Review: YÜLI Halcyon


Well it’s been a long time coming and I know you, loyal readers, have been awaiting this review with every new post I write as seen in all of the comments section requesting more information on this cleanser! I totally understand why, cleansers are such a delicate product.

I had this review written up a week ago and I thought I’d post a little teaser about it before I post it since I received so many requests to review this cleanser. Little did I know that I would end up receiving literally 62 emails asking specific questions about Halcyon. I have never received this level of interest or curiosity before. It made me go back to add bits here and there to the review I had written, so despite the delay – please enjoy!

When I first started this blog, I wrote that my search for the holy grail of cleansers was never-ending, having found many good ones but not “the one”. The issue is even more complex because of my personal belief that while green products are indeed capable of matching and exceeding the performance of their mainstream counterparts, they do need to work around a lot of chemicals that give cleansers and moisturizers their functionality. As such green beauties have a myriad of options to choose from for cleansers: balms, oils, powders – but few dare I say “traditional” cleansers, the creams and gels that are used in mainstream skincare. Green beauty companies have found ways around this “watch this powder fizz” “wipe off with a beautiful muslin cloth!” – but to me it was all sacrifice for the experience of an actual legitimate cleanser. As exciting as it is to give life to a powder, or as tranquil as it is to massage a balm or oil around skin, these products aren’t suitable replacements for ever day cleansing – no matter what marketing would suggest.

Gimmicks aside there are good quality green cleansers yet there has always been something to keep me from repurchasing, such as Tracie Martyn’s amla cleanser which offers quite a performance but at the cost of being exceptionally drying or Tata Harper’s Cleansers which smell delightful but are made with waxes and butters that don’t really cleanse properly and instead clog pores, or Intelligent Nutrients anti-aging cleanser which is a vitamin for skin but doesn’t actually cleanse at all (it’s literally a lotion that you massage into skin)! I feel like I’ve had more than enough experience to give a qualified assessment of cleansers at this point.

When I purchased YÜLI’s Halcyon cleanser, I was determined not to write a review right away because I really wanted to see how my skin would respond after long term use. Although I have been a fan of YULI’s in the past, filling this void in my skincare checklist was a task that I wasn’t sure if any product could handle. Cleanser was the first skincare product I ever bought, before I knew the concept of moisturizing and what not, so in many ways I’m most critical of cleansers. Enough background.

The quick and easy if you want to skip the rest (cause I know some of you have been patiently waiting for a long time): after months of testing, I’m pleased to say that with it’s winning combination of a green formula that purists will love, amazing cutting edge ingredients, really stellar all around performance, gentle demeanor and stellar results,  YÜLI’s Halcyon has accomplished the feat of not only being an effective green cleanser that can compete with mainstream rivals, but of essentially ending my search for the cleanser that I can use every day and not be left wanting.

halcyon ingredients

Halcyon is described as a high-tech bioactive cleansing gel that is gentle enough for daily use and effective enough to rid skin of impurities. The ingredients back up this claim, as it is one of the only cleansers (green or not) that contain peptides, hybridized enzymes, organic herbal infusions, ferments, and floral waters. All of the ingredients are chirally correct which basically means the ingredients are completely active and stable. Halcyon also stands out for what it does not include: harsh detergents, sulfates, soap bases, alcohol – all of which can be drying and strip skin or irritating to sensitive skin. This is quite a feat in formulating and really showcases YULI’s mastery of ‘green technology’ as even other green brands like Dr. Alkaitis are known to have cleansers that use soaps or alcohols.

All of this is pointless if it only looks good on paper. The gel has a great fluid consistency that applies easily to skin. It’s clear and has a slight golden tinge, and smells a refreshing floral which is quite surprising as YULI is not one of those lines in my mind that tries to make things smell good for the sake of smelling good. I use about 3 pumps and apply it in a circular upward motion around my face to lather it up a little. As it is very gentle and made without chemical surfactants, don’t expect a lot of foam but it will lather. I think this allows it to remove surface debris without drying skin which really foaming cleansers such as Tracie Martyn’s often do.

The scent and performance of Halcyon really was soothing and tranquility inducing, making me feel like I was for a brief moment at a beach side villa in Greece overlooking the crystal clear blue waters befitting of the name Halcyon. I actually looked forward to my morning and night time ritual because this cleanser was so delightful and was instantly uplifting.

The first time I used it, I noticed how exceptionally light it was compared to every cleanser I had used before. I kept touching my skin afterward because it just felt so “normal” never tight or stripped. To my delight, my skin felt completely clean yet was so pampered and soft. As for the performance, while I would describe the cleanser as gentle, it absolutely provided the level of cleansing necessary to remove my day time products as well as the excess impurities from the night. I feel like I’ve seen improvements to my skin as well which I didn’t expect since cleansers don’t usually do that. It’s probably the chiral (!) Vitamin C, skin toning herbal infusion, anti-aging peptides, retexturizing enzymes,  which make this perhaps more half serum half cleanser. I feel like my skin is softer, less prone to breakouts (in fact, even after testing a myriad of facial oils and the stress of finals papers/exams, not a single breakout), and less prone to redness. For those who wear a lot of makeup, I would probably suggest oil cleansing before this so that the cleanser can work more on your skin and not just removing the makeup. In fact this cleanser contains so many beneficial ingredients that you’re actually recommended to leave this on your skin for a little while to soak up some of the beneficial actives before washing off the impurities.


Halcyon is an exceptional cleanser that is quite unlike anything else out there. The ingredients list is proof of this lines innovative and technological prowess that separates them from the field, the results are performance driven, the scent and feel are heavenly, I am in love. Through out this extensive testing even when I was testing out other cleansers, I looked forward to coming back to this as my skin seemed to come to life. I’m not one of those beauty bloggers who throws around the term holy grail product, but this has found its place as my daily cleanser, a spot that has no small feat to fill.

