Caldera + Lab Review: Science-Backed Skincare for the Modern Man

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by  David Martin | Last Updated: 

Finding a good men’s skincare routine these days is tough. As if searching through the multitude of skincare brands that claim to do the same thing wasn’t hard enough, finding toxin-free, all natural skincare is akin to finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

That is, until we found Caldera + Lab. In this review we’ll put their products to the test to see if all natural, science-backed skincare is as good as it sounds.

A-game skin care
The Adult Man Image/Icon Image source: Caldera + Lab

Caldera + Lab

Bottom line: Caldera + Lab provides a high-performing, scientifically-rigorous skincare regimen that boasts 100% natural ingredients. Although their product line is limited, this serves as a testament to the time, effort, and research they take to develop their formulas.

Ratings:

The Adult Man Image/Icon  Design
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Quality of Materials
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Value for Money
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Craftsmanship
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Customer Service

Pros:

  • Skincare made from the purest and most potent ingredients that I’ve never seen in other skincare brands
  • Products backed by pharmaceutical-grade science
  • Certified B-Corp
  • Beautiful, eco-friendly, sustainable packaging
  • 100% non-toxic skincare

Cons:

  • Currently no sunscreen product offerings
  • No personalized skincare regimens
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Several years ago I was in the midst of the Grand Teton Mountain range on a backpacking trip. Anyone who’s been there can attest to the striking beauty of the mountains, crystal clear lakes and streams, and amazing variety of plants. 

I’m from Baltimore, MD, which is essentially a trash heap cleverly disguised as a city, and the surrounding mountainscape had me feeling more healthy, clean, and refreshed just by standing in it. 

This got me thinking about the products I used—especially my skincare. How many of these products had mystery chemical ingredients that require tongue muscles I don’t have to pronounce, and what were they doing to my face? 

Believe it or not, I’m not that interested in looking like the Joker when I’m older from repeated chemical exposure. So, I began to look for an all natural, toxin-free skincare brand and it turns out I was in the backyard of one of the best.

Caldera + Lab is based out of Jackson, Wyoming, and prides themselves on botanical, organic skincare. They go above sustainable ingredient sourcing by wild-harvesting 5 of the antioxidant-packed plants in their products from the high-altitude areas surrounding The Teton Mountains. 

Keep reading to hear how they stack up!

What Is Caldera + Lab?

Caldera Lab packaging flatlay

Caldera + Lab is a self-described “Greentek Self Care” company. As their name suggests, they are equal parts pharmaceutical-grade research lab and natural, wild harvesters. 

When co-founders Stacy Keibler and Jared Pobre moved to Jackson, Wyoming, they felt drawn to people, experiences, and products that improved their health and quality of life, and this was the impetus for Caldera +Lab. 

Their researchers and chemists began with over 2,000 botanicals and narrowed down the list based on antioxidant and nutrient potency, and bioavailability. The formulating botanicals are clinically-proven, 100% fair trade, wild-harvested or organic, and selected from the most potent varieties.

Most wild-harvested plants are selected from mountainsides at an elevation of over 9,000 feet to capture the highest quality antioxidant potential.

Each formula that Caldera + Lab has created has taken several years to perfect and each stage of their research and development process has met the standards of several cutting edge certification agencies, like Eco-Cert, Made Safe, PETA, and Leaping Bunny. 

Caldera + Lab’s website goes into extensive detail of their scientific process, and let me tell you, I was lost so quickly I felt like I was back in high school AP Chemistry. Point being, Caldera + Lab is as much a high-tech science lab as it is a skincare brand and I think that’s fantastic. 

The brand is also aware of the skincare industry’s difficulty with plastic waste. As such, all of Caldera + Lab’s products come in recyclable glass containers with ethically-sourced wood and as little plastic as possible.

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Caldera + Lab provides an effective, simple, and 100% toxin-free skincare regimen. If you want to start a skincare routine with the best possible natural ingredients, Caldera + Lab is our top choice for guys.

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If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Things to Consider Before Buying Skincare Products from Caldera + Lab

Caldera Lab full product lineup out of packaging

The decision to buy skincare products from Caldera + Lab comes down to several things. At the top of the list is whether or not you’re comfortable smearing synthetic chemicals into your skin. To be fair, this isn’t always bad. Many proven skincare brands are formulated with chemicals that keep your skin plump and glowing.

