Archives for category: Cleanser

2014-01-03 10.17.07Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Polyethylene, PEG-5 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Water, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol

Product Description: “Lightweight cleansing balm quickly dissolves stubborn eye and face makeups, including those with sunscreen. Transforms from a solid balm to a silky, fluid oil upon application. Cleans thoroughly, rinses off completely. Non-greasy. Non-drying. For all skin types.”

2014-01-03 10.17.45

My Experience: I freaking LOVE this stuff. It’s so clever and simple that I can’t help but gush. I know it’s been around for ages and I’m probably late to the party, but it’s a staple in my cleansing ritual so I think it deserves a post. I first heard about this on Caroline Hiron’s uber knowledgeable and endearingly honest blog, which is having a major influence on my skincare choices of late. I love the heft of the pot and the fact that it looks unique when it sits next to all my other bottle and tube cleansers. Plus you get a ton of product and the texture is waxy, so it doesn’t seem to attract fluff like pots of cream. I use the top side of my nail to scrape out a pea-sized amount. I dab equal amounts on my forehead, nose, chin and each cheek. If I’m wearing heavy eye makeup, I put an extra dab on both eye lids. Then I massage it in. Within seconds, it transforms into a rich and oily texture that slides across the skin like silk. And it doesn’t irritate my ultra sensitive eyes, which is a rarity for me. When it’s washed off, my skin feels soft and calm and squeaky clean: there is no greasy residue or trace of makeup left behind. It has no scent but I don’t even care. This stuff should be in everyone’s cupboard. It’s a hellishly good, simple and straight up cleanser that lasts forever and cuts through stubborn make up like a hot knife through butter. I used to loathe coming home after a long and late night out and having to scrub away at my grimey makeup when all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. This product actually makes me feel better on those nights, because it’s so gentle and quick and effective. And because it just feels so luscious on my skin. Go get it. You won’t be sorry.

The Skinny: A beautifully simple cleanser I can always depend on and use with joy. It obliterates stubborn makeup, feels luxurious and leaves skin soft, calm and squeaky clean. This is a forever product in my cleanser wardrobe.

Cost: USA: $28.50 from Sephora

UK: £21 from Boots

Rating: HERO (goes above and beyond expectations)


Ingredients: Deionized Water,Sodium Lauryl Sulfate,Cocamide DEA,Cocamidopropyl Betaine,Sodium Chloride, Glycolic AcidMatricaria Extract,Yarrow Extract, St Johns Wort ExtractChamomile ExtractSage Extract.

Product Description: “For dull, congested skin, this lathering, deep cleanser has the exfoliating powers of Glycolic Acid to break down build-up from skins surface, reduce minor discoloration and leave skin radiant and smooth. Formulated with Herbal Extracts for soothing benefits. Best when used 2-3 times weekly or as recommended by your skin specialist based on your skins needs”.

My Experience: So, I’ve put this review off for some time because I’m in two minds about this product. I think it’s a godsend, but I also wince every time I look at it. First of all, it’s not a pretty product (and that’s not the main reason it makes me wince!). The packaging is basic and clinical, like most Mario Badescu products, and the liquid is a cloudy yellow. Certain bodily fluids spring to mind. But that’s okay, because this does exactly what is says on the tin. Not many products give instant results like this. You only need a tiny amount to do the job, and it lathers well. After only a minute or two, the texture of my skin feels noticeably smoother. And that’s what I love about this cleanser. You can feel it working the instant its spread across your face. After a couple of weeks, the over all texture of my skin also improved. Stubborn little bumps cleared, blackheads reduced. Now onto what I don’t like. It’s very harsh, although Mario Badescu claims it can be adjusted to your skin type, and those with sensitive skin should only use it 1-2 times per week. I used this twice a week, then once, then every other week, and my skin was still dry as the Sahara. I spent a month nursing my skin back to health with gentle cleansers and intensive moisturizers. I’m so sad over this. But I’d still recommend it to those with more robust skin, because it doesn’t cost the earth and it really does improve skin texture.

