Sunday, 31 January 2010

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser review: Blown away!

Last week, I was sent some Liz Earle products to try, and I'm finally getting round to reviewing some of them after incorporating the new products into my skin care regime,

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

I'm going to talk mostly about the Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser which is the product that Liz Earle is most famously known for, and also the product that is the most drastic change in my skin care regime.

Here's the blurb:

Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser is a rich, concentrated cream that gently removes everyday grime and make-up, even stubborn mascara, to leave skin clear, smooth and exceptionally clean. Used with the pure muslin cloth provided it lifts away dead skin cells, revealing fresh, radiant skin.

Before I go into the product details, I should probably give some background to my usual cleansing regime. Up until last week, I've always used a foaming face wash (but always SLS-free). Ever since my teens, I've automatically reached for a foamy, rinse-off face wash because of the immediate fresh feeling they give and the fact they're fast to use. These face washes never really removed make-up on their own, so I always needed to use a face wipe beforehand to remove the superficial dirt and make-up.

My skin has been seriously dry the last couple of winters so I don't know why I carried on using a foaming face wash... I could tell it was stripping my skin of what little natural oil I had, leaving the top layer of skin dehydrated, grey and flaky. I don't really get spots or blackheads, but lately I've been getting these tiny blocked pores on my chin and sides of nostrils which don't ever seem to clear because the pores are too dry and tight to release the stuff they're holding onto. Sorry for the overly detailed description, but that's what I imagine is happening.

It's never even crossed my mind to use a cream cleanser. Especially not one consisting of ingredients such as cocoa butter and beeswax like this Cleanse & Polish. I've always been a bit dubious about cream or oil-based cleansers... I've never really believed they could leave my skin thoroughly clean. But my perception of cleansing has completely changed since using this product.

The instructions are to gently massage one pump (about a teaspoon-sized blob) of the cream all over dry (as in "not wet") face, including over the eyes. It's best to leave the eyes till the end to avoid smearing eye make-up all over your face. This "cleanse" step dissolves all my grime and make-up (even my mascara and thick lines of Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner). It doesn't sting the eyes either - I can open my eyes even with the cream all over them.

Cleanse & Polish is full of nice "natural" ingredients (and no mineral oil of course), but the one I most notice while I'm massaging it over my face is the subtle eucalyptus essential oil which is refreshing and decongesting (but thankfully nothing like Vicks Rub!). Notably, it also contains rosemary, chamomile and hops (full list to follow). The ingredients and massage work together to purify and tone the skin, and it all feels and smells super indulgent.

The next step is the "polish" step which involves rinsing a muslin cloth in "hand hot" water, wringing it, and then using it to polish the cream off the skin. I like to use the hottest water I can manage and then place the cloth over my face for a few seconds to steam it up a bit. I then use it to wipe off the cream using light, circular motions, concentrating on areas which are most prone to blockage (sides of nose and chin). The last step is to rinse (I prefer comfortably warm water for this). You can repeat the cleanse and polish steps if you want. I only feel like I need to repeat if I haven't removed any of my make-up before starting the cleanse and polish.

At first, I was surprised that my skin actually felt "clean" and refreshed after rinsing. I assumed the rich ingredients would leave at least some residue but it rinses completely clean without stripping.

I don't like using anything too abrasive on my skin, and the muslin cloth felt uncomfortably scratchy the first time I used it. However, it has softened up after a few uses and now feels much nicer on my skin. I don't feel the need to use an exfoliator when I'm using these cloths because they're enough to gently slough off dead skin. By the way, these muslin cloths should be put in a machine wash every few uses to stop them breeding bacteria.

So have I noticed a difference in my skin since using Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish? Well, I've been using it in the mornings and evenings, and I can honestly say I've already seen a difference. My skin gleams after the cleansing and polishing, and it miraculously feels "comfortable" after towel drying my face. I'm not kidding - my skin has been so dry lately that it was physically impossible to smile after washing my face. Of course I still need to wear moisturiser (damn you, hard London water!), but I don't feel like I need to slather it on like I used to. Out of habit last night, I dotted on about 3x more moisturiser than I actually needed, forgetting that now I can just use a normal person's amount of moisturiser.

The most interesting thing I've noticed though is that those persistent little blocked pores have relaxed their grip, and I've finally been able to neatly extract them. And wow that felt good. No new blocked pores have appeared either. I was a bit worried about the cocoa butter and beeswax (and other rich ingredients) blocking my pores but it turns out I didn't need to worry at all.

I will definitely, definitely be purchasing the product when it runs out. I love it. I've finally been forced to acknowledge that I no longer have teenage skin (although Cleanse & Polish is apparently pretty good on teenage skin too), and it actually seems silly now when I think that I was still using foaming face washes until last week!

Out of interest, I've been reading other people's reviews of Cleanse & Polish on MakeupAlley and some people have had reactions to the product... perhaps from the eucalyptus oil? If you know you're sensitive to mentholated products, or just want to try the product out, there are travel-sized tubes available to buy for £4.75. The 100ml pump starter with two muslin cloths costs £12.75.

