Herbivore Botanicals the skincare nightmare

Herbivore Botanical surfs on the « clean beauty and free of whatever » movement.

Those types of brands stem from the idea that « conventional » skincare is nonsafe and toxic. They use natural ingredients that must be better than awful chemical components.

Let me ask you something how do you determine if an ingredient is safe or not? That’s a difficult question to answer. What makes a formula outstanding is the combination of ingredients that works for a purpose and not if the ingredient is man-made or derived from mother nature. Plenty of « natural » components are toxic and some are awesome such as shea butter. Organic sunscreens are the best ingredients that we have to slow down the process of aging and are man made.

Don’t fall for the marketing claim that natural is safe because it is not. In general, those brands creates more skin problem than they solve.

This being said, I like some of the values of this brand. For example, they donate the benefits of Prism to LGBT organizations and they don’t promote animal testing.

Herbivore Botanicals Cleansers

They have 3 solid cleansers: Bamboo Charcoal Cleansing Bar Soap, Blue Clay Cleansing Bar Soap, Pink Clay Cleansing Bar Soap.
They are soaps and used saponified Oils of Coconut oil. Saponification is the chemical name to make soap using sodium or potassium hydroxide. Because they are soaps they have a really unhealthy pH (likely around 8-9).

I remind you that the biochemistry and the flora of our stratum corneum (the skin barrier) depend on an acidic pH. If I could, I would simply make soaps illegal!

Herbivore Botanicals Toner and Mist

The mist and the toner are not interesting at all, nothing groundbreaking here but say hello to irritants.

Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist

It contains aloe vera and rosa Damascena flower water. A bit of glycerin and hyaluronic acid after the preservatives. It lacks humectants and it seems to have highly fragrance components. Nothing outstanding but hi irritants.

Jasmine Green Tea Balancing Toner

Jasmin flower water, aloe vera, witch Hazel, ginger root extracts essentials oils. High risk of contact allergies again.

Herbivore Botanicals Serums


This serum supposedly contains 12% AHA and 3% BHA although they are not in the formula! This type of marketing should be illegal. In this formula, AHA and BHA derived are supposedly derived from plant extracts. You just have to hope that the percentages of acids in the plant are roughly the same for each batch… but who knows. On top of that, it contains essentials oil. Acids with essential oils are the best way to inflame the skin. This product is a big NO.


This serum is mainly aloe vera, glycerin and 4% of Bakuchiol. Bakuchiol is often described as an alternative to retinol. Some papers show that it has a retinol effect on the skin but we are far from a clear clinical demonstration which is why I tend to recommend retinol or a mix of retinol like ingredients such as the Flawless nightly serum (here). Again, this serum contains a bunch of skin irritants such has Jasmin flower extract. Again NO.

Herbivore Botanicals Moisturizers

Pink cloud

This cream is based on sunflower oil (which I love) and aloe Vera with a good blend of emollients. Overall this cream is not bad compared to the other product minus the essentials oils components again.

Moon fruit

This cream is sold as a night treatment that will infuse your skin with ethanol (alcohol) and a bunch of irritants. Alcohol is the second ingredient! This cream is from far the worst because it also features a wrong blend of several essential oils.

Herbivore Botanicals Oils

Herbivore botanicals oils are well formulated minus the essential oils which are very unfortunate. The three oils are excellent and interesting I just wish they were irritant-free.

Phoenix Facial Oil

Jojoba oil, rosehip seed oil, meadowfoam, chia seed oil, coenzyme Q10 … but essential oils (rose absolute and citrus). The lipid profile of this oil is very interesting but again why the essential oils!

Lapis Facial Oil

Squalane, jojoba oil, free fatty acids with blue tansy the same family of chamomile that could be anti-inflammatory. Again a nice blends but with two essentials oils

Orchid Facial Oil

Free fatty acids, camellia seed oil, jojoba oil but orchid extracts and jasmine. Again two plant fragrant extracts

My thoughts
This is typically the type of brand that I dislike. They are triggering consumers to think that their safe but they are not. The amount of essential oils in all their products is scary. I cannot imagine what it does to your skin if you use their whole line. You are pilling the irritants.

If you want to know more, watch me talk about it.

Thank you for your time.

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