The Skinny: This works wonders at smoothing and improving skin texture, but those with sensitive skin must beware, because it can be very drying.


UK: £13.95 from BeautyBay

USA: $15 from Mario Badescu

Rating: 3/5

When one is lucky enough to steal away to France for an early autumn sojourn, one must make the time to purchase some French skin care products (particularly if one happens to be a beauty fanatic). I recall the lovely Lisa Eldridge detailing time spent browsing French pharmacies for endless beauty treasures, so I dipped into a little pharmacy to do some searching of my own. Unfortunately, I only had a few minutes before racing to catch the Eurostar, so I picked up only a few (but fab!) items.

1. Bonne Mere Gentle Milk Body Wash by L’Occitane (UK: £22 for 600 ml, USA: $34 for 20.2 fl oz)

Ingredients: White mallow milk

Tested under ophtalmological and dermalogical control, this hypoallergenic body wash is perfect for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

Product Description: “Enriched with moisturising and soothing white mallow milk, this smooth, cleansing shower cream melts onto the skin. Ideal for the whole family*, this creamy formula leaves the skin soft, hydrated and lightly scented. Tested under ophtalmological and dermalogical control, this hypoallergenic body wash is perfect for all skin types, including sensitive skin”.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m a huge fan of L’Occitane. Their Milk Shea Butter Extra Gentle Soap is my go-to soap bar. In fact, I almost snapped up another, until I saw this uber cute body wash. I utterly adore the packaging: it has the charming French vintage look that L’Occitane does so well, and it’s made from sturdy plastic with a convenient little pump popping out the top. The smell is deliciously fresh. It reminds me of just-washed cotton sheets billowing in a summer breeze. The texture is creamy and a small amount lathers up very well. It leaves my skin soft but also squeaky clean, which is a difficult balance for moisturizing body washes to master.

2. NUXE Cleansing Milk with Three Roses, Hazelnut Oil and Orange Blossom (UK: £27 for 400 ml, USA: $22 for 6.7 oz)

Ingredients: Rosa Damascena (rose floral water), cotton seed oil, coconut oil, vitamin E, macadamia oil.

94,1% ingredients of natural origin. No Parabens.

Product Description: “NUXE Demaquillant Aux 3 Roses Cleansing Milk is an ultra soft, simple, efficient and perfect addition to your daily morning and evening beauty ritual. Suitable for all skin types and ages”.

This is a wonderfully gentle and soothing cleanser full of nourishing ingredients. It’s silky and has a faint, sweet yet fresh smell. The packaging is secure and clean: the lid screws off and you can squeeze a generous, yet tidy blob out of the top. No mess, no stress. Directions advise you to apply it with cotton pads and remove it with toner, so no rinsing is a gentler option if your skin is easily disturbed. I’ve used it this way, and also rinsed it off with water after using my Clarisonic. Both ways work excellently, but gently wiping it off with toner-soaked cotton pads is more hydrating if your skin needs an extra boost. My skin looks less red after I use this cleanser, and feels plump and soft. And it doesn’t irritate my eyes, either. It’s a lovely addition to my cleansing regime.

3. Bioderma Crealine TS H2O Micelle Solution

Ingredients: Aqua, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Propylene Glycol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Fructooligosaccharides, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Disodium EDTA, Cetrimonium Bromide.

Product Description: A gentle cleansing water, suitable for eyes and sensitive and fragile skin.

I’ve not tried this yet, but I grabbed two bottles that were on offer in a little pharmacy. As far as I know, you can’t purchase this in stores in the USA or UK, so I would advise trying Amazon or Ebay. This is the makeup remover of choice for tons of makeup artists, including Lisa Eldridge. It’s meant to effectively remove makeup without distressing even the most sensitive skin. I’m partial to cleansing waters for removing eye makeup because of my seriously sensitive eyes, so I have no doubt that I’ll be using up both these bottles in the next few months. And then I’ll have to scramble to find replacements on the internet because this lovely product is so hard to get your mits on unless you’re in France.

