Organic skincare brands are popping up everywhere at the moment. I can’t say I’m thrilled with this trend. You’re gonna miss out on a lot of effective and safe synthetic goodies if you limit yourself to plant-derived ingredients (although because the definition of organic is quite vague, synthetic ingredients still often find their way into these products).
One thing I noticed is that a lot of these brands use the natural, much loved by everyone, aloe vera. K6 Skin Care, a new organic aloe-vera-based line designed to accommodate all ethnicities and skin types, is one of these. But how effective is it? Let’s take a look:
What does aloe vera do?
Aloe vera has been used for centuries for its anti-inflammatory properties. Although the jury is still out there on whether it can actually help heal wounds, aloe vera can soothe irritations and reduce redness, making it a great option for people who suffer from psoriasis.
Aloe vera can also hydrate skin. A 2006 study has shown that “formulations supplemented with 0.25% and 0.50% (w/w) of Aloe vera extract increased the water content of the stratum corneum […] possibly through a humectant mechanism” (ie by drawing water from the environment into the skin.
The problem with aloe vera is that the mucilage derived from the plant and used in skincare products is 99.5% water. The part full of goodies is only 0.5%. What is it made of? That’s a “combination of mucopolysaccharides, choline and choline salicylate“. Therefore, for aloe vera to work its best, a generous dose must be added to creams and lotions. Luckily, it tops of the list of all K6 products.
Clean Antioxidant Facial Cleanser ($25.00)
Suitable for sensitive skin, the Clean Antioxidant Facial Cleanser contains a gentle mix of surfactants (Disodium Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Decyl Glucoside, PEG-18 Glyceryl Oleate/Cocoate, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate) that help water mix with oils and dirt so that they can be rinsed away. But, while it does a great job at cleansing your skin in the morning, it may not be strong enough to remove makeup at the end of the day.
The cleanser also contains humectants aloe vera and glycerin, which help to keep skin hydrated and soft during and after washing. The mix of antioxidants, such as green tea and retinyl palmitate, instead doesn’t do much in a cleanser but increase the price tag. That’s cos they just end up down the drain.
A gentle and effective, if a bit pricey, morning cleanser suitable even for very sensitive skin.
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Disodium Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Decyl Glucoside, PEG-18 Glyceryl Oleate/Cocoate, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Glycerin, Camellia PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract Blend, Butylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citric Acid. Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Soapbark Extract, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract,Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid
Preserve Anti-aging Moisturizer ($39.00)
Can you guess what my problem with the Preserve Anti-aging Moisturizer is? Yep, the jar packaging. Housing antioxidants (and this moisturizer contains quite a few of them, including green tea, topcopheryl acetate, and retinyl palmitate) in a jar is a waste of good ingredients and money. That’s because they degrade a bit every time they are exposed to light and air, until, after a while, they completely lose their anti-aging properties.
But if moisture and hydration is all you want, you may still enjoy this moisturizer. Aloe extract, glycerin and hyaluronic acid (it can bind up to 1000 times its weight in water!) all attract water from the environment into the skin, increasing its hydration levels. Cetyl Alcohol and Cetearyl Alcohol, two moisturizing fatty alcohols, and Squalane, instead, have emollient properties that leave skin soft and smooth.
A basic moisturizer that leaves skin soft, smooth and hydrated. Unfortunately, its anti-aging properties are compromised by the jar packaging.
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Squalane, Undaria Pinnatifida Extract, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hydrolyzed Soy Fiber, Glycereth-26, Cyclopentasiloxane, Stearic Acid, Ceteareth-20, Hyaluronic Acid, Glycosaminoglycans, Soluble Collagen, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Anogeissus Leiocarpus Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract Blend, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Propanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Tetrasodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Triethanolamine
Reveal Active Enzyme Peel ($36.00)
According to K6, Reveal Active Enzyme Peel contains an “organic active enzyme peel that is a safe and natural way to exfoliate dead skin cells with no harsh chemicals”. But exfoliants with AHAs (such as glycolic and lactic acids), and Salicylic Acid, which I guess are what the “harsh chemicals” refers to, are actually one of the gentlest way to exfoliate skin, and cause problems only when used in too high amounts.
In any case, papain, the enzyme extracted from papaya used in Reveal Active Enzyme Peel isn’t a safer option. It can cause irritations and allergies too. If you are allergic to papaya or pineapple (papain can be derived from that too) you should stay away from it. There’s more bad news. Papain woks by dissolving old skin cells, but, according to Paula Begoun, it is effective only in pure concentration.
Aloe vera and a few antioxidants included in the formula can, thanks to their soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, help prevent and reduce any irritation that may occur. But I certainly wouldn’t recommend this peel over AHAs or BHA based exfolianst, especially not to those with sensitive skin.
Forget papain and stick to a gentler and more effective AHAs or BHA based exfoliant instead.
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Water, Carbomer, Hyaluronic Acid, Papain, Linoleic Acid, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Echinacea Angustifolia Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Carica Papaya Fruit Extract, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract Blend, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Panthenol Phospholipids, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide
The Bottom Line
Personally, I would never buy a skincare product just because it contains aloe vera, unless my skin were sunburnt or otherwise irritated. It’s a beneficial ingredient, just not miraculous enough to justify splurging on it. Having said that, K6 Skincare has potential. The peel is a disappointment, but the cleanser is good, and the moisturizer is well-formulated too. It just needs to be repackaged in an opaque, air-tight tube or bottle.
Have you ever tried K6 Skincare?