Q Silica Makeup and Grime Removing Cleansing Gel.
June 9, 2012
Silica, Isn’t that sand………
Recently I was lucky enough to get my hands on a new cleanser from Planet Health, the guys famous for their Q Silica range. Now I was interested in this for two reasons, one they had just won honors at the inaugural ‘Free From’ awards ceremony and two because I had my suspicious about silica. Yes, silica is sand!
So, let’s start with the sand part!
Silica is the second most abundant element in the earths crust making up 28% (oxygen is number one, aluminium 3 and iron 4). Now with so much around you would think that our bodies would literally be swimming in the stuff but that’s not true. One widely touted figure is that we have 7g of silica inside each of us although like many other popular science facts I found this figure impossible to track down to any meaningful data. Another paper quoted 1-2g and others say that it is too difficult to measure accurately and as such I am leaning towards the latter non-figure while keeping in my mind that we are talking small fry. Anyway, the take home point for me is that we are exposed to way more than we need every day and our bodies must be pretty good at ditching excess (which it does each time we visit the loo).
When it comes to the role of silica in the body there is agreement (based on various animal, including human studies) that silica has a role to play in bone, nail and hair strength. However, the details of how, when and why are less clear. In short nobody really knows how silica works but there is agreement that it does something important.
So, silica has been found to help strengthen hair, nails and bones which seem like good enough reasons for adding it to a cosmetic range but can it travel through the skin? There is some scientific evidence based on past trials that using silica containing gels and creams do lead to visual improvements in skin, hair and nail condition although again, how this happens and how much is needed for this to happen is less clear-cut. However, there seems to be enough evidence to suggest that even with silica being EVERYWHERE adding a pure and clean dose into our cleansing and grooming routine can produce visible results.
First up I have to say that I love this product and I will continue to buy it, use it and love it after the free pack runs out. I love it because it comes out of the pack really nicely, it’s got a great gel consistency – thick and well structured and not at all stringy or jelly like. I love the way it feels as I spread it across the face, it puts up a slight resistance but then slides like I would imagine graphite to slide softly shearing across the skin. It leaves me feeling clean but not stripped and fresh but not ‘tight’ which is a good thing when you have a sensitive skin. It smells but not much and it foams but not so copiously that you spend 6 years and 10 bucket loads of water to rinse. And no, it didn’t make me itch.
However, when it comes to the brands science communication I want to hit them over the head with my ‘do you know how silly this sounds’ book.
The term ‘chemical free’ (which leaves no other ingredient options open really) is followed by a lengthy ‘and we don’t use parabens, petrochemicals, sulfates, pthalates etc etc’…….. Of course I know what they WANT to say but when after that I read the ingredients list I wonder what the world is coming to and who exactly ticks the ‘let’s go to market with that’ box….
Glycerin– plant sourced (as pretty much all glycerine used in Australian personal care products is now).
PEG-120 methyl glucose dioleate – This does have a natural part but it gets its special properties from petroleum (PEG) and is most definitely not all natural (it’s synthetic).
Cocamidopropyl Betaine– This ingredient is based on coconuts but also requires a petrochemical based starting material to make it work.
Caprylic/ capric glucoside – this is all plant based.
Sodium lauroamphodiacetate– another natural.
Silica – the mineral of interest and pretty much natural I guess.
Less than 1% additives:
Phenoxyethanol – synthetic. Petroleum based preservative.
Citric acid – natural
Sodium chloride – could be from the sea but most likely synthetically made but still ‘nature identical’
Lavender oil – should be natural
Tocopherol – Natural form of vitamin E (an antioxidant)
Jojoba oil – natural
Avocado oil – natural
Argonis fragras branch Oil – Commonly known as Fragonia Essential Oil.
Sandalwood oil – natural
Ethylhexyl glycerine – synthetic preservative based on a natural starting material however the consensus is that the end result can no longer be communicated as ‘natural’.
Cageput oil – natural.
In my opinion the formula looks great and I can see why they have used what they have used in term of efficacy but just wish that they had spent some time to understand the chemistry behind their very interesting and technically brilliant product. For me, that would have been worth the gold medal but what do I know, it’s all cosmetic.