My favourite cleansers

Since parting ways with gel cleansers and foam washes of all sorts, my skin has been much more supple, hydrated and smooth.

I have been experimenting with a few cleansers and so far, so good for the most part. Cleansing with balms, oils and creamy lotions takes a little getting used to. I had to learn to cleanse my face before I wash my hair, for example – because I do my major cleansing in the shower, I tend to give myself an oily fringe if I don’t. If I cleanse over a basin I don’t have this problem. Because I don’t use toners, proper cleansing is important to me and I do a double cleanse most of the time – sometimes with two different cleansers to shake things up. Here are my three current favourites:

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, R295 for 125ml

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

Confession time: I’m not a big fan of Clinique skincare products. While working as a beauty therapist I had way too many clients who had had reactions to the products, and there are a couple of their principles that I don’t agree with. I do like their makeup and fragrance though, and when I saw this balm I couldn’t resist trying it.

I’m very happy that I did because I love it! It’s thick and balmy, but it emulsifies when you add water. I like using it on dry skin and then emulsifying just before I rinse off. Brilliant at removing all makeup.

The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil, R150 for 150ml

The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil
The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil

It was love at first cleanse for this oil and me. It removes every trace of face- and eye makeup, and it emulsifies with water to rinse off fairly easily. On dry skin the oil has a thick, solid consistency which I love; but if you prefer a thinner, lighter texture just dampen your face or your fingers.

One negative here though: It doesn’t smell nice. I’m suspecting more and more that I have a bad bottle, because mine smells like oxidised oil (You know the smell – far from rancid, but sometimes you smell your olive oil and the smell has changed? That). I can also hardly smell chamomile, but this isn’t enough to put me off the product. Another thing is that it gives me cloudy vision for a couple of minutes when I use it to remove mascara, but since they have two specific eye makeup removers I suspect I’m supposed to rather use those – although this one works excellently for mascara and eye makeup.

Good old Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Lotion, R70 for 125ml

Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Lotion
Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Lotion

I bought this one first, before I could make up my mind about which products I want to use. It’s a very plain cleanser that’s ideal for sensitive and impaired skin. There’s nothing very exciting about it, but it’s a very safe bet if your skin isn’t very tolerant. The texture is a very creamy milk that rinses off with water and leaves a slight film. Not great for removing eye makeup, but very hydrating. Also available in a version for oily skin.

I’m now keen to try natural oils for cleansing at some stage. The most popular ones seem to be Coconut and Jojoba oils, but I’ll still do some reading up on whether it’s most effective to combine oils or use them as singles.

Any recommendations for cleansing balms and oils I should put on my list to try?

C xx




  1. Jan 15, 2014 / 3:42 PM

    Hi Chantelle,

    Have you tried Nimues Cleansing Gel? It is called Cleransing Gel, but that is actually a bit misleading as it is a soap-free creamy gel which is also completely pH balanced. I promise you it doesn’t leave your skin feel dry – just clean and relaxed. Really worth a try.

    • Jan 15, 2014 / 3:50 PM

      I’m a big Nimue fan and used the products for years when I worked as a therapist, the cleanser is lovely!

  2. Jan 15, 2014 / 5:42 PM

    Totally agree on the Clinique cleansing balm and the Body Shop cleansing oil! I use both of them,and they are favourites. Also love the Balm Balm frankincense cleansing balm and the Clarins extra comfort cleanser 🙂

    • Jan 17, 2014 / 11:57 AM

      I was convinced Clarins had a cleansing balm (in a tube) but I couldn’t find it in store and it’s not on the website either. SO either I’m losing my marbles or it has been discontinued.

  3. Jan 16, 2014 / 11:24 AM

    Not too happy with my cleansers at the moment… skin going through a ‘phase’. Think I will give the Cetaphil for oily skin a try. Thanks!!

    • Jan 17, 2014 / 12:15 AM

      Let me know how it is, I’ve never tried the oily one. Good luck, hate those ‘phases’!

  4. Jan 17, 2014 / 11:52 AM

    My Body Shop cleansing oil has a delicate floral smell so I definitely think you got a bad one! I also get the cloudy-vision thing but since I use it for my first cleanse that’s quickly resolved by the second. Very glad it doesn’t sting too! PS It’s a good alternative to the MAC Cleanse Off Oil which is twice the price.

  5. hildegarde_k
    Jan 17, 2014 / 11:37 PM

    I know which Clarins one you’re talking about, it’s called the Pure Melt Cleansing Gel. I love it! Smells amazing and also takes everything off. I also like to use Lush Ultrabland and The Bodyshop’s Camomile Cleansing Butter. I normally use Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser or Cetaphil for a second cleanse. 🙂

    • Jan 17, 2014 / 11:46 PM

      Oh, is that it! I saw the Pure Melt and wondered about it, will see if I can get a sample next time I’m in a store, thanks! Sounds like our taste in cleansers are similar 🙂

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