As much as I adore prestigious skincare brands like Shiseido, Clinique, Caudalie, L'Occitane, Kate Somerville, Perricone MD, Korres, Arcona, Origins, Kiehl's, and SK-II, I'm always eager to discover new up-and-coming lines filled with promise and potential. Every so often, while sampling products from these newly introduced lines, you'll find something worth adding to your skin care regimen on a long-term basis, a purifying, line-reducing, brightening, hydrating, balancing, or firming formulation that has flown under reviewers' radars despite its obvious merits. Of course, there's also the chance that, while trying out one of these relatively unknown products, you'll look like Nicolas Cage during the face transplant scene in Face/Off, your tender skin practically seared, but one hopes the outcome won't involve any such tragedy. Truth be told, being a beauty writer often means acting as a guinea pig, shouldering a certain amount of risk in order to share your first-hand experiences with readers.
And so, it was with a mix of excitement and fear that I ventured to try the three key products in the Evie Evan skincare line. Last fall, the Texas-based company expanded beyond its local roots, with its offerings landing in select retailers across the country and its e-commerce website officially launching. Rooted in a philosophy that merges scientific research with a nature-based approach to tending to skin, the brand seeks to create cruelty-free products that can adopt to the specific needs of all customers — regardless of age, skin care type, sex, or ethnicity. Such a goal is both ambitious and admirable, but could it truly be achieved? Could a skin care cleanser, for example, be all things to all people? Evie Evan thinks that, with the right natural ingredients — among them panthenol, orange peel oil, jasmine, bergamot oil, and clary sage — such a goal lies within reach. She therefore describes the products in her eponymous line as "skin smart," by which she means that they can identify the needs of your skin and tailor their activity accordingly.
Her recommended regimen, then, involves three steps. First, there's the Evie Evan The Cleanser ($32 at EvieEvan.com), a gel-like face wash with a pool blue color and a lightweight consistency. The paraben-, lanolin-, petroleum-, and mineral oil-free cleanser includes such ingredients as: lime oil, a natural antiseptic and antimicrobial often used in cleansing formulations; lemon peel oil, which softens and smooths, helps to combat acne, stimulates skin renewal, acts as a skin brightener, reducing the appearance of dark spots, and removes impurities; panthenol, a form of vitamin B that softens the skin, functions as a natural humectant, and soothes irritations; orange peel oil, which also boasts anti-inflammatory and antiseptic benefits, decongesting clogged pores to help combat acne, and which can help to stimulate collagen production, minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; jasmine oil, which soothes redness and irritation, making it ideal for those with dry or sensitive skin; bergamot oil, which attacks acne-causing bacteria; rose oil, which acts as a natural toner, antiseptic agent, and natural humectant; cedarwood oil, which is particularly useful for acne-prone skin due to its astringent abilities; and clary sage oil, which can balance sebum production, so that your skin produces just the right amount of natural oils.
It does, however, contain cassia leaf oil, which has antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties but can also function as a sensitizer, causing topical irritations. Most skincare experts would advise against applying pure cassia leaf oil directly on the skin, but there's some debate as to whether it can be used when diluted with gentler botanical oils and spices like those of geranium, jasmine, rosemary or frankincense.
So what was my experience with the cleanser? My initial response was pretty positive. I liked that the cleanser wasn't too creamy or milky, that its consistency was light and gel-like and yet it managed to lather nicely when water was added. Once I rinsed off the cleanser, however, my skin felt a bit too dry and stiff; when making facial movements, I felt uncomfortable, as if my skin would crack if I smiled too hard. Once I moisturized, any discomfort subsided but, nevertheless, I felt like perhaps since the number of botanical oils with astringent properties greatly surpassed the amount of hydrating, collagen-boosting, humectant ingredients, this cleanse would best be suited for women with oily, acne-prone skin, as opposed to those with dry or sensitive skin (like me).
I assumed any post-cleansing discomfort and irritation would eventually dissipate as my skin adjusted to the cleanser but, having used the product regularly during a three-week period, I can honestly say the unpleasant sensation never ended. Even worse, I started breaking out as a result of using this product. Apparently, the cleanser dried out my skin so much that it accomplished the opposite of what it was supposed to do, stimulating the production of more natural oils than were necessary to keep skin balanced, clear, and smooth.
Add to that the fact that the cleanser includes cassia leaf oil, a controversial ingredients, and I'd suggest keeping away from this product altogether.
The Evie Evan Moisture Creme ($41 at EvieEvan.com) proved way kinder to my skin, perhaps due to its incorporation of aloe leaf juice and jasmine extract and jasmine oil, which calm and soothe the complexion. Ingredients like retinyl palmitate, meanwhile, work as anti-aging agents, diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines by increasing collagen production. Wheat germ glycerides, meanwhile, lubricate the skin's surface and provide antioxidant protection due to their vitamin E content.
I enjoyed the moisturizer's light consistency, akin to a watered-down cup of vanilla yogurt and appreciated what its effectiveness in terms of hydrating, softening, and smoothing skin. That being said, if you have very specific skincare concerns — like uneven skin tone or mature skin — I wouldn't suggest using this cream without supplementing it with another product more targeted to address those specific issues. Also, because so many of the ingredients in the cleanser can leave the skin more vulnerable to UV damage, it's essential to use a sunscreen after applying this moisturizer.
Overall, I wasn't blown away by this moisturizer, but I also wasn't displeased with it in any way. I just felt that, in trying to be suitable for all skin types, it fell short of accomplishing any goal particularly well. It goes back to the the age-old dilemma: do you take on a lot and do a mediocre job or do you take a more selective approach, focusing on fewer objectives and making sure to excel in each realm? Truth be told, it's usually better to adopt the latter approach.