Junoco is a Californian cosmetics brand that started in 2018 and has made sustainability and simplicity their main missions. They would fall into the spectrum of “clean beauty” brands, and I haven’t been shy about what I think of that term (usually just a marketing expression profiting off of fear mongering) but I have been proven wrong in the past with brands that market themselves as being “clean” while still caring about scientifically proven efficacy and ingredients being beneficial rather than just “natural”.
So when I was contacted by Junoco about trying a few of their products, and did a little research on the brand to learn what they were about and mostly, about their formulas, I got excited.
They sent me four products, three that make up their Ultimate Cleanse set, which seems to me are like their superstars, or at least their best sellers, and their hyaluronic acid serum per my suggestion, after I did a bit of browsing through their line.
You’ll notice the ingredients lists on these products is pretty short. That’s very much in line with the brand’s messaging and with the sustainability purpose (fewer ingredients, less environmental impact), and per Junoco’s own words, “a long list of ingredients doesn’t mean that a product is more potent”, which is accurate. It’s about which ingredients you use, not how many, so I respect this approach. Now on to the reviews:
Clean 10 Cleansing Balm (15,95€- 85g)
The balm looks like it has a waxy consistency when you scoop it out with the spoon it comes with, but it completely melts down when you rub it between your hands – kind of like heated butter. It is easy to spread on the skin, and it dissolves into a milky fluid when in contact with water, so it’s easy to remove and does not leave an oily film on the face. It does a good job at removing makeup by itself, but when used in conjunction with the cleansing cookie, it completely bulldozes even the most waterproof formulas. I never thought of using a balm and a cloth at the same time to clean my face, but it works wonders.
When it comes to ingredients, there are indeed just 10. The ones that stand out to me are the vitamin E and potentially the fermented Japanese pearl barley (I tried to look it up, seems to be used majorly by Korean skincare brands) as nice antioxidants, although when it comes to cleansers, performance in cleaning is more important than ingredients that are supposed to act on the skin, because a cleanser will be removed from the face within minutes. That’s also the reason why I don’t mind the orange peel oil, which is a potentially irritant fragrant, since it’s never in contact with my skin long enough to do any harm. I found it interesting that they make it a point to mention there is less than 1% of that orange peel oil in the formula in the brochure they sent me, so that shows they are aware that fragrant ingredients, even though natural, are not ideal for the skin -which I appreciate.
Clean 10 Cleansing Balm Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Peg-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Synthetic Wax,Polysorbate 85, Fermented Japanese Pearl Barley (Saccharomyces/Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-Yuen Seed Ferment Filtrate), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Vitamin E (Tocopheryl Acetate), Water, Butylene Glycol.
Clarifying Cleansing Powder (18,95€- 50g)
To use this cleansing powder, you’re supposed to add a little water and rub until you get a creamy foam. The foam is indeed creamy, and it does not leave the skin feeling super tight and dried out, but it is more stripping than the balm, as expected. It’s a nice cleanser to wear last in a double cleansing system. It can’t remove stubborn, waterproof makeup by itself, but I find that for that I’ll always need either an oil or balm cleanser, or a good micellar water first. Junoco recommends using this after the balm and cookie process, but honestly I find the balm and cookie combination so effective that I don’t feel the need for a second cleanser. I mainly use this powder cleanser when I’m not wearing makeup.
This is the second time I try a cleansing powder, and honestly, it just confirmed my notion that the powder form doesn’t really bring anything new to the cleansing process. I don’t find powders neither less nor more effective than regular liquid ones, they are just a bit more of a hassle to use.
When it comes to ingredients, funnily enough this one also has only 10. Quite a few are hydrating, probably to balance out the cornstarch that naturally absorbs oil: diglycerin, maltodextrin and hyaluronic acid. Seems like a balanced cleanser as well, and probably a good choice for oilier skin types, since the skin feels cleansed without getting too tight.
Clarifying Cleansing Powder Ingredients: Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate, Diglycerin, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Lees Extract, Cellulose Gum, Maltodextrin, Papain, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Powder.
Cleansing Cookie (8,95€)
The cleansing cookie is like a really big cotton pad, made with that same fabric texture of typical makeup removing cloths that is a magnet for dirt. It’s very soft and it has, on the inside, a pancake-shaped sponge that allows to hold more water while you cleanse, and also helps the cookie keep it’s shape.
I was expecting to have to wash it after every use, since this fabric’s fibres grab makeup like nothing else. But, I used it as directed, and only used it to remove the cleansing balm from my face, and probably because the makeup was already dissolved in the balm, everything washed off the cleansing cookie without staining it at all. It looked ready to go again, no dirt visible. And none of it left on my face either.
2% Hyaluronic Acid + Peptides Serum (12,95€- 30ml)
This is a very fluid serum, like hyaluronic acid serums usually are. Easy to spread on the skin, and works well with any skincare product you choose to apply on top. Once again we have a relatively simple formulation (just 12 ingredients), but with some interesting components and without any irritants or perfuming agents. Sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer is not only good for hydration, but it’s also a nice antioxidant, and so is beta-glucan. There are two forms of hyaluronic acid, and vitamin B5 (panthenol) that is both soothing and moisturising. Last but not least, there is a peptide in it, and peptides can be great for hydration and soothing, but they are popular due to their ability to promote collagen production, which is what gives bounce to the skin (and avoids wrinkles).
If you are going to include a hyaluronic acid serum in your routine, this is the way to do it. I’ve mentioned before that hyaluronic acid is such a common ingredient in serums and moisturisers that I don’t feel the need to specifically use a product for this ingredient alone. So if I am going to do it, it better be inexpensive, and it better add something else to the skin. And this serum does satisfy both these conditions.
2% Hyaluronic Acid + Peptides Serum Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycereth-26, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Beta-Glucan, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Oligopeptide-1.
I was expecting to at least reasonably enjoy Junoco’s products (or Juno & Co, just so you know both spellings refer to the same brand), because I did some research on them before getting the products, so they weren’t that much of a shot in the dark. And yet, the balm + cookie combination still took me by surprise for how well it works. This is also one of the least expensive balms I’ve tried and actually enjoyed (the Inkey List’s balm wasn’t very effective and it left a sort of film behind that I wasn’t a fan of), so extra points for that. Definitely a repurchase. When it comes to the powder cleanser, it’s a nice one, but it’s likely more appropriate for oilier skin types than mine. It’s comfortable, not too stripping, and the skin feels clean, but to me it’s an extra step that is not absolutely mandatory. And I think the same of the hyaluronic acid serum: not absolutely necessary, but if you enjoy using them, this is one of the best I’ve seen, combining a nice formula with an affordable price.
That’s another positive thing about Junoco: the price point. It’s set very reasonably, there’s not a single product here that’ll make me say “not worth your money” because the formulas are solid but they’re not charging an arm and a leg for common good ingredients (looking at you, Barbara Sturm).
If sustainability is what draws you in, you’ll be happy to know they won’t use microplastics in their formulations, the paper boxes that the products come in are made from FSC certified material, and they strive to use recyclable and reusable plastic in their packaging.
Last but not least, I reached out to the representative from Junoco who I was in contact with to know if I needed to be updated on anything before publishing this post. All things remain true, and she added that they are currently running their #ToBeHuman campaign, where acceptance and normalization of skin imperfections is promoted, and the goal should be healthy, instead of perfect, skin. So if that’s something that sways you towards a brand, there you go.