Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash
Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash ($11.00 for 5.0 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a “gentle, sulfate-free foaming cleanser that removes daily toxins and makeup.” Skincare seems to be a new venture (well, beyond body creams) for Pacifica, which I’ve personally known primarily as a fragrance brand, so I didn’t have high expectations for this. I’ve been loving all things coconut-scented lately, though (it’s the summer–coconut always reminds me of warm summer days spent at the beach), so I figured I’d give it a try.
I actually quite love it! It has been surprisingly great as a cleanser, and even better? It’s very budget-friendly. It has a gel-like consistency that’s clear, but it lathers into a creamy, kind of milky-like, lather and really breaks down all bits and bobs of my makeup–even heavy eye makeup and mascara. I work it into my entire face, and I have no issues with my eyes burning, stinging, tearing, or clouding when using this. Every time I’ve used it, I’ve reveled at how remarkably gentle it is, and Muse, who is more discerning about her skincare than I am, felt the same way. My skin felt soft and clean but never stripped, tight, or dry. It smells primarily of coconut, but there’s a little citrus and zest to it. The purity of the coconut, though, smells a lot like raw coconut oil to me.
Ingredients: purified water, cocomidopropyl betaine (coconut source), sodium cocoyl glutamate (coconut source), sodium cocoyl sulfoacetate (coconut source) sodium cocoamphoacetate, decyl glucoside (corn source), aloe barbadensis leaf juice, glycerin (vegetable), aloe barbadensis leaf juice, glycerin (vegetable), magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, glycol stearate, carica papaya extract, lemon bioflavanoids, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, cocos nucifera (coconut) water, citrus acid, tocopherol acetate, panthenol, NaPCA, allantoin, nori extract, garcinia mangostana peel extract (mangosteen), camelia sinensis leaf extract (white tea), sea algae extract, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, ethylhexylglycerin, fragrance (all natural).
shu uemura Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil
shu uemura Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil ($67.00 for 15.2 fl. oz.) is designed for combination to oily skin types as a cleansing oil that “effectively remove[s] make-up and ipurities … while maintaining the skin’s necessary moisture level.” It is “empowered with Sakura Complex” to “[minimize] pores by eliminating excess sebum and visibly [smoothe] the skin’s surface.” According to shu uemura, sakura leaf extract is “known to reduce inflammatory mediators that can cause skin redness” and “improve skin texture.” It also contains salicyclic acid and cherry extract. It is available year-round in a regularly pink-tinted bottle but has been relased in special packaging for the ob collection. It’s sold out (in this packaging) online, but if you are located where shu uemura is still sold in stores, you may find it locally.
I’m a big fan of shu uemura’s Cleansing Oils, and I hadn’t tried the Fresh Pore Clarifying formula yet. The last bottle I used was a limited edition bottle released with last holiday season’s wkw collection, which was the “White Recovery EX+ Brightening Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula” (which doesn’t seem to be available in regular packaging on the U.S. website). One giant bottle lasts me anywhere from four to six months. I didn’t love this one as much as the other formulas I’ve tried, because it is very thin–almost water-like in texture. The others were slightly thicker but not so thick that they felt oily or heavy, but this one is so thin that it took some getting used to. I needed to pump it into my hands over the sink, as it would leak through my fingers or pump beyond my hands and get onto the counter/in the sink. I just never noticed this as an issue with the two or three bottles I’ve used previously (different formulas, all cleansing oils). The formula has a very light floral scent that’s pretty muted.
Aside from the consistency/packaging issue, the formula worked well to break down and remove makeup, dirt, and whatever else happened to be on my face. I take two to three pumps and then massage and work it into my skin, and then I rinse my hands under water and then work the oil into a small lather. After that, I rinse my face with lukewarm water and pat dry. I never experience any oily residue, no squeaky clean/tight feeling, or have issues with my eyes clouding during the rinsing process. shu’s cleansing oils are definitely a go-to for me when I’m wearing a full face of makeup, because it gets it all off and I don’t need to follow-up with another cleanser.
