Vanity + Wearables

Product obsession: Herbivore Botanicals facial oil.


A couple of months ago, the nice people at Herbivore Botanicals contacted me asking if they could send me one of their soon-to-launched facial oils to try out. Uh…YES, that would be just fine. I fell in love with Herbivore’s products earlier this year when I bought their Coconut Bath Soak, which got me addicted to taking relaxation baths on a regular basis. Since then, I’ve ordered a number of other products from them, and all have been wonderful. Evan is a devotee of their Mens Face Elixer, and is currently on his third bottle (!).

My bottle of Orchid Facial Oil arrived on November 12 (about 5 ½ weeks ago), and I’ve been using nightly it ever since. My friends, this stuff is heaven.

My skin has not looked this good since…I don’t know, since I was a child? I’m not kidding. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve spent a long time trying to find a combination of products that works well for my sensitive, dry, adult acne-prone, and generally cranky skin, and while the prescription medications I use (Retin-A Micro and Aczone) have gone a long way toward keeping breakouts at bay and reducing clogged pores, I’ve still had issues with texture, discoloration, and dryness. I’ve had good results from Huile Prodigieuse and Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Complex, so I wasn’t actively looking for anything else, but I am so glad that this stuff made its way into my life. I had no idea my skin was capable of improving so drastically, and in a relatively short period of time.

And, of course, the packaging is gorgeous. The square bottle is heavy and solid, and feels noticeably more luxe than their other products. It looks great on display in the bathroom, and yeah, that matters to me.

Herbivore’s full line of facial oils includes three different blends: Orchid (youth preserving/normal skin), Phoenix (cell regenerating/mature or sensitive skin), and Lapis (oil balancing/combination skin). I didn’t choose with variety to try, but Orchid seems to be the exact right choice for me. The directions say to use it twice daily, but I’ve only been using it at night—as nicely as it absorbs into my skin, I haven’t yet done a test drive to see if it would play well with my face makeup during the day. I apply it immediately after washing my face, before the Retin-A and Aczone. It provides a really nice buffering layer, preventing dryness while still allowing the medications to do their jobs. My skin feels so unbelievably soft and looks clear and luminous. I’m happy.

Since I was sent my bottle at no cost, I wasn’t sure of the price until I started writing this post. Turns out it’s a bit spendy—$80 for 1.7oz. Judging by how much I’ve used in 5 ½ weeks, though (I took the photo above about an hour ago), I estimate this bottle will last me the better part of a year. Taking that into account, it’s not so bad…and I will definitely be purchasing a second bottle when the time comes.

Oh, and! There are also miniature-sized, roller ball versions of Herbivore’s facial oils available—both singly and as a set with the larger bottle. Perfect if you want to do a trial run, or if you’re traveling and don’t want to deal with packing a large glass bottle of oil in your carry-on. So smart.

Disclaimer: Herbivore Botanicals sent me this product at no cost, but they did not ask for anything in return. This review was written entirely out of my own enthusiasm and remarkably positive experience with said product. Thumbs up.

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  • Reply Lia December 22, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Love your product reviews, Anna. What gorgeous packaging! (And yes it’s important to me, too!) Would love for you to do a skincare update or something like a vanity tour of your makeup and other products.

  • Reply carlene December 22, 2014 at 9:30 am

    I love facial oils, and this one looks so nice that I checked and they do offer a little 10 mL roller for $28!

    (I also love Dr. Alkaitis Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil.)

  • Reply lindsey December 22, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    i’m obsessed with their products. I’ve been using their pink clay soap, mask, and hydrate toner for almost 10 months now and my skins hasn’t ever been this flawless. I asked for their facial oil trio for Christmas and I hope Santa brings it 😉 I do also love their packaging, however I have to say that the labels get rather yellow fast. I wonder if its because of all the natural light i have in my bathroom. Have you had any problems with that… Its definitely not a something I really care about but I would love to keep them out on my vanity but I cant because they get yellow so fast.

    • Anna @ D16 December 22, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      No, I haven’t had that problem at all! Weird. I don’t leave oils out in the sunlight, but I keep some of their other products (sea salt hair spray, lip balm, etc.) out in the open, and that hasn’t happened to any of the labels.

  • Reply Cathi December 22, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Hi Anna, thanks for another great product review post. You mentioned in a previous post that you also have partly flaky skin in addition to suffering from acne. Did the herbivore facial oil help reduce the flakiness without causing further outbreaks?

