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