Reviewed by Duane

I confess: my first encounter with the Ursa Major “Super Natural” Fantastic Face Wash was a bit of a turn off. The bottle seemed boringly plain, almost entirely white with bits of black and dark teal text, but I was excited by the caption “with cedar, spearmint & lime.” Cedar, spearmint, AND lime? I thought. This is gonna smell amazing! And it did. Very, very faintly amazing. I guess I was expecting a big, bold, manly-ly cedar-y KA-BOOM to come charging out of the bottle like a Pamplona bull, so the subtle tease of aroma I did get was something of a letdown.

Still… it did smell pretty good. When I really got my nose in there and WHIFFED it. Plus, I had my self-image to maintain. You see, I like to think I’m a sincere second-chance-giver. I’m a don’t-hang-it-all-on-the-first-impression kind of guy. So if the scent wasn’t all I’d imagined, maybe a second look at the packaging could even the keel.

Now, I’m a label-reader  ̶̶̶  and I have a dangerously low tolerance for marketing bullshit and purple prose. Experience has taught me that personal grooming and hygiene products are often the worst offenders for ridiculous label bumph (ever suffer through a Bed Head label?). So while I was gearing up to get into high dudgeon over Ursa Minor’s packaging précis, the good folks at Ursa Minor were busy tellin’ it straight, and dang ‘em if it didn’t work.

I was disarmed. It was good writing. Good, clean, no BS instructions. Put it in your hand, rub it on your face, and if you want more exfoliation leave it on longer (I’m paraphrasing here, but you get the gist). Even the organic claims were honest and well-spokenly tempered. 99.5% natural, 51% organic, sustainably sourced when possible, no petrochemicals. In essence, this bottle was saying “We make this product as best we can, with the best stuff we can lay hands on, and we can’t get everything we need organically or sustainably but we always try.” So, I’m cool with that.

I’ll readily admit there was a time the word “exfoliating” was more than a little foreign to me. But times are changing. Men are the cosmetic industry’s new frontier. And I recognize that maybe my old leaves-your-skin-so-dry-you-can-flake-it-off-with-your-finger white bar soap isn’t the best thing I could be washing my face with. Despite a rocky start, Ursa Major has managed to win me over. Is it worth it at $26 bucks a bottle? I don’t know. I think that’s really a personal thing. How much is “organic” worth to you? How much extra would you pay for a nice scent?

The bottom line? I don’t use it every day. Sometimes only once or twice a week. And at first I thought it was because I figured “it’s not that great,” but now I realize I’m saving it. I don’t want it to be empty and gone. I guess that’s about the most positive review I can give.

Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, lauryl glucoside, coco-glucoside, sodium cocoyl glutamate, sodium lauroamphoacetate, inulin, glyceryl laurate, sodium lauroyl glutamate, xylitylglucoside, anhydroxylitol, xylitol, Oryza sativa (rice) seed extract*, Camellia sinensis (white tea) leaf extract*, Saccharum officinarum (sugar cane) extract, Citrus medica limonum (lemon) extract, Citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, Pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract, Camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, Picea mariana (black spruce) needle oil, Pseudotsuga menziesii (fir) needle oil, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf/ flower water, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower water, Citrus paradisi (pink grapefruit) peel oil, Citrus aurantifolia (lime) peel oil, Artemisia ludoviciana (owyhee) leaf oil, Juniperus virginiana (cedar) wood oil, Tanacetum annuum (tanacetum annuum) flower oil*, Nardostachys chinensis (spikenard) root oil, Vetiveria zizanioides (vetiver) root oil, Mentha spicata (spearmint) leaf oil, sodium phytate, PCA glyceryl oleate, citric acid, gluconolactone, sodium benzoate

*organic