Q. Is Oilatum a good choice for a face cream? It has some rave reviews but I wasn’t sure about the ingredients?
A. We are assuming you are talking about Oilatum Natural Repair Face Cream. Curiously enough, it was very hard to get these details.  Despite the fact that Boots.com usually gives a full ingredient listing for products, there was nothing for this one.  Equally, there was nothing online.  When we rang GSK, the pharmaceutical company that is the parent of Stiefel, manufacturers of Oilatum, they told us to email in and it would take five working days….  Finally we received the following list:

Aqua, Olea Europaea, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Palm Glycerides, Olus, Oleic Triglycerides, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Squalane, Betaine, Palmitamide MEA, Sarcosine, Acetamide MEA, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Carbomer, Sodium Carbomer, Xanthan gum

While this ‘Natural Repair Face Cream’ does indeed contain some natural ingredients, it is by no means totally natural.  Pentylene glycol, for instance, is a ‘synthetic, low molecular weight solvent and skin-conditioning agent’, and carbomer is ‘a large polymeric chemical composed of acrylic acid monomers’, according to EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, http://www.ewg.org.  However, these are both listed as low risk in terms of toxicity, according to the Database.

The manufacturers have not put it forward for Beauty Bible testing or sent it to us personally to trial so we don’t have any first hand knowledge of this product.  As you say, it garners some fantastic reviews particularly although users differed as to whether it was suitable for every skin type, or better for slightly dry skin (but not very dry).

Pharmacist Shabir Daya comments that it should be suitable for dry skin types because the formula is designed to prevent moisture loss.  However, there have been cases of possible sensitivity to some of the ingredients, so do stop using it if you experience any irritation at all.  You could patch test it on your arm before trying it on your face.

Our suggestion is to try it, if you still feel inclined.  You may be one of the people who rave about it and if not, you haven’t spent a huge amount.  If you are looking for other good, budget-priced, natural skincare, we would suggest trying the Dr Organic range, available at Holland & Barrett.  There are lots of different types, and it’s a really great brand, which has done very well in our testing.  For a truly natural brand, suitable for dry to very dry winter skin, Shabir Daya suggests Rose Geranium Face Balm by Balm Balm, a gorgeous scented product from a brand we have always loved.


Oilatum Natural Repair Face Cream/£7.65 for 50 ml at www.boots.com - buy here


Dr Organic range/from £2.69 at www.hollandandbarrett.combuy here


Balm Balm Rose Geranium Face Balm/£6.99 for 30 ml at www.victoriahealth.com - buy here