Product Review: ART® Skin Care System

Updated: Feb 26, 2021

Many of us have endured a difficult road when it comes to face care. We've grabbed face washes, toners, and moisturizers, one after another, hoping to happen upon a magic formula. Maybe we bought into synthetic petrochemical cocktails sold to us by actors in white lab coats or even strips of fly-paper that tear three layers of skin off of our nose in order to root out blackheads by removing our pores all together.

In my earlier years, I tried oil-free-moisturizer and thought I was doing my skin a favor. I thought I would beat acne at its own game by keeping my face oil free, as the commercial promulgated so matter-of-factly. Little did I realize that our skin needs oil, in fact, it produces it, especially when it becomes dry. As a result of using the product, my skin would get dry (often in patches) and my body would release its own oil to try and correct the deficit I was creating daily. By that time, I would wash it again and the cycle would repeat. The constant fluctuation and imbalance left my skin a mess.

We often forget that health is primarily about maintaining a natural balance and letting our bodies do the rest. This is what I mean when I say we are hardwired for nature and hardwired for health. We evolved as a species, having adapted to our natural environments and plant life over hundreds of thousands of years. Nowadays, our lifestyles and our environments are changing so fast that we’re challenging these adaptations, much like I was doing by interrupting my skin’s natural balance, or like many of us do by sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day before staring at some form of blue screen until bedtime; this is far from what we’ve adapted to accomplish. However, our biology is so complex that we often aren’t wise enough or aware enough to realize when we’ve run off the rails.

As a general rule, returning to the lifestyle and environment our bodies are fine-tuned for is the first step in resolving many health-related issues, simply by restoring our biological balance.

Several years ago, I made a commitment to myself that I would rid my bathroom of all synthetic products. These products contained ingredients that have only appeared in the last 100 years of human history; in other words, we’ve had no chance to adapt to them as a species or to honestly review their long-term effects. Now, this doesn’t mean that contact with each of these ingredients will cause major issues, nor does it mean that natural ingredients can’t also cause issues (poison ivy deodorant, anyone?). My goal was simply to better manage my health by reducing the highest risks. No one is making poison ivy deodorant because of the known harm it would cause—that would be ridiculous. But many companies are making petrochemical shampoos with a long list of ingredients known to cause health issues. Shouldn’t this be viewed as equally ridiculous?

I learned that the ingredients in my standard suite of products were oftentimes banned in other countries as known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and even neurotoxins. It's not seen as an issue here in the U.S. because our regulatory agencies have designated these products as "cosmetic," meaning that they only go on the outside of us. Therefore, they are exempt from the tighter restrictions of food and drug laws, even though their ingredients can enter the bloodstream via absorption through the skin and inhalation.

It dawned on me that if I wanted to live by better standards, I needed to be the top regulatory agency when it came to my own health.

I was introduced to essential oils as a means to face care by an ex-girlfriend. She ordered some from a small company that seemed reputable and we had pretty good results. Certainly better than anything I had used prior. I stuck with it for a couple of years until I eventually signed up for my Young Living membership. At that point, I was eager to start making my own essential oil blends and I would mix them into apricot kernel oil, which is a great carrier oil for the skin. You can view my face serum recipe here. This recipe has always served me well and I even discuss variations you can do based on climate (I learned the hard way from winters in the Northeast).

Fast forward to today, and I’m now using Young Living’s ART® Skin Care System. The system is made up of three products: the ART Gentle Cleanser, the ART Refreshing Toner, and the ART Light Moisturizer. I actually tried each product one at a time, rather than getting them as a bundle.

As with all product reviews at Hardwired, we show you each ingredient list because we believe in complete product transparency.

The Gentle Cleanser is, as the name implies, a gentle foaming face wash (pump), without harsh astringents, that does a great job of washing away dirt without washing away your skin’s natural oils. While I enjoy the Gentle Cleanser and have absolutely no issues with it, I’ve since started using the Charcoal Bar Soap as my face wash. I find it does a comparably great job, costs nearly a third of the price, and even lasts longer. Charcoal is very effective at absorbing impurities, while the orange blossom soap base washes them away. For those with sensitive skin, however, you may find that the Gentle Cleanser gives you just what you need, so listen to your body above all else.

I apply the Refreshing Toner to my face as soon as I dry off from my shower. A good toner will help balance your skin’s pH level, remove impurities missed by washing, and reduce the size of your pores. This toner uses alcohol and witch hazel which are common astringents, however I find that it does not dry out my skin like other toners I've used in the past. This is where the essential oils and aloe come in. Hawaiian sandalwood, frankincense, peppermint, lavender, lemon, and melissa essential oils support our skin’s health in a host of different ways. While some may find this barbaric, I use my shower-fresh fingers to apply the toner directly, without any cotton balls, pads, or other devices. I then wait a minute or two until I apply the Light Moisturizer.

Just a few months ago, I decided to try the Light Moisturizer. I had been using my own essential oil serum blend at this stage of my routine and I wanted to see if I would like the moisturizer as much as I liked the cleanser and toner. I’m hooked. It feels very light and soaks into my skin in probably 30 seconds. My skin feels very balanced and I really don’t even think about it anymore; it's taken care of. This may be the magic formula I once sought.

Budget Hacks: Remember, if you’re focused on your savings, but you still want your face to be in balance, we learned a couple of things here. You can opt for the Charcoal Bar Soap to wash your face and you can make your own serum as a moisturizer. The cost of the serum will vary, depending on what you decide to put in it, but in general this is a great way to reduce cost. There are countless options that yield great results at a low price. Check out the recipe link for more details.

Send me an email and let me know if you’ve made the serum or tried the ART® Skin Care System and what you think about them! If it's okay with you, I may choose to share your story here on Rewire.

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