Garnier 96% Natural Origin

Garnier, brand of the L’Oréal Group, is launching a full range of “natural” skincares, under the transversal claim “96% of ingredients from natural origin”.

Garnier has just rebranded its skincare range from Skin Naturals to SkinActive. And to reinforce its positioning on “nature”, they are launching a large brand new range of basic / essential skincare products, all claimed as containing 96% of ingredients from natural origin.

The range

As said, the range is quite huge, made of 11 products, splited into 4 ranges, and 4 types of products.

  • “with Rose Floral Water” range : with rose floral water as transversal ingredient, this range targets sensitive skins with 3 products :
    • a Soothing Botanical Cleansing Milk
    • a Soothing Botanical Toner
    • an Hydrate + Soothe Botanical Day Cream

 

  • “with Aloe Vera” range : with aloe vera extract as transversal ingredient, this range targets normal to combination skins, with 4 products :
    • a Refreshing Botanical Gel Wash
    • a Refreshing Botanical Cleansing Milk
    • a Refreshing Botanical Toner
    • an Hydrate + Refresh Botanical Day Cream

  • “with Honey Flower” range : with honey from flowers as transversal ingredient, this range targets dry skins, with 4 products :
    • a Nourishing Botanical Gel Wash
    • a Nourishing Botanical Cleansing Milk
    • a Nourishing Botanical Toner
    • an Hydrate + Nourish Botanical Day Cream

  • “with Green Tea Leaves” range : with green tea leaves as transversal ingredient, this range targets combination skins, with 3 products :
    • a Purifying Botanical Gel Wash
    • a Purifying Botanical Toner
    • an Hydrate + Purify Botanical Day Cream

So Garnier turned around 4 types of products in each of the ranges : Gel Wash, Cleansing Milk, Toner and Day Cream.

Communication & Claims

This range is the most “naturality” oriented range Garnier has ever launched on the market in skincare.

What are the technical & marketing “reasons to believe” :

  • Name of the product : every product on the range uses the adjective “botanical”, emphasizing the use of natural extracts
  • The “No” claims : “NO parabens, NO silicones, NO artificial colorants”
  • The “commiments” of Garnier :
    • the claim “96% of ingredients from natural origin”
    • the ingredient list giving the plant origin of each ingredient (e.g. glycerin, from soja or colza)
    • the claim that the pack is 100% recyclable

So are we in front of a “revolution” ? Not for the cosmetic industry, and rather an “evolution” for Garnier.

Today, brands find plenty of ways to look greener to their consumer. Green is such an undefined concept that you can almost always find a reason to say that your product is “green”. This is often called “greenwashing“.

Are we in this case for Garnier ? Yes and no…

Yes for some aspects :

  • the “botanical” word is a marketing trick, but can used any time you have a natural extract in your formula, whatever the concentration. The rest of the formula can be purely synthetic, you will still be able to use the word “botanical”.
  • the pack is “100% recyclable” : this is the case for virtually all available plastick packagings these days. So, good to know, but not better than any “non green” product…
  • “NO” claims : these “NO” claims are very tricky for the consumer. Such claims are clearly a trend, surfing on the fears of consumers. Mainly based on what is said on blogs and internet, “NO” ingredients are actually not forbidden by regulations around the world. For example, preservatives (as parabens) or dyes are strongly regulated everywhere, with “positive lists” defined by regulations, i.e. a limited lists of ingredients that can be used in formulas put on the market. In Europe, cosmetic products are regulated by the Regulation (EC) N° 1223/2009. This regulation lists in Annex II the ingredients forbidden in cosmetic products, Annex IV lists the colorants allowed in cosmetic products, Annex V lists the preservatives allowed in cosmetic products. Considering parabens, some are allowed (short chain ones), other are forbidden (long chain ones). Of course, regulations can be challenged and updated. But consumer must be careful in what is told to them.
  • “96% ingredient from natural origin” : there is a trick here, the “origin” word. Garnier is not saying that 96% of its formulas are natural, but from “natural origin”. Thinking broadly, virtually everything is from “natural origin”… even petrolatum… The point here is to clearly state the rules to define what “from natural origin” means. As explained in this article doing a status on Cosmetic Regulation, from a regulatory standpoint, natural and organic cosmetic are officially undefined. But there are several “voluntary” standards, like Natrue or Ecocert ones. There is also a ISO standard (ISO 16128) attempting to offer a common ground for defining natural / naturally derived cosmetic ingredients. But this ISO standard is not a rule, ie not included in regulation. However, this ISO standard is criticized by Natrue & Ecocert / Cosmos organizations, as, among other points, the ISO does consider that GMOs are natural ingredients. So to sum up, “natural origin” is undefined. An ingredient “from natural origin” could mean that the initial raw material used to create the ingredient is a plant, but then could be submitted to several chemical reactions, with reactive matters that can be or not natural… no clear rule… And with this rule established for Garnier, the 4% remaining percents are used to “warranty sensoriality and good preservation”, that is preservative systems, thickeners/polymers and fragrances. These 3 categories are indeed the most challenging to work with natural origin only. This is why the ingredient list of the “Nourishing Cleansing Milk with Honey Flower” does not look so “natural”, with 11 ingredients out of 19 are part of the 4%. It can look strange, but actually the major part of a cosmetic formula is often water. Thickeners, preservatives and fragrances are efficient at low level (usually less than 1%).

