Activist Skincare, the cleansers reviews

Another company that I recently discovered in my clean beauty search was Activist Skincare. What sticks out about this company is their plastic-free options for skincare products. All their products either come in glass bottles or tins. There is some plastic in the spray pumps, but get this, all their products are refillable too. They use aluminum pouches to send refills for your empties.

And the products are affordable. They have a great sample pack that let’s you try most of their products. I registered on their website and got a 50% off offer to try the samples. I think I paid $34 to try 8 products! (The mineral tinted sunscreen was an add-on).

And Activist Skincare is a real clean beauty company. They have a long list of the ingredients they don’t use, very short list of the ingredients they do use, and are mostly chemical free. The product list is short and simple with good-for-your-skin ingredients. Their products are all vegan and they are cruelty-free. 5% of their proceeds go to environmental related causes.

Since 8 products is a lot for one post, I thought that I would break this review into two parts, the cleansers, and then the skincare treatments.

Cleansing Options…

There is a cleansing balm, cleansing oil, and cleansing gel. On the Skin Activist Blog they have a post, What is Oil Cleansing and Why you Should Try It. This post explains a bit more of their three cleansing products and how to use them. You can also go to their website to learn about their 4-Step Method to skincare.

Deep Moisture Cleansing Balm $42

From Company – Cleanser & makeup remover for very dry, sensitive skin.

  • Fragrance free and non-irritating.
  • Rinses away easily.
  • Skin is left soft and dewy, not squeaky-clean.

Grapeseed oil dissolves makeup, sunscreen and impurities without stripping the skin.

Shea butter deeply moisturizes the skin.

Beta hydroxy acids from fruit and sugar extracts gently exfoliate dead skin cells. Use the balm as a mask for 5-10 minutes to maximize this benefit.

First Impressions – It is not as solid as other cleansing balms that I have used. It is very moisturizing but not greasy. I like putting balms on my face at the end of a day and keeping on for a bit and even using a silicone mask or warm cloth over them to sink into my skin.

Ingredients – Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil (antioxidant, rich in omaga 3s, moisturizing, plant extract) (doesn’t say whether it is cold pressed or chemically derived), Glycerin (Vegetable) (skin replenishing), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) (moisturizing), Quillaja Saponaria Wood Extract (cleansing and water-binding properties for skin), Saponaria Officinalis Extract (plant extract, mild cleansing agent), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (skin moisture with omega 3s), Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Fruit/Leaf Extract (plant antioxidant), Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract (plant extract that may have mild exfoliating properties), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract (fragrance and may be sensitizing to skin), Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract (fragrance and may be sensitizing to skin), Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract (plant extract that may have mild exfoliating properties), Caprylhydroxamic Acid (preservative), Glyceryl Caprylate (preservative), Tocopherol (Vitamin D).

Overall Thoughts – My issue with this product is that it says it contains beta hydroxy acids which means salicylic acids which are chemical exfoliants to the skin that are derived from fruit. They help to remove dead skin cells and aid in the regeneration of new skin. While hydroxy acids (salicylic acids) come from fruit extracts, there is no scientific data proving fruit extracts alone have the same exfoliating ability as salicylic acids (Paula’s Choice, 2021).

While alpha hydroxy acid (glycolic acid) does come from sugar cane, there is no scientific data proving the sugar cane extract alone (or sugar maple extract alone) have the same exfoliating ability as glycolic acid.

It would be more transparent to say that the product may contain some natural exfoliating benefits. But the product itself does not contain true alpha or beta hydroxy acids. Only alpha and beta hydroxy acids (glycolic and salicyclic acids) have be scientifically shown to cause chemical skin exfoliation properties (Cobb, 2019).

There is also a lot of citrus fruit extracts in this formula and may be sensitizing to some peoples skin (like mine). I don’t agree with their philosophy of not needing to wash your face or that washing your face strips your skin of all moisture. Using gentle cleansers have scientifically proven skin benefits (Gardner, 2020). I would follow-up with a mild facial cleansing bar, gel, or foaming cleanser after using their pre-cleansing products. It’s funny but some skin experts would argue that fragrant citrus fruit extracts damage your facial skins natural protective barrier, not mild cleansers (Schiffer, 2021).

I will say, yay, that they created a cleansing balm that is free of plastic! Most cleansing balms on the market contain polyethylene which is the same material that they use to make plastic bags and may have environmental issues (Hunt, 2020). Overall, I do like this balm although it is not as thick or moisturizing as some other ones that I’ve tried (also polyethylene free) but the fact that this is refillable and in a plastic free container is a real plus for me. It didn’t irritate my eyes or skin while using it.

Botanical Cleansing Oil $42

From Company – A luxe oil cleanser to dissolve makeup & impurities.

  • Lightly scented of herbs, florals and citrus.
  • Rinses away effortlessly.
  • Leaves skin soft, not stripped of moisture

Botanical oils dissolve makeup, impurities and excessive oiliness without stripping the skin.

Vitamin E provides anti-aging benefits.

Gentle emulsifier di-PPG-2 myreth-10 adipate allows the oils to rinse away without a hot cloth or second cleanse.