To answer some of your questions that I couldn’t fit into this review:

  • I found makeup removal competent. I’m not a heavy makeup kind of girl but I also don’t use a lot of green makeup brands so the products I use are probably more difficult to remove than RMS/Kjaer Weis. I use a lot of Tom Ford, Chantecaille, Shiseido, Tarte, and Koh Gen Do products including blush/bronzer/luminizer, but no heavy mascara and I found that Halcyon did a good job of removing everything from my face. I personally like to remove makeup with something like an oil first before because otherwise I feel like I’m wasting the Halcyon since a lot of the ingredients are actually beneficial for skin rather than normal cleansers which just wash things off.
  • Which brings the next point, some of you ask if all these good ingredients are wasted in a cleanser since you wash it off. According to Yuli’s instruction, they’re aware that the cleanser contains a lot of beneficial ingredients (I even refer to it as almost a serum/cleanser) and they say you can leave it on skin a little after it is activated prior to washing off. It seems to work because I do feel like it helps to feed my skin even though it rinses very cleanly off my skin.
  • This did not make me break out, it actually helped to keep my skin clear because it was balancing as it cleansed off impurities. The gel rinses off really clean without leaving residue but it also didn’t make my skin feel “dry/tight”. 
  • I think this is good for sensitive skin, it is REALLY gentle and in fact because it smelled so good, my curiosity got the best of me and when I got a little on my lips, I did taste it, to my surprise it was very neutral which makes me think sensitive skin would probably really like this. And it isn’t exfoliating or drying so you can use it every day.
  • This works really well as the 2nd step of a double cleanse because it doesn’t irritate skin but it will help to remove the leftover residue from oil cleansing.
  • Why did I feel it was important to give this cleanser an extended test run? Because I’m super particular about cleansers and I’m not afraid of being critical. There was a review I did a while back on Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip cleanser that I thought was amazing. But then I started noticing that when my skin was fine, continued use of that cleanser would break me out most likely due to the drawing clays which stripped my skin  so I can’t really use that unless my skin is particularly oily otherwise it is too much and can actually make me imbalanced/break out/dry. So I kind of learned my lesson and decided to REALLY give this a test, and I feel like all of my observations in this review are more meaningful as a result.
  • “My skin is really dry and I generally use cleansing balms to keep my skin hydrated, can I still use this” – I don’t see any reason why you can’t. But this is a cleansing gel, not a cleansing balm they’re different products and work differently – I would say if you’re looking for a cleansing gel and you buy a balm, you won’t be happy and if you’re looking for a cleansing balm and you buy a gel you won’t be happy. I do though that whereas a cleansing balm/oils probably shouldn’t be used daily especially for acne prone and combination and oily skins, this gel one of the most universal I’ve used.
  • “My skin is really oily and I break out a lot! Can I use this?” – Again, I don’t see why not. I describe Halcyon as gentle but it belies the fact that the gel itself is quite a performer in removing the little somethin’-somethin’s we all get on our skin at the end of the day and will refresh skin in the morning. I think this is the cleanser I would have recommended to myself years ago when I was using the really harsh cleansers for acne prone skin that just stripped my skin and led to more breakouts.
  • “What cleansers would you say Halcyon is most similar to?” – Probably Tracie Martyn amla Purifying Cleanser, the discontinued Ren Rosa Centifolia Cleanser in terms of gentleness and lightness which was one of my classic faves until they changed the ingredients and took out everything expensive, Sonya Dakar Ultraluxe Nourishing Wash, Aesop Parsely Seed Cleanser  Although Halcyon is more green than the listed cleansers, they’re all what I consider to be refreshing, high quality gels. (I really AM a cleanser junky aren’t I?)

Have other questions you don’t see answered? Drop it in the comments!



  1. Guilly
    December 12, 2013 / 11:50 pm

    Try the Sodashi line. Their cleansers are amazing.

    • December 13, 2013 / 12:01 am

      I’ve used their cleansers but the clay wasn’t good for my skin long term similar to Sunday Riley

      • December 23, 2013 / 10:15 am

        Uhm, same! (I thought I was the only one experiencing this). Can you elaborate more? Did your skin become more ‘sensitized’ too?

  2. Lara
    December 12, 2013 / 11:52 pm

    Great review! Thank you! I am glad this works so well for you! I have used halcyon since yuli launched it too. I must say on my normal to dry skin I find it somewhat stripping; it is after all oil free. It only works for me if I mix in a bit of oil, so sadly for me it will not be a repurchase. I think this works best for normal to oily skin. I wish yuli would include a bit of oil for us dryer skinned girls!!

    • December 13, 2013 / 12:06 am

      Sorry to hear. I don’t think the lack of oils is the reason, for example Tracie Martyn’s actually uses a lot of oils but it is soooo drying.. I think dry skin maybe works better with balms/oils in general.. I personally don’t believe those can adequately clean skin the way a gel can and compared to all other cleansing gels, this has been the least drying for me. With moisture, I always moisturize my face after I wash so it isn’t a problem

      • Lara
        December 13, 2013 / 12:09 am

        Yeah i use a hydrating spray, oil and moisturiser afterwards and my skin still feels stripped; sadly. I do not care for cleansing balms, i think a bit more moisture/oil and halcyon would be great for drier skins too (it works after all if i add a bit of oil). X

        • December 13, 2013 / 12:10 am

          I’ve never done adding oil – what oil and how much? I use about 3 pumps. If that’s the solution it isn’t too bad. Are there other gel cleansers you’ve used that are more hydrating?