However, many skincare enthusiasts like to avoid chemicals if possible and Caldera + Lab is a great solution to this issue. 

If you’re a seasoned skincare user and want only the most natural, most potent, and most healthy ingredients polishing your face pores, Caldera + Lab is a dream come true. 

It’s worth noting that Caldera + Lab recommends their products for guys of all skin types. More specifically, guys who have dry, normal, and oily skin will all benefit from these products because of their face serum’s oil balancing properties.

I’d also recommend this brand for anyone looking for sustainable skincare. Since Caldera + Lab uses glass containers, as little plastic as possible, and natural ingredients, their environmental impact is incredibly low. 

If, instead, you’re a guy who just wants to wash and moisturize your face because you’ve heard it’s a good thing to do and you don’t really care what you use, Caldera + Lab’s premium products likely aren’t your best choice. 

Using this brand is the equivalent of going to cryotherapy when others would choose to use an ice pack. If you want the best possible cleansing and nourishment for your skin, you can’t go wrong with Caldera + Lab.

Caldera + Lab Review

Not long after my trip to the Grand Tetons, I came across an ad for Caldera + Lab that showed a review from GQ saying it was, “The holy grail of face serums.” Apart from wanting natural, toxin-free skincare, I was interested in finding more serums because of their unique ingredient inclusions. 

This sealed the deal for me, so I picked up Caldera + Lab’s skincare regimen. 

Unboxing

Caldera Lab full product lineup in packaging

Caldera + Lab’s packaging is made of cardboard with simple designs and a color palette reminiscent of natural tones in the American West. Each package contains flavor text that gives context to the contents of the product and materials used in its formulation.

Caldera Lab the clean slate packaging details

I’m a big fan of this because it shows the level of thought and detail that went into crafting the brand as a whole. A brand with a comprehensive story and intricate details gives me the sense that the products are going to be meticulously formulated and effective. 

Caldera Lab the base layer packaging details

Caldera + Lab’s skincare system consists of three products currently, but was just one until recently. The Good, their posterchild serum, was their first product and intended to be the only step of a skincare routine apart from a cleanser. 

Since then, Caldera + Lab has created The Clean Slate and The Base Layer, both of which are currently available for preorder. The Clean Slate is a basic, gentle cleanser, and The Base Layer is a lightweight cream moisturizer designed to be used after The Good. 

The Clean Slate (Balancing Cleanser)

Caldera Lab The Clean Slate on white background

I like the concept of a clean slate when it comes to skincare. After a long day of doing man things, it’s important to clean your face effectively, but not scour it like a dirty pot. An effective cleanser provides a clean slate or base foundation of healthy skin to which you can apply moisturizer and other nutrients, keeping those aging signs at bay. 

The Clean Slate does just that. It’s pH-balanced and uses plant-based cleansing instead of harsh surfactants to gently clean your skin the way it likes to be cleaned. Being pH-balanced allows this cleanser to not irritate your skin on application, which makes it an excellent choice for guys with emotionally immature, sensitive skin. 

This natural cleanser is formulated with glacial minerals which are derived from deep sea glacial water. This mineral water contains over 60 beneficial skin minerals, which means you’re nurturing your skin while cleaning it. Pretty cool.

Caldera Lab the clean slate among plants from above

The Clean Slate is also made with Nelumbo Lotus, which is known to improve the appearance of skin’s texture, elasticity, and firmness. Other notable ingredients include fireweed, frankincense, and probiotic ferments. 

These ferments help activate the skin’s natural protective defense mechanism to soothe it and strengthen the skin barrier. It’s basically like dunking your head in a vat of kombucha. 

Curious about what that looks like? Check out GT Dave—owner of GT’s Living Foods, aka the most successful kombucha producer. He’s living proof of skin so healthy it looks fake:

The Clean Slate maintains that same fresh, herbal scent, and also comes in a recyclable glass bottle. It cleans gently without lathering excessively and leaves my skin feeling refreshed, nourished, and hydrated. 

This is the first time I’ve used a cleanser that’s designed to do anything more than remove dirt and grease and I’m here for it. The fact that it’s also toxin-free is just the cherry on top.

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Being pH-balanced allows this cleanser to not irritate your skin on application, which makes it an excellent choice for guys with emotionally immature, sensitive skin. 

