Effective, fully vegan, Leaping Bunny certified: Santaverde is a sustainable natural skincare brand from Hamburg, Germany. Their modern, customisable, water-free products are based on Aloe Vera and brimming with active ingredients.
Many readers tell me that they prefer range reviews to single product reviews.
And it makes a lot of sense: range reviews offer deeper insights about more than just the brilliance of one product but about the philosophy, the mission and the character of a brand. I get that!
This Series is not new actually – the hashtag is! 🙂
And because I like that too, I decided that former range reviews (rarely reviews of the Whole range, but always reviews of a part of the range that makes sense in one way or other) – Pai Skincare #1 and Pai Skincare #2, Everyday Minerals for pale skin (note to self: needs an update; foundation colours have been renamed), Zao beauty, und Gretel to name a few – deserved a series in their own right. And a hashtag! Quite simple: range review
Founded in 1988 by Sabine and Kurt Beer, Santaverde is one of the most renowned organic skincare pioneers in Germany.
With headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, and an aloe plantation in Andalucia, the company has worked for nearly a decade to finalize their signature, water-free formula based on aloe vera juice in 1995.
Transparency rules here: visit the plantation if you’re curious – and the certificates are not too shabby neither: Leaping Bunny, Vegan, EU organic farming, NaTrue. But what about my pet peeve, palm oil? As you might know now, none of thse certifications guarantees that the products are free from conflict palm oil!
When I inquired about the palm oil derivates deployed such as: Ascorbyl Palmitate, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate, the company guaranteed that these are purchased solely from RSPO members. Sure, I’d prefer certified organic or none at all, but I don’t want to be fussy – RSPO is not exactly perfect, but there is some development going on right now and we’d be all blessed if other organic companies (sadly, the majority) would pay as much attention.
What’s quite unique about the Santaverde collection is not just the water-free formula but also the fact that the customer gets to choose the exact texture her skin needs on a particular day: a light cream or a lotion and an oil; a medium cream with or without natural fragrance; a cream with or without a drop of added precious oil and so on.
The prices range from moderate (€10-40) for the basic collection to premium (€40-90) for the latest anti-aging series Xingu which we’ll talk about in a moment. The starter kits and mini sizes are a steal at €13-19 resp. €5 and make it easy to decide which texture might be the right one for you – something that’s simply impossible to do with just the sample sachets or sample tubes in the shop.
The Santaverde cosmetics range for face and body includes 25 different products.
From the brand’s online shop, aloe vera juice and plants as well as single aloe vera leaves are available.
And these are eleven Santaverde products I’ve reviewed – so it’s almost half the range, not bad, not bad:
1. Starter set (press sample that I requested):
15ml aloe vera cleansing milk
15ml medium aloe vera cream
15ml aloe vera hydrating gel
2. Xingu range (sachets, 1 ml each, came with the press kit I received during Vivaness 2015 as well as obtained with purchases I made at the KaDeWe Berlin):
XINGU age perfect cream
XINGU age perfect eye cream
XINGU age perfect serum
XINGU age perfect eye serum
3. aloe vera cleansing milk 100ml (€19, purchased)
4. From the basic collection (sachets, both press samples that I requested and obtained with purchase):
aloe vera cream light, medium and rich
5. aloe vera cream medium 30ml (€25, purchased after testing)
6. aloe vera hydrating gel 30ml (in Germany)/ aloe vera hydrating gel (international) (€25, purchased)
7. aloe vera body lotion classic (sachet, press sample that I requested)
8. aloe vera body lotion sensitive (sachet, press sample that I requested)
9. 100ml aloe vera body firming gel (€26, purchased)
I was intrigued by the 2015 launched Xingu range because the press release promised quite high ORAC values of 900-1,600 per product. It’s lower than one pomegranate – but nevertheless, it’s quite interesting to measure ORAC value in skincare.
Having obtained several sampling sachets, I must say that I found the Xingu cream formulas too heavy for me personally, but have quite loved the tightening effect the serum and the eye serum had on my skin. If anyone’s reading who has no idea what you could give me for Christmas, here goes nothing… 😉 But now onto the range review!
What you’ll see me skip here are the full disclosure ingredients lists of each product. These are available online in the Santaverde shop and listing 12 of those would blow up this post. Having studied them though, I think it suffices to say that with often far more than a dozen ingredients they are rather sophisticated.
Santaverde Range Review:
Pros & Cons
Santaverde formulas generally are excellent for sensitive skin – but do pick the unscented products. The subtly scented versions have a faint, vanilla-sweetened fragrance that’s unobstrusive and hasn’t provoced any reaction with my skin. Always remember that skin reactions are highly individual and nobody can or should guarantee that this or that product’s perfect for you.
From the products I’ve tested, the medium face cream, the hydrating gel, the body firming gel and the cleansing milk are my favourites.
