Eco-Beauty Cage Match: Juice Beauty vs. Alba Moisturizer

Welcome to round one of Eco Chick’s new monthly feature, the Eco-Beauty Cage Match! Each month I will try out two beauty products and pit them against each other to see how they perform. I’ll be evaluating the ingredients, the manufacturer’s claims, the smell and texture and how well the product works. I’m choosing products that are marketed to consumers as ‘natural’, ‘organic’ or ‘eco-friendly’.

I’ve spent the last two weeks trying out oil free moisturizers with yummy ingredients like papaya extract, green tea and pomegranate juice. While I’ve been a longtime fan of many of Alba’s products, this was my first time experiencing a Juice Beauty product, and I was eager to do so considering the company’s great reputation for gentle, botanical-based beauty.

Alba Aloe and Green Tea Oil Free Moisturizer

Retail Price: $16.95

Alba says: Certified organic aloe vera, green tea antioxidants and oil-free humectants absorb instantly to replenish essential nutrients and protect skin against dehydration for a soft, healthy, luminous complexion. Light and oil-free, this moisturizer is perfect for all skin types, though it’s especially useful for people who have trouble tolerating heavier moisturizers.

Ingredients: The majority of the ingredients are natural and safe (see the list here). The only one that raises a red flag is phenoxyethanol, which is a moderate hazard, but it is included in the product in very, very tiny amounts (it’s the second to last ingredient listed). This product hasn’t yet been evaluated by Skin Deep, the cosmetic safety database.

Smell & Texture: This moisturizer has a light fragrance – sort of tropical. It’s not noticeable once you apply it. The consistency is thick and creamy, but not too heavy. A little goes a long way; a dime-sized amount will cover your whole face and neck. Surprisingly, it’s very light and seeps right in. After 5 minutes, I can’t even tell I applied anything.

Performance: After the first day, I noticed that I didn’t have any dry, scaly patches. My skin felt soft, but never got oily. After seven days, the texture of my skin appeared slightly softer and I had no remaining dry patches, even late in the day 12 hours after applying it. It didn’t seem to affect my makeup at all compared to its usual performance without moisturizer. I didn’t notice any more breakouts than usual while using it.

Juice Beauty Oil-Free Moisturizer

Retail Price: $28.99

Juice Beauty says: This lightweight organic oil-free moisturizer blends certified organic white grape and pomegranate juice with soothing aloe vera, vitamin antioxidants and nutrient-rich sea algae to hydrate and quench skin’s natural moisture balance for a beautiful matte finish.

Ingredients: Most of the ingredients are lovely botanical essences, but the red flags are the previously mentioned phenoxyethanol along with sodium hydroxide (moderate hazard), limonene (moderate hazard) and linalool (moderate hazard). They’re present in very small amounts, but Skin Deep has given this product a rating of 4 (moderate hazard).

Smell & Texture: It has a light, pleasant apple smell and a very sheer, light consistency – about what you’d expect from an oil-free product. It’s a bit slippery and very easy to apply. One little pump covers the whole face and neck. It does feel bit sticky on the skin. I was very aware that it was there, and that feeling never really went away during the day. I would describe it as a ‘film’.

Performance: After a few hours of normal activity (i.e., sitting in front of the computer mostly) I felt my skin starting to get oily. The next day, the same thing happened – and every day for the rest of the trial. My makeup stayed on beautifully for the first few hours but started to slide off once I got the oily feeling. I didn’t have any dry patches, but did have a whole lot of oil. I didn’t seem to break out any more than normal, though.

AND THE WINNER IS… ding ding ding! Alba Aloe and Green Tea Moisturizer! Cheaper and more effective, and it contains less ‘red flag’ ingredients. Works for me. This stuff has a lot going for it and will be great for those extra scaly days.

I think that the Juice Beauty Oil Free Moisturizer will probably work better for people with combination skin who need more moisture than I do. If your skin borders on dry in some areas, but you’re still prone to breakouts, this might just be the stuff for you.

As far as the ingredients go – you can read Juice Beauty’s claims about the content of their products yourself here. It’s important to realize that conventional beauty products have much higher concentrations of questionable substances in them than those made by companies like Juice Beauty, who have made a commitment to safer ingredients. But, whether or not you consider a ‘moderate hazard’ to be acceptable is for you to decide.

Stephanie Rogers is a fashion- and beauty-obsessed freelance writer with an abiding love for kale and organic wine, living in Asheville, North Carolina.