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I am definitely not hooked on any one brand of skin care products and enjoy trying anything new. However, I have often wished to whittle down my morning beauty regimen to a few great go-to products. That's why I was so intrigued when asked to try the Astara Basic Care Kit for Normal Skin ($84).
After researching Astara, I believe that they go to great lengths to ensure the use of natural organic ingredients, and they state that they use only truly organically certified ingredients whenever possible. Their products are chock full of wonderful botanical ingredients, and what's even more impressive is that their products DO NOT contain toxic preservatives, parabens, formaldehyde, petroleum or petroleum derivatives, harsh surfactants or sulfides, pesticides, synthetic fragrances, aphthalates or artificial colors or dyes.
The first item in the kit is the Botanical Cleansing Gele ($19/2 oz). It smells pleasant, almost like fresh squeezed oranges. I found it to be very gentle yet effective, and a dime-sized amount was plenty to cleanse my face and neck. My face felt very soft and fresh after using it. I am heavy-handed with my products, and this 2-ounce container still lasted me over a month.
The next item in the kit was the AHA Nutrient Toning Essence ($18/2 oz.). It has a very subtle botanical fragrance and also comes in a 2-ounce container in this kit. It lasted just as long as the cleanser. This toner is very refreshing and made my face feel cool and clean without ever drying it out! The AHAs must have been working, as I could see the skin exfoliate as I toned with a cotton ball. I am sure this was also facilitated by the Mad Hippie Exfoliating Serum ($35 in the shop) I use several times a week. To be honest, I often skip using a toner, but this one is definitely a winner.
The third item in this kit is the Activated Antioxidant Infusion ($54/1.3 oz), and it is heavenly! The fragrance is barely perceptible, though botanical as with the rest of the kit. After the first use, it left my skin feeling like plush velvet. Easy to apply, the consistency looks rather thick, but it’s almost "whipped" like a mousse. It is a great product that makes your skin feel wonderfully moisturized and plump for at least eight hours, and it protects your face from all the nasties in the environment. I also used this on top of my retinol at night and never once experienced any irritation. This could easily be used as a moisturizer for those with normal skin. The bottle is deceivingly small, but you get a generous 1.3 ounces of this product, and a little goes a long way.
And finally, the Astara Basic Care for Normal Skin kit rounds out with an Antioxidant Light Moisturizer ($39/1.3 oz), which has a pleasing, light botanical fragrance, as well. This is also chock full of natural, organic, botanical antioxidants. The consistency of this moisturizer is light. I used it in the day over the Activated Antioxidant Infusion when I didn't wear makeup, and it did give my skin some additional moisture. However, this light moisturizer does not have quite enough moisture on its own for use under makeup. My skin was still dry and taut after applying my makeup. Since this past winter was especially cold and arid, perhaps I will find that it is my go-to moisturizer this summer. I love the idea of wearing this antioxidant light moisturizer under my makeup for extra protection from environmental stressors, and I plan to try using it again this summer when my skin is slightly oily. I still have plenty of this moisturizer left, as it also comes in a generous 1.3-ounce size.
Overall, I would say that this is a perfect skin care kit for your morning routine — especially for you ladies in your 20s and 30s. It even comes in a nice, compact, see-through zippered bag for easy carry or storage. With all these natural, organic antioxidants and a good sunscreen, this would be my go-to morning beauty regimen if I were 20 to 40 years old. I give all the products in Astara's Basic Care for Normal Skin kit a great rating for the wonderful ingredients and care that goes into their products. I will fill you in later this summer on how the light moisturizer works in the heat for this 50-plus gal.