It was a move from the busy streets of New York City to the forests of Vermont that inspired Oliver Sweatman and Emily Doyle to create a line of clean skin care products which they named Ursa Major. While the natural skincare market is becoming more and more competitive, the brand aims to stand out from the crowd with their gender-inclusive products made with high-quality, naturally-derived ingredients.
They also believe in simple skin care routines with multi-tasking products that do more in less time so you can get out the door and enjoy what really counts. No complex, multi-step routines with Ursa Major!
In this review, we’ll discuss the 10 best Ursa Major skin care products, including the key ingredients and the research that supports (or doesn’t support) their use in skincare.
We’ll also share Ursa Major reviews so that you can get an idea of what customers really think of these products.
Is Ursa Major Skincare Worth The Money?
A common question about this brand is if the products are worth the cost.
In our opinion, Ursa Major products deliver value for money, but take a look at other brands that don’t require you to sacrifice your precious money.
We recommend brands that are committed to developing clean yet effective products.
One brand is Carrot & Stick, a clean skincare brand that perfectly balances the gentle nurturing of plants with the powerful results of innovative science.
Carrot & Stick intro bundles deliver great value for money because you can bundle 3 full-size products worth up to
$240 for $88.
What Are The Top 10 Best Ursa Major Skin Care Products?
Ursa Major offers everything that you would need to create a complete skincare routine, including cleansers, moisturizers, serums, masks, and more. Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 best Ursa Major Skin Care products.
Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash
This Ursa Major face wash goes above and beyond your average cleanser. It not only removes makeup, oil, and other impurities, it also exfoliates and hydrates without stripping your skin or messing with its pH balance.
We love that the base of this formula is aloe vera leaf juice, an extremely hydrating and soothing ingredient. Plus, there’s plenty of additional hydrating ingredients, such as xylitylglucoside, anhydroxylitol, and xylitol.
The formula also includes chemical exfoliants in the form of natural alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) from lemon and sugar cane.
While it’s true that AHAs can be derived from sugar cane and fruit, these extracts don’t perform the same as when pure glycolic acid (or any other AHA) is used in a product. There’s actually a big difference between the extracted, pure ingredient (i.e. glycolic acid) and the original plant material (i.e. lemon and sugar cane extracts).
In our opinion, you’re much better off using an exfoliating cleanser with AHAs, such as Formulyst’s Clarifying AHA Cleanser or Jan Marini Bioglycolic Face Cleanser.
Another downside with this face wash is the inclusion of fragrant essential oils, such as lime, orange, and grapefruit. These ingredients have the potential to cause skin sensitivity reactions.
Bottom Line: The Ursa Major Face Wash should help to remove makeup and impurities, and it may help to mildly exfoliate the skin, but keep in mind that this product contains fragrance.
Ursa Major Fortifying Face Balm
Despite “balm” being in the name of this product, the texture is more of a lightweight, gel-like lotion, which is great because it absorbs quickly without feeling greasy or heavy. However, if you have dry skin and you were hoping for a rich balm, this isn’t the product for you.
A base of aloe vera juice is combined with lightweight emollients, such as caprylic/capric triglyceride, sunflower seed oil, and kukui nut oil.
Willow bark extract is included in this moisturizer due to its rich source of tannins, phenolic acids, flavonoids, and various minerals, all of which help soothe the skin and aid in cell regeneration.
Willow bark also contains a compound called salicin, which provides exceptional anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to reduce the appearance of pores, even out skin tone, and increase skin firmness.
Sadly, this moisturizer includes several fragrance ingredients that have the potential to cause skin sensitivity reactions.
Bottom Line: This gel-like lotion Includes several lightweight emollients to help soften the skin while willow bark extract helps to reduce inflammation and minimize the appearance of pores.
Ursa Major Golden Hour Recovery Cream
Golden Hour Recovery Cream is a rich yet fast-absorbing face cream that provides deep hydration and nourishment to soothe and replenish skin. A few of the key ingredients in this cream include sea buckthorn, black currant, and calendula.
