True Botanicals Chebula Active Serum – What is Chebula? | Doctors Review



I admit before I received the True Botanicals Chebula Active Serum, I had never heard about Chebula as a skincare ingredient. Or fruit. Apparently it grows on a tree native to Southern and South East Asia and has been used internally in Ayurvedic Medicine for it’s great antioxidant capacities.


A bottle of True Botanicals Chebula Active Serum, drak brown glass with golden letters, standing in front of a dark background with white flowers
True Botanicals Chebula Active Serum

True Botanicals claims to be the one of the first brands using it in skincare and calls it a cascading antioxidant.



What the True Botanicals Chebula Active Serum claims

A hydrating anti-aging serum that helps fight visible signs of aging while supporting your skin barrier. Chebula, an ayurvedic fruit and one of the most bioactive and powerful antioxidants in nature, helps to target five signs of aging: minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, visibly even skin tone, smooth roughness, give the look of firmer and brighter skin. Chebula is known as one of the most bioactive, photostable, broad spectrum, cascading antioxidants with an ORAC score higher than Acai. Skin is left hydrated, glowy, and more youthful-looking.


Facts about the True Botanicals Chebula Active Serum

Prize and size

One dropper bottle made from brown glass with gold writing contains 30 ml and is available for 90 $ on the website here. The packaging is beautiful and looks very luxurious.


Texture and smell

The serum inside the packaging however looks greenish-brown in color – sorry for that graphic description, but it has the color of bile. The scent is earthy, with a hint of floral and a little sharpness and certainly not my favorite.


Close up of the True Botanicals Chebula Active Serum, which is a greenish-brwon liquid in a dropper
Might be a doctor thing that I think of bile when I see this color…


How to use the True Botanicals Chebula Active Serum

Chebula Active Serum is supposed to be used morning and night according to the website and I found half a dropper to be enough for my face and neck. (More info: The best way to take care of your neck and decollete)

While it initially goes on very smoothly, it develops tackiness after a few seconds that doesn’t go away until you layer something on top. While it never led to pilling, I didn’t like it very much and thus stuck with using it at night when I knew I would layer stuff on top anyway.
Despite the claims I didn’t find it to be very hydrating, so I need to layer it either with a hydrating serum or a rich moisturizer to make it work for my skin.


Ingredients of the True Botanicals Chebula Active Serum

Hover the mouse over an ingredient for short explanation. Read more on INCIDecoder.
The first antioxidant on the ingredient list is actually Green Tea Extract, Chebula comes somewhere in the middle. Green Tea is something I really like in my products, but the thing with extracts obviously is that you never really know how much of the actually active things you end up getting. (More info: The benefits of Green Tea Extract in skincare explained) After Green Tea Extract you will find Aloe Vera for soothing, Glycerin and Sodium Hyaluronate for hydration and a few other plant extracts – in one case called a flower distillate, which is unusual – for potential antioxidant benefits. (More info: The benefits of Hyaluronic Acid in skincare explained)

You will find alcohol way down the ingredient list which is to be expected, as most extracts are made by alcoholic extraction. (More info: Is alcohol in your skincare bad for you)

More info: How to read the ingredient list in your skincare products


Does it live up to its claims?

I can’t really tell.

I don’t find this to be very hydrating nor gave me using it for several weeks a more youthful looking skin. That doesn’t mean the serum doesn’t have antioxidant benefits, those would be too subtle to see with the bare eye and I don’t use it on untreated skin, I have had antioxidant serums in my routine for years now – the effect might have been bigger had this been the first antioxidant serum I used.


How does it compare to…


Geek & Gorgeous C-Glow - the perfect Vitamin C Serum
Geek & Gorgeous C-Glow – the perfect Vitamin C Serum


Geek and Gorgeous C-Glow Serum

Of course I had to compare it with my favorite antioxidant serum of all times, the 15% Ascorbic Acid from Geek and Gorgeous. While Vitamin C doesn’t have the same claims Chebula has according to the website, it had been around for long enough for me to trust it results. It isn’t really hydrating either, but the texture is nicer and the price easier to stomach.

You can read my full review of the Geek and Gorgeous C-Glow Serum here.


A bottle of innisfree Intensive Hydrating Serum with Green Tea Seed, dark green with a pump
innisfree Intensive Hydrating Serum with Green Tea Seed


innisfree Intensive Hydrating Serum with Green Tea

Again, no Chebula here – I told you I hadn’t heard of it before – but Green Tea with its several benefits. This is another favorite of mine (both serums mentioned made it into my Holy Grail skincare 2023 list) and great for those who don’t get along with Vitamin C. I find it very hydrating on its own, but at the same time not tacky, but very pleasant in texture. It is fragranced though, so you need to make sure the scent agrees with you, as it is definitely noticeable.

You can read my full review of the innisfree Intensive Hydrating Serum with Green Tea here.


The Ordinary EUK 134° 0,1%
The Ordinary EUK 134° 0,1% – The dropper


The Ordinary EUK 134° 0.1%

I picked another picture than usual to show you that, to my surprise, the color in the product from The Ordinary and True Botanicals is almost the same. The Ordinary doesn’t have Chebula as antioxidant though, but a combination of Superoxid dismutase and catalase, an antioxidant and something to regenerate its antioxidant power, so the claim here is that the antioxidant powers never dwindle. Self-regeneration basically. I had to think of this when I read “cascading antioxidant”, although I am not sure that is what the mean. I am not a fan of The Ordinarys texture either it is a little oily for my taste, but wanted to mention it nontheless.

You can read my full review of The Ordinary EUK 134° 0,1% here.


Would I repurchase and which skin types do I recommend it to?

To be honest, I wasn’t really a fan of the serum in terms of texture and effect on my skin, and for 90 $ a bottle I would at least expect at least that. If the mixture of antioxidants is superior to other antioxidant serums isn’t something you can tell from using it, but I will certainly not repurchase. In terms of skin types it could potentially work for all skin types when paired with other products, with the obvious exception of those that are allergic to one or more of the plant extracts.


True Botanicals Chebula Active Serum Review
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