Zia Natural Skin Care.

Posted on August 28th, 2009 by Gina

Zia frameThe Zia Natural Skin Care line was brought to my attention by my dear friend Betsy, who doesn’t wear makeup, has never plucked her eyebrows (and doesn’t need to, the brat) and desires unprocessed, unbleached, uncompromised living.  Her dedication to the uncontrived has served her well.  Her middle-aged skin is supple, youthful and reflects her clean livin’.

But like many of us, Betsy has begun to worry about what Nora Ephron has coined “The Maintenance Issue.”  Each year it gets harder to maintain the way we looked last year, and despite our insistence that we really don’t mind aging, we are willing to try some new things that enhance our looks.  Perhaps a new moisturizer, a bit of eyebrow pencil where that bald patch suddenly appeared, or just a little blush to pick up the cheekbones.

So someone recommended that Betsy try Zia for her skin care.  After all, it is sold at Whole Foods, so it has to be good, right?  Well, not so fast. Two things must be understood about “natural” product claims.

  1. So-called “natural” products frequently use synthetic ingredients, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is deceptive labeling.
  2. Natural products can be as bad for you as man-made chemicals.  Arsenic, for example, is natural, but that doesn’t mean it belongs in your spouse’s coffee.

So alas, I report to you and to Betsy, that the research I did on Zia Natural Skin line didn’t turn out well.  Paula Begoun, The Cosmetics Cop, was pretty tough in her review.  Paula has been analyzing and reviewing cosmetics for 30 years and a consumer just can’t get much better information than from her and her team.  Here is just part what she had to say:

“But in the Zia Natural line, anecdotal information and blatant misinformation takes the place of what we know to be true about what our skin needs.  As a result, this is not a comprehensive skin-care line worthy of your undivided attention.”  Ouch.

Miffed over the contradictions in Zia’s rhetoric, she chides them for labeling their suncreen natural when in fact, they contain thickening agents and synthetic actives. “In short,” she summarizes, “labeling this line as all natural is a mistake on par with thinking that you can grow vegetables already wrapped in Saran Wrap™ in your garden.”

LookinGood also relies on The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database that is a safety guide on personal care products.  With a score key of low, moderate and high hazard, the majority of Zia’s products rate in the moderate range, but at least 4 of the products rated receive high hazard ratings for their use of questionable chemicals, particularly in their anti-aging products. Double ouch.

But people might like it anyway, you might say.  I did a quick search of cosmetic review sites and blogs to judge Zia’s popularity.  Comments are sparse and some are suspiciously polished marketing narrative, if you ask me.  Oh yea, you did.

My own bias on this is that there is a place for some synthetics, preservatives, thickeners and even frangrances in our personal care products, which is much further than some environmentalists would go.  But what doesn’t work for me is deceptive marketing.  We’re grown up’s here.  You can tell us the truth.

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A short history of cosmetics

150BC Romans use yellow eye shadow.

The Romans preferred to use gold-colored eye shadow which was made from saffron and painted onto the area around the sides and under their eyes. Then they used powdered wood ash to color their eyelids black. This gold color was quite significant at the time because they saw themselves as the rulers of the Mediterranean.