For me, and a lot of people, a rigorous skincare regimen has less to do with preventing crow's feet than it does with an excuse for calming rituals to bookend my day. Skincare is as much an opportunity to unplug from the world with a series of meditative product applications that might erase the evidence of all current, former and future blemishes and/or wrinkles. Seattle skincare brand Herbivore Botanicals took that concept a step further, returning to nature and ancient traditions with a simple product line formulated with only the essentials, and old-world tools to set a more ceremonial tone.
I came upon Herbivore after I'd had it with the fillers and unnecessary ingredients stacking up in my toiletry cabinet. I wanted to find a brand that was comfortable showing a full list of ingredients (preferably, a short one) up front that gave my skin what it needed, and nothing else. One cursory skim through an ingredients list on any one of Herbivore's products––cold-pressed oils that are both certified organic and food grade alongside steam distilled therapeutic-grade essential oils, and zero synthetics in sight––and it felt more like a medically-smart decision for skin health rather than another skincare splurge.
Herbivore was founded by wife and husband Julia Wills and Alexander Kummerow in their kitchen in 2011. The core of their products are the facial oils: Lapis, containing blue tansy to soothe inflammation and clarify; Phoenix, with CoQ10 (an antioxidant that naturally occurs in your body); and Orchid, infused with orchid and camellia seed oil to increase elasticity. I've tried Orchid, which smelled so good I didn't care if it helped avoid fine lines, and Lapis, which did seem to have a clearing effect on my fussy t-zone. I loved using it as a moisturizer underneath sunscreen in the summer months.
The Jasmine-Green Tea toning spray ought to be the base for any of their oils. A mix of aloe, witch hazel, green tea and willow bark, you can use it like a toner after washing your face and before applying a moisturizer to help the product absorb into the skin. The spray bottle application can't get any easier. I am thoroughly enjoying not going through a bag of cotton balls every two weeks.
While the formulas are basic, Herbivore is all about pomp and circumstance when it comes to your zen-time. Among their accessories for optimal skincare regimen experiences is a jade face roller, a century-old practice that uses the naturally-cool stone to calm inflammation and stimulate lymph flow. Pro tip: absolutely leave it in the fridge when not in use. It feels calming, brings down puffiness around eyes and shrinks pimples.
The nice thing about Herbivore is that such a high standard for natural ingredients means you don't have to worry about negative skin reactions when trying the unfamiliar formulas. Not to mention the soft blue and pink hues of their products come in glass bottles with clean, white labels, effectively turning any bronzer-smudged countertop into a luxuriously 'grammable vanity.
(Cool Stuff is a new feature at Willamette Week where we feature product reviews, roundups, sales and other commerce and shopping-oriented content. All Cool Stuff reviews are editorially independent, meaning we provide honest reviews and aren't paid by the brands we write about. If you do choose to purchase something after following one of our links, Willamette Week may receive a commission, which helps fund our journalism.)