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Biossance is a known as a “clean” beauty brand. How do their products hold up, and how’s their reputation? Follow along for our review of their brand.
Clean skin care has become a buzzy beauty term, with big and small brands alike trying to create products that are supposedly better for our skin and the environment. While the term may be a bit hard to define, even fraught, some brands really put in the commitment and the science to be well trusted.
One of these clean skin care brands is Biossance. Below, we’ll dive into some of their best loved products as well as discuss how the brand fits into the context of the ever-shifting clean beauty movement.
Biossance is a 100% plant-based skin care line that’s known for its commitment to quality ingredients and sustainability. Since 2016, Biossance has produced its award-winning line of sugarcane derived squalane-based products, which have been endorsed by celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and funded by Bill Gates.
The vegan-friendly and cruelty-free product line includes eight dermatologist-approved formulations, all of which are manufactured in a facility certified by My Green Lab, which is considered the gold standard for laboratory sustainability practices for responsible usage of energy, waste, and water.
All products are packaged in completely recyclable tubes and bottles, and the brand is partnered with CarbonFund.org. This means that it plants trees and funds reforestation efforts to offset its manufacturing and shipping.
Biossance works with charitable and social organizations like Oceana, Direct Relief, Black Lives Matter, and the Breast Cancer Prevention Partnership, donating $413,000 to these causes as of July 2020.
Nearly all of Biossance’s products contain sugarcane-derived squalane, an emollient that mimics your skin’s natural oils to keep the skin hydrated. Squalane is also a
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can protect, repair, and enhance your skin when applied topically. It’s been shown to reduce wrinkles, even skin tone and brighten the complexion. It can also help protect against sun damage as well.
Marine algae has antioxidant properties that can help skin look brighter and younger.
Moisturizers and oils
Biossance makes several creams and oils designed to hydrate the skin. One of its bestselling and highly awarded products is the Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil, which also comes in a cream formulation. It also offers a popular Squalane + Omega Repair Cream.
Our Healthline Commerce Editor, Christy Snyder, uses the Squalane + Omega Repair Cream every night. She describes it as very soft and light with a faint and sweet, but very subtle, scent. She noticed that her “skin looks less dry and irritated (i.e., redness in places) from having used this face cream for 2 years.”
Snyder also uses the popular Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil. “I noticed that my skin is brighter when I use this oil consistently once a day,” she says.
But in her personal experience, she found it also dried out her skin. Since she’s noticed this, she’s stopped using this product, but mentions that a lot of reviewers find the product to be moisturizing. Works different on everyone!
Serums and masks
For more targeted skin issues, Biossance offers its Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Serum, which exfoliates the skin, a Squalane + Vitamin C serum for dark spots, and two different retinol serums, one formulated for nighttime use and another with niacinamide, which helps reduce wrinkles.
The brand also offers a Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Mask, but this product is no longer found on its website. (It’s available at other retailers.)
Eye and lip care
For eyes, Biossance makes several eye creams, like its Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel for reducing dark circles and puffiness, and its Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream for lifting and smoothing the delicate skin around the eyes.
For lips, Biossance recently launched the latest version of it Squalane + Rose Vegan Lip Balm, which is often sold out because it’s become a cult favorite.
Snyder also uses this lip balm. She says it’s “not too greasy or thick and adds a little shine to [her] lips.”
Toners and cleansers
Biossance’s cleansers vary from oil to gel formulations. The Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil is designed to dissolve oil and build up in the pores while the Squalane + Amino Aloe Gel Cleanser is great for taking off makeup. Its toner, the Squalane + BHA Pore Minimizing Toner, hydrates while tightening up pores.
Biossance offers full-body products like its 100% Squalane Oil for moisturizing and its Squalane + Enzyme Sugar Body Scrub for exfoliation. It also produces its own sunscreen, deodorant, and hand cream.
Biossance products have won several awards on “best of” beauty lists. Its bestselling Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil got the 2021 Allure Readers’ Choice Award for Facial Moisturizer, the 2021 Beauty Inc. Award for 100 Greatest Products of All Time, and the 2020 Marie Claire Skin Award for Best Face Oil.
Nearly every product on the Biossance website has a 5-star review from consumers as well.
On TrustPilot, however, the company has low marks from unhappy customers detailing poor customer service experiences, from canceled orders to long-awaited refunds. The company has a B- rating on the Better Business Bureau website with multiple customer complains about poor service.
