Swell Skin: Sea Buckthorn Face Treatment and Oil Review

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Two steps to help conquer two annoying skin issues

I’ve turned into something of an oil aficionado: coconut, castor, rosehip and tamanu oil have all cycled their way through my skincare lineup. Basically, I’m a happy, shiny oil-slick each night before bed – I love the multi-tasking nature of oils (face cleansing, eye makeup removing and moisturizing), as well as their skin-nourishing properties.

However, although I’ve seen the overall quality of my skin improve since I’ve incorporated oils, I still have trouble with hormonal jawline acne, accompanied by fine lines and a truly dastardly forehead wrinkle. (That’s the most charming combination ever, right?) Enter a two-step regimen, created especially to help quell those very issues: Swell Skin.

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Naturally, I was thrilled to review the Swell Skin line: two simple products, a face treatment and oil, made with sea buckthorn. Sea buckthorn is actually a hardy shrub; I was hoping it would be a magical aquatic plant, like something mermaids would use, but no. However, sea buckthorn is chock full of amazing goodies for your skin, like Vitamin E and omega fatty acids, and its been used for sunburns, chemical burns, eczema, and even radiation poisoning.

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Plus, according to the Swell packaging, Genghis Khan and his armies drank sea buckthorn juice to help heal battle wounds – I mean, I’m not trying to become a fearsome warlord or anything, but I’m all about conquering my skin concerns.

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The first product is the Swell Skin Face Treatment ($25), a sea buckthorn soap with aloe, astragalus, Vitamin E and coconut oil. You just wash your face with it every night; you can even spot treat acne by leaving the soap on for a minute and then rinsing.

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The soap lathers nicely and easily strips a full face of makeup; I did find it a little drying, but my skin seems to hate any soap, so no surprise there. Overall, it left my face feeling really clean.

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The mild dryness was quickly alleviated by step two, the Swell Skin Oil of Sea Buckthorn ($17). The oil is thick, golden-green, and spreads and absorbs easily; a little goes a long way. You can just dab it onto acne spots or fine lines, but I am a fan of the slather-it-on method, so I smoothed it over my entire face, concentrating on my jawline.

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Upon application, my skin felt really moisturized, like it was drinking all that sea buckthorn goodness right up. I made it a point to do a heavier application at night, when the skin repairs itself, but I also added a few drops to my moisturizer in the morning.

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Now, a note on the scent of the oil – remember how I hoped sea buckthorn came from the ocean? Well, it definitely smells like the sea, only not the fresh ocean-breeze type scent. No, this is more a pile of seaweed; there are definitely really strong, musty notes. However, this isn’t a deal breaker, because the odor dissipates quickly once applied.

The end result of this dynamic duo? Skin that looked pleasantly plumped-up and glowing and felt silky-smooth. Although it didn’t obliterate my jawline spots completely, it definitely calmed the irritation and decreased the swelling; unlike chemical acne treatments, it didn’t leave me with dry, peeling areas.

Overall this duo (which you can purchase together for a Swell Skin deal of $37) is an easy, soothing and effective way to keep troubled skin in check – as the packaging notes, “Good enough for Genghis, good enough for me.”

Readers – Have you ever tried sea buckthorn oil, or are you currently using any other oils in your skin regimen?

photos: we heart this

Amity writes and teaches in Central PA. Her obsessions include: Rodarte (she can’t afford any Rodarte, mind you, but a girl can dream), espresso, books, vintage/thrift fashion and fountain pens. She thinks you should dress like a weirdo once in a while, just to shake things up.
skin tone: NC15
skin type: Combination
favorite beauty product: felt-tipped eyeliners

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Written by amity

16 Comments

    1. Avatar of amity
      amity

      How do you incorporate olive oil into your regimen? That’s the one oil I haven’t really tried for my skin, though I use it for cooking all the time. And how cool that you get it from your family’s farm–I’m jealous!

  1. Avatar of Stef Andrews
    Stef Andrews

    As a oily, pimple prone gal, I almost never like oils for my face. High-end, low end, natural or whatever – there’s something that just never sits right with me about adding more oil to my face, when I try so desperately to banish it. One exception – THIS STUFF!

