Natural Skin Care
Today I am super excited to launch a new series on skin care. I’m nearing my mid-30s, which means things don’t quite look like they used to and skin care has become ever more important. Throughout my life my skin has been okay and then wonderful and then terrible, rinse and repeat. While I’m looking to better my lifestyle, I’m also looking for better skin that will last and not leave me searching for new products in six months.
In this series I will focus on all-natural skin care brands of varied notoriety and cost.
The reason for this focus is two-fold: One, all of my less than natural skin care has stopped working. This began with my last pregnancy and has continued for nearly a year. Moisturizers and serums that used to by my “holy grail” now do nothing but leave me looking dull and porous. Dull and porous is no way to go through life, by the way, so I’m forced to look outside of my usual go-to brands.
On top of that, I simply want to find out if natural skin care truly yields better skin. Absent of common irritiants and frightening additions, natural skin care is also more environmentally friendly. They use limited, recycled packaging and they’re cruelty-free. If these products can also give me better skin, I am on board!
I will rarely (if ever) buy an entire skin care line to review. Aside from being cost-prohibitive in some cases, returning ineffective products to online-only retailers is a hassle. (How very first world of me.) Instead, I’ll review around 2 to 4 products from each line. If I like those, I will order more to test and review, assuming you all want a follow-up post.
Additionally, my husband will serve as a guinea pig. My skin tends to be normal to combo with my main issues being large pores and general aging. His skin is oily to combo with areas of intense dryness, fair, extremely sensitive, and prone to breakouts and redness. Seeing how various products work (or don’t) on such different skin types will make my reviews more well-rounded and helpful to more people.
**My husband draws the line at cleanser and moisturizer. I can probably talk him into a mask, but serums are likely out of the question. A man has his limits, ya know?**
Better Skin Care with Ursa Major of Vermont
Ursa Major began with shaving cream back in 2010 and is the brain child of skin care veterans Emily Doyle and Oliver Sweatman. Since then the line has expanded to over two dozen offerings and each product has to answer the same three questions before it’s deemed worthy of the UM name: Is it effective? Is it healthy? Is it sublime? They promise no fillers, no suspect chemicals, and each item is 98.6-100% natural.
I discovered this line when my drug store cleanser was running low. It was fine, if a touch drying, though otherwise unremarkable. I decided to search for a natural replacement, since I’d never really given much thought to natural skin care.
For my first purchase I went with the line’s Fantastic Face Wash and their Hoppin’ Fresh Natural Deodorant. My order also came with three free samples, which I 100% plan on purchasing and will discuss briefly in this post.
Fantastic Face Wash
Ursa Major’s foaming gel cleanser promises to thoroughly cleanse your face, makeup included, without stripping it of needed moisture, all while gently exfoliating with natural AHA & BHA. It is recommended for normal, combo, or oily skin as well as acne-prone skin.
I’ve had this face wash for nearly a month and so far I really like it. Within the first couple of uses I noticed my skin looking brighter, thanks to the alpha and beta hydroxy acids, and I’ve had no tightness or dehydration.
It truly does remove all of my makeup, including my water-proof liquid eyeliner, which is a must for me. I am not interested in having multiple products to do one job; I want one thing to do it all, and I don’t think that’s asking too much. With Fantastic Face Wash, I don’t even need eye makeup remover.
While cleanser isn’t the most exciting step in any skin care routine, it’s arguably the most important step toward better skin. If you aren’t getting a clean slate at the end of the day, any subsequent steps are a waste of time. I’ve been impressed with this Ursa Major offering, and I’m excited to dive deeper into the line.
Unfortunately, this didn’t work for my husband. The first time he used it, he liked it well enough but said his skin felt tight afterwards. In the following days, it left his skin inflamed and flaky. To be fair, we’re experiencing extreme cold and wind, so I can’t quite put all of the blame on the face wash. Also, there are numerous reviews from people with dry, sensitive skin who say this is the only cleanser that works for them. It’s possible my husband’s skin is simply more delicate than most, but his experience is worth mentioning in case you’re in the same boat.
Hoppin’ Fresh Natural Deodorant
With this deodorant, you can expect all day protection against sweat and odor. The formula is said to be non-irritating, making it great for sensitive skin. It’s 100% naturally-derived and toxin-free.
I wanted to love this deodorant. It smells wonderful, isn’t at all irritating, and for the first few weeks it worked like a dream. After that, things went south. The scent doesn’t last all day, which is fine, but it promises “long-lasting, unscented protection.” That hasn’t exactly happened. If I’m not doing anything to work up a sweat, I am fine, but that doesn’t really fit my situation. I go to the gym five or six days a week, and I sweat. Like a pig. Often, I look like I’ve showered. I need a deodorant that can handle that, and this simply doesn’t. I’ve recently noticed its odor fighting promises are a bit overstated (at least for me), and I have since felt like the smelly kid in class. Not exactly a distinction I’m aiming for.
This does work if I reapply before I hit the gym, but that’s not an ideal situation, nor is it a step that should be required when talking about a rather pricey deodorant. Again, there are many glowing reviews about this product, and I have always had a hard time finding a deodorant that works for the long haul. In any case, it doesn’t work for me, so I’m still searching for an effective, natural deodorant.
As I said, my order also came with three free samples. The two that impressed me most were the Bright & Easy 3-Minute Flash Mask and the Fortifying Face Balm. Both offer brightening and hydration that was visible after a few uses. I’ll need to use the face balm a bit more for a full review, but early returns are promising. It’s not greasy or heavy, and it truly does make the skin more radiant without looking oily. My husband has been using the Golden Hour Recovery Cream, which seems perfect for his drier areas.
Overall, I like what I’ve seen from Ursa Major so far. With the exception of the deodorant, all of their products work the way they’re supposed to. They also smell incredible! I definitely plan to buy more from this line.
I want to know: Is there a natural skin care line you think I should try? What do you look for in skin care?
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