Tree of Life: Best Products and Brand Review

Editor applying skincare products to face
Paley Fairman

We put Tree of Life products to the test after receiving complimentary samples from the brand. Keep reading for a review of the brand's best-sellers.

Natural skincare used to represent one of two product categories: homemade concoctions you might find on Etsy or at health food stores and super-high-end items that would be challenging for most consumers to afford. But as mainstream demand for organic skincare increases, so does the demand for effective formulas that won't break the bank. Enter brands like Tree of Life.

Tree of Life is a plant-based, cruelty-free, non-toxic skincare line founded by biologist Ellyn Davis, who, a few years ago, found herself on the hunt for a skincare line that was clean, packed with active ingredients, and affordable. She noticed a gaping hole in the market, so she decided to fill it herself. Today, the line has about 20 results-driven products with research-backed, quality-controlled ingredients, such as vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and retinol serums, all of which have a higher percentage of organic ingredients than most other "clean" skincare products on the market. Each product's easy-to-pronounce ingredient list is printed on the side of the bottle, and most of them contain 98 percent natural and 72 percent organic formulas.

Tree of Life Beauty

Founded: Ellyn Davis, 2016

Based In: Crossville, TN

Pricing: $10-$20

Best Known For: Providing natural skincare products at affordable prices

Most Popular Product: Hyaluronic Acid Serum, Retinol Serum, Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream

Fun Fact: All products are manufactured in the United States and are 100 percent cruelty-free.

Other Brands You'll Love: The Ordinary, cosrx

Better yet, the products are available on Amazon and range in price from $11 to $19—similar prices to buzzy skincare line The Ordinary. Tree of Life's business philosophy is pretty similar, too: It can keep costs low mainly by spending very little on marketing. The brand's website and social media accounts are rather low-key, especially compared to better-known—though not necessarily better-performing—natural skincare lines like Sunday Riley and Drunk Elephant. Instead, it relies on word of mouth for sales: "If you like our products, please share them with friends and family so we can all enjoy high quality, yet affordable skincare together," reads the brand's website.

Minimal marketing aside, Tree of Life has been able to amass thousands of positive, unbiased Amazon reviews. Most of its products have earned at least a 4.5-star rating on the e-tailer. I recently got my hands on six of the brand's best sellers and decided to test them out. Read on to learn more about our favorite Tree of Life products.

01 of 06

Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Tree of Life Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Tree of Life Hyaluronic Acid Serum $13.00

Witch hazel, cassia angustifolia seed polysaccharide (a plant-based form of hyaluronic acid), aloe, jojoba, and sodium ascorbyl phosphate (vitamin C) are just a few of the skin-loving goodies in this hydrating serum. The product is moisturizing, featherlight, and fast-absorbing. It doesn't leave any grease or stickiness on your skin, and it's fragrance-free, so it's the ideal pick for sensitive skin. I am not super irritation-prone, so I could stand for a slightly more potent serum made with the sodium hyaluronate form of hyaluronic acid (like SkinMedica's, though that one is literally ten times more expensive). But for the price especially, I would easily recommend Tree of Life's serum to anyone looking to add some light hydration to their routine.

02 of 06

Retinol Serum

Tree of Life Retinol Serum
Tree of Life Retinol Serum $13.00

A $16 retinol serum? Yes, please. This gentle but potent formula contains 2 percent retinol and 10 percent plant-based hyaluronic acid, in addition to organic jojoba oil, witch hazel, green tea, and vitamin E—all of which make for a super-nourishing, wrinkle-fighting serum that won't burn upon application. I have not used the serum for as many weeks as I would like, so I can't attest to its efficacy on my fine lines, but the rave Amazon reviews have me feeling encouraged.

03 of 06

Ultimate Beauty Crème

Tree of Life Utimate Anti-Aging Cream
Tree of Life Ultimate Anti-Aging Crème $19.00

Aloe, matrixyl (a peptide reducing the appearance of fine lines), a combination of nourishing plant oils, such as argan and rosehip, vitamin E, and plant stem cells are some of the pro-glow, anti-wrinkle ingredients in this anti-aging cream. This product leaves my skin incredibly soft and glowing but not at all greasy. My only qualm is its funky smell. (It smells a little like Play-Doh to me, but maybe I'm just weird). That said, I am a fan of the formula, which has so many more active ingredients than your average moisturizer.

04 of 06

Niacinamide B3 Serum

Tree of Life Niacinamide Serum B3 for Complexion
Tree of Life Niacinamide Serum B3 $14.00

Niacinamide (aka vitamin B3) has been shown to boost collagen, and this serum is chock-full of it. I am obsessed with the ingredient list, the texture, and the effect this stuff has on my skin. The first three ingredients are aloe, glycerin, and vitamin B3, which amount to a super-silky, fast-absorbing product that leaves my skin looking hydrated and plump. I can't wait to keep using this and see the continued results.

05 of 06

Vitamin C Serum

Tree of Life Vitamin C Serum
Tree of Life Vitamin C Serum $11.00

With a 20 percent vitamin C concentration, this liquidy serum looks, smells, and works like it should cost ten times as much. I have freckles, so I'm no stranger to brightening serums (I use them in the morning under moisturizer and sunscreen), and I am genuinely impressed by this product's ability to keep my skin from looking ruddy and dull. The formula also contains hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. I think it might replace my favorite $166 antioxidant serum for a while.

06 of 06

Exfoliating Facial Scrub

Tree of Life Exfoliating Facial Scrub
Tree of Life Exfoliating Facial Scrub $12.00

I'm always a little scared of face scrubs, especially natural ones, mainly because they can be messy, and, of course, there's always the risk they'll be too harsh on your skin. Not this one. The exfoliating beads are made out of jojoba and pumice, and they're suspended in this bouncy, refreshing gel that smells like green tea and lilac. The product has a potent and non-irritating physical exfoliation effect that removes dead skin cells and leaves your face clean and refreshed. I've only used it once so far and am looking forward to a second go-around. The product does seem gentle enough that, depending on your skin type, you could get away with using it every day.

Related Stories