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A review: Acure Facial Cleansing Creme

8 Jun

After using a few higher end cleansers recently that also haven’t really blown my socks off, I decided it was time to search for a more budget-friendly option. Sometimes you can find real gems even on the cheaper end of the scale.

I bought this cleanser from a relatively new site that I’ve discovered, Green Soul Traders, but can also be purchased from Nourished Life for $19.95AUD.

It’s advertised as a pore minimising cleanser for normal to dry skin that effectively cleans the face without stripping its natural oils. Sounds good, right?

I started using this they way I usually do–dry face, massaging in to remove any makeup or grossness from the day, then rinsing off and then cleansing again with a simple cleanser to remove any residue or just to ensure all the day’s grime has been vanquished. I’ve now started using this as my second cleanse in the evening, and also occasionally (mostly weekends) in the morning. It rinses off cleanly, and it leaves my skin feeling fresh.

Pros: First off, the packaging is the type that I appreciate, in that it’s in a squeezy tube so there’s no faff in trying to scoop any product out. It has a good consistency, the kind of creamy balmy texture that I really like in a cleanser.
The scent is also refreshing, but it also leads me into the cons…

Cons: This stings like a bi-atch if you get it into your eyes. To be fair, I’m sure it says on the packaging not to use it near your eyeballs, but I’m sure I read somewhere that it can be used to remove makeup. So, then eyes seem like a fairly reasonable thing to also have makeup on, yes? Also, I’m not sure how dry skins would get along with this because even I, as an oily-skinned human, feel like it does perhaps too good a job at cleaning and I need to definitely moisturise afterwards.

I find Acure to be a bit of a hit and miss brand for me. I did not like their dry shampoo, but I do love their CGF Repair Serum and enjoyed the sample sized Brightening Facial Scrub that my cousin gave me. I think, though, that this one won’t be a repurchase item for me.

I’m in a bit of a cleanser.. what’s the word… slump at the moment. I haven’t used a really good one in ages. I’m back using the REN No.1 Purity Cleansing balm which I do love, but its drawback is that it doesn’t emulsify and rinse off cleanly. My current mission is to find another cleanser that ticks all of my boxes, but also doesn’t break the bank.

Wish me luck.

A review: Mūn Akwi Cleanser

13 Apr

I’ve now mentioned quite a few times recently that I subscribe to an organic subscription box service called Beauty Heroes. Every month I get sent a full sized product and one or two ‘sidekicks’ that might be a mini of a product from the same brand, or a companion, like a washer with a face cleanser.

That is what I received when I got the box containing the Mūn Akwi Cleanser a few months back.

This is what I would describe as an oily cream cleanser with a slightly herbal, inoffensive scent. And, indeed, it is an oil-based cleanser designed to thoroughly cleanse and refresh the skin whilst keeping it within the appropriate pH range to suit basically anyone and everyone’s skin type.

As per my usual regimen, I pumped out somewhere between a 5c-10c piece blob of this and applied it to my dry face, into my eyelashes even and then either rinsed or used a washcloth to remove the product.

I guess, because this is more of a luxury-priced item, that it would have been more worthwhile using it as a ‘second’ cleanser, rather than using it to remove makeup. However, the most makeup I have on my face is some mineral powder. I didn’t find it to be overly effective at removing waterproof mascara though. My face did always feel smooth and refreshed after using this and my skin never felt parched. Cleansers stripping the skin is a pet peeve of mine, especially if they’re marketed towards suiting sensitive skins. The benefit of an oily cleanser is that it doesn’t strip the skin of its natural oils. I felt like I was in a good skin phase while I was using this.

Towards the end of the bottle, the pump gave up the ghost so I ended up having the bottle open on its side and pouring out the remnants until I finished it, which was one drawback…

I don’t really know what else I can tell you about this cleanser. It ran out a few weeks ago, so it’s not really fresh in my mind. I won’t be in a rush to buy it again. It wasn’t quite the consistency I prefer, but I think drier skins than mine would appreciate it more. It definitely wasn’t a bad product–quite lovely, in fact–it just didn’t knock my socks off. When you also consider that, if you’re buying it in Australia, you’ll be forking out a whopping $92, it’s a hell of an investment to make. For that price I’d be expecting to be wowed a bit more somehow.