      • Lara
        December 13, 2013 / 12:15 am

        2 pumps halcyon, 1 pump grapeseedoil; ok for home routine but bad for travelling…:)

        • December 13, 2013 / 1:04 am

          oh by the way, what do you use? I’m always on the hunt for cleansers (as seen through this post) so given that you don’t like anything with waxes/balms and Halcyon is one of the gentlest gels, what do you use for your skin?

      • Lara
        December 13, 2013 / 9:34 am

        Oh what a great idea to add the oil to the bottle! I might try that; it might just make it perfect (btw adding a drop of oil to the cleanser is a recommendation made by yuli for drier skinned people; so they seem aware of it).

        For the past few months I have used halcyon with a drop of oil as described, in the past I have used cleansing gels that contain oils or light cleansing milks that contain some mild detergents (kahina etc). (Cleansers that need to be removed with muslim cloths such as pai or oskia i do not like). Not sure what’s next.

        @kyla: i am sorry if i appear nit picky/confusing to you. I never said that i wanted this cleanser to act as a moisturiser. All I said is that it leaves my drier skin a bit stripped after cleansing (if i do not add a drop of oil). And as every dermatologist will tell you, if your skin feels stripped after you cleanse, then you are probably using the wrong cleanser, which can lead to all sorts of skin problems. I think it is about being informed, not brainwashed by marketing/pr and trusting your gut! Thank you!

        • December 13, 2013 / 2:01 pm

          Thank you for contributing! I thought cleansing milks may have been the answer for you I just wasn’t sure. And don’t worry I wasn’t saying you’re being brainwashed, I was saying as a general observation the reviews one may see. In fact I even back you up about how I also complain about dryness when using the Tracie Martyn and I in no way implied you personally have a double standard, so I hope I didn’t make you feel that way! I was just kind of pointing out the green community.

    • Lara
      December 14, 2013 / 12:08 am

      Oh I did not, do not worry! I am totally with you when it comes to the ndml community; i never tried most of the mentioned endorsed brands simply because I am so happy with most yuli products (serums, elixirs, mask, lip serum). For me a product needs to perform too not merely smell good. Keep up the great work.

  3. Tamoua
    December 12, 2013 / 11:52 pm

    Thank you! I’m one of the readers that waited for AGES to read your review on this. And you don’t disappoint. Thank you for your constantly thorough reviews that explain all of your thoughts because they are so true! You point out things I don’t think of and share concerns that I have when I use products. I decided to purchase their sample size during the Black Friday special and now I’m really glad I took advantage of that, I can’t wait to try it!

    • December 13, 2013 / 12:07 am

      Thank you! It’s actually quite a bit of pressure to write and provide the information people want!

  4. Nina
    December 13, 2013 / 12:00 am

    Woohoo! What I love about your reviews is that they are consistent. From one review to the next I feel like I have a very clear how everything looks to you which doesn’t always happen with bloggers, a lot will just say whatever they are using is “the most special” at that moment and then the next review something else is more special and I end up just as uncertain as when I started reading.

    I couldn’t wait for your review and bit the bullet on purchasing this. 1.5 month later, I’m happy to say this cleanser has worked out so well for me. I was having a hard time letting go of my Tata Harper Refershing Cleanser and I was afraid that switching to this would be too dry for me. But I noticed that my skin looked dull and congested so I decided to try this because it was lighter and I’m so glad I did! My skin looks way better. It isn’t as moisturizing as the refreshing cleanser because like you say there isn’t wax but that is ok because I always use a moisturizer after I cleanse. I think it is a good balance and wonderfully made.

    • December 13, 2013 / 12:09 am

      Thank you! And I completely know what you’re talking about, I hate raeding blogs where everything is amazing and everything is special because then nothing is.

      totally agree with you, for cleansing use a cleanser, for moisture use a moisturizer – I think a lot of people used to the concept of milks/oils/balms think you can get two in one but the reality is that they don’t work well at cleansing long term.

  5. Dana
    December 13, 2013 / 12:25 am

    wow what a great review! I like the way halcyon cleanses and exfoliates but I wish it would be a little bit more nourishing/hydrating. unlike you, I have drier skin and the cleanser leaves my skin feeling a little dry/red especially in colder weatger, which is a shame really as I had high hopes. ( I never went for oils or balms or waxy cleansers such as tata harper, they leave my dry skin congested.) but great to learn it works so well for oilier skins! keep up the great work with these honest reviews.

    • December 13, 2013 / 12:52 am

      Thanks Dana! I think Lara is in the same boat and she adds a drop of grapeseed oil. I don’t think I’ve found a cleansing gel that is more mild for dry skin though unfortunately

    • December 13, 2013 / 1:05 am

      by the way, what do you use for your skin during cleansing given the dry skin congestion?

  6. RB
    December 13, 2013 / 12:55 am

    I have normal skin (is this a first for your blog? lol) and I think Halcyon is amazing. It is not like any other natural cleanser I’ve tried ike no other cleanser I’ve ever tried, it does turn a bit milky when rinsed off for me. I don’t find drying at all, on the contrary my skin feels really good after. I really think it is perfect.

    • December 13, 2013 / 1:06 am

      LOL yes I used to have a lot of people with acneic skin and somehow its turned to dry? Maybe it has to do with winter. Yeah for all of the cleansers I’ve used that actually cleanse, I don’t find this drying at all. Glad you had a really great experience with it too!

  7. Greta
    December 13, 2013 / 12:58 am

    Oh such a lovely review for a lovely product. Halcyon does remind me a lot of Tracie Martyn and Aesop except less drying. Even though there may not be a one size fits all, I agree with you that cleansing gels have the best performance for cleaning skin and up until now I have not been able to use them because of my skin which is prone to dry patches. I’m pleased to say that this has been wonderful!

