2017 was a lot of things to me; the year I got married, the year I had a mental health breakdown, the year I quit my job to pursue a dream. But for me, 2017 was also The Year of Clean Skin. I couldn’t quite believe it as I was packing up my cosmetics when we moved house not long ago, and saw how many cleansers I was putting into a box. When I counted them James and I couldn’t quite believe it but I’d used 15 cleansers in one year! Adding the two new cleansers I tried after we moved house, I couldn’t resist writing mini reviews of each of them to look back, to mark the end of That Year, and the start of 2018!
Aesop Parsley Seed Cleanser – £40
Urghhhh I love this stuff. The light exfoliating action is perfect for removing pollution at the end of the day; essential if you’re working in one of the most polluted places in Europe, as I was for most of 2017.
You can’t really argue with this product – it’s an extremely effective cleanser and I defy anyone not to love it. But the price, for heaven’s sake… listen friends. I’ve worked in the skincare industry for five years, and I’m here to tell you that there are limits to production costs. A cleanser never, ever needs to cost more than £30 because there is NOTHING you can put in one that would push the price beyond that! Especially not Eve Lom’s Cleanser. Looking at the ingredients I would estimate this probably cost a maximum of £5 to produce, if that. The tub is plastic and the main ingredient is the cheapest skincare ingredient on the market; mineral oil.
Trilogy Makeup Be Gone Cleansing Balm – £20.50
I was SO surprised by how amazing this cleanser is. In my opinion it’s every bit as good as Eve Lom’s Cleanser, but even better because of it’s ethically sourced ingredients, cruelty free status and the fact that it’s less than half of the price of Eve Lom’s! This is also the ONLY makeup remover I’ve ever used where I didn’t feel the need to do a second cleanse afterwards, and it makes my skin radiant, soft and clear.
Jurlique Balancing Foaming Cleanser – £30
This is the best cleanser I used in 2017, hands down. I’ve been using it for about 4 years and despite changing cleansers constantly, I always, always come back to it. It’s just SO lovely. It leaves my skin perfectly balanced, SO comfortable, and all of my ‘best skin’ periods of time have been when I’ve been using this. I adore the smell, and the foamy texture too. I’ve never found a cleanser I love more than this one.
Weleda Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion – £10.50
I enjoy this 100% natural, super ethical cleanser for removing makeup, but it’s very oily so you absolutely have to double cleanse. It partners very well with Glossier Milky Jelly as a nighttime cleansing duo! It does remove eye makeup, but you might need to go back in with a micellar water to get the last of it. It was my favourite makeup remover until I discovered Trilogy Makeup Be Gone and Caudalie Cleansing Oil.
Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator – £20
Every time I put this on my skin I brace myself for an extremely uncomfortable experience – I can’t shake the idea that this extremely grainy, grapefruit scented scrub is going to rip the skin off my face. But it doesn’t, at all. Even though it feels like I’m rubbing creamy sand on my skin, every time I rinse it off, my skin is left feeling smooth and super calm! I love this scrub so much for its effectiveness. I don’t use it often, because I think it’s probably easy to overdo it, but when I do, ohhhh I love it.
Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water – £9, £15 or £19
I travelled loads this year and when I travel I love to use a micellar water instead of my usual cleanser because it means that a) I only need to bring one cleanser and b) different water types aren’t going to mess up my skin. Caudalie’s micellar is the only one that hasn’t irritated my skin in some way, and it’s very effective at removing makeup. Just remember to finish with a toner or facial water to remove the dregs of the cleanser!
Korres Olympus Tea Cleansing Cream – £15.30
I was sooo excited about this one; it’s full of antioxidants and is supposed to be great for removing pollution – a cheaper version of the Aesop Cleanser, perfect for someone who’s going freelance as I did this year! But it didn’t quite deliver. I love the smell and texture but I think the ‘pollution removal’ claim is just because the cleanser is quite harsh and strips the skin. I found that my skin got really dehydrated after a while of using. If your skin is oily though, I think you’d love it.
