Sunday, 20 March 2011

Dr Organic: Manuka Honey Lip Balm Review



I started writing this review expecting it to be just a straightforward piece. There were no complications whatsoever during usage and I had, after four months' use, finished the whole tube of this lipbalm.

In A Nutshell
The long and the short of it is that this lipbalm did a great job of keeping my ridiculously dry lips nicely moisturised. The balm is beige-yellow in colour and it smells, of course, of honey. As I was using it in the cold months, I had to often glide it several times on the lips to first melt the balm. It worked really well and with overnight use, I'd wake up in the morning with smooth hydrated lips.

The tube looks larger than the conventional lipbalm tubes. I'm not able to confirm if that means more contents because most lipbalms are specified by weight: 0.15oz / 4.25g is the most common. This Dr Organic lipbalm is specified by volume: 5.7ml. Price: €3.99.
Trivia: The rotating base of the Dr Organic lipbalm tube turns in the opposite direction to those of conventional lipbalm tubes and lipstick casings. That took some getting used to.

The Very Long Version
Now, here're the rest of my thoughts, if you have the time and patience to read it.

The Brand
You've got to give it to the creators, Dr Organic is an excellent choice for a name. It's a terribly simple (and perhaps unimaginative) name but in this age of increasing awareness and demand for natural, green and organic beauty products, that name definitely draws attention.

From what I could gather, Dr Organic was begun only in 2009 by two entrepreneurs, Steve Quinn and Fred Whitcomb, who together, before this undertaking, had a very successful natural consumer health company called Optima. Presently, Dr Organic is a company based in Swansea, Wales. This is a relatively young brand and yet, in this short time, it has managed to penetrate the markets in UK (but of course!) and Europe, and I think, Australasia, South Africa and the Middle East.

The brand's ethos is to create natural products that optimises the bioactive properties of the natural ingredients. Bioactive = a substance that has an effect on living tissue.

Here's the gist of what Dr Organic says of its promise:

• strives to use organic ingredients as much as possible
• uses certified bioactive ingredients
• natural ingredients are used in all formulations
• uses no parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), perfumes or artificial fragrances
• uses no animal products, uses only animal by-products like honey-related ingredients and milk protein
• does not test on animals
• uses no mineral oils "Petro-chemicals such as paraffin and petrolium [sic] are avoided, plant based oils and extracts are used."
• uses no genetically modified ingredients
• where necessary, uses preservatives to guarantee product safety and shelf life.

That's all well and good.


The Lipbalm
Here's what Dr Organic says about this Organic Manuka Honey Lip Balm:

A rich natural lip balm which utilises the unique repairing properties of Organic Manuka Honey to achieve a wonderful formula, perfect for moisturizing dry lips. The addition of nourishing Shea butter, Propolis, Beeswax and Vitamin E allows this balm to hydrate and protect lips exposed to wet and cold weather. Dr Organic Manuka Honey lip balm also provides SPF 15 protection from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays.

That sounds excellent.

On the packaging, it says "Active 30+". I believe that refers to the antimicrobial potency rating of the manuka honey used in this range.

Now, here's the list of ingredients:
Please click to enlarge.


Here's the list again, minus the scientific names, where possible:

Castor Oil
Candelilla Wax
Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate
Sunflower Seed Wax
Shea Butter
Cetyl Ricinoleate
Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides
Jojoba Oil
Beeswax
Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane
Microcrystalline Wax
Manuka Oil
Propolis Wax
Vitamin E Acetate
Parfum

The Questions
All right, this is where I am stumped.

1. Cera microcristallina / Microcrystalline Wax
Is this not alternatively known as petroleum wax and paraffin wax? From what I understand, microcrystalline wax is a petroleum refinery by-product, obtained by removing oil from petrolatum. I don't at all claim to be an expert. Perhaps the experts see this as something totally un-petroleum related, and besides, the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database does list Microcrystalline Wax as low hazard.

Dr Organic: "....no mineral oils. Petro-chemicals such as paraffin and petrolium [sic] are avoided, plant based oils and extracts are used." I suppose they're not contradicting their ethos? Strictly speaking, it is not an oil anymore. It is a petroleum wax.

Still, this layperson does find it confusing.