Ingredients: water (aqua), sodium lauroamphoacetate, sodium trideceth sulfate, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, coco-glucoside, cocos nucifera (coconut) alcohol, peg-120 methyl glucose dioleate, aniba rosaeodora (rosewood) wood oil, geranium maculatum oil, guaiac (guaiacum officinale) extract, cymbopogon martini oil, rosa damascena extract, amyris balsamifera bark oil, santalum album (sandalwood) oil, salvia officinalis (sage) oil, cinnamomum cassia leaf oil, anthemis nobilis flower oil, daucus carota sativa (carrot) seed oil, piper nigrum (pepper) seed extract, polysorbate 20, glycerin, carbomer, triethanolamine, methylparaben, propylparaben, citric acid, imidazolidinyl urea, yellow 5 (ci 19140).

Product Description: “our award-winning daily facial cleanser is formulated to gently cleanse, tone and melt away all face and eye makeup in one simple step, while lightly hydrating the skin”.

My Experience: This is an uber popular cleanser. It’s meant to be very gentle on the skin and thorough at removing makeup, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. I like philosophy as a brand, from the yummy scented shower gels to the practical and durable packaging. It’s aimed at bridging the gap between “the doctors’ offices and retail, so women everywhere could personally access leading skin care technologies”. It’s also nice that philosophy gives you lots of price options. This cleanser is available in three different sizes, ranging in price from £8 – £28.50 (£10 – $49.50 in the USA). I chose the smallest size. This is a decent, no-nonsense cleanser. It’s fragrance free, which is a plus for those with ultra sensitive skin. But it’s a bit of a downside for me. Although I admire the omission of fragrance, a cleanser just doesn’t feel like a treat for my skin unless it has some sort of lovely, alluring smell that enhances my cleansing routine. The cleanser’s texture is silky smooth, though, and glides over the skin. Makeup washes away easily and my skin is left feeling fresh and clean. However, it stings my eyes to the point of angry, eye-squinting redness, so I’m afraid I can’t praise its gentleness. This cleanser reminds me a lot of Peter Thomas Roth’s Gentle Foaming Cleanser. It has the same pros and cons: simple packaging, a formula free from synthetic fragrance, efficient cleansing without stripping the skin, yet it’s too harsh for my eyes. This cleanser is much cheaper, though, and gets a lot more raves, particularly from those with acne-prone skin. It’s a decent cleanser, it’s just not for me.

The Skinny: A decent, no-frills cleanser that’s free from fragrance. It’s effective at removing makeup and leaving skin feeling fresh and clean, however, it stings my eyes and just feels too basic. I like to feel like I’m treating my skin, not just cleaning it.


UK: £8 for 90ml from philosophy

USA: £10 for 3 oz from philosophy

Rating: 3/5

Ingredients: Sweet Brazilian orange, lavender, ylang ylang, patchouli, moringa seed peptide, great burdock, noni and assai fruit

Elemis does not test on animals

Made in England


Product Description: Deeply moisturises, purifies and balances the skin, defends against daily pollutants and reveals a youthful complexion.

My Experience: We all have our favourite skin care brands, the ones that impress us time and again and just seem to work for us. For me, that’s Elemis. I’ve used a ton of Elemis products over the years and I’ve always been happy with the packaging, the quality and the results. And one of my all-time favorite products is their Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser. The packaging is bright white and sleek, very minimal and extremely durable; I can toss it into my suitcase without worrying about it breaking or leaking. I love a well designed pump and this one dispenses just the right amount of cream in one pump. The smell is divine. Brazilian orange, lavender, ylang ylang and patchouli create a harmonious scent that’s both soothing and subtle. It’s like a spa brought to your home. You are meant to massage the cleanser into dry skin for a minute until it has warmed and loosened, then remove it with warm damp mitts. I skip the mitts (because I don’t have any and I like to keep things simple) and just rinse away with warm water. It also works well with a Clarisonic. The results are impressive. My skin looks brighter, more fresh, more plump. It feels clean and velvety soft. Even the splotchy redness in my cheeks is calmed, and with regular use is significantly reduced. Oh, and it removes eye makeup without irritating my sensitive eyes. Amazing! Now, there’s no bones about it, this cleanser is expensive. But there are options. Elemis quite often includes the travel size in gift packs, which is a good way of trying different products without shelling out a lot of dough on the individual full sizes. Another alternative is Ebay, where I often get the full and travel sizes. Anyway, this is possibly my favorite cleanser. I may stray, but I always come back to it. Love it.

