I’m a longtime user and huge fan of Rainey Hobson’s arctic skin care products, scent memories, teas, and art. I’m a new adopter of Arctic Renewal Face Cream, though, and I don’t know what took me so long to try it. I give it my very strong recommendation if you’re a fan of natural, handmade products and skin care creams that coddle irritable winter skin. My own skin is always cranky at something or other, so I try to soothe it with gentle products. It seems that most moisturizers dissipate quickly and have little lasting effect, so I was overjoyed to discover that Arctic Renewal Face Cream sticks around and packs a punch belied by its light texture.

Rainey makes her products by hand out of ingredients gathered from the Arctic. Now, if you’re Alaskan, or if you’ve ever known any Alaska Natives, you know very well that they are a people with what seems like naturally beautiful skin. Ever since I was a child, I’ve envied the soft, supple skin of Arctic peoples. Many people theorize that generations of diet rich in fish oil and other Native foods help to ensure this utterly gorgeous skin, but after trying Rainey’s products, I wonder whether natural remedies supplement genetics, because they really do seem to work!

I sampled Arctic Renewal because the natural ingredients in it serve to lighten dark spots and, because the willow extracts therein contain natural salicylic acid, something I use regularly for my sensitive, troublesome, and patchy facial skin. As a light-skinned Alaskan, I face (ha!) a host of skin woes especially in the winter. My face gets raw and chapped and frequently looks red and blotchy. Acne breakouts in the winter are horrid as the products usually used to clear them up also tend to dry skin out, creating an unfortunate vicious circle of skin problems.  In the summer I now develop dark freckles and sun spots, a new development given our new climate normal (I remember vividly only experiencing a handful of summer days over 70 degrees as a child, but now, hot and dry summers are pretty much on the books every year. There used to be no such thing as “too hot” in the summer, but now…). I noticed a difference in my skin within a day of starting to use the face cream, so I immediately ordered a full size bottle. That, together with Rainey’s Three Berries Soap, now makes up my winter skin care regimen. The Three Berries Soap is a rich, hydrating bar soap that rinses easily and cleanly, and is the perfect prep for a thin layer of Arctic Renewal.

The light scent of Arctic Renewal is familiar yet unname-able for me (making me wonder if it’s something I experienced as a rural Alaska-raised kid) and, after using it in the evening, I wake up with soft skin that feels refreshed and resilient instead of raw and irritated. Rainey has a robust lineup of incredible products and I highly recommend her Etsy shop. She ships products promptly and usually includes a fun surprise (such as a sample of another product) in her shipments.