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The Good (Multi-Functional Serum)

Caldera Lab The Good in packaging on white background

The Good is aptly named. I’ve often thought, “I just want to put good stuff on my skin” and Caldera + Lab has gone out and actually figured out what that stuff is. 

This serum is formulated with 27 active ingredients and infused for four whole weeks. All ingredients are wild-harvested, non-genetically modified, and organic to make this serum as pure as possible. 

Notable ingredients that I’ve never seen in other skincare brands include apricot kernel oil, fireweed, spilanthes, Huang Qi, echinacea, prickly pear oil, nettle, and yarrow. Apricot kernel oil is rich in fatty acids and helps the skin look tighter, smoother, and clearer, while fireweed boosts collagen production. 

Spilanthes are known as “natural botox” and help to relax the fibroblasts and collagen in the skin, giving it a smoother and fuller appearance without looking like you’re constantly in a wind tunnel. 

Caldera Lab the good inside packaging

The Good comes in a heavyweight ceramic dropper bottle with a wood and glass dropper. The bottle itself has a heft to it that subconsciously speaks to its quality. While the dropper is in the bottle, press the button on top to draw the liquid into the dropper, and then drip 6-8 drops into your palm. 

The amount will vary depending on your present skin condition and size of your face, and will likely take some trial and error to get the right amount. Caldera + Lab is explicit on their website that your skin should not feel oily after using this serum, which means you have to use just the right amount. 

Caldera Lab The Good with dropper

To help, they came up with a brief skin quiz to determine your skin’s baseline state. They’ll recommend the number of drops to use and how often to use it, whether that be once or twice a day. 

I found this to be very helpful, because my first few times using The Good gave me oily skin and I wasn’t sure if that was to be expected or not. It’s definitely not—Caldera + Lab doesn’t want you feeling like a line chef in a KFC. 

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If you’re prone to oily skin already, you’re probably wondering why the heck you’d put more oily liquid on your face, and with good reason. However, The Good has an oil-balancing property, which means it will help to balance the levels of oil your skin produces and not make your skin more oily than it already was. It’s like fighting fire with fire. Doesn’t totally make sense, but it works!

Applying The Good to my face took a little getting used to. I’m used to the feeling of an even coating of moisturizer across my face, but using the same volume of The Good would make my face feel oily. Using 6-8 drops made it feel like I was just barely covering my face with the serum, but that’s enough.

The serum should fully absorb within a minute, any longer and you’ve likely applied too much. Caldera + Lab recommends using the Clean Slate and The Good in the evening, and saving The Base Layer for the morning.

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The Good’s scent is fantastic. I’ll never be able to aptly describe it, but it’s what I imagine a medicinal cure-all to smell like. If you filled up a bathtub with The Good and let yourself soak in it, I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me it cured your goiters. 

On application, The Good leaves my skin feeling refreshed and full. My pores shrink, my skin looks vibrant, and there’s an even tone across my face. Best of all, my skin smells like an essential oil diffuser.

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The Good leaves my skin feeling refreshed and full. My pores shrink, my skin looks vibrant, and there’s an even tone across my face. Best of all, my skin smells like an essential oil diffuser.

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The Base Layer (Fortifying Moisturizer)

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In the morning, Caldera + Lab recommends cleansing with The Clean Slate and then prepping your face for the trials of the day with The Base Layer. The Good should only be used once a day, in the evening, and it’s not recommended to use The Base Layer right after The Good. 

The Base Layer comes in a low, glass cylindrical container that makes a very satisfying noise when you screw and unscrew the lid. Every other moisturizer I’ve used has been through a pump bottle or squeezable, but I like using the jar for moisturizer just as much.

The moisturizer itself is lightweight and absorbs quickly without leaving your face greasy or shiny. I’ll scoop a little out, spread it evenly between my hands, and massage it gently into my face. 

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Notable ingredients in The Base Layer include Buddleja Plant Stem Cells, Elkhorn Sea Moss, encapsulated microalgae, the imortelle flower, and tara tree complex. The Buddleja stem cells are actually used to protect the skin against UV damage, which is essentially a sunscreen, but a light one. Elkhorn Sea Moss helps to slow unwanted melanin production and smooth wrinkle lines to keep premature aging at bay. 