    • December 13, 2013 / 1:10 am

      Thank you! Glad to hear this worked for your dry skin! I also develop dry patches especially around winter around my cheeks and corners of my mouth. My skin changes quite a bit based on the environment, and in winter my entire routine changes and I even need the Tata Harper Repairative Moisturizer. While transitioning from late summer to now, I’ve been using Halcyon and it has adapted to my skin needs entirely.

  8. Laura
    December 13, 2013 / 1:02 am

    Thank you for your honest and as always thorough review. I’m one of the people who e-mailed you. I have acne prone skin so I wasn’t sure if this would cause breakouts or if it could power through my oily skin. I have used it for 3 weeks now and it has helped rebalance my skin, and I do get less acne. Existing blemishes have subsided tremendously and I feel finally I am not at war with my skin, it doesn’t hurt from eruptions and redness anymore.

    • December 13, 2013 / 1:11 am

      I’m happy to hear that your skin is doing better since you used this! Quite a wonderful cleanser huh?

  9. Rebecca
    December 13, 2013 / 1:36 am

    Looking through the review and comments, I think cleansers like everything else in skincare can be switched out by seasons. I’m curious if the people with dry skin for example will find this to be just right in the summer when skin does become oilier and secrete more. I’d also like to know what they are using since it seems like the cleansers for dry skin don’t appeal to them.

    Regardless it seems apparent based on everyones comment that Halcyon is quite high quality and a effective cleanser that has a lot of good qualities. I won’t rely on cleansers for moisturization, as I have tried those products before like Aurelia’s miracle cleanser and May Lindstrom Honey Mud cleanser. I don’t know if Honey Mud actually did anything except smear chocolate and honey all over my face. Aurelia’s is so beautiful but like you said, it’s one of those “muslin cloth” cleansers like Pai, and so many others that leave skin dull and congested.

    I have used Tracie Martyn before and liked it. Although it can be a little strong, I think it is the gold standard in natural cleansers. Since I do not really wear makeup and when I do, I double cleanse, it sounds like Halcyon might be perfect for me. If it is more mild than Tracie Martyn with foaming then I’m pretty confident it will not strip my skin at all. Regardless this sounds like a definite contender to try!

    • December 13, 2013 / 1:46 am

      Hi Rebecca, yes as you can see it’s quite a feat to produce a cleanser for everyone, some ask about how well it will play with Clarisonic while others want absolutely no foam, I don’t think any cleanser will win 100% of the audience, what I think Halcyon does is meet at a point where the majority of people will enjoy it and find it effective. It’s reflected in the comments as people of all skin types have positive reviews for it while the drier skins would like for it to be more moisturizing. I think the trade offs YULI made in Halcyon between performance and suitability for everyone is exceptional and you won’t see quite a well balanced cleanser like this (at least I haven’t from all my searching).

      Halcyon is certainly more mild than Tracie Martyn so you’ll probably love it.

      • Sarah
        December 13, 2013 / 2:03 am

        I’ve used both Tracie and Yuli, and I have to agree that if you like Tracie but want something a little less intense but just as good, Halcyon is the way to go. They both have phenomenal ingredients but my skin is very delicate so I needed something more gentle. After I got fraxel laser for my skin, I really needed to use all mild products and Halcyon was the only natural product that did that for me, everything else had too many essential oils or was too abrasive and I went with Cetaphil for about a week until my Halcyon arrived and I credit it with saving my skin. Even my doctor said my skin recovered quicker than expected.

  10. RM
    December 13, 2013 / 1:47 am

    Love this review, love your blog and couldn’t agree more with Nina… I really appreciate your honesty, consistency and candor. I just don’t get the whole ‘won’t write any negative reviews’ philosophy on so many blogs out there!? If everything is “amazing”, “HG” and “the best”, then nothing really is, like you say. Criticality is a good thing, especially in this context, or it’s just a bunch of meaningless, politically correct, watered down words. I feel like they don’t get the difference between trash talk, and a meaningful and honest review.

    I recently went through a bit of a skin upheaval — major cystic breakouts on areas I don’t usually breakout, sensitivity to products I’ve been using for almost a year and a rash over most of my face. I couldn’t use my regular cleansers — ED4OLO vitamin B cleansing oil followed by Dr. Alkaitis’s gel cleanser. In fact, I think they were part of the problem. I stay away from cleansing balms and creams due to congestion-prone skin so ordered the Halycon in a hurry and couldn’t be happier! It’s gentle, thorough, rinses totally clean and basically everything mentioned in the review above. A week later, my skin is 90% better and halycon is definitely one of the prime reasons for that, the other being a DIY manuka honey-Greek yogurt-turmeric-neem oil mask on a nightly basis after cleansing with halcyon. Oh, and liberal spritzing with Yuli’s Cocoon post face mask.

  11. Kyla
    December 13, 2013 / 3:08 am

    Hello I am new to green beauty and I came to your blog as it has quite a reputation for very honest and informative reviews. While I don’t have anything to say about YULI… I’m still getting to know how these products work and how people make the transition. I don’t mean to sound judgmental but is it just me or are green beauties extremely nit-picky? It is almost absurd some of the comments I see on No More Dirty Looks and even in this review. “This cleanser wasn’t good as a moisturizer and I don’t want to use moisturizing cleansers because they are bad for my skin” – goodness talk about conflicted! Or how adding a drop of oil makes it perfect but it’s such a hassle for you? I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all in anything and most products if they can hit down the middle are success and it sounds like Halcyon has achieved more than that based on the comments as a whole and your review. I find that with a lot of products I use even the not green ones, I need to adapt usage to how it best suits me. There seems to be an expectation of a lot of hand holding here which is what I find so peculiar.

    • December 13, 2013 / 3:56 am

      Welcome to the green community and a warm welcome to my blog Kyla! I think everyone will have their own experience, for myself personally I decided to let my gut be my guide.

