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Caldera + Lab Review
I was instantly sold on Caldera Lab after the first use, but not for any reason you’d expect. I won’t spoil this Caldera Lab review, so if you want to know what sold me almost instantly, jump to the Initial Thought section below. Otherwise, read on to learn more about Caldera Lab, thoughts about the brand, my experience with the products, and to get a Caldera Lab coupon code exclusive for Revoupon readers.
How I reviewed Caldera Lab
Each skincare brand that I’ve reviewed has had different products and a unique regimen. Caldera labs was no different. However, the process of reviewing men’s skincare remains the same, I use it as directed for 30-days and report on the results. There was something about Caldera Lab that had me more excited than any other brand so far. Maybe it was the greentek/clinically verified aspect, or the fact that GQ called it the Holy Grail of Face Serums. Regardless, my expectations were high.
Delivery Time and Price
Caldera Lab shipped quickly after my order was placed and I had their full regimen in my hands in four days. The first thing I noticed upon delivery was the weight of the box. It was clear from the start that whatever awaited me upon opening would not be cheap plastic. That was also reflected in the price. Caldera Lab is, so far, the most expensive men’s skincare brand I’ve reviewed. Below you can see the prices for one-time purchases and membership pricing for each Caldera Labs product.
The Good – multi-functional serum will cost you a whopping $97 for a one-time purchase or $77 dollars on a subscription model with a delivery frequency of either 45, 60, or 75-days.
The Clean Slate – balancing cleanser will set you back $37 for a one-time purchase or $29 per shipment with their subscription model.
The Base Layer – fortifying moisturizer runs $55 for a one-time purchase or $44 for a membership.
Luckily, Caldera Lab allows you to try their products risk-free for 60-days. Having tried all three products I can tell you there’s very little risk, but more on that later in this review.
All 3 Caldera Lab products came conveniently packaged in one box. As anticipated by the weight of the packaging, the quality of the bottle and tubs were excellent. Each product was individually packaged in a sturdy box or cardboard tube.
The Good serum came in a solid cardboard tube and contained 1oz of serum. At $97, this better be the holy grail GQ promised. The bottle protected inside was very heavy, thick, dark glass to protect from drops but also to minimize UV exposure to the oils within which can cause degradation. The integrated glass dropper was concealed in a wood screw on top, with a unique design I’ve never seen before. The whole bottle and dispensing mechanism has a very couture feel.
The Clean Slate came in a thinner cardboard box, but the bottle was equally as impressive. The pump feels extremely solid and only requires a slight turn to the left to engage the pumping mechanism. The bottle itself is made from the same heavy thick dark glass. I had some concerns about how slippery the glass would be when using in the shower with wet hands.
The Base Layer was also packaged in a thinner cardboard box. The tub containing the moisturizer was made from the same sturdy, dark glass with a solid metal screw on top. There’s a very distinct sound of quality when screwing and unscrewing the cap from the tub. A small secondary cap over the moisturizer help keep other contaminants from failing in our sticking to the metal lid. It’s a well designed and feels high-end.
Caldera Lab Smell and Texture
Fragrance is an intensely personal preference, which can make or break a cologne or skincare product. Caldera Lab is intensely fragrant. Personally, I love the smell, but I can see how it could be a turn off to other men.
The Good serum is derived from 100% plant-based products and the scent clearly reflects that. It’s challenging to pinpoint the exact scent that initially assaults the senses, but sage, frankincense, or echinacea are possible culprits. I initially thought there might be some citrus, but the closest to citrus is apricot kernel and prickly pear oil. If you’ve ever smelled an Aveda product and enjoy their natural scents, you should be OK with The Goods fragrance. The Good’s texture is that of oil. There are no mincing words on it, the serum is an oil with some plant extract. It’s very smooth on the fingertips but does leave behind a sheen you’d expect from any oil.
The Clean Slate is as potent as the serum but has an altogether different fragrance. Grapefruit, cardamom, juniper, and ginger root are noticeably present. Although different, the cleanser also has a citrus undertone – likely from the grapefruit or some medley of flower extracts. Clean Slate is a bit sticky to the touch, but glides nicely and has the texture you’d expect from any soap (nothing novel to report here).
The Base Layer is the least potent fragrance of any Caldera Labs product and there’s no distinct fragrance to note. You can tell by scent that these products should be from the same brand, but the fortifying moisturizer is a more muted scent. The Base Layer is a smooth lotion with a thickness approaching a balm. It’s not the kind of moisturizer that could be dispensed with a pump, hence the tub it comes in.
Caldera Lab Ingredients
Caldera Lab created an award-winning face serum using 100% plant-based ingredients. Their pharmaceutical-grade science was applied to each Caldera Lab product. Below are some of the ingredients included in each product:
The Clean SlateBalancing Cleanser
The Base LayerFortifying Moisturizer
Tara Fruit Pod Extract
Green Tea Extract
Elkhorn Sea Moss
The GoodMultifunctional Serum
Apricot Kernel Oil
Prickly Pear Oil
Directions and Usage
As with every skincare brand I’ve tested or used, cleanser always comes first. Caldera Labs is no exception. In the morning and evening, one pump of The Clean Slate should be worked into a lather and gently massaged into your face. Follow that up using a gentle rinse with clean, warm water and pat the skin dry. Next up is The Base Layer, which should be applied to the face and neck each morning. In the evening, after cleansing, The Good should be applied to dry skin. Using the dropper. Massage several drops into the hands and rub onto the face and neck area until absorbed.