Sea buckthorn oil contributes to the golden color of this cream while aso aiding in skin regeneration and repair properties due to this oil’s composition of unique unsaturated fatty acids, such as palmitoleic acid (omega-7) and gamma-linolenic acid (omega-6).
Black currant is a rich source of vitamin C that helps brighten and firm the skin, while calendula offers a natural source of carotenoids to soothe and condition skin.
Sadly, this moisturizer includes several fragrance ingredients that have the potential to cause skin sensitivity reactions.
Bottom Line: Golden Hour Recovery Cream is a rich yet fast-absorbing face cream that provides deep hydration and nourishment with key ingredients like sea buckthorn oil, black currant, and calendula extract.
Ursa Major Brighten Up Vitamin C Serum
Rather than using pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in this serum, the brand chose to use a vitamin C derivative for better stability. The derivative they chose to include in this serum is called “ascorbic acid/orange/citrus limon/citrus aurantifolia polypeptide”.
This form of vitamin C isn’t very common, and we weren’t able to find much research on this ingredient, unfortunately. However, if it works like other vitamin C derivatives, it should help to brighten the complexion, fade dark spots, and promote firmer more youthful-looking skin.
Bottom Line: Ursa Major Vitamin C Serum contains a rare vitamin C derivative that may help brighten and firm the skin, while Edelweiss complex helps combat signs of aging.
Ursa Major Forest Alchemy Eye Cream
This anti-aging eye cream has a very rich, creamy texture that instantly helps to soothe and hydrate the delicate skin around the eyes.
We love that the base of this eye cream is green tea leaf extract, an excellent botanical that provides the skin with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a polyphenol that soothes skin and reduces irritation while also targeting free radicals, particularly those caused by UV-induced oxidative damage.
There’s plenty of nourishing emollients in this eye cream, such as shea butter, caprylic/capric triglyceride, and rosehip oil. These ingredients help to soften the skin, lock in moisture, and deliver important nutrients.
Another hydrating ingredient in the Ursa Major eye cream is snow mushroom extract. Snow mushroom has a rich composition of polysaccharides, which effectively bind moisture and provide hydration to the skin. It acts similarly to hyaluronic acid by drawing moisture into the skin.
In fact, the particles are smaller than hyaluronic acid, so snow mushroom extract actually penetrates the skin more easily. Research has also demonstrated snow mushroom extract to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Bottom Line: Ursa Major Eye Cream contains a blend of naturally-derived emollients to soften skin, as well as antioxidant-rich green tea extract and super-hydrating snow mushroom extract.
Ursa Major Sublime Sage Spray Deodorant
This aluminum and baking soda-free natural herbal spray deodorant promises to keep you fresh and odor-free by neutralizing odor-producing bacteria with a blend of plants, minerals, and enzymes.
One key ingredient in this deodorant is triethyl citrate, which is made by combining plant-derived alcohol and citric acid. It works by increasing the acidity of armpit skin to decrease the production of esterase, an odor-causing enzyme.
Another key ingredient is undecylenoyl glycine. Derived from castor seed oil, this ingredient works to neutralize body odor within the pores for comprehensive odor control.
Plus, this spray deodorant features a “sublime” scent of sage, geranium, sandalwood, and lemon myrtle.
Bottom Line: An herbal spray deodorant that minimizes odor by neutralizing odor-producing bacteria with a blend of plants, minerals, and enzymes.
Ursa Major 4-in-1 Essential Face Tonic
Just as the name suggests, this one product provides four different functions — cleanser, exfoliator, soother, and hydrator — in order to simplify your skin care routine.
Like many of the other Ursa Major skin care products, the base of this tonic is aloe vera leaf juice, along with plenty of other hydrating ingredients like glycerin and sodium hyaluronate.
There’s a few ingredients in this tonic that will help to reduce the appearance of pores and even out skin tone, including willow bark and witch hazel extract. There’s also skin-soothing ingredients such as green tea, birch sap, and olive leaf extract.
