michael todd KNU serum review

first, i would like to say CONGRATS to Liz C., the winner of the Essential Oils Starter Kit!!! THANK YOU to everyone who entered and to all my crunchies for supporting the livelihood of this blog. i love you ALL!

now onto the serum review…


a rep from Michael Todd Organics contacted me and asked if i was interested in reviewing their new KNU serum. i of course said “yes!” and it was promptly delivered.

thanks, MTO! so let’s check out the company and the product i was sent:

about Michael Todd Organics – 

(from the MTO site) – ” Our mission is to make the most effective, results oriented organic solutions for healthy, radiant skin. We use as much organics as possible without compromising performance and never use parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, artificial coloring or synthetic fragrance to avoid health concerns.”

i can get behind that!

about KNU – 

(from the MTO site) –

KNU serum is a concentrated anti-aging serum made from 70% organic ingredients, including healing aloe vera and anti-oxidant cranberries, green tea and seaweed, combined with our advanced proprietary blend of powerful ingredients clinically shown to accelerate repair and heal the skin. Reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of premature skin aging while at the same time providing anti-oxidant protection against future damage.”

i was personally using it on a spot on my chin to see how it handled acne scars. i (thankfully) don’t have fine lines/wrinkles YET, so my mom tested that. we’ll go over these in the “review” a bit below.

>> and most importantly, the ingredients – 

Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Juice, Isopentyldiol,  Snail Secretion Filtrate, Lactic Acid, Arbutin, Beta Glucan (Oat), L-Arginine, Phospholipids, Sh-Oligopeptide-1 (Epidermal Growth Factor), Butylene Glycol*, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (Matrixyl 3000®), Glycerine, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-5 (Syncoll®), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Cell Culture Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus ( Bilberry) Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Laminara Japonica (Seaweed) Extract, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan*), Butylene Gycol*, Isomalt, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Benzoate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Pelargonium Gravelens (Geranium) Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Organic Vaccinium Macracarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE), Sodium Phytate, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid

* = let’s discuss these… so these were the top 2 that i had huge concerns with.

– butylene glycol– derived from petroleum, yet is very toxic to the body. it’s not even on the GRAS list (generally regarded as safe) for use in cosmetics, and can affect the nervous system and kidneys.
carrageenan – proven to be toxic when ingested in dietary doses, but is still absorbed through the skin and enters the body when used in lotions/serums/etc.

i emailed the MTO rep to inquire about the ingredients and asked if she or the company have any concerns with these ingredients, and would they consider excluding them from the formula. she replied very quickly with 2 different responses – one from a strict ingredient-based view, and one view coming from a high-risk pregnancy view.

* how it was addressed –
from MTO rep #1  – “Butylene Glycol is rated a 0-1 on EWG.org and is used as a solvent or conditioning agent. The concentration is less than 1% and  butylene glycol isn’t only derived from petroleum. It is a by-product of fermentation as well as occurring naturally as a component in cocoa butter( this is the form we use). It is an organic alcohol and when compared to other ingredients used in skin care products which are used to do the same are much more harmful, Butylene glycol is the least harmful and is non-irritating of all the glycols. It is listed high on the ingredient list only because it is part of the formula for Matrixyl 3000 and is not necessarily at a high percentage. Its less than 1%. About .0009% or so. Carageenan (or Chrondus Crispus) is actually beneficial for the skin when applied topically. It has only been linked as a harmful ingredient when ingested internally at high doses. A very small percentage is used , again less than 1% and it is a skin softener and binding agent and not-harmful when applied topically. EWG.org states that this ingredient is not likely to be carcinogenic in humans.”
from MTO rep #2 – “I use Knu Every night—Pregnant and High Risk. I use some of our other products, too and have had everything approved for use by my Perinatologist team 🙂 “

i really appreciated the quick and detailed response! the pride in their products definitely shows through. but as for this ingredients snob, i’m still very hesitant.

my review – 

the serum came in a fancy shmancy bottle, which i loved! the serum itself felt like a thick oil, yet soaked in very quickly.

because i was given a rather expensive product to review, and because of the ingredients, i compromised and tried it on my chin only.