As for the washer? I feel a washer is a washer is a washer. Always handy to have them around though.

The good thing about this beauty box subscription is, even though some items may not be your next favourite, you’re trialing a full-sized product, getting a real idea of how you feel about it, at a discounted price. It feels less of a waste that way.

I’m now using yet another cleanser sent from Beauty Heroes, and a more budget option from Acure. Jury’s still out on both of these though, but I shall update you at some point in the future.

My current skincare routine

6 Mar

Something happened to me the other day. A lady from work popped by my office to say hello and that she wanted to tell me how good my skin was looking. It looked very clear and glowy, so ‘well done’.

It made my heart happy.

Of course I was wearing a little blush and bronzer to give a little extra life to my complexion, but I am proud to say that I am currently experiencing what I call a “good skin moment”. I don’t like to jinx myself by boasting about these things because I inevitably sprout a pimple practically within hours of admiring how well my skin has been behaving.

So, I thought I’d share what I’ve been using on my skin lately and giving you a peek into my bathroom cabinet where I keep most of my skincare.

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Morning:
First I cleanse my skin. Lately I’ve been using the Aurelia Probiotic Miracle Cleanser, mainly because I received a different, more oily cleanser that I wanted to use in the evenings and was too impatient to use this one up before starting a new one. Logical, right? It actually just ran out so I’m back to using my trusty MooGoo Milk Cleanser. I have an itch to repurchase the Aurelia one though.
Then I tone my skin with my trusty Michael Todd Blue Green Algae Toner. I wonder at what point I will find a replacement for this toner?
Next, I use the 100% Pure Coffee Bean Eye Cream. This is an excellent budget buy and the best eye cream I’ve come across so far.
I then use the Acure EGF Serum. This has replaced my long-loved Hydraluron. I was looking to switch to a ‘greener’ brand, and this took my fancy during one of my late night shopping sprees on Nourished Life. I’m now just starting my second bottle of this.
Lastly, I use a moisturiser. I’m currently trying to finish off the Origins Vitazing Moisturiser, mainly because I’ve had the tube for probably two years now and I don’t like to waste things. Otherwise I use the MooGoo Full Cream Moisturiser, and on Sundays, because I wear no makeup, and I go to the markets in the morning, I’ve been using the MooGoo Anti-aging SPF 15 Moisturiser.

Evening:
I received this Mūn Akwi Cleanser in a Beauty Heroes box a couple of months ago. I should probably do a separate review of this. Short version is that it’s quite luxe, and I think that drier complexions would love it.
Shout out to the toner again… and the eye cream. I had been using the Bottega Organica one, but it has sadly run out and I’m questioning trying to justify spending around $150 on eye cream even though I miss it.
For serum, I’ve been using the La Mav Brightening Serum. This smells zingy like lemons and has a lovely, fluid texture. I’m also onto my second bottle of this. I sometimes struggle with pigmentation and this seems to be doing a good job of keeping any residual pigmentation at bay.
Lastly, the oils. I’ve been using the Laurel oil for months now and it is almost the never-ending supply. Lovely oil, smells a bit like honey to me, but there is no hint of honey in the ingredients. Just a tonne of beautiful oils. Two nights a week, I use the Sunday Riley Luna oil: one mid week, the other on Saturday night, just for a pep up. I’ve just now also started using the Maya Chia oil, which is less viscous than the Laurel one, slightly more orange, smells beautiful and also contains a bunch of wonderful ingredients.