Of note, this is another Ursa Major skin care product that contains fragrance.
Bottom Line: The 4-in-1 Essential Face Tonic is basically like a hydrating toner, and while there are soothing ingredients in this formula, there’s also fragrance ingredients that have the potential to cause skin sensitivity reactions.
Ursa Major Bright & Easy Flash Mask
This gentle “flash” enzyme face treatment promises to enhance the appearance of skin’s tone, elasticity, luminosity and firmness — all without the irritation associated with harsh scrubs or chemical peels.
Unfortunately, we noticed that one of the highest concentration ingredients in this mask is alcohol. One reason for this is because ethanol (alcohol) functions as a penetration enhancer by disturbing the skin barrier, thereby allowing other ingredients to penetrate into the deeper layers of skin.
However, using topical products with high concentrations of alcohol is well known to cause skin dryness and irritation by disrupting the lipids that make up the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin), according to a publication in the journal BBA Biomembranes.
The skin dryness may be counteracted with the inclusion of hydrating ingredients like aloe vera leaf juice, glycerin, and sodium hyaluronate, but it’s still something to keep in mind before trying this product.
Despite the downside of the high concentration of alcohol, this mask includes several beneficial ingredients, such as exfoliating enzymes from pineapple, hibiscus, and aspen bark.
There’s also alfalfa extract, a retinol-like active that helps improve the look of skin’s firmness and elasticity.
Bottom Line: An exfoliating face mask that includes hydrating ingredients and enzymes from pineapple, hibiscus, and aspen bark, but keep in mind there’s a high concentration of alcohol in this formula.
Ursa Major Perfect Zen Body Lotion
This velvety body lotion is promised to be light enough for summer, yet rich enough for winter, offering soothing hydration all year long.
A base of aloe vera leaf juice is combined with lightweight emollients such as sunflower seed oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, and meadowfoam seed oil. These emollients help to soften the skin and lock in moisture without feeling heavy or greasy.
However, there’s high concentrations of many different types of fragrant essential oils in this lotion. While these certainly created a pleasant scent, they aren’t doing your skin any favors.
Bottom Line: A basic body lotion with a nice texture and skin-softening emollients.
Ursa Major Stellar Shave Cream
If you want to avoid nicks, cuts, or razor burn when shaving, it’s important to use a product that lubricates the skin well. Ursa Major’s Stellar Shave Cream promises to do exactly that.
It’s a non-lathering shave cream that includes many of the same key ingredients found throughout the line of Ursa Major skin care products, such as aloe vera leaf juice, sunflower seed oil, glycerin, and willow bark.
There’s a decent amount of the rich, nourishing emollient shea butter, as well as oat protein to improve glide and moisturize skin. Lastly, birch sap helps to hydrate skin and reduce redness.
Bottom Line: Ursa Major Stellar Shave Cream should help to soften and lubricate skin, thus, helping to prevent nicks, cuts, and razor burn.
What Are The Key Ingredients in Ursa Major Skin Care Products?
You may have noticed from our descriptions of the Ursa Major skin care products that this brand focuses on using naturally-derived ingredients, such as seed oils, fruit enzymes, bark extracts, plant-derived surfactants, nut butters, and more.
We love that nearly all of the Ursa Major skin care products are formulated with a base of aloe vera leaf juice. Aloe is extremely hydrating due to its rich supply of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), a class of sugar molecules that help bind moisture to the skin.
While we appreciate that Ursa Major focuses on formulating clean skin care products with naturally-derived ingredients, we have to point out that there’s many synthetic skin care ingredients nowadays that are not only safe but actually quite effective.
For example, there’s peptides to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to exfoliate and brighten the skin, and retinoids to improve skin texture, tone, and firmness.
Furthermore, it’s important to understand that just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s safe. A perfect example is fragrant essential oils, which can be found in almost all Ursa Major products.
