Ava Anderson Non-Toxic Skin Care Haul & First Impressions

A few months ago, my cousin became a consultant for Ava Anderson Non-Toxic, a lifestyle brand that prides itself on bringing "quality products without harmful chemicals" into the home. The business is set up sort of like Mary Kay, where you're typically introduced to the brand through a party hosted by one of your friends, and then you buy your products through an individual consultant. I'll admit that when I first heard that this was the business model it made me extremely skeptical about the quality of the products - perhaps it's because I've had bad experiences with Mary Kay consultants in the past, but I absolutely hate dealing with people whom I feel push products on me to increase their personal bottom line, as I think it reduces their honesty in terms of the efficacy and quality of the products.

All that said, my cousin was passionate about the brand, and as I did some more research, I decided it was worth a try, particularly since good, natural skin care products aren't exactly a dime a dozen. Giving me an extra push was the fact that I was simultaneously running out of nearly all of my skin care products (cleanser, exfoliator, moisturizer), so I needed to make a purchase decision quickly.

I decided to go with the 6-piece avaSKIN set, which retails for $95.95, and comes with a cleanser, exfoliator, toner, moisturizer, makeup remover and sugar lip scrub (note that you can also get a 4-piece set that doesn't include the makeup remover and lip scrub for $73.95). Typically with purchases $95 or higher, you also get a free gift (which changes periodically), so I also received a mascara from the avaFACE line (their limited range makeup line), which retails for $17.95. I will say that the tax and shipping costs were extraordinarily expensive - my order total came to $120.72, meaning I paid $25 in tax and shipping fees!

My products arrived quickly, although I was a bit surprised to see them packaged in one of those no-rip plastic bags rather than a box. When I opened the bag, I was also a bit surprised to see that none of the products were protected with bubble wrap. Rather, a few of the products were grouped together, wrapped in what appeared to be obviously recycled paper with an Ava Anderson sticker on the top. For the amount that I paid, I was disappointed that my products weren't packaged more professionally.

Regardless, I was excited to put the products to use, and over the last week have tried four of the 6 (I'm still using up my old makeup remover and haven't tried the lip scrub yet). Here's my rundown on what I like and don't like:

PROS:

  • The exfoliator is better than I thought it would be! The last product I used up was the Acure brightening facial scrub with chlorella growth factor and that stuff has the best sand-like exfoliating beads that really make you feel like you're scrubbing off dead skin cells, but aren't harsh. When I first squeezed a dime-size amount of this product into my hand I could immediately tell that the exfoliating beads were fewer and bigger, but in truth, I think it still does a really nice job of exfoliating my skin. The scent is really pleasant - sort of a citrus - and the product rinses totally clean.
  • The toner is my absolute favorite product of the bunch. After washing your face, you're supposed to spray 2-4 times with eyes closed (I usually need the full 4 to feel like I'm really covering my face), and oh does this stuff smell heavenly. If you look at the ingredients, it's got a few flower extracts in it, and it truly makes me feel refreshed and relaxed breathing in the sweet, honeysuckle-like scent.
  • The cleanser, which I use at night, is a gel-base (whereas the exfoliator is a cream-base) which lathers nicely, and like the exfoliator, rinses clean. It also has a citrus-y, pleasant scent.
  • The moisturizer, so far, has proven to be really effective. A small amount goes a long way (I use just a pea size for my face) and even 30 minutes later, my skin feels baby soft. You're supposed to apply this while your face is still damp from the toner, which initially feels quite heavy, but it dries more quickly than you'd expect.
  • One final plus - except for the toner, all of the face products are under 3 oz, which means you can pack them in your carry on for travel!

CONS:

  • For the amount that I'm paying for these products, I kind of expect the packaging to be high quality, as well. Of course, what's IN the packaging is the most important, but it seems to me like this company chooses the cheapest, generic white bottles, slaps an Ava label on them (some of which weren't even put on the containers straight, which degrades the professional feel) and called it a day. The cleanser bottle is really stiff and difficult to squeeze, which means I usually get out more of the product than I actually need, which leads to wastefulness. My makeup remover, which came in the same bottle as my toner, came without a cap (but the toner had a cap).
  • The moisturizer has a bit of a funny smell. I can't pinpoint why, but I did notice that it has olive oil extract in it (which the other products don't), so it may be that mixing that with all of the citrus essential oils creates something a bit off putting. It's not so bad that I can't use it, but after breathing in that gorgeous toner scent, sometimes I hate ruining it with a less-than-great moisturizer scent on top.
  • This stuff is pricey! All in at $120 for the set, that's $20 per product. It'll be interesting over time to see how long these products last - I'm hoping for at least 3 months, otherwise it'll be a bit out of my budget to consistently replenish every product.
  • The free mascara that I received is really not for me. I'm one of those gals that prefers HUGE, false-looking lashes that are dark and really long. This mascara is VERY subtle and very natural, so if you have naturally dark, long or thick lashes and just need an extra boost, this might work better for you. For me, it darkens my lashes, but that's about it.

Overall, I'm pleased with the products I purchased so far and am excited to see if they make a difference in my skin over the next several weeks of using them. And while I'm not actually interested in any of the avaFACE makeup products, the company does offer a TON of household products, and even pet products, so in my next order I may need to give a few of those a try.

*NOTE: None of the links used in this blog post are affiliate links, so I'm not making any money off of your clicks. They're just there to help you find the stuff I'm talking about more easily! :)

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