The ingredients of Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser are:
Aqua (water), Caprylic/capric triglyceride, Theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl esters, Sorbitan Stearate, Polysorbate 60, Glycerin, Cera alba (beeswax), Propylene glycol, Humulus lupulus (hops) extract, Panthenol, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) extract, Anthemis nobilis (chamomile) extract, Eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus) oil, Limonene, Citric acid, Sodium hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Benzoic acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dehydroacetic acid, Polyaminopropyl biguanide.

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic is an alcohol-free, non-drying toner. Actually, I keep calling it a toner, but it is officially described more as a "tonic" which leaves a fine layer of moisture on the skin and soothes and revitalises the skin with ingredients such as aloe vera, vitamin E and rose-scented geranium.

This "tonic" is as light as water, is really refreshing and soothing and has a subtle floral scent. Once I've swept it across my face using a cotton wool pad, my skin feels lightly hydrated, and I could probably just about go without using a moisturiser (I never thought that was possible).

The ingredients of Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic are:
Aqua (water), Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, Glycerin, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, Cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, Calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract, Anthemis nobilis (chamomile) extract, Humulus lupulus (hops) extract, Panthenol, Allantoin, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Tocopheryl acetate, Parfum (fragrance), Citronellol, Coumarin, Geraniol, Linalool, Sodium hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Benzoic acid, Dehydroacetic acid, Ethylexylglycerin, Polyaminopropyl biguanide.

Having never found a toner which provided any real benefits before, I've just added Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic to my list of dry skin must-haves due to its ability to noticeably hydrate and prep the skin prior to applying moisturiser. I find that my skin looks fresher and plumper after applying the tonic and moisturiser smoothes on more easily.

A 200ml bottle costs £11.25. Interestingly, you can also get spritzer bottles which would be fantastic for situations when air is really dry e.g. on flights or in air conditioned offices. Or you could just decant a bit of the toner into a travel-sized spray bottle.

Liz Earle Superskin Moisturiser

Liz Earle Superskin Moisturiser

Liz Earle Superskin Moisturiser

The Superskin Moisturiser is from the more premium-priced, extra moisturising range within Liz Earle.

Quick blurb:

Specially formulated to rejuvenate mature or very dry skin, this rich, luxurious, fragrance-free moisturiser, contains a powerful blend of high quality naturally active ingredients to smooth, plump and replenish for healthy, youthful looking skin.

OK, I definitely wouldn't call my skin "mature" yet! But I do fall into the "very dry skin" group. I've been using the moisturiser only at night because I use a Caudalie SPF cream in the day. This moisturiser is lovely to use... the second ingredient is cranberry seed oil, so the consistency is... well, what you'd imagine from a moisturiser with an oil base... I don't want to use the word "greasy" because that sounds derogatory and I really don't mind this consistency in a cream at all... but you know, it has that "all natural moisturiser" thing going on, as if you'd whipped water and oil together to emulsify it. Despite its richness, it absorbs well, and a little really does go a long way.

It is fragrance-free and the only scent is the slightest hint of rosehip seed oil (which although not mentioned anywhere by the brand, is an essential oil known for helping to fade scars and pigmentation).

The cream is packed with other "natural" moisturising ingredients like borage seed oil and shea butter, and antioxidants from vitamin E and pomegranate extract. So if you've got dehydrated, needy skin, this will really sort it out. I have no complaints so far! My skin looks and feels great after using this - like it's really being nourished. And do you know what? I think a little leftover dry, red patch from an old spot on my cheek has suddenly disappeared (it had been there for weeks) - I'm going to put that down to the rosehip seed oil.

The ingredients of Liz Earle Superskin Moisturiser are:
Aqua (water), Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) seed oil, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl stearate, Rosa rubiginosa (rosehip) seed oil, Dicapryl carbonate, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Borago officinalis (borage) seed oil, Cetearyl alcohol, Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), Glyceryl Stearate, Pentaerythirityl distearate, Punica granatum (pomegranate) fruit extract, Xanthan gum, Sodium stearoylglutamate, Sodium polyacrylate, Phenoxyethanol, Benzoic acid, Dehydroacetic acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polyaminopropyl biguanide.

A 50ml jar of Superskin costs £31.50.

Disclosure: PR samples


  1. The cleanser sounds amazing! I want to try that =P. X

  2. I SERIOUSLY am in love with Liz Earle. My aunt actually got me hooked on this. She has such beautiful skin and I wanted to know how the heck I could get her skin (she's in her mid 30's). So she let me in on her secret. At first I was looked kinda something that old ladies would use. But during the winter months especially, it's a God-send! I don't remember how well this works in the summer time, though. But thanks for doing this entry! =)

  3. I have been on the hunt for a good night cream, but have yet to find one. I have very sensitive skin, so I am always hesitant to try new things out. This sounds wonderful!