    Maybe because I’ve heard @amity rave about Sea Buckthorn, maybe because it’s got a good name, maybe it’s the lack of ingredients; whatever it was – I decided to give oil another shot. And I’m so glad I did.

    I tested the oil at a time when my chin and mouth were freaking the freak out with pimples. I took one drop of the oil, lightly rubbed it on before bed, and in the am the zits were significantly more calm. Honestly, I’ve never had anything calm my skin down like this before, especially pimples. It’s like Genghis Kahn himself is in the bottle scaring the life out of zits! And I love that it doesn’t dry my skin out. (That’s always the run with acne products.)

    I like the soap too, and I am a soap lover. I do agree it’s a tad drying, but that’s not ness. a bad thing for me – I can see really liking it in the summer when I’m super oily.

    And what a great price too! Considering how much most of the stuff costs in my skincare routine, $37 for 2 products is practically free.

    If you’re like me and had a previous oil-phobia, I recommend giving it another try with Swell. And if you have acne, I DEF. say give it a try. I am impressed.
    Stef Andrews recently posted..Apple and Gouda Muffin Recipe

    1. Avatar of amity
      amity

      It is SO calming, isn’t it? Glad you found an oil that soothes your skin instead of freaking it out! Also, I can’t help but picture a little Genghis Kahn, like, waving a flag every time I open the bottle now, haha!

  2. Avatar of turboterp
    turboterp

    I’m already a fan of facial oils (mostly the citrus-y type), but I’ve never tried sea buckthorn oil. At this bargain price for the duo, I would consider having both on hand for times when my skin is breaking out. I don’t mind a little interesting scent in a product if it’s working! Great review, @amity !

  3. Sammi

    I am terrified of putting oil on an already oily face. I’m interested to know if you had any breakouts post-use. I am in my early 40’s and dealing with acne and now fine lines and LARGE pores. Thanks.

    1. Avatar of Stef Andrews
      Stef Andrews

      Sammi – I’m also in my 40’s with acne mostly around my mouth and jaw. This was REALLY good on my acne! It didn’t produce any new pimples, and significantly calmed down the ones I had. It clears them up the same way an acne medicine does, but without drying your skin out.

    2. Sammi

      Thanks! I think I’d like to give this a try. Oh, yhanks for all the great information too. I always check here first before trying something new.

    3. Avatar of amity
      amity

      I totally understand your reservations–I have a hella-oily t-zone and initially thought putting oil on top of that sounded crazy. But, weird as it sounds, the right type of oil actually helps balance and regulate your own face-oil production. And the sea buck thorn definitely didn’t make me break out (other good oils for our type of skin are grapeseed, rosehip and castor). If you’d like to give it a try, you could easily start off with just adding a few drops to your moisturizer, seeing how your skin does with it, and gradually working up to a full application of just oi. Crossing my fingers that this works for you–I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

    4. Sammi

      Wow, thanks!! The readers here are soooo helpful and nice! I just ordered both of the sea buckthorn products, but in the mean time, I’m going to try the grapeseed oil trick – I actually have some here at home! LOL Thanks Amity!

  4. Avatar of mandabear
    mandabear

    I love this stuff – Sorry for the late comment. I was sick for two weeks and nothing I did felt right or good for that matter….Anyways, the oil was made for skin like mine. Combo, acne prone…it’s great. I haven’t tried Sea Buckthorn oil until now! I had my eye on the Fresh one for a while but never bit the bullet. Glad I got to try it. I liked the soap too, but I had to get accustomed to use a bar soap again which was a bit hard to adjust to. Love this line!

  5. Sammi

    Mandabear – I hope you get to feeling better very soon. I have used the soap the last couple of nights and my skin felt a little tight, but actually CLEAN!!! As Stef said, the tightness goes away after using the oil. The oil is helping the redness and inflammation enormously! I can’t tell yet if its going to help my crater-size pores yet, but then again, its only been a week. Thanks for all the great info!

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