Face wipes for fellas? Ursa Major steps up in a big way

Face wipes for fellas? Ursa Major steps up in a big way
Ursa Major's Essential Face Wipes (20-pack, $24) are 98.5% natural, and free of parabens, sulfates and synthetic fragrances. (Ursa Major)

If you're like me, the word "wipes" conjures up images of baby bottoms and makeup removal, making the idea of a manly face wipe a non-starter.

But the newest product from the Stowe, Vt.-based Ursa Major skincare line managed to wipe that notion from my mind — and might just do the same for you.

The company boasts that its face wipe — an individually packaged moist towelette saturated with the label's face tonic — "cleans, exfoliates, soothes and hydrates," and suggests they be used for "sprucing up at the office, after a ride, or when you're on the road."

I'll leave the specific claims of exfoliation and hydration to the scientists, but after test-driving a couple of these bad boys I can report that it does give the grimy-guy visage a tingly midday reboot — especially after being stashed in the refrigerator as label co-founder Oliver Sweatman suggests.

Although Ursa Major's was the second man-focused face wipe to cross my desk recently (the first was a similarly packaged product from a brand called Bee Bald) Sweatman said the product has actually been on the drawing board since the label's December 2010 launch.

"But it's taken a while to get there," he told me, citing the logistics of things like high minimum runs and testing requirements. "Meanwhile, we've been looking for a way to sample our increasingly popular face tonic, and and using a wipe single infused with our tonic was the perfect way to do that."

The result is a mostly (98.5%) natural, paraben- and sulfate-free product that consists of a 100% bamboo fiber towelette moistened with Ursa's four-in-one face tonic with the medicinal punch of witch hazel and willow bark extract spiked with lavender and citrus.

When I first wrote about the line's face tonic a year ago, I described it as "not unlike a bracing thwack about the face and neck with a birch switch — in a good way," and the face-wipe version is a slightly more subtle version of the same.

The wipes, which are sold in packs of 20 ($24) are currently available through the brand's website as well as through local stockists including Wicked+ in Hermosa Beach and Goods in Santa Monica.