Garnier SkinActiv Micellar Gel Wash – £2.66
Good god this is a shit cleanser. It barely took ANY of my makeup off, let alone any dirt, pollution and grime as it claims to. It stung my eyes like you wouldn’t believe, comes from a crap mega-company and claims to have ‘soothing grape extract’ in it but it’s the second to last ingredient … avoid, my friends. I started using it to clean my makeup brushes and it wasn’t even good for that! This launched in 2017, so really, are we surprised that it sucks?
Caudalie Foaming Cleanser – £15
This is a great cleanser for gently but very, very effectively deep cleansing the skin, especially good for people who get stress breakouts, which I did A LOT earlier in the year. If you’re getting stress breakouts you might not need a cleanser for acne-prone skin, just something gentle to keep your skin super clean without over-stripping it. This beautiful foam is absolutely the product for you.
Pacifica Cactus Revive Face Wash – £10
I picked this up in America on my honeymoon because hellooooo it’s got CACTUS in it. This year, I’ve really gotten into my plants because I really needed their soothing, air purifying, green goodness. And now that I’ve moved into a new, lighter place, my cacti are flourishing. So I was really excited to try this, and I do love it! The smell is very natural (it literally smells like the inside of a plant) and I absolutely adore the texture; it’s super thick, and turns into a very milky foam when you add water. I find it leaves my skin perfectly balanced too! It’s hard to get in the UK but I’m pretty sure Whole Foods sell it.
Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil – £18
Yep I used a lot of Caudalie this year. Why? Because I worked for them until I quit to pursue my dreams! I loved the company and the people but my mental health was suffering so much and working a 9-5:30 in central London wasn’t doing me any favours. Anyway, this is one of my two favourite makeup removers, I love how easy it is to use. Caudalie’s founder created it as a replacement for makeup wipes (which are terrible for your skin and the environment), and I actually think that this oil is both quicker and easier to use than makeup wipes, and obviously WAY better for the skin.
Skyn Iceland Glacial Cleanser – £19.50
This is a clay cleanser that is supposed to deeply cleanse all skin types. I found it ok, but just ok. It didn’t irritate my skin but I did find my skin was looking a bit lacklustre after using it, and it left my skin feeling like there was a weird residue on it. Don’t get it in your eyes either, oh my good god it stings.
Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash – £16
I think this cleanser is probably aimed at slightly oilier skin types than mine, because when I used it my skin was left unbelievably tight and ended up flaking overnight. My partner who has oily skin didn’t like it either though, so perhaps it’s just a bit rubbish!
Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser – £15
I couldn’t wait to try this and was on the website the second the UK site launched! I really like it, it’s very gentle and went perfectly with my recovery from my breakdown, where I was trying to make everything I did to myself as gentle as possible, because pretty much everything about me was run ragged. It’s so gentle and lovely to use; I think it’s perfect as a second cleanse or to use in the morning in the shower.
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser – £11.50
I think of this cleanser as a more watery version of Glossier Milky Jelly. It’s just as gentle, but slightly better at removing makeup – in fact, it can remove mascara and bb cream all by itself! I’m not wild about the cucumber smell but that’s just personal preference. I absolutely love the gel texture, and it leaves my skin perfectly balanced and soft.
Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub – £23
This has been my regular exfoliator for about 3 years now. I love the thick gel texture, subtle plant-ish scent and very gentle exfoliating beads that get the job done without irritating or drying out my skin. Rich in coconut and aloe extracts, it hydrates the skin while you exfoliate. I love it, and could never be without it!
So, there it is! All 17 cleansers I used in 2017. Not sure if I’ll manage to get up to 18 this year, but we shall see! 2017 was a rough year, but it’s little, enjoyable things that make your worst moments more bearable. Washing my face is a hugely important part of self care for me, and I’m very fortunate to be able to try out so many cleansers, so I can recommend (or recommend avoiding them) to you. Happy New Year!