels much lighter in weight telling me it’s ready for the bin it’s actually concealing a lot more. Be prepared with a strong pair of scissors as the lid will just not come off, not even with consistent effort lol so I always have to cut off the top half to reveal at least 1 week’s worth of lotion throughout the innards that would be an absolute waste to unconsciously throw away. Note – remember to cover the chopped bottle halves or place them in a container to prevent the lotion drying up and going hard before you can finish it.
I like that the first ingredient is aloe vera and not water; I have no problem with water of course but in this day and age it’s hard to know where it’s coming from, what’s in it and how/if it’s been filtered even in organic products. The additional use of coca butter, shea butter and sunflower oil (not sure about the olive oil unsaponifiables which I relate to soap making rather than lotion) for the base help make these lotions nourishing and moisturizing. This particular lotion made a nice barrier and boost for the skin, successfully living up to its ‘anti-aging’ tag in my opinion with complimentary oils and extracts that soothed, calmed, restored, firmed as well as softened.
It was very easy to use, lasted long enough and thankfully in my experience there’s usually a Holland & Barrett on most highstreets but they also have a website making them a helpful and convenient alternative to hunting down appropriate lifestyle products on foot or online especially if looking for organic or plant based products.
I’d rate this 3.5/5 or 7/10 because it is an above average product but the amount of emollients/emulsifiers, preservatives and Sodium Phytate used are offputting plus and I would have preferred Guar Gum over Xanthan. It is still high quality, does what it says it should and large size product for the price although I really don’t need an item to be White in colour or silky. The thickeners I understand but to an extent since I don’t mind thinner lotions though with all the oils and butters in it that shouldn’t be a problem. It seems a case of culmination, adding one ingredient to solve an issue only to need more because of it like the parable of the ‘Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly’.