      I think green beauties do have higher expectations than others because they’re more aware of what they’re putting on their skin. I find a lot of the time, the trouble is a lot of people have great intentions but they base their beliefs off of half truths and run with it so then there is all this conflicting information and I feel like people just need to chill out. That is one of the reasons why I don’t really go on No More Dirty Looks anymore.

      I find that when I’m confused by statements, the best way is to learn and ask questions. I was also confused by what products Lara and Dana used as they kind of narrowed down the entire field there lol, so I asked them – easy as that. If there is anything us green beauty gals don’t lack, it’s our love of sharing our experiences! And I genuinely love discovering how people perceive different products.

      Sometimes this all is very much too first-world problems, for me, adding a few drops of an oil into a great cleanser to make it perfect for you sounds like a great plan but if someone finds it to be a hassle, it is their prerogative. I mean for myself I found Tracie Martyn’s and Aesops to be too strong so who am I to judge others right? Live and let live.

      Truth be told this community is very close knit in almost an incestuous way which is why I prefer being on the side lines looking in. A lot of lines will bend over backwards to make press/customers happy including making custom creations which attributes to this hand holding mentality. that would not work elsewhere. Have you looked on Spirit Beauty Lounge’s Facebook? Some of the comments are so unpleasant and entitled and go beyond even the behavior I see from demanding shoppers from Neiman Marcus!

      I think all of these factors can make it feel like the community as a whole seems knit-picky and a little 1st world problem, goodness knows I’m guilty of that sometimes!

      The other part is that green beauty is all fairly new, everyone is trying to figure everything out with lines/products popping up all the time. Most of the larger brands you’ve probably heard of like May Lindstrom are very social with the community and friendly with major green press. All of her products go through a well synchronized network of beauty bloggers turned friends/devotees and retailers who carry her line espousing the merits of her products despite my personal belief that there isn’t a single product in her line that one can use daily morning and night. Yet her products are not held to the same standards of YULI for example, you’ll mainly hear how Clean Dirt is the most revolutionary thing ever despite that it’s overly exfoliating so you can’t use it daily much less morning and night, and even the new cleanser Honey Mud contains so much sugar and inflammatory foods which can’t be good for acne, etc. and there aren’t any actual cleansing agents. While Halcyon which as you see even in the comments seems to get on everyone’s good side as a daily cleanser to use without any of the gimmicks that other brands rely on, receives dings for not being moisturizing enough. So if you go through reviews, it’s somewhat misleading to compare the two. That double standard is one that I see a lot. As much as we try to prevent it, we do get swayed by constant advertorials (advertisements formatted as editorials/reviews) which are rampant in this community. So I stay away from a lot of the older established blogs some of whom literally run advertisements from the brands they review or share meals together with the owners because of course they’re not going to write anything cutting in there or even if they try to be honest they’re going to cushion the blow because there is a relationship that makes it more than just professional. So then where does the knit picking go? To lines that don’t play this game – Amala, Dr. Alkaitis, ila, Intelligent Nutrients, Yuli. That’s why after all this time for every positive review for one of these lines, I instinctively weigh it 3-5 times higher than positive reviews for other lines. So I urge you to take every review with a grain of salt, it’s not that us writers are bad people, it’s that this community is a much smaller and much more delicate ecosystem than you may realize.

      • Alexa
        December 13, 2013 / 8:52 pm

        Hope you don’t mind me jumping into the conversation, but I just wanted to say that you bring up some very good points. Namely, the green beauty community is close-knit, so it seems like all the major founders and bloggers have established relationships. While I think it’s great that we as customers are able to speak personally with the people making our skincare products, bloggers who become personal friends of a brand do a big disservice to readers when they write positive reviews for that brand, disclaimer statement be damned. Also: what RM said; when did it become not OK to write negative reviews? I actually appreciate those more than the positive ones because those actually save me money!

        I also wanted to second what you say about weighing reviews differently; marketing-wise, some of the brands are on a completely different spectrum. Many of the lines you mentioned used to have a lot of fervor surrounding them, but they seem to have fallen out of the spotlight more recently, which is unfortunate especially given that many of the “older” brands have superior ingredients sourcing. (Green Derm’s post “Not all Oils are Equal” elaborates on this well.) I don’t know about ila or Amala, but Dr. Alkaitis, IN, and Yuli (plus Kahina and Tata Harper–though they’ve retained their prominence) all personally produce many of their ingredients rather than getting them through a third-party source. Considering that, I think many of the products from those lines are reasonably priced for the luxury natural market. Example: Yuli’s body serum, Harmony, is $80/100 mL which is definitely a splurge, but less than, for example, a body serum from La Bella Figura ($90/100 mL) or May Lindstrom ($110/100 mL). A lot of people might prefer the latter products and that’s OK; it comes down to what you’re looking for in your products. Personally, I have to work a lot of hours to afford anything in that price range, so I demand more from my products than a pleasant sensory experience. I hope that more green beauties learn to look past “advertorials” and determine for themselves what their skin needs.

      • TC
        December 13, 2013 / 11:14 pm

        Hi long term reader, first time commenting. Can you tell me how May “brainwashes” as Lara said to get good reviews? I am not trying to start a comment war, I truthfully want to know because this is all new to me.

        By the way, thank you for your review of Halcyon, I actually received a sample of this from Strange Invisible where the ladies know me by name and will make me personal samples. I am in my 50s with dry skin and some crepiness, and for any ladies who are afraid this cleanser is drying, I’m proof it isn’t. You are right that it is one of the most gentle cleansers, I don’t think it is stripping at all, absolutely the right balance for my skin. I have since bought a bottle for myself and for my daughter who has younger skin that is oilier from her dads side, if it is any indication how well this cleanser can work for any skin type it is that she will only use Halcyon now for her cleanser. One very fine cleanser that can work for most people.