An interesting inclusion to me was the tara tree complex, which actually protects against blue light radiation from screens. Apparently even blue light can cause premature aging signs to your skin like blemishes and dark spots, and the tara tree complex protects against that sad, cold light. 

From everything I’ve learned about good skincare practice thus far, it seems like the best way to keep your skin looking like a porcelain mask is to avoid light altogether. Maybe those blind cave creatures are on to something. 

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After a week of consistent use, the combination of The Good and The Base Layer has my skin looking noticeably younger. A furtive glance in the mirror reveals tighter skin that looks healthy and more resilient, basically poreless, and just a hint of glow. 

Ah, and that is why glow worms live in caves. We’re doing real scientific discovery here, gentlemen. Glow worms have gotten their skin so healthy that it’s actually bioluminescent. Things to aspire to—where’s my bullet journal?

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After a week of consistent use, the combination of The Good and The Base Layer has my skin looking noticeably younger. A furtive glance in the mirror reveals tighter skin that looks healthy and more resilient, basically poreless, and just a hint of glow.

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What do Other Reviewers Say About Caldera + Lab? 

With over 750 five star reviews on their own site, it’s safe to say that dudes dig Caldera + Lab. Many reviewers reported experiencing an evenness of skin tone and youthful glow restored to their skin on top of loving the unique scents and natural ingredients. 

Of the small number of negative reviews, common complaints referenced an oily feeling after applying The Good. This is understandable, as I mentioned before and experienced myself, but can be chalked up to user error and applying the product too heavily. 

Overall, there is overwhelming positivity towards Caldera + Lab’s products and it’s clear that tons of guys are reaping the benefits of healthy, nourished skin.

My Thoughts Overall On Caldera + Lab

What I Like

  • The best of the best possible ingredients are used to formulate their products, and only a few varieties were chosen out of an initial sample of 2000 botanicals. 

  • All their products smell great and are just as effective.

  • They use glass containers instead of plastic to cut down on environmental demands.

  • When used in the right amounts, the combination of The Good and The Base Layer leaves my face glowing like a full moon.

  • The Clean Slate gently cleanses without a super rich lather. 

  • Caldera + Lab’s products are clinically proven to work.

  • The amount of research and science that goes into these products is truly impressive.

  • They have a 60 day money-back guarantee. If it doesn’t work out for you, you’re not stuck with it.

What I Don’t Like

  • Caldera + Lab currently doesn’t offer a sunscreen product.

Who is Caldera + Lab for?

Caldera + Lab is great for any guy who prefers a simple and effective skincare routine over looking like a walnut when he’s older. However, it’s specially tailored for guys with a passion for plant-based products, naturally-sourced ingredients, and environmentally-sustainable business practices.

The Verdict

Caldera + Lab provides an effective, simple, and 100% toxin-free skincare regimen. If you want to start a skincare routine with the best possible natural ingredients, Caldera + Lab is easily the best choice out there for guys. 

Their products have been clinically proven to improve the health of your skin and are backed by rigorous scientific testing and formulation. If you want to protect the environment and are mindful of what products you buy, Caldera + Lab is a certified B Corporation, which means it’s legally obligated to have ethically and environmentally-sustainable business practices. 

Caldera + Lab may not be the best choice for someone just looking to dip their toe into skincare, but those who are looking to age like a fine wine will be well-rewarded by these products.

Exclusive Discount Available
Caldera + Lab
(Get 15% OFF with code ADULTMAN)

Caldera + Lab provides an effective, simple, and 100% toxin-free skincare regimen. If you want to start a skincare routine with the best possible natural ingredients, Caldera + Lab is our top choice for guys.

Shop Caldera + Lab
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

FAQs

How do you use The Good from Caldera + Lab?

You use The Good by pressing down on the top of the bottle. Release the top, and drop six drops from the dropper into the palm of your hand. Rub the liquid between your hands, and then gently massage The Good into your face.

When should men apply face serum?

Men can use a face serum once or twice a day, either in the morning, the evening, or both.

Do I need both serum and moisturizer?

You can use both serum and moisturizer but you don’t have to. If you find your skin responds poorly to the use of both, try using just one or the other, and experiment to see what works best for your skin. Serums and moisturizers aim to do different things, so depending on what your skin needs one may be more well-suited.

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