The Skinny: A gentle, dreamy cleanser. This leaves skin feeling velvety soft and looking radiant. And the smell is lovely. Possibly my favorite cleanser.


UK: £22.08 from lookfantastic

USA: $47 from timetospa

Also, try Ebay

Rating: 5/5

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Propylene Glycol, Panthenol, Phospholipids, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Chitosan Ascorbate, Lysine Lauroyl Methionate, Rice Amino Acids, Zinc Aspartate, Allantoin, Sodium PCA, Polysorbate 20, Butylene Glycol, Lactose, Cellulose, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Tetrasodium EDTA, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Limonene, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Ferula Galbaniflua (Galbanum) Resin Oil, Iron Oxides (CI 77492)

Formulated Without: Parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs or Triclosan

Product Description: This Vitamin C rich formula contains Allantoin and Panthenol to soothe environmentally stressed skin whilst mandarin orange, basil and grapefruit impart a fresh, clean scent.

My Experience: A family member was kind enough to let me have a very generous sample of this that came free with a magazine. I was quite excited, having heard so many people sing Murad’s praises over the years. This cleanser has some wonderful ingredients such as Orange oil, Grapefruit oil and Basil oil plus vitamins A, C and E. It’s supposed to cleanse skin without stripping it of moisture as well as soothe and gently purify environmentally stressed skin. Flipping the lid open is like unleashing a grove of orange trees. I adore the citrus scent – it’s refreshing, delicious and really captivates the senses. The cleanser has a gel texture with tiny beads peppered throughout. It’s not a scrub, though: the beads seem to dissolve as you massage the cleanser into your skin. It lathers up nicely and rinses away easily, leaving skin looking bright and fresh. However, there are two downsides to this product. First, my sensitive skin feels a little tight after using it. If I use it everyday, my skin becomes dry. Second, it’s eye-wateringly expensive. Of course, I was uber lucky to get my sample for free, but I won’t be shelling out £34 for the full-size because it’s just not a suitable daily cleanser for sensitive skin.

The Skinny: A divinely-scented gel cleanser that leaves skin looking fresh and bright, but it’s very expensive and those with sensitive skin may find it too harsh or drying if used everyday.


UK: £34 from lookfantastic

USA: $35 from Sephora

Rating: 3/5

Ingredients: Glycerin, wheat amino acids and vitamins A, C and E

Formulated without: Sulfates and synthetic fragrances

Skin Type: All

Product Description: Removes makeup (including stubborn eye makeup), dirt, oil and other impurities without over-drying or stripping the skin of essential oils. Leaves the skin soft, smooth and revitalized.

My Experience: This is a no-nonsense cleanser. It’s gentle yet effective and contains no fragrance. I use 2-3 pumps for my whole face and although the texture is foamy to begin with, it soon whips into a silky cream. This is impressive for a foam cleanser, because I often find that they don’t lather very well. It’s brimming with good ingredients that help protect, nourish and repair skin whilst retaining its moisture. And you can tell: it removes makeup easily and leaves skin feeling very clean yet comfortable; there’s no tightness or sense that your skin has been stripped. The packaging is sleek, durable and minimalist. And I love a skin care company that proudly stamps its ingredients on the front of its containers. I do have a few gripes about this product, though. It’s not a gentle eye makeup remover. The instructions advise you to gently massage around the eyes several times to remove eye makeup, but it stung and irritated my sensitive peepers. And although I admire the omission of synthetic fragrances, I’m not keen on a cleanser that has no smell at all. For this price, I want the whole shabang: an effective cleanser that smells lovely, feels good on my skin and makes me look forward to using it.

