For those of us on the East Coast, it has been a cold winter, no doubt about it. I'm entirely ready for spring, but meantime my skin is showing every sign of a mid-winter crisis — it feels taut, itchy and generally uncomfortable. So for the past few weeks, I've been grumbling and rummaging around for various solutions that would fit into my new 'returning student' budget!
I decided to take a chance on an Alba Botanica body cream since I've been pleased with their body washes (see my review of Honey Mango Bath & Shower Gel, and Bois de Jasmin has a review of their Midnight Tuberose Shower Gel). Their Kukui Nut Body Cream seemed like a good bet — chock full of rich nut oils plus shea and cocoa butter, hypo-allergenic, 100% vegetarian and it comes in a jar which always makes me feel that tad more luxurious.
It's not a bad little cream. Like the other Alba Botanica products it seems to be good quality for the price. It's fairly rich — not as rich as the really fabulous jar creams, but thicker than your average pump lotion. It smoothes on nicely and doesn't leave a greasy feel, which is a big plus. It does a good job maintaining moisture, even if it doesn't quite soak in deep to heal the really dry areas.
The real drawback for me was the scent. I was anticipating a sort of nutty burnt sugar scent, and I wasn't far off, but I didn't anticipate how much it would linger on clothes or stick to sheets/towels etc. If you don't totally love the fragrance to start with, you might end up hating it. Imagine a rich creamy caramel sauce mixed with coconut oil, and you'll more or less have the general idea. It's not bad the first few times — it's warm and kind of comforting — but after a while it got to me. Even when the sweetness of the scent wore off, a slightly soapy undertone lingered on the skin and interfered with the dry-down of more delicate perfumes. I tried using it at night a couple of times instead, but I hated the way my sheets smelled afterwards. On that score, I won't be re-purchasing this one, but if you love this type of scent, it might be your perfect winter cream.
Alba Botanica Kukui Nut Body Cream is $12.49 for 6.5oz.
I've found the same the same thing with this Alba line…the tropical scented stuff. I really wanted to like it, but didn't. The other thing is, and I don't think the majority of the readers here mind about this, but people who typically buy Alba might, this product does have parabens.
On the otherhand, their unscented “very emolient” body lotion which has been my HG for years is wonderful and does not have parabens.
That's good to know about the parabens–particularly for people with paraben allergies. And it's always good to find a decently priced wonderful body cream-thanks!
Yes Pia, The Alba “very emolient” is amazing. I can't recommend it enough. IIRC, the scented “very emolient” one is on the tropical side, and very pleasant. I just like the unscented lotion b/c then it doesn't interfere w/ my SOTD
I'm also able to refill it at my local health food shop which is really nice.
Thank you for the review. the Alba Organic Kukui Nut Oil smells like cotton candy, which is too bad, since it is a nice post shower body oil.
I second the unscented Alba lotion. I buy the giant pump bottle. It has a pleasant, slightly nutty smell and absorbs like a dream.
I went looking for the coffee-scented Alba aftersun cream that both Jessica and Robin seemed to like. They didn't have it at my Whole Foods, but they had Alba supershiny lip gloss I liked, it had a really nice texture. Unfortunately, it smelled extremely strongly of sweet coconut and I just wasn't sure I could stand having that scent right under my nose for long!
Butting in to say I got mine at drugstore.com, although may have already said that here somewhere. And, it smells like sweet coffee and the scent, like the one Pia is reviewing here, is strong and it lasts. If you hated it, it would probably make you nuts too! But no coconut.
I agree that the scent for this one is too strong. It's still not as bad as the coconut milk body cream, which is overbearing from the moment it's applied.
Unscented lotions are my preferred choice. Alba used to have (or still do) a lightweight unscented body lotion in a purple bottle. I can't find it anymore and couldn't find a good unscented lotion to replace it (it's more difficult that one would imagine to find a good consistency and quality moisturizer!) – so I make do with Alba's hand & body cocoa lotion which smells like vanilla and honey but is not overpowering. It's also paraben free. It's rather neutral and doesn't interfere with what I'm wearing afterward, but I'm still looking for a good unscented one.
On another note, I absolutely love their jasmine & vitamin E face cream. And they used to have a coconut milk and mint face cleanser which was sadly discontinued. It was really refreshing to use both together – I enjoy both the scents and what they do to my skin.
It think I checked and the drugstore.com shipping to Canada was pretty much as much as the product itself or something… I though Whole Foods was my solution, but then they seemed to have every Alba product BUT the coffee one. They did have the Desert Essence Pumpkin Hand repair cream that Jessica recommended, though, and I like it a lot.
Is this the unscented one you are talking about? It has purple writing. Anyway, you should give it a try and it should be available in Canada.
I agree it is difficult to find a high quality unscented moisturizer and this one fits the bill.
I like unscented lotions for that reason as well–and you can even scent them with essential oils or a bit of fragrance as well if you are in the mood!
Clearly this lotion is a 'must try' then! Thanks!
Too bad about the oil though…I like oils for the summer, they give a nice sheen, but preferably minus the cotton candy! LOL
Erin, my mother picked up an Alba Coconut lip gloss/balm–wondering if it is the same one you saw. If so, I agree–the smell is a bit much. I do like their products, maybe they could just tone down the Hawaiian line a bit? LOL
Thanks R! Will probably avoid that one too, or will have to start washing sheets every day!
Oh, that's interesting about their facial moisturizer–I haven't tried their face care line. Good to know that you like it. I love jasmine creams!
And sounds like the very emollient cream mentioned in some of the comments above might be just what you are looking for?
I agree with Pikake – the Alba unscented very emollient body lotion is great, I use it daily. I don't know about Canada but I've found this at Marshall's or TJMaxx here in the US, a huge 950ml bottle for $10. I always stock up when I see them.
Thanks Ahsu! It also seems to be available at drugstore.com for those outside the US. Look forward to trying it!
It could very well be the one; I run out of it and couldn't find it again long ago and did not keep the bottle.
The jasmine cream is nice and light. Scent-wise it goes well with Le Parfum de Therese!
If you're looking for an unscented body cream, try Cetaphil moisturizing cream for dry, sensitive skin. Comes in a tub. Don't need much. Very moisturizing. Doesn't have that unpleasant “unscented” smell that some unscented products have. It does have a faint scent, but it doesn't linger on skin, and definitely doesn't compete with perfume. I highly recommend it!
Oh, and no parabens (at least what I can tell from the list of ingredients).
Ayala, as I watch the blustery wind and snow sweep across the backyard this March morning, I'm thinking Le Parfum de Therese might be just the perfume for today–a defiant nod towards summer, but bold enough to work in this wintry cold! Thanks for the reminder!
Thanks Karin! And I do love creams that come in a tub, LOL.
Ahh, Le Parfum de Therese is definitely one of (if not THE) most cherished and loved perfumes ever. I wore it the other night when going out to watch The Godfather II in the cinema. Can't wait for summer myself!
Le Parfum de Therese for the Godfather II…how utterly perfect!