        • December 13, 2013 / 11:26 pm

          Good to hear Halcyon works for you and your whole family, I’ve been saying that I think Halcyon is one of the most universal cleansers that will work for most people which is very rare.

          I don’t think Lara said May brainwashes, she said she’s not brainwashed (and she sure isn’t!). My comment wasn’t directed at Lara nor at May but rather the system of green beauty’s hype machine. Case in point Spirit Beauty Lounge already has 9 5-star reviews for May Lindstrom’s Honey Mud and 6 reviews for Blue Cocoon that literally JUST came out. So how did all these people already get a full go at this product? Press samples. How did all the blogs post the same raving reviews essentially days apart from each other the same week the products actually launched? How did all of her retailers stay on brand message “this balm is essential for winter” “mmm decadent honey mud” “another unique stunner from May” on all the social networks? If you look in those comments people will say “been hearing so much about this!” – Yeah from retailers who have products to sell to the blogs who are friendly and on the receiving end of these gifts. And let me choose a few lines from her glowing reviews: “I don’t know how May does it!” “Everything from May works beautifully for my skin!” “You need to understand how unique this is!”. I’ll tell you how she does it, she gave it to you so you’ll talk it up and the network of green beauty hype machines pushed this onto you. This isn’t a hit on May’s integrity, a LOT of brands do this, I’m just using it as an example.

  12. Kat
    December 13, 2013 / 7:06 am

    Can’t tell you how happy i am to have discovered your thoughtful, considered blog. I’m thinking I’ll try Halcyon and interchange with Dr Alkaitis.
    on ML- I’ve never understood the price point for the Youth Dew- 20 ml mixture of oils, not infusions or anything like say Modern Alchemist which is similar price for 30 ml

    • December 13, 2013 / 10:38 pm

      Oh I think you’ll enjoy Halcyon a lot if you’re using the Dr. Alkaitis cleanser, it feels much more of a polished cleanser in my opinion where the castille soap base in Dr. Alkaitis always felt a bit strange and strong as a facial cleanser.

      Yeah Youth Dew is good but not for the price/size and I would only use it at night which is why I’m saying I can’t find a single thing you can use continuously which.. isn’t that what we want with our skincare?

  13. Juliet
    December 13, 2013 / 7:50 am

    Wow, lady, you got a lot of comments with this one! And I’m going to add one more. I purchased Halcyon shortly after it’s release and have been loving it. For night, I like to use One Love Organics cleansing oil first. Since I’m a shower face washer, before getting in I’ll rub a pump of OLO on my face for a few minutes to get all of the makeup and sunscreen broken down. In the shower, add a little water and it turns milky as it rinses away. Three or four pumps of Halcyon after that and my face feels perfectly balanced. It’s like these two were made for each other!

    I definitely don’t get the lather you get though. I wonder if it has to do with using it in the shower… too much water perhaps?

    Awesome review as usual!

    • December 13, 2013 / 2:08 pm

      Yes, I kind of figured from all the e-mails I got for this post but wow it takes work to keep up with the comments! In the shower I don’t notice the lather as much but yes to the milkiness. In the morning what I do is really “precious” as my bf calls it.. I don’t use water, I copy the ITG cleansing method where I do a few sprays (regular ol Rosewater at room temperature) to get my skin wet, and run my hands through water. Then I do 3 pumps of Halcyon and I think you’ll see more foaming this way. I always notice it because I let it sit for a bit so I see it in the mirror.

      When I paired this with the Tatcha Cleansing Oil for heavy makeup days, I totally experienced the same as you, really great results that left my skin perfectly balanced.

      • Juliet
        January 1, 2014 / 3:09 am

        what kind of rose water do you use and where do you get it?

  14. December 13, 2013 / 4:56 pm

    Great review, as always. I learned about the YÜLI products through your blog some time ago and I’m dying to try one. However in the past I had some issues with pure jojoba oil so I’m not sure if the oils by YÜLI for my type of skin (acne-prone) are worth a try. After reading your review on the cleanser I think that this will be my first YÜLI product instead of one of the oil mixtures.

    Btw, I agree on your thoughts on the green community. Some blogs nowadays seem to be more like magazines that personal blogs and it’s sad to see that many bloggers rely on products they are sent for review and that critical (not negative) reviews are hard to find.

    • December 13, 2013 / 10:41 pm

      Hello Julchen! If your skin doesn’t like jojoba, it probably won’t matter how good the product is if I has jojoba. But I know their cleanser is pretty good very light and gentle but effective. I think it is wonderful for acne prone skin that needs something gentle but removes impurities.

      Yes a lot of blogs read like sending out a press message or heavy endorsements for their friends lines which always makes me feel like I don’t get a real impression so I always try to write from a pure user standpoint.

  15. Lisa
    December 13, 2013 / 8:04 pm

    Great review, and oh what I love to read the comments – such good input! I must admit, I know nothing about cleansers, except whether or not they seem to work for me. Unfortunately, I don’t have any cleanser in my routine that I particularly like.
    Would you please elaborate a bit about why it’s not suitable to cleanse with oils, balms or powders every day? I have tried some balms and oils, because I very easily get clogged pores, but I never found any relief for my congested skin. The problem for me is that my skin is oily – i.e. able to produce oil (whether it’s defined as normal or oily I honestly don’t know – I’ve also been told I have dry skin), but dehydrated and extremely prone to dehydration and flakiness and clogged pores (which might be partly caused by dehydration). I can’t seem to find a cleanser that unclogs pores while at the same time doesn’t increase dehydration.. I’ve been eyeing a cleansing balm and powdery exfoliation from de Mamiel, but given that it might not be ideal to use them every day I might hold off on purchasing them. My hesitation regarding Halcyon is that it might be drying and dehydrating, but I guess I’ll learn that if I try it out 🙂
    Anyway, I’d really appreciate if you’d explain a bit about the oil, balm and powder cleansing – I really have read raving reviews of those types of cleansers on many blogs, and gotten quite sold on them.