Treatments/Masks:
I’ve taken a liking to chemical exfoliating masks. I used to be all about the clay masks, but I’m noticing a big difference with these resurfacing masks. I’ve tried the Tata Harper one, which makes my eyes water thinking about buying the full size. I’ve just finished the Laurel Honey Berry Mask which, like the Tata Harper mask, is more on the gentle side of masks, but still makes a noticeable difference to my complexion. One of my favourite discoveries is thanks to my cousin for offloading her ‘excess’ before moving overseas. It’s the True Botanicals Resurfacing Moisture Mask. Boy, do you feel this one at work. The results are well worth it. Since the Laurel mask ran out, I’ve allowed myself to try out the REN Glycolactic Mask. It isn’t very tingly, but it is effective. I even slather a bit over my lips and it leaves them plump and smooth.
For when my skin is feeling congested, I have enjoyed the Josh Rosebrook Cacao Antioxidant Mask. This smells like Jaffas, which reminds me of a balm cleanser I tried years ago and haven’t managed to get a hold of again–the Stark Grapefruit Balm which has now apparently changed name to the Stark Aurora Balm. Mmm good memories.
Special shout out goes to the Origins Masks that I have used for a couple of years. The Clear Improvement Mask is a fairly heavy duty clay mask that draws out impurities. The Original Skin Mask is exfoliating and purifying, which I find is good for when your skin feels on the verge of some kind of freak out. Lastly, the Drink Up Intensive Mask is good for severely dehydrated skin. It’s a good one to use after a clay mask or if there is a change in weather and your skin feels tight and gross. Hiding somewhere is my Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey mask that I used to use on breakouts, but I haven’t been really suffering from those of late (fingers crossed).

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And that, my friends, is what I’ve been using on my skin lately. Hope you found it interesting!

Empties–products I’ve finished using #11

6 Feb

Seeing as I finished my Bottega Eye Cream, what other better way is there to start off the New Year February than to chuck out a bunch of empties, right? Right?

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Face Stuff:
Starting clockwise from the bottom left, this decent ‘sample’ size of the Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil came in the Cult Beauty Box that I wrote about a little while back. Well, some months on with a bi-weekly use of this, it finally ran out. I liked this so much I bought a travel-size version of this with its partner in crime, the Good Genes Treatmeant (which doesn’t smell great, fyi). What I like about this is that it doesn’t dry out my skin, but balances it. I’ve noticed that the texture of my skin is a lot more refined since I’ve used this. Winner. Pity it is so expensive!
Next is the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask. I didn’t actually buy this or use the entire jar–it was left to me by my cousin who was moving overseas and couldn’t take all of her skincare with her. This is a gentle but effective exfoliating mask that I tended to use on days when my skin was looking a bit average and I was in need of a glowy pick-me-up. It’s not as tingly as some masks I’ve used, but is definitely effective. I haven’t built up the courage to buy a full sized jar of this as Tata Harper is one of those ‘investment’ kind of organic skincare brands.
Tucked in there is a travel-size of the Acure Brightening Facial Scrub. Again, this was a hand-me-down from my cousin. This smelled spicy like ginger and had a nice grittiness to it without it feeling like I Was going to scrub my face off. One for me to look out for in the future methinks.
The Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel ran out some time ago. I’ve since been using the Aurelia Cleanser, as well as a new one by Mūn, called the Akwi Purifying Cleanser. Each are beautiful in their own right. I would probably purchase the Oskia one again at some point in the future. I like the packaging aside from the fact that you can’t tell how much product is left. I got used to the interesting scent and definitely liked how it made my skin feel.
I’ve got two bottles there of the Michael Todd Blue Green Algae Toner, which has featured in past Empties of mine. The reason why I’ve included them again is because they’ve changed the packaging. Instead of a pour out top, it is now a pump. I had an accident with one of these bottles. It fell on the ground and the whole internal structure failed, causing an epic leak, and I ended up losing a lot of product. It made me sad. I ended up trying to fill up the second bottle, which I had been using for a while. This is when I discovered that as it pumps out product, the internal part moves up, not like a spray bottle with the little tube bits inside and so I couldn’t fill up much. Does that make any sense at all? I also refilled a travel sized bottle so I didn’t waste too much product and didn’t have to have it sitting upside down on my bathroom vanity for too long to stop any leakage. I do love this stuff–I just have to be less clumsy in the future.
I think that teeny tiny tube was a sample of the Darphin Hydraskin Light Cream Gel. This had a nice consistency, but it is quite heavily perfumed, which I didn’t get on with. I’ll stick to my plain old MooGoo, thanks.
Next is the Pixi Hydrating Milky Mist, which I think was the second type of hydrating facial toner things I’ve now tried out. I think this would be suited to more dry skins than mine, or maybe more for the dry, Winter months when my skin feels more parched. I don’t know if I’ll repurchase as I think I’ve found something I like more.
Then we have another sample (I’ve been ploughing through my samples stash) of the Uma Ultimate Brightening Mask, which came in a Beauty Heroes subscription box some months back. I did like this mask, although I accidentally didn’t shut the jar properly and didn’t get to use it all because it dried up. I’m not sure if I’d buy the full size, but it was nice while I had it.
Hanging on the bottom right is the GlamGlow Powermud Dual Cleanser, which was also a travel size because I didn’t want to shell out for the full size. This smells delicious in a weird way. It was pretty effective at purifying my skin, although these days I think I’m all about the enzyme masks. I don’t know if I will buy the full size ever, but maybe I’d get the travel one again.
And lastly, because I forgot to photograph it with the rest of the face stuff is the Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cleanser, pictured below. I wasn’t totally blown away by this. Yes, it cleansed my skin well, and my face didn’t do anything freaky while I was using it. But I found it a bit meh, and the consistency of it was strange in that it would separate into a liquid and balm when you squeezed it out of the tube. Probably not one for repurchase, I think.

