Disclaimer: This post features item(s) received at no cost for reviewing purposes, but the opinions are mine and, as always, honest. Read the full disclosure here.
California North is a skincare company based in Sausalito, California, founded by Jim Miller in 1990. Their first products were created for active, outdoor enthusiasts that needed quality products to counteract the visual effects of aging, sun, environment, and other lifestyle factors. Their products are full-sized, reasonably priced and formulated for both men and women. The company is cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny certified.
I tend to spend lots of time outdoors, and would always trade a day downtown for a day in nature, a relaxing walk in a park, or just sitting by a creek listening to the water rushing downstream. This means my skin is always exposed to the elements – sun, wind, cold, they can all damage and dry out my skin. So when I was contacted by California North founder to test their products, it was only natural to agree. They were very generous, and sent a wide variety of products for testing, and today I want to introduce you to three of them. I want to point out that these products are not only for outdoorsy types – you will definitely enjoy them even if you’re a city gal or guy, or even a couch potato. No judgement here 🙂 All the products are tested for use on both face and body.
My first impression when I saw all the California North products I received was: wow. When they say the products are full-size, they are not kidding. Each bottle is either 8 or 16 oz (236 or 473 ml), and they are all equipped with a pump. I always prefer pump bottles over squeeze ones, because I tend to drop bottles all the time, especially in the shower. These pumps are a bit slow though, but they offer good control over how much product you want to dispense. The bottles are plastic, white and quite minimalistic. I like the combination of crisp white bottle and olive green logo and lettering. They can fit any bathroom decor, and I think they would be appealing to both men and women.
The first California North product I’ve tried is their Gelskin Scrub. I’m in love with scrubs, and always look for different and better options. As someone with dry skin, I find that scrubs are very important to remove the dead skin and maintain a healthy glow. This particular one is design to remove dead skin and combat ingrown hairs while nourishing skin. The original formula featured crushed walnut shells, which are actually not that good for your skin, while the new formula (the one I tested) uses biodegradable polyethylene beads.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Alcohol Denat, Polyethylene, Glygerine, Juglans Nigra (Walnut Shell Powder) Flower Extract, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Allantoin, Disodium EDTA, Oleth-20, Methylparaben, Menthol, Chlorphenesin, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Chamomilla Recotita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Urtica Dioica Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Root Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Flower Extract.
The scrub, like the name suggest, has a thick gel consistency, with poly beads suspended in it. It comes out thick out of the bottle, and doesn’t drip when applied to the skin, so there’s no product wasted. If you’re using salt and/or sugar scrubs, you know how they can fly all around the shower if you rub to fast – well, this scrub doesn’t. It sticks to the skin in a way, and it’s very easy to rub it around as gentle or as hard as you prefer. It also doesn’t get under my fingernails like salt and sugar scrubs do, and it doesn’t sting (I am looking at you, salt scrubs). It’s quite a gentle scrub, so it doesn’t hurt or damage the skin, but it’s very effective. I can literally see glowing skin after my showers – it removes all the dead skin.
The scrub has a fresh, unisex scent. It’s not my favorite, since it does lean a bit towards masculine scents, but I’ve grown used to it and it doesn’t really bother me. The scent goes away when I wash off the scrub, and I loved the product so much that I kept it permanently in my shower. OK, at least until it runs out.
This product was first designed as a treatment for ingrown hairs, but I didn’t expect much from it when it comes to this issue. I’ve tried numerous scrubs and ingrown hair treatments, but the usually don’t do much for me – the dead skin is removed, but the hairs stay in. Well, to my surprise, The Gelskin Scrub actually gets those stubborn ingrown hairs out! Where has this been all my life? I tend to fight with ingrowns a lot, and this scrub is the solution.
To simplify – you need this scrub!
Now, before I get into the second product, I have a confession to make. I’m guilty of using anything I have around for shaving my legs. Sometimes it’s hubby’s shaving gel, sometimes just a regular shower oil or shower gel. It’s not perfect, but for some reason I am too lazy to get a proper female shaving product. Well, now I have one! The Razor Shavecream is formulated for both face and body, and to provide a close shave while moisturizing skin, without any irritation.
Ingredients: Aqua, Myristic Acid, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Stearic Acid, Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, PEG-7, Glyceryl Cocoate, Xanthan Gum, Triethanolamine, Allantoin, PEG-14M, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice Powder, Perfume Parfum – Orange Blend 5096772 , Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Limonene.