    • Anna @ D16 December 22, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      Hi Cathi, yes, that was the dryness I was referring to in this post. It’s been completely eliminated by this facial oil. Absolutely no flakiness whatsoever after the first couple of weeks of use. (And no breakouts, either—if anything, it’s helped on that front as well. I can’t remember the last time I had even a minor blemish.)

  • Reply maggie December 22, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I have sensitive acne prone skin as well (I have tried EVERYTHING – been on accutane, natural products, etc.) and I currently have a regimen that seems to be helping with the break outs, but not the uneven texture. I may have to gift this to myself, or at least the roller ball set to see what works.

    Thanks for the review!


  • Reply jaclyn December 22, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I’m glad to see this review since I first saw the Herbivore Botanicals products at Urban Outfitters and have to admit I sort of snubbed them since they were being sold in the big bins with a bunch of cheapo nail polishes, makeup, etc.

    I started using coconut oil to moisturize at night and it has done wonders for my skin! And it’s suuuper cheap too. 🙂 It doesn’t play nice with makeup though so it’s really just a night time routine for me.

  • Reply Christina W. December 22, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    I have been on a moisturizer roller coaster for the better part of my life, and hearing that this reduces flakiness is THE BEST NEWS. It sounds like we have very similar skin (though mine is a shade paler than yours) and I’m wondering if you suffer from bouts of flakiness directly after a shower like I do? Basically, I have like a 3 minute window to get some kind of goop onto my face after stepping out of the shower before my face falls off. Currently I’m using an Alba moisturizer which started out AMAZING but has been breaking me out after having used it for almost a year. I’m seriously super bad about following a face regimen, but now that I’m in my early 30s I know that’s not something I can get away with for much longer. 🙁

  • Reply mommy December 22, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Anna, I wonder if you any of your readers have tried the Phoenix (for mature/sensitive skin)? I wonder if it can take the place of my night cream that typically cost $60 for 1.7oz and lasts only about 6 weeks for me. If so, it would actually cost me a lot less in the long run. Coconut Bath Soak sounds tempting as well.

  • Reply RebeccaNYC December 23, 2014 at 7:33 am

    I am of the soap, water and whatever lotion is handy school, but something about your description of this product caused me to click on the link and order! (the fact that you can use PayPal…oh so handy) I am 56, so I am giving the Phoenix oil a try. Pricey, but right now they are offering 10% off during their winter break. (they won’t be mailing anything until after the New Year) Thanks for the tip! I’ll keep you posted..

    • RebeccaNYC January 25, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      So, I have been using the Phoenix Oil for the past 3 weeks, and I have to say my skin fees so much more comfortable…I can’t be objective about how my skin looks, but it feels great. I will say that I do not mind the scent, but occasionally during the day I get a whiff of fish oil…looking at the ingredient list explains all…this stuff is packed with Omegas which is a very very good thing IMHO. Thanks for the introduction to a really great product

    • Anna @ D16 January 25, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      Hi Rebecca, Herbivore is a 100% vegan company, so what you’re smelling most definitely is not fish oil!

      Maybe you realize that already, I just want to clarify just in case anyone else seeing your comment is concerned about animal products being in this oil. 🙂

    • RebeccaNYC January 26, 2015 at 11:19 am

      ….sorry about that….I know it’s a vegan company and product…sorry if I misled anyone. Omegas smell like fish oil to me….

  • Reply Michelle December 23, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Thanks for the tip Anna! I have similar skin issues to you and all your recommendations over the years have worked for me too (so bummed though that Mario Badescu stopped producing their Control Cream as that was so good for controlling my rosacea).

    Just wondering what this product smells like? I can’t handle anything too heavy so just wondered before I went ahead with trying it out. (Currently using the Nuxe oil and don’t mind the smell).

    • Anna @ D16 December 26, 2014 at 9:16 am

      Hi Michelle, there’s a subtle floral scent, but it dissipates pretty quickly. It’s MUCH more mild than the Nuxe oil fragrance-wise, so if you’re fine with that, you won’t have an issue with this.

      Also, fwiw, be glad that the MB Control Cream is discontinued. It apparently contained steroids and wasn’t properly labeled, and that’s caused a lot of problems for people having to wean themselves off. Sad.

  • Reply Chris December 27, 2014 at 12:54 am

    Even if the product is nice, these advertorials are so tiring.