    • December 13, 2013 / 10:56 pm

      Hello Lisa, balms and oils essentially work on the concept that “like attracts like” so the idea is that they’ll dislodge oil that is trapped in pores. But realistically it’s hard to say how deep they penetrate and once they do, how you can get it off. Oils and balms stay on skin because they don’t mix with water so you technically can’t wash off all of it. So then they become left as more grime in skin so long term, you don’t actually get any relief as you’ve probably noticed.

      It sounds like your skin might be combination and I wouldn’t be too worried about placing it in a category, we all share our skin type this way because it is a quick and easy way to let others know our skin characteristics but what is dry/oily is all relatively and depends on a lot of things like whether you live some where humid or if your body type is prone to being more hot/cold, etc.

      If you’ve used balms and oils, and you’re reading rave reviews on balms/oils from other bloggers who share your skin type then give it a try. But also look at the ingredients, if it is similar to what you’ve used then I don’t know if you should expect better results.

      Cleansers to me should cleanse skin, remove all the excessive oils/dirt/pollution, and leave skin refreshed. The most powerful cleansers are gels, then milks, then balms/oils. I don’t feel as though powders are effective long term and they’re better as exfoliants which you can’t really use daily so I don’t include them in here. Most people with oily skin should use gels, those with normal skin should probably use gels as well (just a lighter one like Halcyon), whereas in my honest opinion dry skin types should use milks and refrain from balms/oils. Most of my friends and co-workers with dry skin who do the balm/oil ranging from Eve Lom to Ren to OLO always go back to a traditional cleanser after the novelty wears off because it really doesn’t work well for daily use.

      On the spectrum I’d say Halcyon has been the lightest gel I’ve ever used that I think some people with dry skin can use, in fact I think some of the commenters who like Halcyon also have dry skin and the others say it leaves their skin balanced after double cleansing with oil. There aren’t any oils in there but I don’t equate oils in cleansers to moisturizing, I think other things like the foaming agents have more to do with how moisturizing or not moisturizing a cleanser is, for example Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip Cleanser contains 3 oils but it left my skin dry and over producing oil which really messed up my skins balance. So I’d say if you want the performance of a cleansing gel but that won’t strip your skin, Halcyon is probably your best bet.

      • Lisa
        December 14, 2013 / 10:13 am

        Thank your for your reply!
        Would you say the same about double cleansing; could you use an oil cleanser long term if you double cleanse? I’m thinking that’s a surer way of getting rid of the oil.
        Wow, you’ve completely convinced me, I’ll be wishing for Halcyon for Christmas 🙂

    • Erin
      December 14, 2013 / 9:25 pm

      I have similar skin issues to you and take it from me, don’t try to use a balm cleanser. It just causes congestion because most of the balm cleansers are made with shea butter, beeswax and/or some other heavy butter which does not work well with our skin types, especially on a daily basis. I learned this the hard way because my skin just kept getting so congested after using different balm cleansers that I just had to stop.

      • Lisa
        December 15, 2013 / 9:44 am

        Thanks for your input! Yeah, of the very few cleansing balms I’ve tried I’ve kind of gotten that feeling.. Which products do you use for congested skin? Have you found anything that works?

  16. Alexa
    December 13, 2013 / 11:46 pm

    Oh by the way, thanks for updating your experience with the Ceramic Slip Cleanser. Is there any chance you might post (even if just a pic on Instagram) an updated skincare routine?

    • December 13, 2013 / 11:57 pm

      Thanks Alexa! I’m thinking about just doing a full rundown of all my cleansers since you know… there’s a lot.. LOL

      • RM
        December 14, 2013 / 3:52 am

        I second Alexa’s request for an updated skincare routine! I was going to ask you what you use as a make up remover, pre-halcyon and read in your comments that it’s Tatcha’s cleansing oil? Would also love to know what day and night serum/moisturizer you’re currently using. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, for some strange reason, my usual products just stopped working for me since the weather turned cold (or maybe not that strange but new to me as a recent clean products convert), leaving me at a bit of a loss. Since my skin seems to be similar to yours (Accutane survivor, congestion/acne-prone, dry-ish in the winter…) but about a decade and a half older, your recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

  17. Lana
    December 14, 2013 / 4:18 am

    I bought Halcyon after getting your response to my e-mail. This was about two months ago, and I ordered another bottle about one week ago. It is a beautiful cleanser; calming yet cleansing. If my skin is irritated is balances it and calms it right away. Pretty amazing. In fact, I love all the Yuli products you have recommended and use them every night. The only serum that hasn’t quite worked for me is Liquid Courage. Sometimes it just seems to be too rich for my oily skin. I can’t quite decide if it is the Liquid Courage or just my hormonal, acne-prone skin. Everything else – Panacea, ME Skin Fuel, Halcyon, and Pure are just amazing. I love this line so much. My skin has never looked better or more balanced.

  18. Kerry
    December 14, 2013 / 10:07 pm

    @Alexa I agree that it’s a huge disservice to reader (who are actually the ones paying for the products) when bloggers become personal friends with the founders of brands. When I see this I move on from their blog because their reviews are no longer credible to me. I have done this with a few popular blogs in green beauty. It’s just a waste of time for me. As for the working long hours for my products I’m also in the same boat as you. I make cuts on other things where I can: less eating out, cutting back on getting drinks, doing my nails at home, walking more, remembering to bring my own water bottle, etc. Small changes really add up and before I know it I have enough to buy a skincare product I really want.