Olay Fresh Effects Bead Me Up Exfoliating Cleanser
Olay Fresh Effects Bead Me Up Exfoliating Cleanser ($7.99 for 6.5 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a foaming cleanser that contains microbeads to “gently purify and lift away dirt … [and] softly scrub your skin.” A couple of weeks ago, I grabbed this cleanser to try for an evening cleanser for light makeup days, and I wanted something more budget-friendly. I’ve only used it a handful of times, because every time I use it, it’s like spraying a bottle of perfume on my face (and in my mouth, because it’s so potent, I feel like I can taste it, even though I’m not putting it on my mouth!). It’s extremely high in fragrance; it’s a strong, floral scent. I can’t recall coming across anything that was this strong in fragrance, where I felt like I could taste it (but I know there was a moisturizer, by another brand, that was so heavily scented, I didn’t test it for long either).
The texture is a thick, creamy consistency that squeezes out of the tube. It lathers and foams well, and the beads are there but not in a high concentration, so it is very gentle and seemed suitable to my skin on a regular basis. It didn’t leave my skin feeling stripped or “squeaky” clean, which I liked, and it was able to cleanse away daily dirt and grime–but it doesn’t work well on makeup. It left noticeable amounts of eyeliner, mascara, and medium-coverage foundation when I tried it when I did wear light makeup (I will note, though, that it doesn’t call out removing makeup, but since I know a lot of us like double-duty cleansers, it was still something I tried it with in case it did). I can’t speak to any long-term effects, because it’s really not something I wanted to keep using.
Water, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Oxidized Polyethylene, PEG 200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate, Sodium Myristoyl Sarcosinate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Acrylates Copolymer, PEG 7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Citric Acid, PEG 100, Titanium Dioxide, Fragrance, Lauric Acid, Polyquaternium 10, Disodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Niacinamide, Ascorbic Acid, BHT, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone
NARS Gentle Cream Cleanser
A Truly Gentle Cleanser
NARS Gentle Cream Cleanser ($29.00 for 4.2 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a “gentle, non-drying cream cleanser with a luxurious lather designed to pamper the skin while washing away makeup and surface impurities.” NARS says it is best for normal, dry, and seasonally dry skin, and it is “synthetic fragrance, paraben, and alcohol” free.
I’ve been using this for the past two and a half months as my morning cleanser (though I have also used in the evenings on occasion). It’s lightweight, incredibly gentle, non-drying, and a little goes a long way. I don’t even think I’m half-way through the tube, even though I consistently use it every morning. It lathers up quickly, but it’s not at all drying. I tend to have normal-to-dry skin, which is more normal than not during the spring/fall, but it gets drier as we head into winter. What I like most about the cleanser is really how genuinely gentle it is; there’s no stinging or burning sensations if this gets into your eyes at all. It doesn’t cloud your eyes or anything like that either.
It cleans well, and for something marketed as “gentle,” it is surprisingly effective at removing makeup. It won’t get long-wearing products off fully, but it did break down my liquid foundation well. I like how it leaves my skin post-cleanse, which is soft and supple–my skin never feels stripped or dried out. Given how long I’ve been using it, and how much is left, the price tag stretches out a bit.
I have one complaint, though, and for me, it’s enough to look for something else: the packaging. It looks sleek, and just looking at it, everything seems in order. Using it, however, is another matter. It leaks cleanser, mostly into the cap, but unscrewing the cap will leave you with half an inch of cleanser just sitting inside the cap. More leaks out as you unscrew the cap, so then the cleanser runs over and down the sides. A little goes a long way, and it’s hard to get just a little out, because it has such a fluid consistency. I feel like a lot of cleanser has gotten washed down the drain as a result, and it keeps the tube perpetually slippery and sudsy. It might be better with a pump or if you could stand it on the opposite side (the tapered end).
Bottom Line: I really enjoyed the cleanser itself, but the packaging made it hard to use and wasted product.
Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser
Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser ($60.00 for 125ml) is a quicker, almost like a lightweight, version of Eve Lom’s signature Cleanser, which I reviewed earlier here. Unlike the original, this one doesn’t require such a regimented cleansing routine: you don’t need to rinse multiple times, and there’s no nuslin cloth required. The idea is that you don’t need quite as heavy of a product in the morning as you would in the evening (to get rid of the daily dirt and grime, as well as makeup). The brand advises to warm a dab of cleanser between your hands and massage onto dry skin with circular movements, then leave on for two minutes, and finally rinse with water.
I think of all things to note with this product is the scent: it does not have mass appeal. I’m in the “I like herbal” scents camp, so overall, it’s tolerable, and I’m not bothered by it–but I probably have a much higher scent tolerance than others. So long as I can’t smell it for the rest of the day, it’s not a deal-breaker. I want to describe the scent as cloves, fruitcake, and grapes over a lightly medicinal backdrop. I only notice the scent when I’m applying it, but it doesn’t linger once I’ve rinsed the product off.
The consistency is thick and not quite greasy but there’s a oiliness that gives it good spreadability; feels almost like what you’d expect out of a mask product or slightly less thick compared to a balm. It’s not as thick or as heavy as the original Cleanser, but it’s definitely thicker and less viscous compared to your typical gel cleanser. There are papaya enzymes in the formulation, which help to gently exfoliate the skin (and this seems really, really mild, so it also seems in line with being appropriate for daily use). The Morning Time Cleanser does not have any small grains (which the original version has).
It does what it advertises: it’s a gentle, lightweight cleanser that refreshes the skin and leaves it feeling soft and ready for the next step in your routine. I wouldn’t recommend it as a substitute for the original Cleanser if you wanted it to remove heavier things like makeup, because what I noticed when I was using it was that it had a tough time cutting through sunscreen. I’ve been playing tennis in the morning, which means I don’t take a shower and get into my morning skincare routine until post-game, but I slather on a generous helping of thick sunscreen. This cleanser and that sunscreen (Shiseido SPF 55 Face Cream) were like oil and water: turned it to sludge and just did not want to cut through it at all. On the other hand, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser, which is also a gentle cleanser, cuts through the majority of it with little effort.
On days when I didn’t play tennis, I used this and enjoyed the way it made my skin feel. It always left my skin feeling almost lightly moisturized, which was such a lovely effect when I used this during the early spring. While it was nice to use, there wasn’t enough about it that would make me repurchase it at this price point. I’d rather leave more room in the budget for serums, creams, and the like, rather than a cleanser that’s not on the skin for very long and gets rinsed off.
The packaging is nifty: it comes in an opaque squeeze-tube, but the cap locks and unlocks the cleanser, so a dollop of cleanser will be squeezed out of a single hole if you twist it one way. It makes for a much more travel-friendly cleanser! Note, however, that when you lock it in place, it will push out additional product, so it’s best to lock it back into place and then swiping what’s been squeezed out for use.
HYDROGENATED POLYDECENE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, SODIUM COCOYL GLUTAMATE, LANOLIN OIL, STEARYL ALCOHOL, CETEARETH 20, PHENOXYETHANOL, PAPAIN, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA (MATRICARIA) FLOWER OIL, HUMULUS LUPULUS (HOPS) EXTRACT, EUCALYPTUS GLOBULUS LEAF OIL, EUGENIA CARYOPHYLLUS (CLOVE) LEAF OIL, EUGENOL, LIMONENE, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, ETHYHEXYLGLYCERIN, DAUCUS CAROTA SATIVA (CARROT) SEED OIL, DAUCUS CAROTA SATIVA (CARROT) ROOT EXTRACT, BETA-CAROTENE, ASCORBYL PALMITATE.
Eve Lom Cleanser
Eve Lom Cleanser ($80.00 for 100ml) is the brand’s iconic product, and there are numerous raves for it, so I was very curious to try it. It’s supposed to cleanse, tone, and exfoliate by using a “powerful blend of Egyptian chamomile, hops, clove, and eucalyptus oil together with cocoa butter.” It purports to remove “even the most stubborn makeup and eye makeup.” It comes with a muslin cloth that’s intended to be used (in fact, a key piece to using this product) alongside the cleanser.