Essential oils can be a problem due to their potential to cause contact allergies, skin irritation, and even skin damage. In fact, according to a 2016 publication in the scholarly journal Dermatitis, nearly 80 essential oils have caused contact allergy.
You see, fragrance ingredients impart scent through a volatile reaction, and this natural reaction almost always causes a sensitizing reaction on skin.
While these fragrance ingredients may not cause visible effects like redness and rashes for everyone, the damage may still be occurring every day. Ultimately, this can cause mild problems for your skin in the short term and worse problems in the long term.
How Much Do Ursa Major Skin Care Products Cost?
Ursa Major skincare products are priced slightly more than higher-end drugstore brands, such as Olay and La Roche Posay. For example, the Ursa Major Face Wash costs $30 USD for 8 fl oz, while the Ursa Major Vitamin C Serum costs $54 USD for 1 fl oz.
Where to Buy Ursa Major Skin Care Products?
Ursa Major skin care products are sold on the brand’s website (www.ursamajorvt.com), as well as several third party online retailers, such as Ulta, Dermstore, Amazon, and more.
What is The Ursa Major Return Policy?
The Ursa Major return policy states that U.S. orders delivered within the last 30 days are returnable.
Is Ursa Major Cruelty Free?
Yes, Ursa Major is cruelty free. The brand does not test on animals and does not ask others to do so. They also don’t sell their products in countries where animal testing is required by law.
Is Ursa Major Vegan?
Most, but not all, of Ursa Major products are vegan. There are three products that include by-products from honey bees, Hoppin’ Fresh Deodorant, Forest Fix Deodorant, and Base Layer Deodorant (contain royal jelly extract) and Morning Mojo Bar Soap (contains honey).
Ursa Major Reviews
Ursa Major reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive, and the product with the most reviews is the Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash.
The positive reviews for the Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash mention that it smells good, has a nice texture, and cleans the skin well, leaving your skin feeling refreshed.
For example, one review says, “It smells so clean and refreshing! The texture is very silky and smooth. After washing, my skin feels clean but not dried out or stripped.”
Another 5-star review says, “6 years we have been using this product. Morning face wash makes you feel you are out with nature and makes your face look and feel fresh. Great feeling to start your days! Highly recommend this product.”
However, there are a handful of negative reviews for the Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash from customers who experienced side effects like skin dryness, tightness, and irritation.
For example, one review says, “Honestly, I was so excited for this face wash. But after a week of using it, I had to stop. My skin was drier than it had ever been before and I had dry flaky patches on my skin. I paired this with the golden hour recovery cream but still was completely dried out. And the smell… reminds me of tequila. It’s too strong and not pleasant. I wanted to like this, but it ended up being the worst face wash I’ve ever used.”
A similar 1-star review says, “So disappointed with this product. It claims not to strip your face of moisture but since the first time I used it it leaves my skin so dry and uncomfortable. I break out and it feels so harsh on my skin. I don’t have dry or over sensitive skin. I did a lot of research to pick a good cleanser and sadly I didn’t.”
Overall, we appreciate that Ursa Major focuses on formulating clean skin care products with naturally-derived ingredients, but we’re concerned about the presence of fragrant essential oils in nearly every product.
- Formulas contains beneficial key ingredients from natural sources, such as seed oils, fruit enzymes, bark extracts, plant-derived surfactants, nut butters, and more
- Many positive Ursa Major reviews
- Ursa Major is cruelty free
- Almost all Ursa Major skin care products contain fragrance
- Quite a few Ursa Major reviews mention side effects like skin dryness and irritation
What Are Some Alternatives to Ursa Major Skin Care Products?
If you’re looking for skincare products to address the signs of aging, we recommend Carrot & Stick. Carrot & Stick maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in advanced skincare solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin.
BBA Biomembranes, May 2012, pages 1410-1419
de Groot AC, Schmidt E. Essential Oils, Part IV: Contact Allergy. Dermatitis. 2016;27(4):170-175. doi:10.1097/DER.0000000000000197