  19. SR
    December 16, 2013 / 5:48 am

    What an active discussion! I really enjoy how you give them a real run and I can’t wait to try Halcyon, it seems to be an amazing cleaner green or not!

    • Jason
      December 16, 2013 / 5:59 am

      I know right? I’m currently looking for a new cleanser and this discussion has been really helpful because I’ve found the selection of green cleansers to be lacking.

  20. Cece
    December 17, 2013 / 6:06 am

    Wow girl, you’re a straight shooter! I’m really impressed how smart your reviews are, you really wad through the BS and get to the important points that us buyers really think about.

    I am a huge junkie and I totally agree, there aren’t a lot of green cleansers that you can use daily. I tried Halcyon’s sample size that they were selling during Thanksgiving and fell in love. Of the few green cleansers I could use daily like Kahina, Amala, and Dr. Alkaitis the Halcyon was the most beautiful in how it felt and performed. As someone with dry skin (I can’t ever just go on a face oil, I NEED my heavy creams), I was surprised how light Halcyon was, I think it was the least drying of the bunch, with Kahina 2nd, and Alkaitis/Amala as the drying ones. In terms of performance, Kahina was the worst for me as I felt like I was moving the cream around my face. Alkaitis I totally know what you mean by rough.. it just doesn’t feel luxurious and refined and totally too much for face, it feels more like a body soap. Halcyon is definitely a winner on my list and I’ve already ordered a full bottle.

  21. fern
    December 19, 2013 / 3:22 pm

    I love your blog – it was through your thoughful reviews that I found YULI. I have very, very acne-prone skin (I’ve been on Accutane twice, and I still had cystic acne). Anywho, after dealing with the hormonal balance issues, YULI has helped to clear up my skin. The Halcyon cleanser I use in the morning with OLO Brand New Day exfoliator and my skin has never been happier.

  22. Sharon L
    December 22, 2013 / 6:32 pm

    I have to comment and tell you how much I love Halcyon. I was hooked after the first use but I am now on my second bottle already because my skin just loves this! It leaves my skin so soft and moisturized, perfect really. And my pores are very clear while dry patches that usually occur in winter are gone!

  23. NS
    December 24, 2013 / 8:09 pm

    I have to also throw in my 2 cents that Halcyon is an amazing cleanser. It changed my skin after a week of use, no joking. I don’t ever comment online but I really think this brand and their products are amazing. I have very temperamental skin and as such washing my face two times a day with water tends to dry it out so I was hesitant about adding a cleanser but this has been so calming and refreshing and leaves my skin glowing.

  24. December 27, 2013 / 6:15 pm

    This has been such interesting and informative reading and I’m so glad to have discovered this intelligent and honest blog. On a separate note just to say that I have dry skin and use oil or balm cleansers on a daily basis and have done for at least 15 years and they clean my skin superbly. I guess horses for courses!

  25. Leaticia
    February 20, 2014 / 1:19 am

    I found your site through a recent post on no more dirty looks and I feel like my eyes are opened! I always felt like my experience with the products they raved about never matched up and after reading your explanation it is so apparent that I don’t know why I didn’t realize it sooner. Keep up the good work, I will be adding you to my bookmarks.

  26. Julie
    March 1, 2014 / 11:38 am

    Could anyone please share their experiences with Yuli’s customer service? I ordered the cell perfecto pm and it took the a week to send me a tracking number, which is no big deal. What makes me very nervous is that it’s been an entire week and the usps tracking only says shipping info received with no movement on a package that yuli says was put in the mail on Monday. They say the problem is usps new tracking system, but that doesn’t make sense. If they put it in the mail 2 day priority on Monday it would be here by now. I’ve never had problems with usps on other orders and I’m nervous that yuli isn’t being truthful about this and it hasn’t actually gone in the mail.

    • Sheena
      March 1, 2014 / 5:07 pm

      Hi I’ve ordered from them like.. once a month since November and their normal preparation time is longer because they make the products afterward so I get that but usually the shipping arrives on time. For what it is worth, I’ve placed a couple orders recently (with like.. 5 different companies) and the fastest one to get to me using 2 day mail reached me in 6 days and the estimate said 2 days… I think USPS has some issue

    • Nina
      March 1, 2014 / 5:14 pm

      I’ve always found their customer service responsive and knowledgeable.. haven’t had a problem. I know that 2 day priority takes longer than 2 days like 90% of the time with my orders so I wouldn’t be too worried.

  27. Juliea
    November 9, 2014 / 8:30 pm

    Thank you so much for your honest reviews. I have been using Yuli products for several months now and it really is a wonderful green beauty brand. The PM cell perfecto has really helped with acne scars I have, and I think the Pure mask is the best mask I’ve ever used. I also really like the Liquid Courage serum. Several months ago I bought a sample of the Halcyon cleanser from SBL but I forgot to use it. Pulled it out of my sample bin last night and it is fabulous. I just placed an order for a full size and my third bottle of PM cell perfecto. By the way, I didn’t see REAL improvement with pitted acne scars until I finished my first bottle. I think it works very well but it is the type of product that needs time to show results.

    I have noticed the trend in the green beauty blogger community to love EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT they review and to never have a negative comment. I’ve also had beauty bloggers give me a hard time for sharing my opinion on a product if it is not 100% positive. There was a review of a product last month on a green beauty blog and I asked an honest question about the justification of a price of $185 for a 30 ml oil serum and the reviewer bit my head off and then blocked me! I follow lots of green bloggers on IG and some are always posting pictures of them hanging out with the company owners. There are also some green beauty vendors that have contests and the winners are always green beauty bloggers. I appreciate that YULI does not participate in this network through pushing positive reviews and press samples. There are so lovely green beauty bloggers out there, though, but they tend to not be the ones with a cult following.

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