Product reviews – Skin care – Face Part II

 My next favourite brand for skin care is Clarins.  I’ve had a long, long love affair with Clarins, particularly in my 20s when I had Clarins everything.  I went off it for several years while I played the field a bit, but I’ve returned – to the old faithfuls and a few really great new improved products.

Clarins Instant Eye Make Up Remover Lotion  [AUD 40.00 = 125 ml]

The eye area is incredibly delicate so any product you use there –  cleansers, eye creams, make up, whatever – must be as gentle and non-irritant as possible.  This goes double if you have extra-sensitive eyes and wear contact lenses like me.  I gave the Clarins Instant Eye Make Up Remover Lotion a try in some desperation, despite it’s price [AUD 40.00 compared to eg L’Oreal AUD 12.00, eep!] after my attempts at budgeting just weren’t working out well.  I tried L’Oreal Dermo-Expertise Eye Make Up Remover for a very long time but it’s performance was disappointing; ditto Neutrogena, Nivea, and Garnier.  They were all horrible, ineffective at removing my eye make up unless I scrubbed, and they all stung my eyes for hours afterward UGH UGH UGH the horror.

Clarins Instant Eye Make Up Remover Lotion is a double formula [in the bottle it separates into two distinct strata; you have to give it a good shake before use] and is specifically formulated for cleansing heavy or waterproof eye make up, yet is still gentle and moisturising to the eye area.  It also claims to condition lashes, although I admit I’m a bit dubious about that one!

I’m very happy with it’s cleansing properties, just a swipe of a cotton pad removes my dark smoky eye make up, it doesn’t sting at all and feels very gentle and soothing.  Phew what a relief!  I’m happy to spend the extra in this case, to treat my eyes with more respect.  [Oh, I also stopped using the cotton wool make up remover rounds / pads for eye make up removal and went back to plain old cotton wool balls; they are much more gentle and effective.]

Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel  [AUD 45.00 = 125 ml]

Another WOW product.  I decided to give the Pure Melt Cleansing Gel a try after rave reviews on the Adore Beauty Forum.  I had wanted to try one of the oil type facial cleansers but definitely didn’t fancy the spillage / drip factor, and knowing me I’d get it all over the bathroom and none on my face.  The cleanser turned out to be Pure Melt by name and pure melt by nature;  the product in it’s squeezy tube goes on as a gel, then melts into an oil on the face as you massage it over the face to cleanse off all your slap [make up], then when you rinse off with water it becomes milky. 

Magic!  Alchemy!  Nirvana!  Well whatever it is it’s a very effective cleanser and make up remover, it gets all make up and impurities [dirt] off and leaves skin feeling very soft and hydrated afterward, not all tight and dry like you experience with many cleansers.   A big hurrah to Clarins and the Adore Beauty Forum for a great product.

As the Gel Cleanser and the Eye Make Up Remover have been such a success I’m tempted to try Clarins One Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser [pretty much what it says on the tube – cleanser, scrub and toner in one so perfect for using in the shower and when in a hurry] though I am so satisfied with my Dove facial scrub – see below – that I don’t want to muck around with a happy relationship.  Well, skin care regimes can be a bit like that, a careful balance will achieve bliss but if something is out of whack, oh the drama!

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm  [AUD 58.00 = 50 ml]

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm has been a cult product since the 80s and for once it’s status is justified.  In my experience many cult Top Beauty Buys are absolute crap . . . except that a real horse manure mask would be more nourishing than some of the gunk out there.  Beauty Flash Balm is a real treat for the skin, a pick-me-up, and should be part of every beauty junkie’s arsenal.  It gives a radiant glow to dull morning-after skin, and helps with the appearance of blotchy skin tone.  It can also be used as part of a really nice special treatment / at-home facial, by applying in a thicker layer and leaving it for 15 minutes or so while you relax back to let it soak in, before removing and cleansing as usual.

. . . . . . . . . .

While I will and do spend the dollars on products and brands that I believe are worth it, being effective and excellent quality, with my science background I’m still exceedingly sceptical and immune to hype so if I can find good products in budget / supermarket lines then snobbery doesn’t keep me from adding them to my regime.  There’s many gems hiding in budget brands; just because it’s under AUD 15.00 and it’s name isn’t in French is no indicator of it being crap.  But remember a lot of it IS cheap nasty crap and so it may be worth the spend to get the best skin care for you.  It’s all trial and error.

Dove Gentle Exfoliating Daily Facial Cleanser  [AUD 8.00 = 200 ml]

I think the Dove line is about the best of the supermarket lines – I loathe and despise Nivea, ditto L’Oreal, and find Olay to be very much over-rated.  Dove’s products are so soft and gentle, and although pretty basic they do what they’re supposed to do.

The Gentle Exfoliating Daily Facial Cleanser is my absolute favourite facial scrub, and when I’m near to finishing a tube I go right out and buy a back-up, I don’t even consider other possibilities no matter how tempting or hyped they may be [though there is that Clarins one . . . ].  It has a pleasing very creamy texture with small round scrubbies that don’t tear at the skin and gradually dissolve into the cleansing cream as you massage it gently over the skin.  It never irritates and my skin feels ultra soft and moisturised afterward, not tight and uncomfortable.

A useful tip with facial scrubs is to avoid the rougher scrubs with chunky hard scrubbies, bits of shell etc that grate and sandpaper your face, and use a more gentle creamy product like the Dove and gently massage in circles all over the face and neck for a minute or two, rather than just a few seconds.  The end result is far better and it’s less irritating and kinder to delicate skin.

Dove Pro-Age Rich Night Cream  [AUD 18.00 = 50 ml]

I keep a pot of this on hand for when my face is really, really dry and needs some heavy duty hydrating overnight and I don’t want to plaster on the expensive stuff.  It’s yummy and lush and deeply moisturising but not gunky or greasy.  If I had to REALLY cut back on my already-minimal beauty budget I would invest in an excellent serum with loads of active ingredients and skin care benefits, then use a moisturiser like this one for daily and nightly use.  I would not change my Ultraceuticals Protective Moisturiser SPF 30+ though, no matter what.

Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser  [AUD 10.00 = 200 ml]

This is just a really nice simple gentle cleanser for the face; it’s nothing fancy, it does the job, and doesn’t leave skin feeling tight and dry.  Neutrogena in general is a good line for “troubled” skin, with a large range of cleansers.  I’m not too keen on the moisturisers though as they are only SPF 15 and extremely basic, and the new Oil-Free Eye Make Up Remover left much to be desired [remember UGH UGH UGH oh the horror].  

However most of Neutrogena’s range is unavailable in Australia; for example the Ultra Sheer sun care range, the Healthy Skin anti-aging products and most of the body cleansers et al.  It’s a real shame as they seem like very good quality effective products and have received great reviews on US beauty forums.  I’m not sure why but it’s probably becsuse Neutrogena haven’t passed the FDA regulations here or have decided for some reason that no market exists [hello, world’s highest rate of skin cancer and sun damage?].  It really pisses me off when that happens; some product is all the rage in the USA and you can’t get it here, grrrr!

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