The Skinny: A no frills cleanser that effectively removes makeup and leaves skin feeling clean and comfortable. It does irritate my eyes, though. And I wish it had some kind of fragrance. It’s just doesn’t feel or smell like a luxurious cleanser, and I feel like it should for the price.


UK: £24 from SalonSkincare

USA: $32 from Sephora

Rating: 3/5

Firstly, I have sensitive skin. I’m prone to random splotchy redness and blemishes stick around forever – if I dispose of them myself they will scar for weeks, if not months, so I tend to leave them and let them run their course. My skin texture is quite bumpy, so I need to exfoliate frequently. Now that I’m thirty-something I’ve noticed fine lines creeping in, as well as some loss of elasticity and darker circles under my eyes – mind you, I’m being quite critical; these are only minimal issues and are not things other people tend to notice, but I’m letting you know because they have an affect on the products I buy and the expectations I have. I’ve always had quite good skin, to be honest (not many breakouts and such), but my skin is a lot different to how it was when I was a teenager, which is only natural. Please be aware that my reviews are based on my own experiences, which may differ from yours. Please also note that the ingredients lists below are not complete; I am merely listing the ingredients as seen on the packaging, so for full information please visit the necessary websites. So, with skin profiling and other business out of the way…this is my current routine:

1. Caudalie Gentle Cleanser 200 ml – 6.7 fl oz

Ingredients: Grape-seed polyphenols, cornflower extract, oat extract, sweet almond and jojoba oils, shea butter.

0% parabens, phenoxythanol, artificial colorings, mineral oils…Against animal testing. Ophthalmologically tested.

Skin type: All


UK: £13.50 from Feel Unique:

USA: $26 from Sephora:

What it’s supposed to do: This smooth and velvety cleanser leaves the skin clean, soft and protected against free radicals.

My experience: I snapped this up from a Sephora during a recent trip to the USA. I was after a cleanser that was inexpensive, gentle and came in a decent size bottle with a pump. I did some preliminary research (because I’m obsessive like that) and decided that, per ounce, this cleanser was less expensive than some other high end brands and came in a larger size than most high end brands. And I’m currently loving it. I’ve been using it everyday for a month and I’ve used about a third of it. I use two pumps for my whole face, which is quite generous. The texture is indeed velvety and it washes away easily. I’ve used it on and around my eyes without any irritation (and my eyes are tres sensitive). The smell is light and it leaves my skin feeling fresh and comfortable. I love the packaging as well. It’s sleek, simple and sheer so you can see how much of the product you’ve used. I use this with my Clarisonic in the evenings.

The Skinny: Great packaging, gentle yet effective and leaves my skin feeling fresh and soft. I feel it’s neither cheap nor expensive for the quality. It does exactly what it says on the tin: what more can you ask for?

Rating: 5/5

2. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant 75 g – 2.6 oz

Ingredients: Green tea, ginkgo, colloidal oatmeal, grapefruit and licorice

Contains no artificial fragrance or color.

Skin Type: All


UK: £30.40 from lookfantastic:

USA: $50 from Dermalogica:

What it’s supposed to do: This unique rice-based powder formula activates upon contact with water, releasing papain, salicylic acid and rice enzymes that micro-foliate dead cells, instantly leaving skin smoother and brighter. Helps to balance uneven pigmentation and calm the skin, leaving it clear and refreshed.

Note: not recommended for users of medically-prescribed exfoliation products.

My experience: I use this everyday after my Caudalie cleanser, but only in the mornings. It’s not cheap – in fact, it’s quite dear. But it does work, and it is gentle enough to use everyday. A little does go a long way, so one bottle will probably last you months. I have used tons of grainy exfoliation products claiming they are gentle for every day use that have left my skin irritated and dry. I have no problems with this at all. You use a half teaspoon in wet hands to create a paste. I focus on applying it to my nose and forehead, where my skin most needs exfoliation, and then massage it outward. There are tiny particles but for the most part application is smooth. Once I rinse off my skin looks more even and the texture is definitely more smooth. It’s so easy to rinse off too – it’s not messy like some scrubs and you don’t have to rinse your face a million times because you’ve still got bits stuck in your hair. I’ve been using it every morning for a month without any irritation. The packaging is good: simple and durable.

