I was pretty excited to find an all-natural skincare line made within an hour of where I live. Even though I’m slowly transitioning to making more of my personal products, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really know what I’m doing, and my face is just sensitive enough to make me nervous about experimenting. Here, I defer to the experts.
By Nieves is a small, all natural body care company based in Oakland, CA. It won the Best Local Skincare Line in SF Weekly last year, and I hope it wins again this year. Each of its five products was created by Nieves, who has a background in natural perfumery and skincare. Nieves favors warm, slightly spicy combinations with long lasting resin base notes. They’re neither overtly feminine nor masculine, and they smell good.
I was given the chance to try the Face Fix, the “C” Perfect Skin, and the Cloud of Protection. Each contained primarily organic ingredients, no fillers, no preservatives (oil based and dry products don’t require them). I would consider the line mid-priced: $14-$35 for full sized products that last forever. I’ve barely made a dent after two months.
The Face Fix is a mixture of dry, powdered herbs (white willow, rosehips, lavender), clay, and jojoba beads. It has an herbal, earthy scent and can be used as either a scrub (I loved mixing it with my Blissoma cleanser) or a masque. As far as scrubs go, it’s pretty gentle, yet left my skin feeling smooth and clean.
The “C” Perfect Skin is an oil based moisturizer that uses a combination of base oils (evening primrose, sesame) and essential oils. It has a subtle, sweetly woody scent with floral middle notes. It takes longer to absorb than the straight jojoba oil I was using before, and I ended up finding it a bit heavy for everyday use on my face. I have oily skin, so I think it would be perfect for drier or more mature skin. “C” Perfect Skin is wonderfully kind to my hands after pottery.
I wasn’t expecting to find much use for the Cloud of Protection (air freshener…meh), but it turned out to be my favorite of the three. It smells amazing — bright, citrusy top notes with warm, slightly spicy juniper and cedar scents just underneath. The old-fashioned style label claims it wards off ‘illness, bad vibes, and stinkiness.’ I don’t know about the bad vibes, but the neutral grape spirits as well as the anti-bacterial properties of the essential oils in the formula make it an effective and wonderfully fragrant hand sanitizer. And did I mention that I love the way it smells?
What I love about By Nieves:
- Locally made
- Organic ingredients
- No synthetic chemicals, fragrances, colors, or preservatives
- Safe, effective skincare
- Multi-tasking products
- Wonderful natural scents
- Terrific, patient customer service (thanks, Michael!)
- Reusable glass containers
- Full ingredients listings on the site. Ingredients are up for Face Fix and “C” Perfect Skin in an ingredient glossary, but not for the other three products. When I asked Michael, he said that the skincare industry had many snipers who wouldn’t scruple to rip off other people’s creations, and that Nieves therefore had reservations about posting full ingredients. As a paranoid consumer, I tend not to order from companies that don’t provide full ingredients lists online, but I can also see the downside to this transparency. However, Michael was kind enough to provide me with the ingredients for the remaining two products, and I can assure you that they are indeed squeaky clean. No bad stuff.
- More information on the site about how the ingredients are sourced and certified organic. Although By Nieves doesn’t claim the USDA organic seal, I like it when companies can verify that their ingredients are organic and/or sustainably sourced. Michael said that they were working on it.
- Biodegradable packaging materials. Brie can’t play with real styrofoam peanuts (they fall apart and get into her fur), although for all I know, the ones in my box were reused.