Budget Skincare Review: Alba Botanica Even Advanced

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

While skincare is a department I feel is worth spending more money on, I'm always happy to turn to the drugstore to save a few pennies whenever I can. Generally, I don't think any singular range of skincare performs well all across the board, but I thought I'd review a drugstore brand that feels a little more high-end while maintaining low prices. (Every product here is around $10, except for the moisturizers which are $15).

Alba is one of those natural brands that you can find at Whole Foods, though these days their products are also widely available at drugstores like CVS, Walgreens and Ricky's (try your drugstores first as Ricky's prices are $2 higher!). The company does a few ranges of products, but Even Advanced is the one I feel would suit most people as anyone with normal to slightly oily or slightly dry skin could use these. You'll also notice that this range is specifically meant to even out skin tone, but I think that's just marketing shtick as I've seen no difference in that department.

*If you'd like the SparkNotes version of this post, there's a brief summary at the end. 

Most of their products have this list of disclaimers, for those wondering

P.S. Rest assured that I bought everything here with my own money. When someone reviews a whole range it can seem like they were sent the products for free, and if you think anyone really pays attention to my blog, I'm flattered, but you're mistaken! =)


Sea Mineral Cleansing Gel: Credit to my cousin for introducing this to me! If you're looking for a no fuss or frills cleanser, this would be right up your road. Gel facial washes often get a bad rap, but this is one of the good ones (i.e. it cleans your face thoroughly without leaving skin feeling tight or dry). Don't expect it to remove your makeup, but it will very definitely cut grease and leave you fresh and bright.


Sea Kelp Facial Toner: My favorite product from the range! You know I love a good toner, and this is one of my all-time favorites. It leaves your face a bit zingy, incredibly fresh, but not at all rubbery or squeaky clean--great for a hot summer day pick-me-up, or standard use after cleanser. I'm particularly pleased that I can use this all year-round, no matter how greasy or slightly dry my skin is. This is my third bottle, and definitely not my last. (Warning: this is extremely difficult to find in stores! None of the drugstores ever carry it, so if you want this one, you'll have to go to Whole Foods or Ricky's). 


Sea Lipids Daily Cream: This line actually has two tub moisturizers, but it seemed that this was the lighter option which was more suited to my oily skin. The consistency of this product is lovely, creamy with a light--almost whipped--spongey texture. I have to be careful with how much I apply to my face, as this can sometimes be overwhelming for my greasy skin, and it doesn't work for me in the humid summer months. Out of all the products here, this is perhaps the one oily skins should avoid.


Sea Algae Enzyme Scrub: Eh, completely average scrub for me. My first problem is that I don't like having a separate exfoliant and cleanser (think two-in-one, people!), and if I have to use two products, the scrub had better be something special, which this isn't. The scrubbing particles are quite small and definitely won't irritate or bother the skin, but this is really nothing to write home about. A few years ago, a scrub with smaller exfoliating bits would have been more interesting, but these days more finely milled scrubs are very common, which renders this product mediocre. (If you're looking for a natural drugstore exfoliating product, I like Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub).


Deep Sea Facial Mask: (Okay, so this isn't actually part of the Even Advanced line, but it has the same green packaging and I had it on hand, so here we are!). Something about the way this mask works confuses me. In my mind, facial masks fall into one of two categories: kaolin/drying or creamy and hydrating. I get the impression that this product tried to bridge that gap, and the overall effect is a bit of a fail. On one hand, this mask won't dry out or irritate your face (in fact you wash it off to reveal quite slippy feeling skin) but it has little to no effect on acne or pore size, either. This is the problem with products that try and bridge any sort of gap: by compromising between two outcomes, they tend to wind up being a bit strange and satisfying neither. I like that my face feels smooth and soft after using this, but as someone with oily skin, I prefer my masks to sop up that grease and dry up acne.


Sea Moss Moisturizer SPF 15: I'm really finicky about day moisturizer as anything just a little too much leaves my face feeling heavy, and anything too light doesn't allow for my foundation to go on smoothly. But this product has very quickly become a favorite as it's a perfect halfway point between the two. My face (even at its wintertime driest) feels supple and hydrated but comfortably so, and it makes for a great base under makeup. It also has a bit of the texture the Daily Cream does--almost moussey and cushy feeling, so it's very comfortable to put on. This is another product my cousin found, and at least two other members of my family use and love this moisturizer. They both have normal skin, but again, this does just fine on my oily face and I can wear it any season, though it's not the absolute best choice for me in the summer. 

*For any of you too lazy to read the whole thing (shame on you!), or would just like a quick recap, here you are!

Overall: This range is good for normal or combination skin, especially for anyone interested in more natural products. Very oily skins would be fine with some of the products (cleanser, toner, and SPF 15 moisturizer) but this line probably wouldn't be suitable for very dry skin. There aren't really any bad items here, as all of them perform satisfactorily, but none of these products blow me away, either. 

I Love It!: Facial Toner and SPF 15 Moisturizer.

Eh, Nothing Special: Enzyme Scrub, Daily Cream, Cleansing Gel.

I'd Skip It: Deep Sea Facial Mask.

Some of you may be surprised that I use this line, considering it's more suited to normal skin and I'm so oily. Alba makes an oily, acne-prone line called Acne Dote which sounds like it would be right up my alley, but I've only tried that range's cleanser and didn't particularly like it. I've heard marvelous things about the facial wash as well as the acne treatment, though, so maybe it's time I give those a proper try.

Let me know if you'd like to see more of this type of post!

Hope you're well!


  1. I totally pay attention to your blog! I don't remember how I found it but you seem to always share great points on stuff :)

  2. acne dote has great oil-control moisturizer. no spf but seriously perfect for oily skin.

    1. Yes, that's probably the next one I'll try! My cousin really likes it, but the lack of SPF always discouraged me from buying. I'll wait until it's a little more cloudy out, and then go pick it up!

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