2. Leptospermum scoparium oil / Manuka oil
Manuka is New Zealand tea tree. I'm wondering why the ingredients list says:

....Leptospermum scoparium oil (Manuka honey)....

I find it strange that Leptospermum scoparium oil is interpreted as Manuka honey here. Manuka oil is manuka oil. Manuka honey is manuka honey. As far as I know, Manuka oil isn't the same as manuka honey.

Besides, nowhere on the list do I see simply "Honey" or "Honey extract" or "Mel". Umm, do bear in mind the name of this lipbalm.

Again, it's confusing.

3. Parfum
Didn't they say they don't use perfume?

Last Words
I've said a lot and you probably thought I was nit-picking towards the end there. I am, as I said, just confused and I won't pretend I understand something when I actually don't. If anybody can enlighten me on those little issues, I'd be delighted.

I should mention that I did a quick check in the store today. The other products under the Organic Manuka Honey range like body butter and such do have "honey" listed somewhere in the ingredients list.

Well, despite the confusion and the apparent contradictions, I love this lipbalm. Good on the lips and affordably priced. I would buy it again. Actually, I did! Today! I'm keeping it for later use.

In the Netherlands, Dr Organic products are available in De Tuinen stores. Readers in the UK, you must already know this: it's available in Holland & Barrett stores.

Dr Organic has a huge product range. More information:
Dr Organic website

Update
The second tube of the Dr Organic Manuka Honey Lip Balm is finished. I've moved on to other brands of lipbalms, many of which I've discovered to be much better than Dr Organic's. You can read my posts on these lipbalms here.

12 comments:

Michelle said...

Oh wow!! I think I'm gonna research all the scientific names of everything I use! LOL GREAT post! :)

sugar sugar said...

i won't pretend to understand something i don't either but this seems to be a lovely product since you said you do like it! =)

The Girlie Blog said...

Great review! Hmmm...sounds like a lot of ingredients for an organic product but hey, at least you liked it.

The Student's Guide To Nail Polish said...

Kudos to you for taking a closer look at the ingredients list. I find that a bit strange as well.

lavender said...

You really did a detailed research. The ingredients are contradicting its claims? this is called marketing strategies.

The Beautifier said...

Hey! Sounds like a nice lip balm, thanks for the detailed review ;)

wifluvelle said...

yeah how come what they claim is not what they claim?

xoxo elle

Anonymous said...

Great review! I'm glad you love the lipbalm. I have to try it one day. Take care, Nicole x

Anonymous said...

Very detailed review. You took a lot of effort writing this, but great job. "KTee" xx

I have heard good things about this brand.

Witoxicity said...

@Michelle
Thanks, Michelle. Well, going through ingredients list is quite a tedious task but it's good to know what a product is made of. :)

@sugar sugar
In general, it IS a great lipbalm and that's why I decided to get another tube. Even though it's not manuka honey, manuka oil is also very good for the skin. :)

@The Girlie Blog
Thanks! In this case, Dr Organic didn't specify which products exactly are organic. :)

@The Student's Guide To Nail Polish
Thank you! Yeah, the discrepancies are a bit strange, I must say. :)

@lavender
I wouldn't know if the brand is deliberately deceiving us or if it's a case of plain oversight...... :)

@The Beautifier
Thanks. :)

@wifluvelle
Hey, Elle! I really don't know. As I mentioned to lavender, I'm not sure if we're being deceived or if it's an oversight. :)

@Nicole
Thank you, Nicole. Well, it worked great for my dry lips, so I wouldn't simply trash it just because of the discrepancies. I do wonder about them though. :)

@KTee
I must say that this article took up a lot of my time (hence the long delay between articles). I had to make sure that I properly understood the situation at hand. As a layperson, those jargons weren't the easiest to get a grip on. :P Thanks, KTee. I'm glad you appreciate the effort. :)

Anonymous said...

Bought this one- taste a lot like Vaseline...will not recommend...end up using every hour cos it actually dries up the lip!

Witoxicity said...

@Anonymous
I'm sorry to hear that this didn't work out for you. I didn't find it drying in those months when I was using it. However, it's been a long time since I wrote this review and in the period since, I've been using many other lipbalms with more 'agreeable' ingredients and are, in my opinion, much better than this one from Dr. Organic. I've written reviews on many of these under the label: lipbalm and there will be many more reviews to follow (I'm a lipbalm addict). :)