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Body Stuff:
My sister bought me this Bx Earth Shower Gel to replace stuff she’d used while she’d been staying at my place for a while. This smells delicious and it’s a good price as well as being sulfate free. I’ve since gone all out and purchased a couple of ridiculously expensive shower gels in the past month or so, but if I’m in the mood for fruity deliciousness again, I’ll be getting this for sure. It’s what I would call a cheap and cheerful product.
I haven’t technically finished this Mor moisturiser, but it kind of got to the point where it wasn’t exactly a pleasure to use it. Rather it just felt like I was slathering this on purely to empty the jar. I thought to myself that this was kind of silly so it’s getting chucked out. It has a nice texture and smells nice and sweet, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

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Hair Stuff:
Aaaallll the Rahua Shampoo samples. I’ve been on a bit of a samples kick at the moment. I kind of got to the point where I had so many samples stashed in my apartment that I kept ‘saving’ for special occasions that I reached a tipping point and decided to just start using them up. I’d recently read that samples had a shorter shelf life than their full-sized counterparts, so thought it best to use rather than potentially waste.
I’ve also run out of shampoo recently and haven’t wanted to go all out and buy a new one. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because it’s getting a bit overwhelming trying to pick a good one, and not knowing whether it’s going to make my scalp itchy. Anyway, Rahua is nice, but the original one made my scalp a little itchy and it is ridiculously expensive.
The Cowshed Shampoo and Conditioner samples came in a travel kit. I quite like Cowshed’s shower gels, so thought I’d give their other products a whirl. I actually really liked these two, but I’m not sure if I’m going to splurge and get the full size.
Since I’ve dyed my hair an outrageous red colour, I’ve been using this coloured conditioner from Nak. So far, so good. My hairdresser (who has now abandoned me) would get excited about the vibrancy of my hair every time I went in to get my fringe trimmed. I’ve already bought a second bottle seeing as I think I’ll stick with the crazy colour for a few months longer.

I did actually have a few more empties to include in this post, but the photo for one didn’t work, and the rest was just old makeup that I decided to part ways with. If I’d gone through them all this post would have been waaaay too long and it’s already tipping to the point of being a cure for insomnia. I’m sorry!

The last few ‘interesting’ empties were mostly different Magnesium Oils that I’ve tried out–so far my favourite is actually the one that I’m using at the moment. It’s the Amazing Oils Magnesium Oil Spray. I can feel this one tingling away when I spray it on, compared to a couple of others I’d tried that didn’t feel like they did much of anything.

Embarrassingly, I’ve already started accumulating more empty things, seeing as it’s taken me a couple of weeks to get my butt into gear and finish this post off. It’s something about January, guys. You’re supposed to be motivated at the beginning of the New Year, but I’ve struggled to get going.

I’ll probably have to start on the next Empties post before too long so it doesn’t turn into a novel like this one, hey?

Talk soon, friends!

A review: Bottega Organica Illuminate Eye Contour Cream

19 Jan

In 2016, I signed up to the Beauty Heroes subscription box recommended to me by a cousin. It’s a higher end organic subscription that, every month, sends out a full-sized product along with a sample or two from the same brand. I’ve only had the subscription for six months and I’ve already been impressed with what I’ve got.

