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Goods and Services

Product Review: California Naturel

Several weeks ago I was approached by California Naturel to do a product review for them. I was very excited because I had been recently reading about their products, how they use natural and oraganic ingredients and use sustainable business practices. Plus they are based in Sausalito and it always thrills me to be able to pinpoint exactly where a company is because I’ve spent time there myself. Sausalito! I miss you!

From my million product trials with Birchbox, you know I am always up for some experimentation and I am currently obsessed with face wash (I am no longer convinced of my regimen with Clinique), moisturizers, and sunscreens.


And they gave me a sampling of all four. I saved them for a special occasion and brought them along with us to the Four Seasons on our anniversary staycation. I felt like California Naturel needed to be experienced with some marble bathroom counter-tops and really excellent bathroom lighting. I was preparing myself for incredibly accessible, user friendly, even for the most sensitive of skins pampering experience. (They didn’t disappoint!)


First up was the Gentle Cleansing Gel ($33). The first thing I noticed was this super awesome bottle. You’d think it would super hard plastic, typical product manufacturing, etc or perhaps a frosted glass? Nope! It feels like a firm silicone, like it wold bounce if I dropped it. This is really exciting as I am totally freaked out about breaking my good products when I travel and I have no fear that this would break in any bag. It also comes with 2 caps to make it super difficult to come *magically* uncapped in any bag and get all over anything. I know, I’m kind of going on and on about this, but I swear – it’s the little things that make a product worth more than $10 at your local drugstore.


(Me! All face-washed up!)

California Naturel says that their Gentle Cleansing Gel uses over 99% natural ingredients and of those over 57% are sourced from organic farming. The scent is herbal, light, and refreshing. Overall it washed clean and was a great experience. I don’t use it every day because I found, for my skin, it can be a little drying, but it is great especially when I am washing off a day of BB cream and other makeup. If you are looking for a solid face wash and wanting to support a natural product, I would definitely recommend.


This broad spectrum sunscreen, SPF 30 ($35) is my favorite product they offer, hands down. I burn and being exposed in the sun for too long makes me anxious. Sunburns can ruin a vacation, a weekend, anything. They are embarrassing, but above all they are dangerous! I love BB/CC creams because they include a sunscreen for my face without me having to think about it. This lotion is like a daily moisturizer for my body that just so happens to have sunscreen in it.

Initially I was a little freaked out with how thick it seemed when I first squeezed it out and rubbed it together in my hands, but after putting it all over my arms, shoulders, and upper back/neck it felt completely non-greasy and left a matte finish. Living in a world of spray sunscreen, I felt extra protected being able to physically apply a lotion, and it was a major relief to not be concerned about getting my blouse greasy or stained because of a product.

Personally, it is a little thick for my face, but I will be packing California Naturel’s sunscreen for our trip to Maine for all of my chest/shoulders/back/arm action. During our staycation, I ran around the city for hours, had lunch on a rooftop deck, and felt extra confident that I wasn’t going to burn. I didn’t even freckle, it was fabulous.


The Nourishing Cream ($45) for dry to normal skin types was my first go-to as my skin is general dry (nowadays… pregnancy totally switched up my combo skin to not pretty consistently dry). This lotion is pretty thick and really, really hydrating. California Naturel says that this lotion improves skin elasticity (and helps with fine lines and wrinkles), and it reduces puffiness and redness on top of encouraging cell renewal.

I would use this as more of a night cream over a daily moisturizer. I think it is too thick to go under makeup, and if there is any heat/humidity happening I would be a sweaty, lotion-y faced person pretty fast. But! I think I’m going to buy a full-sized version for night to help improve my face skin’s texture during the day.

The Balancing Complex ($45) is a lighter lotion, much more suitable for day-wear. Although it claims to help regulate sebum production (basically, face oil) which would be perfect from combo/oily skin, but for my sad dry skin it may not be helpful on the daily.

Both of these lotions felt really good for my skin. I don’t know how to explain it without sounding cheesy, but they smelled really light, mildly herbal, really natural and I felt all glow-y after using the face wash and these lotions. Most of the time I don’t even really know what I am slathering on my skin. I kind of cross my fingers and hopes it works out. (Like with the expensive Smashbox BB Cream – which I am still trying to use and still trying to figure out because it was so expensive I don’t want to totally abandon it.) With the products from California Naturel I feel like I know exactly what is happening. I knew the ingredients, I felt confident that they were quality products and weren’t going to cause irritation or fail me somehow.

I think the expense of some of these items is worth really thinking about the purchase and I totally get that. I am at a point where I am mixing and matching my drugstore stuff (and my free samples, let’s be real) with a few higher end products. Especially in moisturizers, especially in face washes. And along with my farmer’s market push to eat organically and locally, I am very encouraging of anyone who would like to spend a little extra for natural/organic products. California Naturel is a great jumping off point.

If you’re interested in learning more about the products, check out their facebook page for many other reviews and user experiences.


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Who the hell is she?


Seattle/Writer/Adventurer/Married to Kamel/Maker of many mistakes/Mom of 1 Gabriel and 1 TBD/Baker of things/Roaster of Vegetables/Maker of videos/Normal life photographer/Romantic/Irreverent/Honest

If you would like to chat with me or see what else I'm up to you can follow me on Twitter (betterinrealife), on facebook, or email me at betterinrealife at gmail.