    • Anna @ D16 December 27, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Hi Chris, do you see this post as being any different from my previous one about Herbivore products? If so, why? Which other posts of mine do you view as being “advertorials”?

      Just so it’s clear, I was neither paid nor asked to review this product. I wrote about it because I love it. Do you think I should have said no when they asked to send it to me, and then waited to buy it myself? That’s an honest question—I wonder what you think I should have done in this situation, given that this is a brand I’ve spent a bunch of my money buying other products (ALL of which I’ve loved) from over the past year.

  • Reply Jasmine December 28, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Hi Anna,
    In your last post about Herbivore products, you mentioned that you were going to try their pink clay soap. I was just wondering if you had? I have a clarisonic (which I love) and would be interested to know what you thought and if it played nicely with your mia.

    • Anna @ D16 December 28, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      Hi Jasmine, I haven’t yet (still using up various bottles of Neutrogena—I don’t want to waste), but it’s next on my list. I’ll post when I have a verdict. 🙂

    • Jasmine December 29, 2014 at 4:25 pm


  • Reply Lindsay M December 29, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Hi Anna!

    I’ve been pondering over this post for a while now, the products look sooo wonderful and beautiful! I’m in the same boat as you where I’ve been using prescription strength acne gels/creams for a whe now and it’s done wonders for the acne but not so much for the texture/quality of my skin. Now I have true combination skin, and my derma told me to stay away from putting ANY and all oils on my face and so far I have seen improvement but idk whether it truly is the elimination of oil or the cremes I’m being prescribed.

    I know you’re not a dermatologist, but I was just wondering if you have heard similar advice from them before? To stay away from oils? And if in this case is going against that advice worth it? I really want to give this product a go, to improve the texture of my skin, but I wouldn’t want to spend $100 and be right back where I started. Thanks for any advise you have! Your blog is a huge inspiration to me and I have been following it for a very very long time and have yet to comment, so hi!

    • Anna @ D16 December 29, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      Lindsay, I totally feel your pain. I don’t know if you’ve read any of my previous posts about dealing with adult acne (which is now totally under control, thankfully), but I’ve really been all over the place in terms of what I’ve tried and what has and hasn’t worked out well for me. It even took several prescription changes (including some major missteps, like Solodyn) before I arrived at the right combination—and that was before I even started thinking about non-prescription, supplemental products that could benefit my skin as well.

      The fact of the matter is that everyone’s skin is different, and even dermatologists don’t know what’s going to work from patient to patient. Adult acne, as you know, can be incredibly tricky to treat! Most of the non-prescription products my dermatologist recommended to me (such as oil-free CeraVe lotion) did not work out well for me at all, so I’ve tried to figure it out on my own. Using a serum/oil underneath the prescription products as a buffer is the complete opposite of what she’d told me to do, but it’s working out really well…for me. My skin really, really, needs the moisture, and I’ve found that nothing other than an oil can adequately provide that. When my skin is properly hydrated, I don’t have issues with dry skin clogging my pores, and my oil glands aren’t working overtime to compensate, either. I really need to keep everything in balance.

      Now, there are people who swear by oil cleansing, but that did not work for me AT ALL. Just another example of something that’s great for lots of folks, but not for everyone. Sometimes you just need to take a chance and try and see how it goes. You never know.

      I have had absolutely no issues whatsoever with the Herbivore oil clogging my pores or causing breakouts—if anything, my skin looks clearer now. My pores are definitely less visible, too. I would suggest ordering the roller ball and seeing how it goes. Obviously I can’t promise anything, but the whole skin thing is a weird journey. I hope you find something that works well for getting your skin texture in check, especially now that you have the acne under control (yay!).

    • Lindsay M December 29, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      Yeah I was oil cleansing for a while too and it made me break out like crazy which is partially the reason oil makes me nervous but hearing that it didn’t work for you as well and you still had success w/ this product maybe I’ll give it a go! I can get a trial sized anyway and test it out!


