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What's In It Wednesday: St. Ives Apricot Scrub (Or so it is called)

Every now and then you I just roll my eyes after reading product claims and then turning a product over to check out the ingredients and finding things that just don't make sense.

I really had to laugh, though, when I looked at the ingredients in St. Ives Timeless Skin Apricot Scrub Renew & Firm.

St. Ives is well known for their affordably priced apricot scrubs. These are very popular scrubs and always voted among the best in the price range. I was very excited when St. Ives decided to ditch the parabens and focus on becoming a "natural" line. I even bought it at Target last week to test out for you. I love a good scrub and used to use St. Ives in my early 20s when I didn't care about ingredients.

If you know me from being a regular reader, then you'll know I can be a bit critical. I'm not just being nit-picky here with this one. I am going to tell you right off the bat that this is not a horrible product. In the scheme of things, there are far more hazardous products out there.

My beef is with the name of this product. It irks me to no end when people spend their money on a product believing that they are getting something wholesome like apricots because a company claims to be following Mother Nature.

According to the St. Ives website, "By believing in and harnessing the power of nature, we deliver products that work. We formulate with renewable ingredients whenever possible, and make nature's power work for us - without sacrificing effectiveness." That sounds quite admirable--if only the ingredients used reflected that mission statement.

You see, folks, this is "Apricot Scrub". It is the name of the product, so you'll surely be getting an abundance of apricots, right? Let's take a look at the ingredients listing. The ones in red are the ones to avoid:

Water (Aqua), Glyceryl Stearate SE, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Juglans Regia Shell Powder (Walnut), Glycol Stearate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, PEG 100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Zea Mays Kernel Meal (Corn), Capric/Caprylic Triglycerides, Jojoba Esters, Glycolic Acid, Ceteareth 20, Urea, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), PEG 12 Dimethicone, Caffeine, Polysorbate 60, Triethamolamine, Fragrance (Parfum), Carbomer, Arginine, Disodium EDTA, Phenethyl Alcohol, PPG 2 Methyl Ether, Methlisothiazolinone, Prunus Ameniaca Fruit Extract (Apricot)


Sodium Laureth Sulfate: You'll sometimes see companies say that this is natural because it is loosely derived from vegetable oils. This is used to clean garage floors at service stations and in the car wash as a cleansing agent. The effects shown in animal studies are very disturbing to say the least. When sulfates are tested on young animals, their eyes can stop developing because of the harmful proteins absorbed. They have been shown to suffer severe damage to their nervous systems and even death. One study I read showed that children who get sulfates in their eyes may get cataracts.Children! Sodium Laureth Sulfate is also very bad for the environment and has been shown to be lethal to fish. Even though sulfates themselves are no longer believed to cause cancer, when they are combined with other compounds, they can be quite hazardous.

By the way, unless you directly contact the supplier, you may be getting a sulfate derived from Palm Oil.

PEG ingredients should be avoided, as many of them are contaminated with 1,4 Dioxane, an ingredient the EPA has called the most toxic they have ever seen. If you see "PEG" on your ingredients labels, please know this.

Triethamolamine-- This is one of the more toxic ingredients out there. For more details, check out theCosmetics Database. It is on so many restricted lists, yet keeps cropping up. The studies show the negative effects even in low doses. It is in this as a pH adjuster, most likely.

Methlisothiazolinone--banned or restricted on many other nations for good reason; has been shown to be very harmful to people and the ecosystem. Used to preserve a product. This seems to be their paraben substitute, but may be even more harmful.

Let's scroll down that list some more....

Prunus Ameniaca Fruit Extract (Apricot Extract) is the very last ingredient on the list. The last one. That means that the least abundant ingredient in this product is apricot.

To put this in perspective, there is Triethamolamine in here and the standard level of usage in a product like this is no more than 1.5 to 2% of the total product. If, for example, there is 2% triethamolamine in the scrub and there are 7 ingredients listed after that before you get to the apricot, then you are getting, in my best estimation, about 0.01-0.10% apricot in there. We are talking significantly less than 1% of the product containing apricot.

In an apricot scrub. There's far more Sodium Laureth Sulfate in here than apricots. Why not call it "Scrubalicious Sulfate Scrub"? Even walnut scrub would be far more accurate, as there is quite a bit of walnut in here.

For comparison sake, let's take a look at a typical Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. This is the Nestle Toll House recipe:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.)Nestle Toll House Semisweet Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

If we followed the logic of St. Ives, we would not be eating Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies. We would either be eating their popular "Nestle Toll House Salt Cookies" or "Nestle Toll House Baking Soda Cookies," as baking soda and salt make up the smallest portion of the batter. Do you see how ridiculous this is? By the way, the apricot might as well not even be in the St. Ives scrub. At concentrations this low, it has absolutely no effect at all on the skin. There is a good amount of fragrance in this, though, so the fake apricot scent is what makes users feel as though they're getting the benefits of the fruit.

Looking for a decent facial scrub from the stores or online? Try the ones from 100% Pure. I like their Carrot Facial Scrub. Carrot seed is also near the beginning of the ingredients listing. The Pineapple scrub they offer is also nice, but I do have a recipe for you similar to that. In the coming days when I have a bit more time on my hands, I'll post a recipe for a scrub with pineapple in it for you.