- Price range: $18-$88
- Most popular product: Undaria Algae Body Oil
- Certifications: Climate Neutral certified, Ocean Positive verified, vegan, and cruelty-free
- Main ingredients: seaweed, squalane, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, vitamin C
Founded in 1996, Osea is known for its seaweed-infused products that are manufactured in California using globally sourced ingredients.
The company has pledged a commitment to sustainability and backs this up through its recyclable packaging, vegan and cruelty-free ingredients, and partnerships with various charitable causes. The brand’s name reflects its values and stands for Ocean, Sun, Earth, Atmosphere.
- Price range: $6-$72
- Most popular product: Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream
- Certifications: cruelty-free
- Main ingredients: fruit pigments, green tea, niacinamide, vitamin C
Offering a variety of beauty and skin care products like makeup, skin care, body care and essential oils, 100% Pure is a cruelty-free brand in the clean beauty space.
Its formulations are free of what the brand calls “chemicals,” synthetics, fragrances, and dyes. Its products are biodegradable. (However the products are not designated specifically as vegan or climate neutral.) Notably, its cosmetics line uses fruit pigments for color, rather than traditional dyes.
- Price range: $15-$88
- Most popular product: Lapis Blue Tansy Face Oil
- Certifications: cruelty-free, vegan
- Main ingredients: backukiol, vitamin C, rose water, GMO-free soy wax, plant-based food-grade cold-pressed oils, steam distilled therapeutic-grade essential oils
Founded by Julia Wills and Alexander Kummerow in 2011 in their Seattle kitchen, Herbivore Botanicals creates skin and body care products using high quality, food-grade, plant-based ingredients, many of which are certified organic and come in recyclable and reusable packaging.
The brand labels their formulations as “natural” and “clean.” They say their formulations are sourced from nature, omitting potentially harmful synthetics and harsh preservatives.
- Price range: $4-$20
- Most popular product: Beeswax Lip Balm
- Certifications: cruelty-free
- Main ingredients: bee’s wax, glycerin, essential oils
One of the first natural beauty brands, Burt’s Bees was founded in the early 1980s by Roxanne Quimby and Burt Shavitz. They began with one product: their enduring bees wax lip balm.
Burt’s Bees lip balm remains its most popular product, but the brand has expanded over the years to produce lotions, makeup and sunscreens.
While its products are not vegan and some include synthetic fragrances, the company is deeply committed to sustainability. Not only is it carbon neutral but it has also sent no waste to landfills from its facility since 2010, according to the company.
The brand’s success has also enabled co-founder Quimby to sell 80% of her stake in the company in order to buy land that could be kept undeveloped. In 2016, she donated 87,500 acres of land to the National Parks Service — a land gift valued at $60 million that came with a $20 million endowment.
|Price range||Most popular product||Certifications||Main ingredients|
|Biossance||$10- $74||Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil||vegan, cruelty-free, Green Lab certified||squalane, vitamin C, marine algae, lactic acid|
|Osea||$18- $88||Undaria Algae Body Oil||Climate Neutral certified, Ocean Positive verified, vegan, cruelty-free||seaweed, squalane, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, vitamin C|
|100% Pure||$6- $72||Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream||cruelty-free||fruit pigments, green tea, niacinamide, vitamin C|
|Herbivore Botanicals||$15- $88||Lapis Blue Tansy Face Oil||cruelty-free, vegan||backukiol, vitamin C, rose water, GMO-free soy wax, essential oils|
|Burt’s Bees||$4- $20||Beeswax Lip Balm||cruelty-free||bee’s wax, glycerin, essential oils|
According to board certified dermatologist Dr. Aanand Geria, there are several definitions of clean skin care swirling around the cosmetic world. But, typically, clean skin care refers to products that are created without synthetic chemicals and ingredients.
“Ingredients like parabens, phthalates, oxybenzone, and synthetic fragrances are just a few examples of ingredients that are not considered clean,” Geria says. “However, it is hard to say what clean skin care is as each brand can self-define, and there are no federal regulations at this time.”
Labeling skin care products as “clean” could indicate that a company is attempting to be transparent about what they put unto their products and show a commitment to ethical ingredients.
However, this label can be tricky for consumers due to the lack of oversight. According to master licensed esthetician Emily Trampetti, founder of Skin Property Virtual Esthetics, clean skin care is essentially a marketing term at best because the “clean” distinction isn’t regulated or designated by any scientific agency.
“Everybody wants to use safe, healthy, effective, and sustainable products, and that’s wonderful,” Trampetti says. “The truth is that clean beauty is a movement backed by a lot of misinformation. Cosmetics and skin care products are actually quite regulated — and have been — for a long time.”
