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