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The September box was the Bottega Organica Illuminate Eye Contour Cream, and I’ve literally just scraped the last remnants out, so thought it was time to tell you about it. It retails for a whopping $145-ish USD although I can’t seem to find it on the Bottega Organica website at the moment(?). Combine the price and the fact that it only has a shelf life of two months unless you keep it in the fridge and you have a pretty expensive skincare item on your hands… well, eyes. Let’s all just take a moment and let that sink in…

The list of ingredients isn’t extensive, but it’s potent. I’d recommend having a look at their website to see what they’re all about–small batch processing and really good, pure, organic ingredients. That goes a way to explaining why their products are on the more pricey end of the scale.

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I’ve been using the $100 Pure Caffeine Eye Cream for months now and I love it. It hydrates, de-puffs and doesn’t make my eye area feel tight. It is also a very budget-friendly purchase at around $45AUD for 30mL, not the usual 8-15mL you usually get for eye creams. Big bang for your buck. I’ve been on the search for the eye cream to end all eye creams for a couple of years now, and the 100% Pure one is the closest I’ve found. The question is, has the Bottega Organica one taken first place?

The instructions say to use a pea-sized amount morning and night after cleansing. I don’t know what kind of peas they’re growing in the US, but I found that to be way too much product for me. I’d say I used more like a fat grain of rice-sized amount(good with my ‘technical’ terms, huh?), which seemed plenty for both eyes, patting and smoothing underneath the eyes and around the orbital bone.

This has an interesting consistency, and would be how I imagine the Kiehl’s Avocado Eye Cream to be from what I’ve heard. It is balmy until you start working it into the skin and then it turns into this strangely (in a good way!) watery consistency that soaks into the skin. It is extremely hydrating and hasn’t left me wanting for more moisture after using it. In fact, it is so hydrating that the one morning I tried it out, it made my mascara smudgy. I ended up saving it for my evening skincare regimen. I kept it in the fridge to prolong its shelf life and, since it’s warmer here (read a bajillion degrees this Summer), it’s been especially refreshing putting this on in the evening.

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I’m only 28 and I don’t exactly have crow’s feet or wrinkles yet although I am starting to notice a little ageing around the old eye area. I’ve decided that my using this was more of an age preventative measure rather that my having to combat the signs of ageing later on in life.

Genetics have a lot to do with how your under eyes look anyway–things like discolouration, sagging, puffiness. I am a puffy-eyed person. If I wake up tired or with a headache, my eyes are a dead giveaway. However, since using this, in the mornings I don’t seem as puffy (apart from dreaded headache days) and my eyes aren’t dry or crepe-y in any way. It’s pretty amazing.

In the past I’ve been somewhat underwhelmed by eye creams, but this one has been a pleasant surprise. I just don’t know whether I want to fork out so much money every few months for an eye cream. I’m all for investing in skincare, allowing for more expensive items if my budget allows, but where does one draw the line? I guess seeing as I can’t figure out where to buy it at the moment, that choice has been taken out of my hands for now. We’ll just see how much I miss it now that I don’t have any left.

I suspect it will be a lot.

Thanks, Beauty Heroes*, for introducing me to this product.

*referral link

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

31 Dec

Well, I think it goes without saying that 2016 sucked… a lot. Both on a global scale and personally, this year has had more than its fair share of sh*t happen.

So, as I sit here on my lounge room floor in what can only loosely be described as pyjamas–it’s just a singlet and undies, it’s so hot–hogging a fan and using a face mask, I thought I would say goodbye to 2016… Maybe even flip it the bird.

Long story short, seeing as I can’t actually remember a lot of what’s happened, it’s such a blur, the “highlights” would probably be that I had to move house twice this year and I nearly had a nervous breakdown. According to last year’s post, my mantra for the year was “this too shall pass” and that’s exactly what I’ve had to keep telling myself throughout 2016 as well.

Enough with what sucked. I did actually have some good news this year. Despite still having ovarian cysts, they’re currently not troublesome enough to warrant more surgery or a change in hormonal treatment for a while. Hooray! Also, spending time with my niece and nephews has brought me an endless amount of joy. Those kids are real treasures. Oh, and I dyed my hair bright red. That perked me up no end.