i used it after using the OCM, and found my chin was too oily. the next night, i used a very light baking soda scrub on my chin, followed by using this serum. my chin felt like silk; seriously. i kept rubbing it (a no-no, i know!).

here’s what i started with:


here’s what i have now:


the acne scar on my chin has definitely lightened over the 2 weeks between these pictures (my neck’s red cuz i scratched it…my bad). i think the results i had also might’ve been better because i was exfoliating beforehand, stimulating the skin repair in that area. but KNU really did help!

my mom stole my bottle… literally stole it, haha! she has been RAVING about it ever since, too! she uses it after she showers at night, and says she truly believes it’s helped her fine lines/wrinkles as well as the overall softness and suppleness of her skin (and my mom’s not a brand snob or anything. she just likes what works and doesn’t like what doesn’t lol. she asked where to buy some, and about died when she saw the price, but we’ll see if she buys it. i believe she will!)

overall – 

would i buy this? … strictly from a financial perspective, i personally would not, because of how pricey it is. $150 for a bottle of serum simply isn’t in my budget right now. strictly from an ingredients perspective, i’m hesitant. i did have 2 MTO reps acknowledge my concerns about the ingredients, but until they are removed/replaced, i will not be using this on my face daily. however, i know many people would pick this up in a heartbeat 🙂

yes, it worked! but my hippie values just can’t jive with those few ingredients, no matter how small of a percentage in the mix they are. i completely understand that i’m a TOTAL ingredients snob (i know, i know, i know), and other crunchies would totally go for this serum!

compared to other comparable serums on the market and their ingredients, this product is a great option! if you’re in the market for an anti-aging serum/acne serum, and have the wallet to afford this, go for it! i just personally will not. comparable serums have wayyyyy worse ingredients. they might work, but they’re working at the cost of your health.

this company has a great mission and a GREAT outlook on providing safe and effective beauty products. i support them and love their mission!


you can buy it directly from the source, HERE 🙂

has anyone tried this serum? want to? let’s hear it!

hippie stamp Sig

disclaimer: this product was provided to me at no cost, but this review is entirely reflective of my own personal opinions. i refuse to be anything but completely honest with my crunchies. ❤

11 thoughts on “michael todd KNU serum review

  1. Hi, I know you struggled through acne and I was just wondering… my doctor prescribed me with progesterone about a year ago. Ever since, I’ve broken out on my chin, and a few months ago (when I stopped taking it), my periods stopped. Now they recommend trying progesterone again or going on birth control.. Is there a way I can fix this naturally or more easily? Do you know anything about this? 😦

    1. hey hanna; thanks for reaching out. i know it can be hard to share personal stories, so thank you! i’m not sure if you were asking for a natural acne remedy or for progesterone; sorry. i have posts for acne, but as far as the progesterone goes, idk why it was prescribed and don’t know enough about it in general to even begin to suggest anything. that sort of medical advice is way beyond my realm 🙂
      any readers have personal experience with this and can help out a fellow crunchy??? ❤

  2. Hi alex,you talked about carageenan in this post. i found that carageenan is in most ice creams, yet it’s in the last 2-3 ingredients. what’s your input on this? i’d hate to give up my favorite ice cream! 😦

    1. hey there nina! i would steer clear of ingesting anything with carageenan as an ingredient. it can cause inflammation, and there’s a study that showed when mice were given low doses of it every day for 2 1/2 weeks, they developed a strong glucose intolerance and impaired insulin action (which leads to diabetes). try looking around for an ice cream that doesn’t have it 🙂

      1. I did a little research, and Hagen Daaz, Trader Joe’s, and Breyer’s ICE CREAM (not “frozen daily dessert”) are some major brands w/o carrageenan

  3. hi alex! I have a question and I didn’t know what post it would fit with, so I just picked the first one I saw :p.

    So, I am a no poo’er with the bs/acv and i have my homecoming dance next weekend. I want an updo which may require using heat and staying products. Boooo ): do you have any suggestions for me? Should I clarify after and deep condition with coconut oil (and wash with low poo after of course)?

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