But Garnier provides formulas with interesting technologies, going is the direction to “more natural” formulas.

  • Ingredient lists are all “short” : formulas contain the necessary ingredients, and not so much more. This is the sign of a well thought formula design
  • When some ingredients can be either from synthetic or natural origin, Garnier made the choice of the natural origin version (e.g. Glycerin)
  • Garnier chose good environmental profile preservative systems to protect its formula, with the use for example of Pentylene Glycol or Propanediol as glycols from natural origin to improve preservation, or Sodium Phytate as chelating agent with very good environmental profile instead of EDTA salts.

Let’s read the label

Let’s have a closer look to some ingredients lists of the Garnier “96% natural origin” range. As you will easily notice, all gel washes, all cleansing milks, all toners and all day creams have the same structures, with very little difference from one to another, mainly the fragrance, and the transversal ingredient (rose, honey, aloe vera, green tea).

Soothing Botanical Toner with Rose Flower Extract

Hydroalcoholic solution with Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside surfactant (Alkylpolyglucoside surfactant, derived from sugar, gentle for the skin) as cleansing agent, with Glycerin and Arginine as moisturizing agents, Sodium Phytate as chelating agent (with a better environmental profile than EDTA), Propanediol and Salicylic Acid as preservatives, and Sodium Hydroxide and Citric Acid as pH adjusters. The formula contains a fragrance. The ingredient list includes the transversal ingredient of the soothing range : an Rose Flower extract.

Nourishing Botanical Toner with Honey Flower

Hydroalcoholic solution with Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside surfactant (Alkylpolyglucoside surfactant, derived from sugar, gentle for the skin) as cleansing agent, with Glycerin as moisturizing, Sodium Phytate as chelating agent (with a better environmental profile than EDTA), Propanediol and Salicylic Acid as preservatives. The formula contains a fragrance. The ingredient list includes the transversal ingredient of the “nourishing” range : Honey.

Nourishing Botanical Cleansing Milk

Emulsified cream-gel, thickened and stabilized with 2 polymers : Carbomer and Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer. The oil phase is made of one unique oil, Isopropyl Palmitate. The formula is protected against microorganism growth with Propanediol, Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol and Salicylic Acid. The formula contains Sodium Phytate as chelating agent. It also contains a fragrance, and the transversal ingredient of the Soothing range : Honey.

Botanical Day Cream with Honey Flower

  

O/W emulsion, emulsified with Glyceryl Stearate SE (as Tegin from Evonik) / Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate (as TegoCare 450 from Evonik) as emulsfier, Stearic/Myristic/Palmitic Acids as co-emulsifier, thickened and stabilized with Carbomer and Xanthan Gum. The oil phase is made of Shea Butter, Carpylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dicaprylyl Ether, Soybean Oil and Sunflower Seed Oil. As moisturizing agent, the aqueous phase contains Glycerin. As transversal ingredient of the “With Honey” range, the formula contains Honey. To improve penetration of the formula, and softness of the skin, the formula contains a powder : Corn Starch. The formula is protected against microbiological growth with Alcohol, Salicylic Acid, and contains Sodium Phytate as chelating agent. The formula contains a dye, from natural origin : Beta-Carotene.