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I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions as I inevitably break them. Last year I think I’d decided that I’d try to be more sociable and exercise more. Since my yoga class got cancelled around Easter, I haven’t really kept up with any regular exercise. I’ve dabbled a little in some pilates, and I have a friend that has guilted me into going on a few walks with her. I’ve also caught up with some old friends that I hadn’t seen in years. It felt good.

I’m not naive enough to think that the clock striking at midnight tonight will magically fix my problems or give me all the motivation to change everything. However, the New Year is a symbol of starting fresh and that’s how I will try to reset my mind frame. Starting with improving on my 2016 goals. Exercise is good for your mental health, and I’ve noticed that my body is getting a little more squidgy as I get older. And getting out and socialising (hard for an introvert) will help me to get out of my own head too. Something needs to change, and nothing will change if I’m not proactive. They seem like reasonable goals, right?

I don’t think I’ve been particularly coherent in this post, but I hope you get the gist.

2017, let’s hope for a bigger, brighter, happier year ahead.

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Happy New Year!

A review: Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Miracle Cleanser

12 Dec

We all know I’m a sucker for cleansers by now and also have little self control when it comes to online shopping. I keep making pacts with myself not to make any unnecessary purchases and that I should finish up what I have before purchasing something new. But I don’t keep my promises to myself.

Enter, the Aurelia Miracle Cleanser. Once again, it was the British Beauty Bloggers that got me intrigued about this. Shortly before I moved for the second time this year, I partook in a little retail therapy and purchased this along with many other items that I didn’t necessarily need, but definitely wanted.

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It’s touted as being formulated with 100% BioOrganic ingredients,and contains no parabens, mineral oil, synthetic fragrances and the like. It smells slightly herbal thanks to the eucalyptus, chamomile, rosemary and bergamot in it. Just the kind of herbal scent I like. It is supposed to be anti-aging and promote a healthy, dewy complexion whilst also cleansing the skin of impurities. With all of those claims, it’s no wonder that it’s been called the Miracle Cleanser!

From the first try I was impressed. I’ve used the Kate Somerville Goat Milk cleanser lately and it failed to knock my socks off with its formula’s tendency to kind of separate into both liquid and balm. This, however, left me wanting to wash my face all over again purely for the joy I felt massaging this all over my face. I know, my life is a bit sad when I consider washing my face to be the highlight of my day. I wouldn’t call it a balm cleanser, but it is more of a thick cream. While it doesn’t strip the skin of all its moisture leaving a scaly mess behind, I would say that drier skins possibly wouldn’t get along with it so much. Even I, with my greasy face, tend to feel the need to moisturise afterwards. It really feels like it’s purified my skin.
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This cleanser came in a pot, which isn’t my favourite kind of packaging. I get a bit grossed out having to stick my fingers into pots. I much prefer tubes, but that’s just a personal preference.

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In the evenings, as per my usual routine, I’ll scoop out a decent-sized blob of this and massage it into my dry face. People who wear heavier makeup than the small amount of mineral powder that I use would probably want to remove their makeup first and then use this as their ‘second cleanse’. I find this works sufficiently well to remove the small amount of powder and blush I use. Then I hop into the shower and rinse it off. Sometimes I just let it be and other times I’ll do a second cleanse with a simple cleanser just to get any remnants off.

I don’t know if I’d say it did totally miraculous things to my complexion. For the most part my skin behaves itself except when my hormones go a little haywire and I don’t eat the best foods. But, I do have fairly sensitive skin and this has kept everything in check. It feels very soothing while also purifying–the best of both worlds. And, as I said before, while I still feel the need to moisturise my skin after using it, it’s not like my skin is parched. I would say it’s a slightly more luxurious version of the Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser, which I haven’t used for years, but have fond memories of.

My problem now is that I’m not exactly sure how much I paid for this, seeing as I bought it from a British website called Naturisimo and I have very little understanding of what the current exchange rate is and whether or not I had to pay tax on it. It’s definitely not a cheap product, so what I would call an investment skincare item. You can buy it at Cult Beauty here for £38 (minus sales tax if you’re outside the UK) and they also now have a super-sized option in a bottle with a pump(!) here.