If you know anything about me you know I’m a sucker for good packaging, so when I opened the box of goodies Ursa Major sent Misadventures, it was love at first sight.

But, okay, okay, we shouldn’t judge a moisturizer by its cover…so here I am to review, with a little more depth, the Face Wash, Face Tonic, Face Balm, and Shave Cream by Ursa Major. I should also mention, though, that a little box of Ursa Major emergency matches was also included, which made me just about squeal. Things were off to a great start.

To give you a little background, Ursa Major makes “super natural” (get it?) body and skincare products up in Vermont. The founders set out to create a “robust, natural alternative to the bland, toxin-laden products that pervade today’s marketplace,” and I think they’ve succeeded.


I’ve been using the Face Wash for about two weeks now, and the main thing I like about it is the scent. I have a difficult time finding products I can stand to smell everyday. I like an earthy, almost soil-y smell (weird, I know, but it’s just…the truth), so when I first sniffed the cedar, spearmint, and lime concoction that makes up this Face Wash I thought, yes, finally. As for the feel of it, I wish as a soap it were a little more oil-based and less sudsy. I have one of those skin types that means I need to fight oil with oil, but so far, it’s been getting the job done, and without any freaky chemicals. Always a plus!

Next in the Ursa Major regimen is the Face Tonic. This product is tied in first for me. It’s a toner, exfoliator, cleanser, and after-shave. Again, I love the scent (aloe, bamboo, and lemon), but most of all I love its versatility: I dab it on blemishes, I use it to remove makeup, I substitute it for face wash. It’s got witch hazel and willow bark in it, which are both wonderful for clearing breakouts. But for all skin types, and especially for those who don’t want a super alcoholic, super acerbic toner, this is the thing. Five million stars! Completely worth it.

[bctt tweet=”Five million stars! Completely worth it.”]

Next is the Face Balm–no not the Face PALM, luckily–balm. BALM. This potion is chock-full of aloe, carrot, kendi, and myrtle, and, as you might guess from that list, it also smells amazing. Ursa Major somehow managed to make this balm both light and rich, somewhere between a serum and a moisturizing cream. But I know the real question on everyone’s lips is…what is kendi? Well, don’t worry, I looked it up. Apparently kendi is a nut from which one can extract an oil similar in silkiness to argan oil, but a bit lighter and more sustainable. The mix of ingredients here gives the balm a very earthy scent, which you already know I’m into. This is great to use after sun and on the run. Very high recommendation for sensitive skin.

Finally, the Shave Cream. Now I don’t shave my face (much), but I got someone who does to road test this for me to see if it was as gentle as it claims to me, and boy did it deliver. Not only was the shave close and smooth, but it seemed to keep skin clear and free of any irritated redness. It’s like a shave cream and aftershave all in one. Now that’s a great find. Of course, it works on whatever else you might want to shave, too (I suppose it is summer now).

[bctt tweet=”All in all, I truly cannot speak highly enough of this company’s goals, look, and products.”]

All in all, I truly cannot speak highly enough of this company’s goals, look, and products. They don’t skimp on anything, and it shows. The products also seem to last longer than many larger brands because of the power and concentration of their good ingredients (dare I say super power?). My advice: divest from big brands and branch out to smaller makers, like Ursa Major, who are doing great work.