The Razor Shavecream is a rich, thick cream that glides over my skin. It doesn’t lather, and it really doesn’t need to. Once applied, it absorbs into my skin a bit, but it’s still easy to see which areas I’ve shaved, and which I haven’t, so there are no “skipped” areas – I’m sure you all hate it when that happens as much as I do. The cream has a light citrus scent, and gives me a nice, clean, close shave with no nicks or cuts.
I find that the cream does gather in the razor, just as expected, but it doesn’t dry and clog it, so it’s easy to rinse out, which is more important than you may think at first. The only thing I would recommend is that you do smaller area at a time, because the cream tends to get a bit dry on my skin, but not much. I am shaving my legs in parts using the cream, first the lower leg, then the upper part, and then the same with the other leg. If you are fast enough, you can do a whole leg at once, but I like to be careful with my razor.
The previous two products are important steps in prepping my skin for the third product – the Self Tanner. I was so excited to try this product, since my quest for the low odor self tanner seems to be never ending. The tanner has a creamy consistency, looks white out of the bottle, and rubs in completely. I usually don’t like added colors when it comes to skincare, except when it comes to self-tanners. Some added tint would make it much easier to see how much and where I applied the tanner, and that is pretty much the only thing I didn’t like about this product. The lack of tint can lead to accidents – when I tried the tan on my legs only, some got on my arm without me noticing, so I had a dark patch there for a week.
The tanner has a creamy scent going on, and sinks in completely within 15 minutes. It just feels like I’m applying a regular skin lotion. It did develop the usual the usual tanner scent soon after, but the scent actually wasn’t crazy strong, I’ve used much worse tanners.
Ingredients: Aqua, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Dihydroxyacetone, Carthamus Tinctorius, (Safflower) Seed Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Modified Potato Starch, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Benzophenone-3, Erythrulose, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Parfum, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Methyl Gluceth-20, Allantoin, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Glycerin, Chamomile (Chamomilla Recutita – Matricaria) Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Citric Acid.
It is recommended to do two applications the first time you use it, and I followed those instructions. I applied the self tanner in the morning, and after about 4h I has some light tan, not much, but it was definitely there. Then I applied the tanner again, and left it on overnight – there was no need, since I had lots of tan developed before bedtime, but I just wanted to see how much tan can I develop. Well, a lot! For my extra white skin, developing the tan overnight resulted in medium/dark tan. Overall, my tan was even, with no streaks, a little bit orange, but quite natural in general. Even my husband commented that it looked very natural. I recommend that if you use this tanner to shower before sleep, though, and then reapply in the morning if you want a darker tan. This way your tan will look better.
I read somewhere a little trick with self tanners, not to get your hands/feet/knees/elbows too dark. After applying the tan, lightly wipe those areas with a damp paper towel. It worked with some other tanners for me, but do not do it with this one. Where I wiped my skin it didn’t tan at all, so it looked patchy on my knees and feet. It’s completely my fault, of course, and I am just sharing so that you don’t repeat my mistake.
My tan started fading evenly, then after 3-4 days got a bit patchy, because the skin sheds at different rates. I used the scrub, and it made the tan more even, but removed some. I liked the overall effect, though, so I recommend using the scrub if your tan starts fading unevenly. I didn’t get completely back to white even after a week, but that was when I reapplied the tanner. It went on evenly, and I got about the same intensity of tan as the first time. Overall I like the self tanner, especially because it looks so natural, but is buildable, so I can decide how tanned I want to look.
California North products are available for order on their website, and they ship to USA, Canada, UK and the rest of Europe. These three products are available in two sizes, 8 and 16 oz, and retail for:
- Gelskin Scrub: 8 oz bottle $24, 16 oz bottle $39
- Razor Shavecream: 8 oz bottle $22 USD, 16 oz bottle $36
- Self tanner: 8 oz bottle $29, 16 oz bottle $49
I actually prefer smaller sizes, because I have a smaller shower, but it’s definitely more economical to buy the bigger bottles. Both sizes come with a pump. All three of these products are effective, and I’m especially in love with the Gelskin Scrub.
Do you spend a lot of time outdoors? What do you do to keep your skin glowing. Did any of these products pique your interest?