    • Donna December 30, 2014 at 10:51 am

      Lindsay, my skin is combo too, and doesn’t play well with moisturizers (basically anything heavier than an oil) so I use oils exclusively to hydrate. They keep the flakes at bay better than anything I’ve tried before (I’m a runner so I’m subjecting my face to the elements year-round, including Canadian winters). I think oils work for this skin type because you’re getting the essence and not the crap, fillers and stabilizers so many cream-based moisturizers have in them that trigger breakouts. I’ve also tried argan oil, coconut oil and straight up hyaluronic acid which all caused me to breakout. So then I tried serums from One Love Organics and currently I’m using May Lindstrom’s Youth Dew, my fave. Like Anna, I’ve found they eventually stabilize oil production. Even in summer, my skin isn’t as greasy as it used to be but that could be due to aging as well (I’m the same age as Anna).

      Over top of that I apply, but not always, Ilia Sheer Vivid Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20, which contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and also hyaluronic acid but hasn’t caused me to break out. It is incredibly sheer (won’t cover anything) but gives lasting hydration. It’s the one product w hyaluronic acid that my skin seems to tolerate. I’m very happy with it as well. HTH

  • Reply Donna December 30, 2014 at 10:27 am

    I just bought their coconut soak for Christmas despite not having a tub (“Hi mom, I’m coming over next Friday to soak in your guest bath.”) after repeatedly smelling it at stores. I can’t wait to use it. I’ve been wanting to try their facial products as well. But I just invested in a bottle of May Lindstrom ‘s Youth Dew which I just love. It’s keeping my skin flake free, hasn’t made me break out and is fading some scarring. I’ve seen a big improvement in a short time just since I was given a sample to try at a local shop. I was hooked within two weeks. I don’t know what it is about this blend because I’ve had rosehip oil cause breakouts before and assumed my skin couldn’t tolerate it but not this time. It’s expensive at $120 a bottle but you need so little I’m sure it’ll last me over a year. But now I want to get a rollerball of HB too (so smart of them to offer those).

    Another AMAZING find I urge all skin types to try is Indie Lee’s Brightening Cleanser. It’s my HG cleanser right now. It’s a gelee that after a while emulsifies into a lather that removes makeup without stripping (one-two pumps is all you need so a bottle will last a long while). I have combo/sensitive skin prone to hormonal breakouts. I wanted something less drying for winter and this is it. But it’s improved my skin’s luminosity as well (I let it sit on the skin a bit while washing my hair). See reviews on Makeupalley: everybody who tries it loves it. It’s that good. I can’t imagine using anything else now. Everything else just feels like washing my face with Tide in comparison! And it smells like strawberries! (I’m sensitive to fragrance but it doesn’t bother me at all.)

    • Anna @ D16 December 30, 2014 at 11:09 am

      Donna, thanks for the face wash recommendation!! I know exactly what you mean about feeling like you’re washing your face with Tide.

    • Donna December 30, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      It’s not cheap by any means but I was fortunate to get a small sample amount to try from a store which carries it. A few days later I went back to buy a bottle. I’ve never experienced anything like this stuff. It leaves skin cleansed, fresh and so soft. I think it would be great paired with a Clairsonic too. The longer you massage it into your skin the creamier it gets but it leaves no residue. Your face just feels like it got a hug (cheesy but true). I hope you get an opportunity to try it. So far it’s the only Indie Lee product I’ve tried or purchased. It’s also 100% natural, artificial fragrance free, paraben, phthalate, sulfate free, and not tested on animals.

  • Reply Rose January 2, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Oddly enough, I just came across Herbivore on Etsy about a month ago!! I’ve been wanting to try their stuff out, so I’m really glad to read such a positive review 🙂

  • Reply Tina January 12, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Bought it because of your recommendation and *LOVE* it as much as you do. I am not even a make-up-moisturizer-kinda-gal. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Amber February 5, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Hi Anna

    I’ve ordered myself a roller size to test as it sounds amazing from your post, and yay for cruelty free! Just wanted ask, do you still use an eye cream with the oil?


    • Anna @ D16 February 5, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      Amber, yes, I do. The skin around my eyes is just so dry and delicate, and I need an eye cream during the day under my makeup, anyway, so I use it at night as well. I also hesitate (perhaps without reason) to put anything with a scent near my eyes. You may find you don’t need one, though—it really depends on your skin and whether you need the extra boost of an eye cream. 😉

    • Amber February 6, 2015 at 4:32 am

      Okay great – thank you Anna!

  • Reply rikkansi February 8, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    If anyone is curious about facial oils, but are put off by the price point, I highly suggest the Seventh Generation Boosts. They are marketed as a serum but are just oil blends. My face has never been better since I’ve used the “revitalizing” version over the last two years. They only cost $14 online.

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