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You’ve probably seen the Olivia Wilde ads, which show the actress and producer rubbing serums into her clear, angelic skin and revealing her little secret. She works as an ambassador for True Botanicals with Laura Dern and Zazie Beetz, and I can’t deny that all three women are clearly on to something when it comes to skin care—but is it because of True Botanicals? Is this high-end natural skin-care line really that good?
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I went on a week-long, fully-immersive trial period, using True Botanicals Clear Pure Radiance Oil (not Renew Pure Radiance Oil, which only targets fine lines and wrinkles) every morning and night for a week to fine out, similar to how I tested La Mer Crème de la Mer and Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Face Oil. I had great hopes for a bottle that cost $110 per bottle.
What’s the deal with the brand?
Before I go into the details of my experiment, I’d want to explain why True Botanicals stands out among the sea of face oils and trendy skin-care brands. Hillary Peterson, an entrepreneur with a background in advertising and marketing (she held senior roles at Levi Strauss before becoming the CEO of Marie Veronique Organics), launched True Botanicals. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 32, shortly after giving birth to her twins. According to the True Botanicals website, this served as a “waking up call” for her, prompting her to found True Botanicals, a company that focuses on how nature’s advantages may be applied to skin.
True Botanicals claims to source its vegan components ethically, claiming to employ concentrates from plant actives that are naturally packed with vitamins, vital fatty acids, antioxidants, and other nutrients. The company also claims to rely on clinical studies from colleges such as Carnegie Mellon and Cornell to prove that their formulations are based on data and research. According to the website, “our products have been clinically shown to surpass major anti-aging skin-care goods.”
What does a dermatologist have to say about it?
I chatted with dermatologist Cybele Fishman, MD, of New York City, and asked her what she believes makes Clear Pure Radiance Oil unique in terms of addressing issues like acne and fine wrinkles. “It definitely contains a lot of antioxidants, which would be beneficial for anti-aging as well as any inflammatory illness like acne.” She says, “I’d be curious to test it.” “I don’t have acne, but I enjoy face oils since they’re free of preservatives, artificial perfumes, and artificial colours [all of which can irritate skin and exacerbate the problem].”
Dr. Fishman believes important elements like rosemary oil and nigella sativa (black cumin seed) oil jump out as very effective compounds when looking at the long ingredient list that makes up the Clear Pure Radiance Oil. “It has been discovered that rosemary oil reduces cutibacterium acnes” (formerly known as p. acnes). While this bacteria can be found on the skin of both acne sufferers and non-sufferers, it appears to behave differently in acne sufferers in terms of how it interacts with other bacteria on the skin and how pro-inflammatory it is,” she says.
Thanks to the black cumin seed oil, this blemish treatment is also a milder alternative to popular blemish treatments on the market. “A modest study found that black cumin seed oil was as efficient as 5% benzoyl peroxide while being less irritating,” she says.
What is the purpose of the Clear Pure Radiance Oil?
It’s designed to help with acne, uneven skin tone and texture, and fine wrinkles. Customers report seeing smoother, brighter skin with less blemishes after using it on a regular basis. It’s also a great hydrator, and it works to combat dull, dry skin by creating a natural barrier to keep moisture in.
What are the outcomes?
Pure Radiance Oil has a major task ahead of her. My menstruation had brought with it an entourage of zits that had made themselves at home around my chin, with a couple settling down on my forehead, the day before I started my trial. For some context, I have combination-oily skin that is sensitive to thick oils and greasy formulas. I’ve had several oils completely break me out, so I’m cautious about using them. Pure Radiance Oil and I set to work as soon as we realised this. I washed my face with my mild Fresh Soy Cleanser, but I didn’t use any serums or moisturisers and instead relied only on the oil—what that’s Wilde says she does in one of her adverts, so that’s what I did.
The first thing I noticed was that the oil is a brilliant orange, so if you use too much (which I did the first couple of times, oops), your face may have an orange tint until you massage it in completely (don’t worry, you won’t stay orange). I quickly switched to applying three to four drops and massaging the oil into my skin with my fingertips, paying special attention to my blotchy cheeks. This face oil, unlike some others, is light, and it left my skin feeling velvety-smooth and looked glazed and gleaming, as if I had just left a facial treatment. My skin felt smoother the next day after using it both morning and night. Unfortunately, the zits remained—fortunately, I’m a realist. Those who wait for good things will be rewarded.
The flaws were still there three days later, but they’d decreased significantly. Normally, my period zits last the entire week, so this was a welcome change. Even though I kept stroking my zits unconsciously throughout the day, I continued to wake up to a brighter, more even canvas (no ruddy cheeks! ), and thankfully, no new blemishes (bad habits die hard).
My zits were practically gone by the seventh day (would they have gone away on their own?). It’s possible—but the only skin-care products I was using were my single cleanser and the Pure Radiance Oil), yet my skin was definitely softer and more even in tone. When I did use my favourite skin tint, it blended in beautifully rather than sinking into my pores or caking around my eyes or nose. After a week of use, it appears that the oil has helped to balance out my skin’s texture.
Was it, however, truly effective? I received a second opinion without even requesting one. “Whatever you’re doing is making you glow!” a buddy DMed me after I posted a selfie to Instagram Stories.
The DM gave me the assurance I needed. Because, to be honest, the difference was quite subtle. Since I have to look at my face every day, it seemed significant to me, but I wondered if others would notice my smoother, healthier-looking skin. They appear to be capable.
A few more minor (but crucial) points: the oil is soft (hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic), doesn’t clog pores, and smells great, evoking memories of camping in the woods, thanks to natural sandalwood, cypress, and helichrysum odours.
Is the price tag justified?
Is Clear Pure Radiance $110 worth it? On the one hand, I’ve paid more for skin care in the past, and I’m willing to spend money on items that keep my skin healthy, so while the price is high, I’m prepared to pay it for quality. On the other hand, I have a few drugstore favourites that are less expensive, more accessible, and have proven their value on numerous days of glowing skin. If you can afford it, I believe this is a luxury face oil worth investing on (and if you want to). To our knowledge, the ingredients are correct, as is True Botanical’s whole ethos—transparency isn’t something you always receive from cosmetic firms, so True Botanicals gets respect for that.
As soon as I finish my current bottle, I’ll most certainly get another. Fortunately, these facial oils have a lengthy shelf life.
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