As a long-time fan and user of the CeraVe face cleanser, I carefully read the Voiz review of the product, which I highly recommend everyone to read, and what I found was that what I was putting on my face wasn’t at all as clean and sustainable as I originally thought it was. So, wishing to replace my daily cleanser, I began looking into other brands to try to find better alternatives. This was way harder than I thought it would be, as I found that many quite famous brands contain carcinogenic or irritant ingredients like parabens, sulphates, quaternium-15, petroleum derivatives, synthetic fragrances, or perfume. A brand that I found genuine in its intent to be as natural, socially and environmentally sustainable as possible was Ursa Major which produces affordable face, hair, and body products. As you will see in the paragraphs below, Ursa Major is a great replacement for some of the more conventional brands like Garnier, CeraVe or Neutrogena which contain more problematic ingredients.
The ingredients of the product are the following: aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, aqua/water/eau, lauryl glucoside, coco-glucoside, sodium cocoyl glutamate, caprylyl/capryl glucoside, inulin, glyceryl laurate, sodium lauroamphoacetate, gluconolactone, sodium lauroyl glutamate, xylitylglucoside, anhydroxylitol, xylitol, oryza sativa (rice) extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, saccharum officinarum (sugarcane) extract, citrus limon (lemon) fruit oil, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, vaccinium myrtillus fruit extract, acer saccharum (sugar maple) extract, picea mariana leaf oil, pseudotsuga menziesii branch/leaf oil, rosmarinus officinalis leaf water, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower water, citrus paradisi peel oil, citrus aurantifolia peel oil, artemisia ludoviciana (owyhee) leaf oil, juniperus virginiana wood oil, tanacetum annuum flower oil, nardostachys jatamansi oil, vetiveria zizanoides root oil, mentha spicata leaf extract, sodium phytate, PCA glyceryl oleate, citric acid, calcium gluconate, leuconostoc ferment filtrate, sodium benzoate, soybean peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, and limonene.
All of the above ingredients are natural, plant-derived ingredients. As you can see, the face cleanser is paraben-free, gluten-free, vegan, and most of the ingredients are organic. I also love that it doesn’t contain any nocive ingredients like phthalates, mineral oil, formaldehyde, oxybenzone, or petroleum, which is very encouraging to see. Obviously, sourcing so many ingredients must be done in a very sustainable way so that it doesn’t leave a negative mark on the environment. While they do mention that all of their ingredients are sourced naturally and responsibly within the United States, I couldn’t find any more details on how and where exactly within the US they source them, but that would have made their commitment to environmental responsibility even stronger.
As opposed to other companies which often offer vague promises about the sustainability of their packaging, Ursa Major gives us concrete data about what they have accomplished with regards to the way they package their products. For instance, they use PCR plastic bottles and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper stock for the majority of the secondary packaging. Another great accomplishment is that they have become plastic negative, meaning that they remove two plastic bottles from the environment for every bottle they sell. I would have loved to read more about how they plan to improve their packaging even more in the future, however, the information on this wasn’t available. I would have also liked to know whether they plan to shift onto a 100% organic path since not all of the ingredients are organic.
The company claims to make the products using renewable energy to manufacture and source in the United States, which is great since it lowers their carbon footprint. They also mention using recycled content “whenever possible,” which I found a bit vague as I find it important to know more concretely as a consumer how much recycled content they use. In terms of taking social and environmental responsibility, Ursa Major is a certified B corporation. This means that the company has to undergo a rigorous assessment where the way their workers are supported as well as their environmental impact is evaluated. While the score that they received was not disclosed, some aspects that shine light on their social responsibility include the fact that all full-time employees have stock in the company, are paid fair wages, as well as that more than half of the employers are female.
Ursa Major was founded in 2010 by Oliver Sweatman and Emily Doyle, who left New York in the search for the more tranquil and outdoorsy Vermont. The brand came out of their wish to replace their conventional products with better, more natural alternatives that reflected their healthy and balanced lifestyle. Overall, this brand, although slightly more expensive, seems infinitely more socially and environmentally sustainable than its more famous counterparts and is for sure an inspiring initiative.