The Skinny: Gentle enough for everyday use, improves skin texture and evens out discoloration. The only downside is it’s very pricey.

Rating: 4/5

3. Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Day Emulsion SPF15 75 ml – 2.5 fl oz

Ingredients: Octinoxate 4.9% and octocrylene 5.0%

Skin Type: No information provided


UK: £60.50 from John Lewis:

USA: $52 from Sephora:

What it’s supposed to do: There is not much information on the packaging other than it’s meant to help prevent sunburn, but this is basically an anti-aging moisturizer with sunscreen.

My experience: I really, really like this. I recently started using the Shiseido Extra Smooth Protection Lotion SPF30, which I like and will review later, so I was interested in trying another product from Shiseido. I did some research and found that this was one of Shiseido’s cheaper moisturizers and you get a good amount of product (75 ml – 2.5 fl oz). It also comes in a lovely chic bottle with a pump dispenser. The bottle is sheer so you can see how much you’ve used (in one month I’ve used one third). I use two pumps for my whole face, which is a generous amount. The texture is rather different for a moisturizer – it’s quite runny, like yogurt. It spreads very easily and absorbs quickly. After a few minutes my skin feels very soft and happy, like it’s been infused with moisture and goodness. The fragrance is light and subtle. I’ve only been using this for a month so I can’t speak for it’s wrinkle resistance, but it’s my new favorite moisturizer. I love the packaging, the feel of it and how my skin drinks it up, and it seems to calm down irritations and redness a bit. And I love that it contains SPF.

The Skinny: A great moisturizer that sinks in quickly, contains sunscreen and calms skin, leaving it feeling velvety soft. Pricey, but you get a decent amount and I think it’s worth it.

Rating: 5/5

4. Clarins Super Restorative Day Cream 30 ml – 1.06 oz

Ingredients: Pueraria lobata, pelvetia, dehydrated plant-based micro-pearls, pequi pulp, shea butter, selenium from tomato extract

Skin Type: All


UK: £65 for 50 ml from Clarins UK,en_GB,pd.html

USA: $114 from Sephora

Note: The one sold at Sephora appears to be SPF20, although the version on the Clarins UK site contains no SPF.

What it’s supposed to do: Replenish the skin by restoring elasticity and reduce the appearance of dullness, age spots, deep lines and wrinkles.

My experience: Okay, first of all I’m reviewing the travel size version. This is a pricey cream, but you can snap up travel sizes on ebay for about £10, which is what I tend to do. It lasts me a couple weeks maybe more if used every day. Second, I’m currently using this at night even though it’s a day cream. Third, it’s technically for mature skin that has gone through hormonal changes. All that said, I think this is a great moisturizer. I’ve been using it off and on for a couple years now. I love the travel size because it’s great for traveling – durable and small with a little spout I can squeeze a very controlled amount of product from. It smells of flowers and spring and loveliness and it’s thick and rich. It feels wonderful to massage in and leaves the skin baby soft and plumper looking. I use the night version when I can, but recently was only able to get the day version from ebay and it works just as well at night. I wake up with skin looking bright and refreshed. I think the fine lines under my eyes have diminished slightly, but other than that I can’t speak for it’s anti-aging properties because I don’t really have wrinkles. It’s packed full of good ingredients and antioxidants that stimulate the production of collagen, restore cell cohesion and soften the skin. So who cares if it’s for mature skin if it’s a great moisturizer? I think anyone would benefit from this.

The Skinny: Wonderful moisturizer packed with good ingredients and antioxidants that makes skin feel very soft and pampered – just wish the full size was cheaper.

Rating: 4/5