First Impression – It is nice to use as a cleansing oil but it is not as moist as some other cleansing oils that I have used (because it’s meant to not have to be washed off). It also irritates my eyes.

Ingredients – Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (skin moisture), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil (antioxidant, moisture, skin-replenishing), Di-PPG-2 Myreth-10 Adipate (skin conditioning agent made from alcohol fatty acids), Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil (plant extract, sensitizing to skin), Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil (fragrance, sensitizing to skin), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil (fragrance, sensitizing), Tocopherol (Vitamin D).

Overall Thoughts – di-PPG-2 myreth-10 adipate is a skin conditioner not a cleanser to remove dirt and oil from your skin. I still, personally, would follow up with a mild facial bar, gel, or foaming cleanser. I found the flower oils and citrus extracts too irritating to my eyes and skin.

Sea to Skin Cleansing Gel $42

From Company – Soft cleanser gently removes makeup & impurities.

  • Naturally scented like a fresh ocean breeze.
  • Rinses away easily.
  • Skin is left soft and dewy, not squeaky clean

Botanical oils including grapeseed, sunflower and others dissolve makeup, impurities and excessive oiliness without stripping the skin.

Gentle emulsifier di-PPG-2 myreth-10 adipate allows the oils to rinse away without a hot cloth or second cleanse.

First Impressions – I love this as a facial treatment or mask. I would put it on in the bathtub and let it soak with my silicone mask (or you could use a face cloth). However, I don’t feel like it washes my face enough and would still follow-up with a mild facial cleansing bar, gel, or foaming face wash.

Ingredients – Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil (antioxidant, moisturizer, rich in omega 3s) (doesn’t say whether it is cold pressed or chemically extracted), Glycerin (skin replenishing) , Quillaja Saponaria Wood Extract (cleansing and water-binding properties for skin), Saponaria Officinalis Extract (plant extract, mild cleansing agent) , Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (moisturizing, antioxidant, rich in omega 3s), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (natural plant extract with non-sensitizing fragrances that has fatty acids and hydrating properties), Di-PPG-2 Myreth-10 Adipate (skin-conditioning), Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Fruit/Leaf Extract (plant antioxidant) , Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract (plant extract that may have exfoliating properties), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract (fragrance and can be sensitizing to the skin), Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract (fragrance and may be sensitizing to the skin), Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract (plant extract that may have exfoliating properties), Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil (fragrance that may have sensitizing properties to the skin), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil (fragrance that may have sensitizing properties to the skin), Arthrospira Platensis (Spirulina) Extract (moisturizing antioxidant), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (very good antioxidant for the skin), Caprylhydroxamic Acid (preservative), Glyceryl Caprylate (preservative), Tocopherol (Vitamin D).

Overall Thoughts – I really like this product as a facial mask or pre-wash conditioning treatment. I just wish it didn’t have the citrus extracts and flower oils, although this product does not irritate my skin or eyes. I don’t think that it has enough cleansing agents in it to be called a cleansing gel but works great as a pre-wash as part of a double cleanse system (the way one would normally use a cleansing balm or oil). Or maybe to just use as a weekly treatment. It does contain a lot of power house natural ingredients with beneficial skin properties. I will be ordering more of this one!

Conclusion

I really love this companies philosophy and mission. I want to find ways to support it. I do like their skin treatments and will be doing another post shortly so keep an eye out for that coming soon.

There are lots of affordable ways to get their products so don’t be mislead but the prices above. You can buy refills for a lot less and use your own container, you can buy their misfits which are products for 15% off that may have some slight imperfections on the packaging, 30% off subscriptions, and you can subscribe to their website and rewards program. I am getting deals from them every day! They also have an affiliate program that you can ask to join.

Use my family and friends reward to save $15 off your first order

If I could design a perfect cleanser from this company for me then I would ask them to consider making a very mild facial cleansing bar. I have very dry skin but also like to make sure I wash off my mineral sunscreen and mascara before bedtime. I find using the right cleansing balm, followed by a mild cleanser, and then followed by a moisturizer works best for my skin.

References

For the ingredients I use an internet search engine, Paula’s Choice’s Skincare Resources, the EWG website, Healthline, Radiance by WEB MD, and my knowledge as a registered nurse.

Cobb, C. (2019, March). AHA vs. BHA: What’s the Difference? Healthline. Retrieved from, https://www.healthline.com/health/aha-vs-bha

Gardner, S. (2020, January). Skin Care Basics. Radiance by Web MD. Retrieved from, https://www.webmd.com/beauty/skin-care-basics

Hunt, C. F., et al. (2020) Evaluating alternatives to plastic microbeads in cosmetics. Nature Sustainabilitydoi.org/10.1038/s41893-020-00651-w

Paula’s Choice Editors. sugarcane extract. (Website visited April, 17, 2021.) Retrieved from, https://www.paulaschoice.com/ingredient-dictionary/plant-extracts/sugarcane-extract.html

Schiffer, J. Essential Oils May Be Wreaking Havoc on Your Skin, New York Times, (March, 11, 2021). Retrieved from,


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