    I love that you focus on skin care so much on your blog. I enjoy talking, reading, and blogging about it; you've got yourself a new follower! :)


  4. @Linda and Eli: You should totally try it - it's sooo good on the skin. You could always try the travel sized tube first...

    @glitteryeyesxx: Haha I suppose it does look like something old ladies would use..! I think this cleanser will still be good in the summer for me because it rinses clean... but we'll see. For now, I'm hooked on it as well!

    @Kate Gene: Aww thanks for following! The Superskin moisturiser is yum :-)

  5. The cleanser sounds really amazing. I'm so stuck on my facial cleansing routine (ie with very boring drugstore products), so this Liz Earle cleanser seems so different and yet effective. :)

  6. That does seem like a great facial cleansing and hot cloth cleanser. I know the beauty supply industry is very very competitive, but I like the way the bottle looks (which is actually important in this industry) and the product seems to work really well (from your review).

  7. I've been trying to get that Liz Earle cleanser for ages, it looks wonderful and I've read so many raves! Do you know how to get hold of it in the States?

  8. @My Lips But Better: I think the only way to get hold of Liz Earle in the States at the moment is through their website but I imagine it works out quite expensive once you add on shipping costs. An alternative to Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish that I really like is Soap & Glory The Fab Pore Hot Cloth Cleanser which one of my readers told me she found in her local Target! Or it is also available online at

  9. I love Liz Earle's hot cloth cleanser - I have been using it for years now with fab results. Have you tried any of her face masks yet? I would really recommend the skin brightening one - it instantly perks up your complexion so its perfect if you have a big day/night out!

  10. I have only just discovered the delights of Liz Earle skin care products (where have I been?) My face was in a mess due to a reaction to another brand. I've been using the cleanser, tonic and light moisturiser for one week and I can really see a difference. I bought the Mini Face Try-Me Kit for combination/oily skin and it's the best £21.00 I've ever spent on beauty products.

  11. @Anonymous: I have a couple of the Liz Earle masques including that brightening one! Just the smell of it perks me up I find!

    @offmytrolley: I'm so glad you're getting on with the Liz Earle range! I keep buying all my friends the cleaner and skin tonic and forcing them to try them.

  12. The reason the skin tonic is so moisturising is because it is made from nearly 97% organic aloe vera juice and also organic vitamin E.

  13. I agree with you the Hot Cloth is the best cleanser, however, I haven't used it for over a year so it will def be on my Birthday and Christmas wish list....

    Hope you can find the time to check out my new blog....

  14. I bought the hot cloth cleanser after reading your review!!! I have to say, it's pretty great for winter!

  15. Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser is fabulous. When my sister first introduced it to me a few years ago I was a little skeptical about its effectiveness. The consistency of the product between my fingers seemed far too smooth to remove dead skin cells, surely? How wrong was I??? Now, I can't live without it and every time I've used it my skin is super smooth. The other bonus is how little product you need to dispense per usage and how long a bottle lasts!

  16. My mum bought me Liz Earle products for my birthday and after I ran out I decided to spend £40 worth of vouchers at a well known chemist buying a brand of moisturiser and mask that is widely used in spas. I was totally unimpressed with these spa products, they smelled highly perfumed and my skin changed from Liz Earle Radiance to dullness and flakiness. In an emergency to get my fantastically glowing and plump skin back I discarded the expensive spa products and went back to Liz Earle buying the hot polish cleanser, toner and moisturiser. Even after just one application of the cleanser my skin looked radiant and felt stimulated. I don't think I will ever use anything other than Liz Earle again. The packaging is designed in that way I think to give the look of a natural product - no fancy print no harsh colour. Liz Earle products are amazing and rate above all those fancy pricey products on the shelf.

  17. i use this cleanser and im jus loving it :)

  18. Hi Ladies, I've been looking for a facial to fall in love with for quite some time and yesterday I had the Liz Earle Signature Facial at their treatment rooms in London. I cannot just how amazing the whole experience was. The staff, service & most importantly the facial was just faultless. Deep cleanse with lots & lots massaging, 1hr 30 mins for...£85!! Highly recommended, I'm already booked in for anther appointment in 6 weeks!

  19. I have been using cleanse and polish for about 6 weeks and I love it, much better ordering online from the website too cos you get freebies.
    I ordered the foundation last week it is amazing, I will never use anything else from now on. I just wish I had known about it years ago.

  20. I only bought liz earl polish after reading hundreds of reviews no bad ones, ands I have used it for just over a week and I love it, my pores have closed and my skin looks smooth and has a fresh pinky colour. well worth every penny, I love using the hot muslin cloth to polish it off.

  21. what about the fact many of her products contain petro chemicals like propylene glycol which is antifreese or brake fluid and LE does have anything to do with itanymore ie its owned by avon who have just made a load of the british workers redudant may be we should be buying other 100% natural brands still supporting the UK

  22. what about the fact many of her products contain petro chemicals like propylene glycol which is antifreese or brake fluid and LE does have anything to do with itanymore ie its owned by avon who have just made a load of the british workers redudant may be we should be buying other 100% natural brands still supporting the UK


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