March 16th, 2004


Bath and Body Works vs. The Body Shop vs. LUSH

I've been thinking about Kitty's complaint that I complain a lot about Bath & Body Works, yet continue to work there. ("Work" being the joke here, since I don't even have any hours this week.) So, in the interest of fairness, I'm presenting an example of exactly why I hate the products. It's just one example, but I personally think it's great.

Bath and Body Works Pleasures Body Cream
Any worker in our store would agree that the Pleasures line is not the best we carry, but it's our solid seller that we move the most product of. The body cream is the product we advertise for people who have drier skin - this is ironic because after water, the ingredient with the highest content in this is none other than mineral oil. Inexpensive, by-product of PETROLEUM mineral oil. Let's look at the facts about this oil:
Mineral Oil - A refined synthetic by-product of petroleum. Because it is inexpensive & has an indefinite shelf life, it's found in many "commercial" cosmetics. Due to its large molecule structure, it prevents nutrients & essential oils from entering the skin surface & blocks moisture or waste from exiting. It's drying to the skin for this reason & is not recommended for personal body care preparations. (from ENL Medical)
Yes, that sounds like just the thing to help with dry skin. It also contains Sweet Almond, Calendula, and Avacado oils, which are good, but it's only in tiny amounts. It also contains Lanolin, and I'm sorry...lanolin is disgusting. This is considered a wax and is obtained from the wool of sheep! It does nothing for oily or acne-prone skin. Ugh. It's $10 for 226ml, or about five cents a ml.

The Body Shop Lotion
Again, they start with water. The second ingredient is octyl palmitate.
OCTYL PALMITATE - An ingredient in the oil phase of creams and lotions. Provides a rich, lubricious feel. Imparts a velvety sheen and silkiness to the skin. Produced by combining a fatty alcohol with stearic acid. (From Women'

This isn't great moisturizer, but it's many steps above mineral oil, which I honestly wouldn't expect to see outside of Wal-Mart or other drugstores.
I'm having difficulties finding most of the ingredients of this lotion, but it does have grapeseed oil, glycerin, and babassu oils. Grapeseed is good for problem skin, glycerin draws moisture to the skin (for this reason it is often used in soap), and babassu oil is a popular substitute to Coconut oil, which is has similar properties to.
While this isn't a great lotion, it is better than Bath & Body Works because it doesn't dry your skin before moisturizing. It's slightly pricier at $12 for 200ml, or about six cents a ml.

LUSH Sympathy for the Skin
The three top ingredients in this lotion is Vanilla Planfolia, almond oil, and cocoa butter.
Sweet almond oil is obtained from the nut of the tree, which is native to Asia and the Mediterranean. This oil is a favorite carrier oil for essential oil aromatherapy blends, although it’s often used by itself for moisturizing skin. The oil has no scent and is a great nutrient for softening and conditioning the skin. It's been known to be especially suitable for eczema, itchy, dry and inflamed skin. It’s very lubricating but not very penetrating.
Cocoa Butter - A wax obtained from the roasted cocoa bean Theobroma cacao by expeller-pressing. It has emollient qualities & absorbs quickly into the skin. It has a light creamy consistency.
Specific Uses: You must melt this melt down before adding essential oils since it is a solid at room temperature. Used primarily in cream-type moisturizers and is good for all skin types but avoid it if prone to skin allergic reactions.

Vanilla Planifolia is known by multiple other names, like Vanilla Absolute, Vanilla Pod Infusion, and Orchid Oil. Whatever the name, it is a light, delicate oil that is perfect for providing a light moisturization to those products where the after-skin feel should be a whisper. Combined with sweet almond oil, it cancels out the lack of penetration almond oil has. It makes this a very effective moisturizer, because it absorbs quality ingredients very quickly. It is further beneficial because it doesn't have extra products in it, like multitudes of preservatives - but the other part of that is it only has a year's shelf life. Considering how much more beneficial it is, it is a bargain at slightly under seven cents per ml. (240 ml for $16.45)

Bottom Line: Bath & Body Works mainstay, the Pleasures line, sucks in comparison to lotions of a comparable price. They're made with low-quality ingredients, and your meager savings isn't worth the probable damage it does to your skin. I would guess that the mineral oil would create a dependancy on lotions because it would dry the skin, while the other oils in the product would temporarily make your skin soft. Since I don't live especially close to a LUSH store (and I vouch that it is the best moisturizer by far) I would probably go to the Body Shop for day-to-day needs.

...I'm not a geek. Really.