Not all cleansers are created equal. Some are plain, simple and to the point: you mix them with water, they foam up a bit, cleanse your skin and you’re done. Others offer a more indulgent experience, which we’ll explore in this post. From sensory treats to luxurious textures and face mask double duty, I've got you covered.
First on the docket is Biologique Recherche Lait VIP O2. This is the youngest cleanser in the French brand’s repertoire (they do 3 milk cleansers in total) and it’s the most complex. It is loaded with brightening and gentle exfoliating ingredients that aim to fight the effects of pollution on your skin.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Squalane, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicapranate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Glyceryl Stearate, Aminotic Fluid, Perfluorodecalin, PEG-20 Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Polyacrylamide, Cetyl Palmitate, Glycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Alcohol Denat, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Ethyl Oleate, Polyperfluoromethylisopropyl Ether, Ethyl Linolenate, Poloxamer 188, Laureth 7, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hydrolyzed Gelatin, Niacinamide, Lactic Acid, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit extract, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Hydrolyzed Silk, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Yeast Extract (Faex Extract), Sodium Benzoate, Embryo Extract, Magnesium Chloride, Vinegar (Acetum), TEA-Lactate, Salicylic acid, Sodium Lactate, Mimosa Tenuiflora Bark extract, Alcohol, Sorbitol, Ethyl linoleate, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch hazel) Bark / leaf / twig extract, Papain, Myrtus Comunis Extract, Allium Cepa (Onion) Bulb extract, Hypericum Perforatum Flower/Leaf/Stem extract, Serine, Urea, Allantoin, Rhizobian Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Commiphora Myrrha Resin extract, Tocopherol, Potassium sorbate, Chlorphenesin, Thiamine HCL, Pyridoxine HCL, Sodium salicylate, Sorbic acid.
That ingredients list is a mouthful, isn’t it? The texture of the cleanser is milky and light, and it doesn’t have a strong scent. I don’t find it irritating at all, and it glides onto the skin effortlessly. I prefer using this in the morning. I like to massage it onto my skin and leave it on for about a minute to take maximum advantage of the brightening properties. I like to remove it with a washcloth and lukewarm water. It leaves no residue on the skin and my face feels refreshed and comfortable. I find it gentle enough for everyday use for me, but if you have sensitive skin I would suggest using it just 2-3 times per week. You can find Biologique Recherche products at One2One Studio in Canada and at RescueSpa in the US.
Next up is Jordan Samuel Skin After Show Treatment Cleanser. I have been a fan of this cleanser since its first iteration as Plié and I have gone through several tubes of it. In fact, if there’s just one cleanser that you pick up from this post, have this be the one. It’s so versatile and truly suitable for all skin types. It has a gel-to-oil texture that you apply on dry skin and massage it in. It is best removed with a warm wet washcloth. It melts away makeup and impurities while nourishing and softening the skin.
Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Glycerin, Water, Sucrose Laurate, Propanediol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugarcane) Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Rhizome/Root Extract, Anthemis Noblis (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Citrus Fruit Extract Blend, Simmodsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caprylhyroxamic Acid, Capryl Glycol
The After Show Treatment Cleanser is suitable for both morning and night usage. I prefer to use it in the evenings as it’s such an excellent makeup remover. It also works well as a mask, due to its mild exfoliating properties from the sugarcane extract and willow bark. It contains no harsh surfactants and no fragrance. It has a very very mild fruity scent to it due to its natural extracts. My favourite part is that it is available to purchase in 3 different sizes - a mini for short weekend travel, a 94mL size that I take away with me every time I’m gone for more than 3 days and a big size to keep at home.
Since Jordan Samuel Skin is a direct-to-consumer brand, you can only get it from their website directly and the price point is very fair for such a high quality product. This is easily a Holy Grail product for me and I can see myself repurchasing it for many many years to come.
The final treat-yourself in my stash is the most indulgent. Everything from the weighted black glass jar to the gorgeous texture of the product creams luxury.
Meet May Lindstrom Honey Mud!
The Honey Mud is described as a “velvety cleansing mud” that doubles as an excellent face mask. I LOVE using this as a mask in the mornings when I have a bit of extra time to indulge. It makes an excellent start to an at-home spa day. The scent is absolutely intoxicating due to the carefully (and sustainably) sourced essential oils.
Ingredients: Raw Honey with Bee Pollen and Propolis, White Halloysite Clay, Macadamia Nut Oil, Witch Hazel, Cocoa Absolute Oil, Sweet Orange Oil, Ylang-Ylang Oil, Vanilla Planifolia CO2 Total Essential Oil, Cedarwood Oil, Frankincense Oil, Myrrh Oil, Silver
The texture of the Honey Mud is like that of a thick, velvety custard. If you want to use it as a cleanser, you massage a dollop of product onto dry skin for about a minute, then start rinsing it with water. As the product comes into contact with water it creates a milk that dissolves impurities and cleanses your skin. I suggest finishing off with a warm wet washcloth to ensure that you remove it completely from your skin and no residue is left behind.
As a mask, applied on clean dry skin and left on for 15-20 minutes (or however long you wish) it creates a comforting cocoon for the face. It never dries to an uncomfortable crunchy finish like a typical mud mask does. The honey, propolis and bee pollen have antibacterial and skin-nourishing properties that will calm any inflammation. I find that it also helps to reduce redness.
My go-to way of using this is as a mask in the morning, before the shower. I apply this on my dry skin and then jump into the shower. The steam of the shower brings the delicious scent of the essential oils to life, and the mask does double duty nourishing my skin while protecting it from the heat of the shower. At the end of my shower I remove it with a washcloth and my skin feels incredibly soft, nourished and has a subtle glow to it. I’ve had a mixed bag of reactions with the May Lindstrom products I have tried so far and it’s hard to justify their astronomical price tags. The Honey Mud, however, is worth every single penny of mine.