Friday, 7 March 2014

Battle of the Cleansers

Lotion v Gel  v Balm – Find out which is my winner.


I’m sure many of you are lucky enough to have a lovely old granny, great-aunt or elderly neighbour who always smells of lavender and talcum powder, and who has super-soft skin to die for. And, when you compliment her on having the face of a woman 10 years her junior, and ask if she'd be willing to reveal the secrets of her trusty beauty routine, she explains, with a smile, “well my dear, it’s simply down to good old fashioned soap and water”.

All I can say is, there must have been something pretty special in the water back then! If I were to use “good old fashioned soap” on my face, even once, the result would be very tight, itchy, red, and quite possibly spotty, skin.

I think I’ve always been reasonably good at sticking to a regular skin-care routine, although never in an excessive or expensive way, with cleansing, toning (sometimes), and moisturising (always) being pretty much consistent staples – I’ve also been known to throw in the odd masque or exfoliator for good measure.  I have to admit though I am, very occasionally, guilty of crashing into bed with the remains of the day’s make-up still on my face. This isn’t something I make a habit of though... I know, it’s very, very naughty!!

So what is the secret of wonderful skin? If only I knew!

I’ve tried and tested many, many products, on my generally normal but with sensitive tendencies skin, including creams, gels and lotions, of the scented and unscented, coloured and colourless varieties - mostly mid price range, some cheap and cheerful, but never really high-end (that is until recently, when I discovered Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm... bear with me, I'll tell you all about it in a mo).

Also, having tried the Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser a couple of years ago (which I really loved), I now use the ‘hot cloth’ method with whichever cleanser I use – it just leaves my skin feeling so very cleansed and fresh.

I’m never really sure if you get what you pay for when spending a small fortune on skin care products, and although I know some of the more expensive stuff can feel and smell really special, I also know that some of the much cheaper alternatives have served me well over the years.  And, let’s face it, it’s not just about the lotions and potions. If you’re  not eating your fruit, veggies, and oily fish or drinking plenty of water and getting a good night’s sleep, your skin’s not going to look great is it?... no matter how much you spend on your cleanser!

So, I guess, it’s really just a matter of trial and error, to find out what best suits your skin (not to mention your pocket).  You could even try the good old soap and water method – like some of those lovely old grannies and great-aunts, it might just work for you (but it’s not something I would recommend personally!)

Anyhow, here are three different products I’ve tried out recently, all very lovely and ranging from a very reasonable £8 to a not so reasonable £35.  I have to say, all three put up an extremely good fight, and there really is very little between them.  However, there can only be one winner of my Battle of the Cleansers... which will it be?

The Lotion


At just £8 for 200ml, this cleansing lotion is pretty hard to beat on value for money, and is a really lovely and effective cleanser.  It also claims to haveOXYGINSENG™ TECHNOLOGY - an amazingly effective, organic complex that helps increase circulation and cell respiration (which then turns up blood supply and toxin removal), and also speeds oxygen and nutrient delivery to fight aging and re-energise skin”.

Don’t know about all the sciencey stuff, but it does effectively remove make-up (even water-proof), and left my skin feeling super soft, super fresh and super clean – smells gorgeous too!

My daughter (who has a slightly oily skin) says this one’s great when she has a break out of spots.

The Gel


What can I say, at just £9.50 for 150ml, this one's another very reasonably priced product offering excellent value for money.  I love the texture of this gel as it glides across your skin, feeling as though it is literally melting as you go.  Very effective cleansing too.   The manufacturers claim: “develops into a non-drying oil to protect the skin’s natural moisture levels and hydrate dry areas at the same time. It then changes into a light milk formula for easier rinsing, so skin is left residue-free and totally refreshed. What’s more, it’s enriched with rosehip oil to really lock in moisture and offer a fuss-free approach to truly tailored skincare.”

Yep, I guess I’d agree with most of that, and would highly recommend this for anyone with normal or slightly dry skin.

The Balm


At around £35 for 100ml, this is the single most expensive skin care item I’ve ever used! I’m not sure whether that makes me tight-fisted, too thrifty for my own good, or whether it’s just plain sad that I’ve worked and earned all my adult life but have never felt justified to be so self-indulgent (as I’ve said in previous posts, this is an affliction I’m trying to overcome!)

Well, actually, I must fess up and admit that I didn’t actually buy this one myself.  You see, my beauty-blogging daughter bought it for herself, but as it didn’t agree with her very sensitive skin, she gave it to me (get in!)

Anyway, enough of that, on with the review.  So what did I think of this one? Did I save the best ‘til last? You bet I did! Beautiful, beautiful, absolutely beautiful... what more can I say.

This one claims to be “a balanced daily cleanser that thoroughly cleanses and moisturises. It calms sensitive skin and revitalises dull and mature skins, and also doubles as a soothing and hydrating mask if left on the skin for ten minutes”.

As well as all of the above, may I add that it smells gorgeous, leaves my skin feeling and looking a version of clean and fresh that I have never known, and has such a wonderfully luxurious texture that I actually look forward to cleansing. Clearly it’s not for everyone (I think it contains lemon oil, which is possibly what didn’t agree with my daughter), but for me... this one is the outright winner of my Battle of the Cleansers.


I have to say, second and third place are pretty close and, considering the vast difference in price between the two of them and my winner, I reckon you wouldn’t be disappointed with any of these products.

Do you have a favourite cleanser or other skin-care product? I’d love to hear about it!
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