Kari Gran Review: 3 Step System

In an industry where everyone is boasting, it’s refreshing to meet a line that places its philosophy as delivering what amounts to as “the little black dress” version of skincare. Kari Gran, based out of Seattle is a green brand focused on the less is more approach of simple yet elegant solutions centered around plant oils.

I know there are many choices when it comes to purchases, and Kari Gran makes it quite easy and compelling with a Starter Kit of the essentials: Cleansing Oil, Lavender or Rose hydrating Tonic, Essential Serum & new Three Sixty Five SPF 28 in really chic UV bottled travel sizes.

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So here’s a quick rundown:

Kari Gran Cleansing Oil: This is a non-emulsifying cleansing oil, meaning it’s best to follow with a 2nd cleanser or with a washcloth. As with all cleansing oils, apply to dry skin and massage away. The texture of this oil is the perfect thickness that doesn’t leave skin greasy but also isn’t like a dry oil that just disappears into skin after a few seconds. I like cleansing oils to be viscous enough that there is some cushion and this delivers on that effect.

The simple ingredient list of only 5 ingredients is very high quality, unlike other cleansing oils where beneficial plant oils are toward the middle of the ingredients list.

Ingredients: Sunflower Oil, Avocado Oil, Castor Oil, Lavender Oil, Tocopherol
All oils are organic

Kari Gran Lavender Hydrating Tonic: This tonic is available is in lavender or rose. Since the cleansing oil and essential serum have a dominant lavender fragrance, this tonic was a fantastic middle step. I actually really enjoyed this tonic and felt it was excellent as a setting spray and layered well with the essential serum.

The ingredients list for this is even simpler: 3 ingredients – distilled aloe vera leaf, organic glycerin and organic lavender. But unlike other lines where simple compositions can feel incomplete or a little too DIY-ish, this feels well done.

Kari Gran Essential Serum: The essential serum is Kari Gran’s answer to face oils. In here there are actually 15 plant oils, among them, my favorites are camellia oil, rosehip oil, calendula oil, and essential oils of lavender, rose, jasmine, ylang ylang. The scent works with the rest of the line and I’d describe it as more of a blend between lavender and ylang ylang, though on the floral fragrant side in a good way.

Ingredients list: Organic Camellia Oleifera (Camellia Seed) Oil, Organic Rosa Canina Fruit (Rosehip Seed) Oil, Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Organic Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Organic Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Organic Olea Europaea (Olive), Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) & Organic Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Oil, Organic Olea Europaea (Olive) & Organic Arnica Montana (Arnica) Oil, Organic Lavandula Hybrida (Lavender) Oil, Wildharvested Boswellia Sacra (Frankincense) Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Oil, Jasminum Sambac (Jasmine) Oil, Organic Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn Seed) Oil, Organic Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Oil, Tocopherol (Non-GMO Vitamin E from Sunflower).


What I’ve found is that Kari Gran really nails the texture, whether they’re using 3 ingredients or 15, the products go on the skin and feel just right. You never feel lacking, as the products provide a polish and elegance that belies that often times sparse ingredients list. The compositions really do work like minimalist little black dresses and for that reason, I’m inclined to recommend them for everyone as they would just fit so effortlessly especially at their fairly reasonable price points.



  1. stacey
    October 5, 2016 / 4:06 pm

    How apropos for this review! I recently took advantage of their skincare sale and ordered their Starter Kit because I’ve been wanting to try their new spf oil. I’ve only used their lip whips previously (love them) and I’m so happy I got the Starter Kit. I’m a self professed cosmetic/skin care junkie and I’ve used most of the facial oils and serums out there. I’ve known about Kari Gran line but I kept putting off purchasing to purchase the latest and greatest (I’m a marketer’s dream). The latest oil I’ve been using is Maya Chia Super Couple and it’s been SO disappointing. It felt oily slick on my face, not light like most reviews I’ve read, and eventually sunk into my skin after awhile but still left my skin very dry. Also I think I might be allergic to it because my neck and mouth area has had some serious rashes that would not go away. Anyway, I started using the starter kit and my skin’s been looking really nice! I bought full sizes right after being happy with the kit for couple of weeks. Their processing and shipping turnaround time is very fast, which I appreciate. I’ve also started using a different cleanser (HG, and I never say that) around the same time so not sure if it’s all Kari Gran but I really like this line. Like you, I really like the texture and scent. Their formulation seem to really suit my skin and the price point is VERY reasonable. It’s a bonus that they are semi-local for me too. 🙂

  2. Karla
    October 20, 2016 / 2:12 pm

    Another great review, I purchased a few items from them when they came out with the 365 SPF. Really enjoyed the rose toner and the essential serum. The cleansing oil, like you said has the perfect texture but I don’t like that it doesn’t wash off and that I have to remove with a clothe which gets my skin red and irritated. The 365 SPF was interesting as I never used an oil before and I don’t know how effective it was, I don’t think it will be a repurchase as I never felt totally secure with it.

  3. October 27, 2016 / 4:26 am

    Sounds a really nice brand. Not too much fan of applying oil in the morning but would def see myself using these products in the eve. x

  4. November 12, 2016 / 12:14 pm

    Your reviews are so helpful and well thought out. I’ve never tried Kari Gran, but now I think I need to!

  5. Laura
    November 14, 2016 / 2:23 pm

    Hi! I would love to see a post from you possibly comparing what your experiences have been between the brands: Yuli, Root Science, Vintner’s Daughter, True Botanics, and Kahina Beauty? I experience consistent clogged pores all over my face, but also dry skin… So it has been a very draining search to find the right skin care products to help clear up my congested pores but also hydrate my skin. My dermatologist prescribed me tretinoin cream to apply at night, but I’m still on the hunt for a really amazing cleanser, toner, and daily and nightly hydrator. Since I feel pretty dry most of the time, I normally like to cocktail an oil with a creamier serum that contains glycerin… Currently I’m using the Kypris Antioxidant Dew for that but maybe you can suggest something even better? Thanks and look forward to hearing back on any suggestions!

    • Emma
      November 30, 2016 / 4:47 pm

      I had chronic skin conditions for the last 10 years, clogged pores, dryness, textural issues, blemishes. I tried hundreds of products (probably part of the issue) and had monthly facials. Based on this blog I tried, Yuli Halcyon, ME Skin Fuel and the Panacea Elixir. My skin is now smooth, soft and blemish free and I haven’t looked back. I know everyone’s skin/diet/lifestyle is different, but I can’t say enough good things about Yuli.

  6. Stacy simons
    November 22, 2016 / 8:35 pm

    Hi, I am considering purchasing this 3 step system and just discovered your blog – on the kari gran site it instructs you to only wash your face in the evening with the cleansing oil. What are your thoughts on this, have you tried it? (Meaning you only rinse tone and hydrate in the AM?)

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