Vilified ingredients — like parabens, sulfates, fragrance or phthalates —
“The media has unfortunately taken a lot of flawed research studies out of context to scare consumers, and therefore consumers have been the main driver of ‘clean beauty,'” she says.
In addition, the Environmental Working Group, which catalogues ingredients in consumer products and rates them in terms of how harmful they are, has come under fire for lacking scientific credibility, making labels like “clean” seem dubious and unsupported by solid research.
Which ingredients are considered “clean” and which ingredients are considered “toxic” can be confusing for a consumer. The truth is that cosmetics and beauty products are incredibly safe, Trampetti says, but misinformation and pseudoscience create fear and doubt.
“It’s a vicious cycle, where consumers are told to fear certain ingredients, so they buy brands that drive that fear, and then other brands have to adopt that same messaging to keep customers,” she says, “only perpetuating the idea that certain ingredients are unsafe or ‘toxic’ even though they actually aren’t, and haven’t been proven to be so.”
Talk with your dermatologist if you’re concerned about specific ingredients or brands. Everyone’s skin reacts differently to particular formulations or ingredients, so it’s important to work with your doctor to determine the best skin care routine for you, “clean” or not.
Company branding and reputation
According to Trampetti, the most important thing you can do when choosing clean skin care products is opting for well known brands.
“The safest and potentially more environmentally responsible products are formulated from bigger brands since they typically have more safety and research budgets and requirements, and have the capacity to invest more in environmental offsetting,” she says.
“Many of the smaller or indie brands use the ‘clean beauty’ messaging as a way to compete in the marketplace, since fearmongering is highly effective, and they lack budgets for proper innovation, research, and product development,” Trampetti says.
Be wary of brands that lean heavily on “clean” marketing, she says, without backing up their claims. “Invest in skin care brands that are working on creating more effective and environmentally sustainable synthetic ingredients that are less irritating and more effective at accomplishing your skin goals,” she adds.
Clean skin care brands can be pricey, putting their products out of reach for many.
Instead of opting for a lesser known or nonscience-backed brand, Trampetti suggests buying budget-friendly skincare products from dermatologist-recommended brands like CeraVe, which are known for being effective and nonirritating to the skin.
While clean beauty remains a marketing term at best and is not regulated, the purported benefits of using clean products are the following, according to Geria:
- Clean products could be safer for sensitive skin: Many clean beauty ingredients are organically grown and not synthesized in a lab.
- They minimize the cosmetic industry’s environmental impact: Harmful ingredients are not making their way into soil, air, and water through drains and runoff.
- Many clean products are also cruelty-free or green: More environmental benefits include ending animal testing and reducing the cosmetic industry’s carbon footprint through recyclable packaging.
Is Biossance safe for sensitive skin?
Since all Biossance products are tested for allergens and are free of synthetic fragrance, they’re generally safe for sensitive skin.
What skin type is Biossance best for?
Biossance products are best for all skin types, including those with acne or oily skin.
What is the best skin care product to have?
There’s no overall best skin care product. The best products for you are the ones that work well with your skin type and fulfill your personal skin needs. Talk with your dermatologist to determine what’s right for your skin.
What are the most popular products from Biossance?
The most popular products are:
- Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil
- Squalane + Omega Repair Cream
- Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream
- Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer.
Is Biossance skin care worth the money?
Depending on your skin care budget and how these products work with your skin type, these products may be worth the money. However, other products that cost less may have the same effect on your skin.
Where can I buy Biossance skincare products?
Is Biossance vegan?
Is Biossance cruelty-free?
If you’re interested in trying clean skin care, Biossance is a solid brand to test out because of its commitment to research, science, sustainability efforts, and giving back to worthy causes.
The products are well loved, and recommended by leading beauty publications and dermatologists alike. The brand’s formulations use quality skin care ingredients that are proven to work to maintain healthy skin.
It’s important, however, to be discerning when choosing skin care products, or any beauty product, no matter how clean a brand purports them to be.
And, as Trampetti points out, none of these products can never be truly sustainable because they all typically require water and excessive farming of natural ingredients to formulate them — not to mention filtering, manufacturing, and shipping. Buying fewer products in general is the best way to be sustainable.
Natasha Burton is a freelance writer and editor who has written for Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Livestrong, Woman’s Day, and many other lifestyle publications. She’s the author of several books, including What’s My Type?: 100+ Quizzes to Help You Find Yourself ― and Your Match! and 101 Quizzes for Couples, and is a co-author of “The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags.” When she’s not writing, she’s fully immersed in #MomLife with her toddler and preschooler.