Refreshing Botanical Toner

Hydroalcoholic solution with Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside surfactant (Alkylpolyglucoside surfactant, derived from sugar, gentle for the skin) as cleansing agent, with Glycerin as moisturizing, Sodium Phytate as chelating agent (with a better environmental profile than EDTA), Salicylic Acid as preservatives. The formula contains a fragrance. The ingredient list includes the transversal ingredient of the “nourishing” range : Aloe Vera Extract. It also contains Grape Fruit Water.

Refreshing Botanical Cleansing Milk

Emulsified cream-gel, thickened and stabilized with 2 polymers : Carbomer and Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer. The oil phase is made of one unique oil, Isopropyl Palmitate. The formula is protected against microorganism growth with Propanediol, Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol and Salicylic Acid. The formula contains Sodium Phytate as chelating agent. It also contains a fragrance, and the transversal ingredient of the Refreshing range : Aloe Vera Extract, plus Grape Fruit Water.

Refreshing Botanical Gel Wash

Foaming transparent gel built around Coco-glucoside (sugar derivative) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate as foaming/cleansing surfactants. The formula also contains Glycerin as moisturizing agent, Sodium Chloride as viscosity adjuster, Sodium Hydroxide and Citric Acid as pH adjusters, Pentylene Glycol and Salicylic Acid as preservative system. The formula contains Fragrance, the transversal active of the range, Aloe Vera extract, and Grape Fruit Water.

Botanical Day Cream with Aloe Vera Extract

   

O/W emulsion, emulsified with Glyceryl Stearate SE (e.g. Tegin from Evonik) / Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate (as TegoCare 450 from Evonik) as emulsfiers, Stearyl Alcohol as co-emulsifier, thickened and stabilized with Carbomer and Xanthan Gum. The oil phase is made of Carpylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dicaprylyl Ether and Soybean Oil. As moisturizing agent, the aqueous phase contains Glycerin. As transversal ingredients of the “with Aloe Vera” range, the formula contains Aloe Vera Leaf extract and Grape Fruit Water. To improve penetration of the formula, and softness of the skin, the formula contains a powder : Corn Starch. The formula is protected against microbiological growth with Alcohol, Salicylic Acid, and contains Sodium Phytate as chelating agent.

Purifying Botanical Toner

 

Hydroalcoholic solution with Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside surfactant (Alkylpolyglucoside surfactant, derived from sugar, gentle for the skin) as cleansing agent, with Glycerin as moisturizing, Sodium Phytate as chelating agent (with a better environmental profile than EDTA), Salicylic Acid as preservatives. The formula contains a fragrance. The ingredient list includes the transversal ingredient of the “purifying” range : Green Tea extract Extract. It also contains Grape Fruit Water.

Conclusion

Garnier made a move in the direction of more “natural” formulas. The strategy adopted is very similar to the one used by Nivea in its Pure & Natural range lanched in 2011 : Garnier did not go into “hard” green formulation (complying with an organic certification), but in a “soft” strategy around ingredients “from natural origin” and “botanicals”. However, in terms of choice of ingredient, they are a step behind Nivea who chose to integrate an organic ingredient in each formula of the range. On the other hand, Garnier used the ingredient lists in a smart way, to educate the consumers on its ingrediends.

The move of the industry toward this goal is not yet easy, as there is no restrictive global standard to define what is “natural” and “from natural origin” in a cosmetic product. Garnier Marketing make their formulas appealing to consumers, with the use of their tricks. Looking closer to the compositions, we can greet the move of Garnier to educate the consumer on the ingredient lists, describing the origin of each ingredient. One could complain that some formulations are not so “natural”, like the cleansing milks, with their synthetic preservatives, thickeners and fragrances. But “natural” has a cost, and developping nice looking, nice feeling and safe formulation is very tricking when going into natural products. Garnier made the choice of the compromise. But every step into the direction of more “nature” in cosmetic is always a good move.

 

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