An honest review of True Botanicals Chebula Active Immunity Serum and Renew Pure Radiance Oil

I write about skincare quite a bit for my day job, so when I got Jessica DeFino's newsletter a few weeks ago, I stopped dead in my tracks. I realized how many times I've written copy along the lines of "yes, it actually works"...and the thing is, shouldn't all skincare? The sad reality is that a lot of it doesn't—or at least, it doesn't produce the results you're looking for. Again, I don't tell you about most of the products I receive for free, but when I find something that, yes, actually works, I get very evangelistic about it. My last rave review was quite spendy, so I'm happy to report that while this week's duo is not exactly a bargain, it's definitely more palatable. Read on for my unfiltered thoughts on True Botanicals Chebula Serum and Pure Radiance Oil.

Yes, this is my actual skin, in good lighting. I am not wearing any foundation. 

First, a little background on True Botanicals

Based in San Francisco (whoop whoop!), True Botanicals was started by a woman named Hillary Peterson, who, after being diagnosed with cancer at age 32, decided to clean up her skincare routine by eliminating toxic chemicals—and there are a lot out there, unfortunately. Not satisfied with what she found in terms of effective clean beauty products, she created her own line and set out to prove that naturally derived ingredients can work even better than conventional (potentially harmful) ones. True Botanicals came onto my radar when Laura Dern, who looks freaking amazing, started raving about it in various interviews; both she and Olivia Wilde are now brand spokespeople (and, yes, Olivia Wilde says, "This is the only high-end natural skin care that actually works," oy). I always say, you can smear natural stuff like coconut oil on your face all day long, but if it doesn't produce the results you want, what's the point? The question is, does True Botanicals produce clinical-grade results with natural ingredients? 

Renew Chebula Active Serum

Renew is True Botanicals' line for dry skin; they also have Clear for blemish-prone, Calm for sensitive, and Combination for, you guessed it, combination skin. Since I have the complexion of a reptile, True Botanicals sent me a couple of products from the Renew line, including this serum. Chebula is an ayurvedic fruit that reportedly has more antioxidants than a├žai; it's the bioactive ingredient here, and on a high level, it's meant to hydrate, strengthen the skin's barrier, and address signs of aging like fine lines, skin tone, and firmness. The most immediate thing I noticed was that my my skin looked more even and way less red and splotchy than usual. After using it for a week or so, my skin was definitely smoother; sometimes my texture can get a little orange-peel-like, and this made it feel more plump and uniform. My fine lines and wrinkles are still present, however they seem a little more elastic and less prone to permanently creasing my face. I use a full dropper of the serum after cleansing, then follow with the Pure Radiance Oil. The serum does have a natural scent that, oddly, smells just like Flonase—it reminds me of wildflowers. It's $90 for an ounce; I've been using it for about two months and am not even halfway through the bottle. 

Renew Pure Radiance Oil

This was one of True Botanicals' first products (and the one that converted Laura Dern); as someone with very dry skin, I love oils in theory but find that they tend to sit on top of my skin without fully absorbing. Someone at True Botanicals wisely must have reached the same conclusion, hence the introduction of the serum, which helps the ingredients in the oil better penetrate the skin; in turn, the oil locks in whatever active ingredients are in the serum. Isn't chemistry a beautiful thing? Anyway, this is one of the better oils I've used—it's loaded with ceramides, it moisturizes without making me greasy, and I do feel like it imparts a little glow (not an "I just had IPL" glow, but good enough, considering). Like the serum, it has a subtle natural scent that fades pretty quickly once you apply it. I usually wait a couple minutes for the serum to sink in then apply 5 or 6 drops of the oil, patting it into my skin. One thing to note: I found that this oil can really settle into my pores if I'm not careful, so I usually avoid my nose and chin altogether and make sure I give my face a good chemical exfoliation once a day (I love Paula's Choice BHA). The Oil is $110 for 1 oz., and a little goes a long way—I've made even less of a dent in this bottle than with the serum. 

My honest review

I am wise enough to not expect miracles from my skincare products. (For that, I'd likely need lasers and a good dermatologist.) That said, I do expect them to leave my skin looking slightly better than before, and that's definitely the case with True Botanicals. I am a big fan of the Chebula Serum—it has evened out my skin tone and texture, giving it that subtle plumpness that comes with proper hydration. I am curious to try it in conjunction with the Vitamin C booster and the Chebula Extreme Cream, full sizes of which are included in this Glow Set that's part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and, miraculously, not sold out yet. I like the Renew Oil but sometimes think oils just don't work well for my skin, and that's ok. Not every product will produce amazing results for every person, and I'd rather be upfront about it than tell you I have a bridge to sell you. That said, I'm super happy with mine and highly recommend giving True Botanicals a try. 


Gail Is This Mutton? said...

I love your honest reviews. I love the idea of oils and how lovely they feel - not to mention the smell. But I stopped buying them because of the absorption problem you mentioned, and not knowing where they fit in a skincare regime. The serum product sounds like a good solution. Thanks for linking.

Lovely said...

This brand sounds wonderful. I like the sound of the serum.

Heather Noire said...

I always wondered about this product and brand and I am glad you posted this. It is very key in getting accurate information before you try a new product. Hope you have a great weekend.

Laura B said...

I haven't heard of this yet. Your skin looks glowing though! Sounds like a great line!

Mica said...

The serum sounds wonderful, even though the oil isn't quite right for you. it's good you were able to enjoy and see benefits from the serum though, and it's nice the line uses natural ingredients as well :)

Thank you for joining the #WeekdayWearLinkup last week. Hope you are having a nice day :)

Away From The Blue

Anonymous said...

I would love to try something all natural I have been diagnose with Follicular lymphoma .. it's just that skin care companies always hire people that already have great skin to promote there products and photos always look retouched or the models are wearing makeup in the 'after' photo .. after having an earth shattering breakout from the chemo I can't afford a misstep with my skin care I get a souvenir dark spot for every pimple I hyperpigment so every zit matters ... uuugh ... what to do .. what to do

Shaun Michael said...

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