2016 review UPDATE:
Oh the irony! 😀 Two new favourites for my skin (that has become dry over a particularly hot and windy summer) are the xingu age perfect eye cream and xingu age perfect serum. The textures that have felt too rich in 2015, but this year the weather has made me appreciate them even more. The eye cream is softening and smoothing, and I like to use it as a base for a gentle facial massage in the eye area. The serum feels surprisingly light (when your skin is dry!) and works great under make-up. The boyfriend likes the serum too, and swears by it because it’s non-sticky and smells great.
Santaverde gel formulas are perfection, the best gel formulas I’ve ever tried – absolutely non-sticky, not-drying and very refreshing.
The cleansing milk is a face treat in itself, and the medium face cream (I had the scented version) soothes and calms skin and behaves like a real lady under make-up. Or a gentleman? But you probably get the idea 😉
The complete range is Cruelty-Free and Vegan-friendly while offering great skin comfort and fairly effective skin regeneration – we don’t like the term anti-aging if you remember 😉
I don’t think it fully qualifies as a “con” but I’ve gotta admit that I personally would’ve never have discovered Santaverde products for myself if it wasn’t for the Vivaness visit! Despite the fact that I’d have found myself in front of a Santaverde shelf countless times during the last years, I’d always have ended up utterly confused by the line-up of highly similar-looking boxes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all pro minimalism – but three face moisturisers available in two versions each? Too complicated for a first-time customer, pressed for time in a fully packed organic supermarket! So what’s a brand to do, you ask? I’ve been asking myself the same question lately. What about a consultant with a skin type/ skincare need app on their iPhone? 🙂
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To wrap up the (half of the) range review, enjoy the following Xingu Q&A with Santaverde R&D department!
A Xingu Range Q&A!
Q: Why measure the ORAC score in skincare?
A: Firstly, the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) method is the most reliable antioxidant evaluation method so we decided to use it. Usually ORAC scores are measured for nutrition; the use with skincare is quite new.
ORAC is the measurement of the free radical absorbance capacity of biological samples. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that have a single unpaired electron. (BEAUTYCALYPSE note: for those who know that there’s more to the free radical theory – let’s fly with this simple version here ;)) Free radicals damage any intact molecules of any surrounding substance turning those into reactive as well – a chain reaction. Antioxidants stabilise free radicals without becoming reactive, thus halting the chain reaction. If a human body doesn’t have enough entioxidants, a disbalance known as exidative stress develops. Oxidative stress negatively affects skin cells metabolism, one negative result being collagen depletion which leads to a higher skin sensitivity due to lessened self-protection abilities, to less skin elasticity and moisture loss. Antioxidant supply can effectively fight those skin-changing processes, so we choose natural ingredients with antioxidant benefits for our anti-aging products.
Q: And what are the ORAC scores of the Xingu range exactly?
A: The ORAC value of our Xingu age perfect products is from 900 to 1,600 per product.
The suggested daily antioxidant intake from food and skincare should reach 5,000 ORAC or 5,000-7,000 ORAC. (Sources: Dr. Cornelia Friese-Wehr, Joining Health Medicare International GmbH; Tufts University, USA). Of course most antioxidants for the skin as well are provided by the food intake. Topical applications are a reasonable addition and offers great protection especially when the skin is exposed to larger amounts of free radicals from sun rays and air pollution.
A subsequent application of Xingu age perfect serum and cream provides 52 ORAC for the skin on your face.
Q: How do you manage to actually maintain the antioxidants in the formula of a serum or a cream?
A: Natural skincare has a lot to offer in this department: all ingredients are used in a way that’s as holistic as possible, meaning that they contain the natural, well-balanced combination of all vital substances of a living plant – they all have a synergetic effect, protecting and preserving one another.
Q: Let’s look at raw material sustainability for a moment. Where do you the cashews for the new Xingu line come from? Also, many plants are known to have high ORAC values – berries, cacao – how did Santaverde choose cashews of all things (or plants)?
A: In 2007 Santaverde founders Sabine and Kurt Beer have discovered a long abandoned fazenda in Brazil. It was overgrown with cupuacu palms, mango trees, maracuja bushes and cashew trees. The locals were very passionate about the cashew fruit, highlighting its medical and ritual effects.
So, inspired by the traditions of the locals, deeper research ensued, among others we collaborated with the scientists of the Fortaleza University. We think that cashew fruits – rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants (Vitamin C, polyphenols, carotinoids) are Nature’s gifts, as if made for antioxidant-rich skincare.
Together with the regenerative and moisturising Aloe Vera juice, the pure Cashew juice is the powerful base of all Xingu products. The formerly abandoned farm is now full of life and is run by a local family. The ripe cashew fruits are hand-picked and juice is pressed following the rules of certified organic processing.