For my first LITHM brand spotlight, I need to go back to my blogging roots and support and feature a small business, and in the world of clean skincare I can think of none better than LIVE BOTANICAL. This handcrafted, luxurious line is purposely small and beyond wonderful. And in a class that many times is not very budget-friendly, it is much more affordable than most of its peers (and even more so for you, my friend, as the creator has been kind enough to share a special 20% off promo code for my readers!). Given the insane quality and thoughtfulness behind each product, it is a line I HIGHLY recommend. All products mentioned in this Live Botanical review have been purchased by me (several times over, TBH!).
Carolyn McRory is the Owner and Maker behind LIVE BOTANICAL. She is an herbalist, and her path in the sourcing and extracting of ingredients and the formulating of each product is both inspirational and of the highest standards. Just a quick stroll through the LB Instagram feed will mesmerize you with the beauty and appreciation of the ingredients used. Not only is it educational and enlightening (the product descriptions on the website are fantastic as well), but the images and words are just so soothing and beautiful…who doesn’t need more of that right now?! Carolyn provides a sense of wonder, beauty and calm in the intentions of her products that’s really captivating.
I first came across Live Botanical when I was trying to heal a bad bout of perioral dermatitis. I was on the hunt for a clean, moisturizing oil cleanser that didn’t require a double-cleanse. Luckily Carolyn is brilliant and offers mini sizes of her products, so when ordering the Nourishing Oil Cleanser I popped a few other items in my cart. And just like that a love affair with Live Botanical began.
What makes LIVE BOTANICAL so special?
First and foremost, it’s plainly obvious how much care and thought is put into every ingredient, every product. But let’s take a wee deep dive into the philosophy, standards and benefits of Live Botanical:
- Fresh, simple ingredients, regionally sourced – Though it costs them 4-5x more, LB uses fresh herbs to ensure quality and potency. Organic is the preference in their formulas, but if there’s not an organic option, Live Botanical works with growers who either follow organic guidelines or use plants that are ethically wild-harvested. Based in Portland, OR, they are focused on bioregional sourcing, so most ingredients are grown in the Pacific Northwest with many coming from their very own garden.
- No nasties – It goes without saying, but Live Botanical products are free of all of the standard nasties (parabens, phthalates, fragrance, etc.), and any preservatives or lab-based ingredients are researched extensively for environmental impact and personal safety. The oils, butters and waxes used are GMO free and unrefined (or minimally refined depending on usage guidelines). No animal testing or animal-based ingredients, though they do use bee products (honey).
- The Feel Good Factor – Live Botanical is flush in the feel-good. Their sourcing practices are responsible and transparent…they are hyperaware of things like over-harvesting to make sure that the land/source/people are not exploited. Along with their environmental stewardship, Live Botanical donates profits to outstanding organizations that support social and environmental causes (like this one and this one, among many others), working to uplift marginalized communities. And when it comes to their products, each one just seems so intentional and thoughtfully created. I’m not kidding when I say to make sure and read through the ingredient descriptions on the website…you just can’t help but feel good about using these products.
- Sensitive-skinned people can rejoice – So many of the Live Botanical products work to calm the skin, support and repair barrier function and are extremely gentle. I’ve not reacted to any product I’ve tried from LB, and that’s saying something!
- Friendlier on the budget – Obviously ‘budget-friendly’ is a relative term, but in regards to luxe clean skincare lines, IMHO Live Botanical’s price point is about half of what many competitors are charging. And as mentioned above, Live Botanical offers mini versions of everything, so you can try products without breaking the bank (great travel sizes, to boot!). I just love that it’s truly a small business and that they aim to keep it that way: “…our products are affordable given the fair labor cost of ingredients used and making everything by hand. This lower footprint also means we don’t spend a lot on marketing or enhanced services. What we do offer is access to email the owner and maker with any questions you have.” We love that, right?!
There’s not a thing I’ve tried from LB that hasn’t been impressive. But for brevity’s sake I’ll spotlight my 5 favorite Live Botanical products (5 seems to be the magic number today, so let’s keep it rolling). Keep in mind that my skin is pushing 50 soon, a bit combo in the warmer months, dry in the colder and super freaking sensitive. That said, several of these work for all different skin types (you’ll see on the website that you can search by skin type and other concerns for other recommendations).
Here we go!
My current top picks from LIVE BOTANICAL