Work one-pump of The Clean Slate into a lather with wet hands and massage onto face. Rinse with warm water and pat skin dry. After using The Clean Slate, apply a small amount of The Base Layer to face and neck.
Work one-pump of The Clean Slate into a lather with wet hands and massage onto face. Rinse with warm water and pat skin dry. After using The Clean Slate, use the dropper to release several drops of The Good onto hands and rub into face and neck.
Initial Thoughts and Results about Caldera Lab
The care that went into the packaging and bottling of Caldera Lab had already impressed me, but what sold me the most came after my first use. One evening I started my review of Caldera Lab by using The Clean Slate and The Good as directed. I’ve never noticed immediate results from any skincare, but this was different. However, it wasn’t me that noticed the results. It was my wife.
After washing and applying serum I hopped into to bed. My wife soon followed. After a few moments in bed, she rolled over and started sniffing my face. Then, she began rubbing her face on mine. I am not kidding; she literally was running her face all over my face. I asked what she was doing, as that’s not a normal occurrence. She told me she liked the smell and that my skin was super soft. It’s true, my skin was softer to the touch immediately after using The Good serum. GQ was right, this is the Holy Grail of Face Serums.
The Clean Slate was simple to use and lathers well. I was surprised that so little went such a long way. The pump dispenses such a small amount that to this day, I still always consider using a second pump. Every time I am surprised at the coverage though, as it is just enough to wash my entire face and neck.
The Base Layer goes on smooth and dries well, but I wish there was a more specific amount in the directions. What exactly is “a small amount” anyway? As a moisturizer, it’s a bit heavy compared to others I’ve tested and does leave s light oily residue. My only complaint is that there’s no SPF in The Base Layer and Caldera Lab doesn’t offer an SPF protection to add to the routine.
The Good is a real game changer. It offers instant results, leaving skin feeling noticeably smoother and softer after even the first use. Without knowing exactly how much to use though, I initially struggled between whether I was using too much or too little. What exactly is “several drops” of serum? Given that The Good has jojoba oil, I wish that it was part of the morning routine so I could use it as a beard oil during the day. One downside it that it did end up “staining” my pillow at night. That’s a small price to pay for skin this “face rubbing” smooth.
A week into the Caldera Lab review and my wife wasn’t rubbing her face on mine every night, but she was commenting regularly on how much she liked the smell. I didn’t miss a single application of Caldera Lab and a result was rewarded with noticeably softer skin. I had some breakouts from my Geologie Skincare review, which Caldera Lab didn’t seem to clear up well. That being said, Caldera is not an acne fighting regimen. In fact, I questioned immensely during the first week whether the heavily oiled product would clog my pores and cause more breakouts.
The Good was still providing excellent results and leaving my face and neck feeling satiny. The potent smell lingered until I washed it away in the morning, which was a downside for me. I wanted the smell to stick around during the day as a mild fragrance to replace the Every Man Jack cologne my wife wasn’t feeling. Here’s a hint guys, when you’re almost 40 and your wife says your cologne smells like an Abercrombie, it’s not a compliment.
The Clean Slate delivered all week. I always felt clean and crisp after using it but wished there was a second bottle so I wouldn’t forget it by the sink when I showered. And speaking of showers, I always felt a twinge of anxiety with the glass in the shower. To date, I have not dropped the bottle – fingers crossed.
The Base Layer fortifies and moisturizers, as the name clearly states. It’s a tad heavy initially, but seems to dry quickly and well. I consistently felt like I was not using enough, although I got the right coverage, but I avoided upping the amount used for fear of clogging my pores.
I wish I felt more results around my eyes and mouth, where I’ve developed crow’s feet and smile lines, but the overall feel of my skin has improved. I can zero in on the fact that The Good did an excellent job of softening my skin, but I am undecided about what results I got from the other two Caldera products.
After about 3 weeks I realized I was overusing The Good to my detriment. I had increased the serum from about 5 drops to closer to 10 because I liked the effects so much – and again, what is several drops? The results were no better, in terms of my soft skin, but I was beginning to break out. I dialed back my usage of serum to about 5 drops in total and the break outs subsided.
At the 1-month mark, I wasn’t seeing a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, but my skin was looking better. I had the softest skin I can ever remember having, my skin tones were more even, the bags under my eyes had subsided but not completely disappeared, and my skin looked generally healthier.
Review Results and Final Thoughts
For as excited as I was to review Caldera Lab, I was met with equally as exciting results. I can say Caldera Lab is my new benchmark for what skincare can and should deliver, but it’s not perfect. Although soft, more energized skin is an upside to The Good, it can also lead to imperfections and breakouts. I believe the oils present in each product may have led to breakouts from overuse and unclear directions. Each product has a potent scent and although I am partial to it, there’s a strong chance you might be averse.
One hundred percent natural products are known to cause skin reactions. I have severe allergies, so it was a gamble to try skincare products that are 100% plant derived. Luckily, I came out unscathed. You might not be so lucky, but that’s the beauty of the Caldera Lab 60-day risk free promise.
The largest drawback to Caldera Lab, and the only reason it didn’t make the top spot in Revoupon’s Best Men’s Skincare Brands, is the price. Compared to other brands who have entire regimens for around $50, you’ll be paying about triple that for Caldera Lab.