For someone who loathes to spend time in the evening on their skincare routine, this is not the product for you. Just stop reading right now, because this is a cleanser for someone who has made their night time skincare routine a ritual and enjoys it. Eve Lom instructs you to massage the cleanser onto face and neck, then soak the muslin cloth in hot water, press the cloth against the neck for a few seconds–and repeat up to three times–before working the muslin cloth against the skin in small, circular movements to remove the cleanser. The brand recommends rinsing the cloth in cool water and pressing against the skin as a final step. It doesn’t take twenty minutes (think three to five), but it’s not a thirty-second cleanser, and it really needs a couple of minutes to do its job effectively.
Within all the instructions, there is talk about the hot cloth opening pores and the cold cloth closing pores. I was peeved with this, because pores do not open and close like a door. The way heat, or a hot cloth, and steam works is that it actually loosens any build-up and makes it easier to remove. I haven’t yet read anything about what cold water will do (since you can’t close your pores) other than feel refreshing. This is a common myth, but I hate seeing it on a skincare product, particularly from a brand that wants to create simple, highly effective products to market. (I don’t think I’d categorize this product as all that simple, given the extensive ingredient list and routine.)
Using this product really does feel like you’ve brought the spa home with you, both because of the slower, more methodical approach to cleansing, but also the general consistency, feel, and post-cleanse results. It has a thick, waxy consistency, like a balm, but it does spread easily enough (I’ve actually come across some body balms that feel like a tub of cold butter, which are a pain to spread). There are tiny granules in it, and these feel lightly exfoliating on the skin when you actually start removing the cleanser, but they do make applying to areas like the eyes less palatable.
The warmth of the cloth against the skin helps to melt the cleanser, which in turn seems to help it breakdown your makeup without having to scrub. I was skeptical, but it actually removed all traces of makeup wherever I applied it. I just never liked the way it felt on the eyes, so I wasn’t exactly getting it on my lash line, you know? I ended up using a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover for removing along the lash line. Once you’ve rinsed off the cleanser, skin feels soft, smooth, and there is a feeling of very light hydration (I imagine from the oils and cocoa butter). I have read a few customer reviews from oily-skinned folks that skip moisturizer as a result. I had no problems with breakouts, dry spots, or the like while using this over three weeks.
It has a very distinct scent of cloves, fruitcake, and grapes, with an overall medicinal flavor. The scent doesn’t linger or overwhelm, but it’s there. I’m more tolerant of scents, particularly ones that aren’t just a big blast of perfume (think Lancome), so I’m not bothered by it, but it was a little off-putting when I first started using the product. It comes in a plastic tub with a screw-top lid, so you’ll want to wash hands before dipping your paws into this (or using a clean spatula).
It’s an experience more than it is a cleanser, I’d say. There are plenty of cleansers that do just as excellent of a job removing dirt and makeup in half the time (I’m thinking along the lines of cleansing oils in particular) and leave skin prepped and ready for serums and creams. You could use a muslin cloth with any thicker cleanser for gentle exfoliation to get more of an experience out of your cleanser of choice. I’m anticipating that the ingredient list is not going to appeal to skincare enthusiasts, because of mineral oil, some of the natural oils included (like clove), and having five different paraben-based preservatives in it. I’m not knocking this–it works and feels great–but it’s pricey and more often than not, I reach for a shu cleansing oil over this when I’m wearing a lot of makeup.
paraffinum liquidum (mineral oil), cetearyl alcohol, peg-30 lanolin, bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2, aluminum stearate, theobroma cacao (cocoa butter), peg-75 lanolin, chamomilla recutita (chamomile oil), eugenia caryophyllus (clove oil), eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus oil), humulus lupulus (hops oil), phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, p-chloro-m-cresol, eugenol, isoeugenol