Let The Great Bear Take A Swipe At Your Face: Ursa Major "4 In 1" Face Tonic

I’m a big believer in the power of Witch Hazel in the shave (or rather, after shave) routine. I have found it useful for cleaning up lather residue that I have missed after a warm water rinse I do immediately after shaving (I am sometimes surprised at what I find on the cotton pad after a wipe-down) and before I finish with a cool water rinse and after shave balm application.  It is also useful for combatting ingrown hairs, oily or cracked skin, and swelling.  Witch Hazel can either be and astringent or a toner depending on the amount of alcohol it contains.  For myself I prefer the lower-alcohol, toner version but that is a personal preference.

So my curiosity was piqued when Anthony Qaiyum of Merz Apolecary (one of the forces behind “The Great Shave” in Chicago) suggested I try Ursa Major 4 In 1 Face Tonic.

The description of the product says “[t]his potent liquid cure-all removes oil and grime, dissolves dead skin and clears blocked pores, while combating blemishes, razor bumps and ingrown hairs. Soothes and hydrates to boot! Used daily it’ll deliver clearer, brighter, calmer skin.”

It is not just a Witch Hazel, though it is one of the main ingredients.  It also includes things like aloe vera, willow bark extract, and a mild alpha hydroxy acid, along with a bunch of other goodies (listed below).  It has a very mild scent, vaguely lavender-ish to my nose, with maybe a hint of “medicinal.”  In any event, it fades quickly.


I have been using it regularly for the past several months now and while I haven’t experienced anything sudden or dramatic I have seen a gradual, steady improvement in the condition of my skin and complexion.  I wish I had the forsight to have taken a “before” picture to compare to the present.

The Tonic’s price might seem high.  However you don’t need to use a lot of it so it lasts a loooong time–I’m nowhere near the bottom of the bottle after months of use.  And there are a lot of ingredients: Ursa Major also attempts to use “natural” and “organic” ingredients whenever possible (with the cost that usage incurs).

By the way, the tonic also comes as pre-moistened Face Wipes.

If you have “troubled skin” like I do, take a look at the Ursa Major Face Tonic as part of your after shave routine.


Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, water/aqua/ eau, Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) leaf water, Salix nigra (willow) bark extract, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf/flower water, leuconostoc/Radish root ferment filtrate, sodium hyaluronate, glycerin*, 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, Oryza sativa (rice) seed extract*, Betula alba (birch) sap, lactobacillus, Arundinaria gigantea (bamboo) ferment filtrate, caprylyl/ capryl wheat bran/straw glycosides, fusel wheat bran/straw glycosides, polyglyceryl-5 oleate, sodium cocoyl glutamate, glyceryl caprylate, Olea europaea (olive) leaf extract, Pseudotsuga menziesii (fir) needle oil, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower oil*, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil, Pelargonium graveolens (geranium) leaf/flower oil*, Boswellia carterii (frankinscense) resin extract, alcohol denatured*. *certified organic


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  1. foxtrot says

    While searching for Ursa Major at an online drugstore, I noticed the witch hazel that appears in some of your youtube videos. (Or something similar: Thayer’s). I know you prefer alcohol-free aftershave but I had no idea that one could buy witch hazel without the alcohol solution. Wonderful. And it comes in cucumber!

    Thanks for all the videos and blog posts. Very helpful.

  2. Attila says

    I purchased this locally and have used it a few times now. I can only echo what Mark wrote in his article. I too have problem skin and usually after I shave my head I always get a couple of bumps. Not so with this product! It has also made improvements in my face. I highly recommend it to you gents. So nice to have an all natural product that works this well!!

  3. Attila says

    Wow, those are some quality ingredients. Makes you wonder why the big name brands force all those harsh chemicals on us. Not for our benefit, certainly. I am going to be looking into the 4 in 1 tonic and likely purchasing it. It’s worth trying out products like these and supporting the companies that make them.

  4. says

    I remember the Q Bros. talking about the Ursa Major products around Great Shave time. I haven’t used the 4-in-1 Face Tonic, but I do use this SheaMoisture Aftershave Elixir which I purchase at my local Target store.

    Tea tree oil, shea butter, coconut oil, black seed oil, willow bark extract, birchwood soap, witch hazel, kaolin clay, juniper oil, songyi mushroom, vitamin A, vitamin E and essential oil blend.

  5. Jim S. says

    With that incredibly long list of quality ingredients, and the fact that aloe vera (not water) is the first ingredient, I am very intrigued with Ursa Major 4-in-1 Face Tonic.

    I’ll be placing an order. To me, excellent products are often worth paying a little more for. Thanks, Mantic, for the heads-up on this offering from Merz Apothecary.

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