Cleansing my face is one of my favourite times of the day. There is nothing like ridding your face of daily pollution, dirt and impurities at the end of a long day and it’s one of my top rituals in my beauty routine. True to my nature, I like to experiment with skincare, especially with cleansers. I love discovering new formulations and ingredients, and cleansers that come in a different form or have different ingredients to the usual cleanser we are all familiar with. Through my experimentation, I’ve been using some products that either made me scratch my head a little before using, or have a list of ingredients that I found unique and interesting. This post will explore four ‘cleansers’ that give a modern approach to cleaning our skin.
NIOD Low Viscosity Cleaning Ester
NIOD is one of my favourite skincare brands at the moment. I find their products super geeky and unique based on real research, and proven ingredients and concepts in the dermal science. They also give off a sort of hipster vibe to me, and I like their alternative personality with the adoption of a motto like “Skincare for the hyper-educated”.
This Low Viscosity Cleaning Ester (LVCE for short), is a unique approach to the usual cleansers we see today. Instead of containing detergents, drying surfactants and cleansing plant oils (and even water – it has no water!) it employs the properties of isolated sugar and avocado esters to clean the face of dirt and makeup and can be used with or without water. Rather than being a ‘cleanser’, this little baby is specifically referred to as a skin ‘cleaner’, mainly because it rids the skin of impurities whilst maintaining the integrity of the skin’s dermal barrier in terms of pH and hydration.
Esters are the star ingredients in this product (you can identify esters in an ingredients list whenever you see the suffix ‘ate’). Cetyl Ethylhexanoate is the main ingredient in this formula. It’s pretty much identical to emollients found in other cosmetic products (silicones, pigments and oils) and because ‘like attracts like’, it melts them away from the surface of your skin. Isoamyl Laurate is another great ester that is particularly useful for breaking down tough UV filters in many makeup, sun care and skincare products. Ingredients that fight UV rays from damaging our skin can be quite hard to fully detach and remove from our skin. This ester was specifically selected and designed for it’s ability to reconstitute these UV filters and purify the skin and pores. Butyl Avocadate is another catalysed ester from Avocado featured in this formulation for it’s ability to remove hydrophobic (water insoluble) substances and has a proven ability to help stabilise sebum activity of our skin, meaning both dry and oily skin types will benefit from this ingredient. Gallic acid ester (from Gall nuts) serves a dual purpose of a cleaner ester and an antioxidant. It actually acts as the ‘last-man-standing’ in this formula by fighting free radical damage and facilitating the removal of the LVCE system once it’s done it’s job. It’s a super interesting ingredient to get clued up on! The system also features Vitamin E, and glycol to enhance absorption of subsequent skincare products.
The reason I like this cleaner is because not only do I feel like it actually eliminates all the pollutants and makeup from my skin, it actually leaves a residue on your skin after you rinse it off. To me it’s not an uncomfortable residue. I’m usually not one for residues, but this is different. It does feel slippery, but to me it’s like a really light oil or jelly-like serum. I love to massage this residue in and let it absorb into my skin because it feels SO hydrating. I almost feel like I don’t need to use a moisturiser or serum afterwards! I understand some may not like this feeling, but it works for me. I find it performs better when I go in with some warm water afterwards, but you can easily use this without water by massaging into dry skin and then wiping away with a cotton pad. I’ve seen some mention the scent of this product doesn’t appeal to them and I just wanted to comment on that too. I actually like the scent! This product isn’t fragranced, so any scent is derived from the natural esters in this formula.
Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber De-Tox Foaming Cleanser*
Now I know that foaming cleansers aren’t particularly a new thing, but they are in the minority when you consider delivery systems of most cleansers either being a gel or cream.
Peter Thomas Roth is a clinical skincare brand heralding from the US that just recently released in Sephora stores in Australia and boy was I excited for this release! My first encounter with the brand occurred when I was in Arizona last year and they were provided as complimentary hotel toiletries (I stocked up and brought them back home with me because I loved them so much!). Again, they are a science-driven skincare brand. In fact, Peter leads his own laboratory that performs their own dermal science research projects, the results of which inspire the creation of his products.
This foaming cleanser is from the ‘Cucumber De-Tox’ line which is formulated for the purpose of reducing the effects of environmental aggressors and pollutants on our skin. Cucumber extract is included to help sooth and calm the skin and claims to fight any puffiness (I’m not sure I’m convinced on the anti-inflammatory properties of cucumber though). Cucumber also has antioxidant properties, and coupled with Vitamins C and E in this formula, it makes this cleanser a rich source of antioxidants to fight free radical damage to our skin as a result of our environment. Glycerin and Sodium PCA (which is found naturally in our skin) are humectants which help to retain moisture, while the sugar cane and maple are thought to fight skin dullness with their AHA components that encourage cell turnover.
What I love most about this cleanser is that it is not drying like most other foaming cleansers I’ve tried. Foaming cleansers have a reputation for being super drying and can strip the skin. That’s why a lot of oily-skinned people prefer to use them. But this is actually doing your skin no good. The main culprit is the high levels of alcohol in these formulas. This Cucumber De-Tox doesn’t contain any alcohol, so I don’t feel that tightness and overproduction of oil I usually get with foaming cleansers. Plus, the cucumber contains naturally fragrant components making this smell absolutely divine and so fresh. I need two pumps of this cleanser to cleanse my skin, so while I adore this cleanser I am going through it much quicker than other cleansers I’ve used. I think this a general symptom of using foaming cleansers though, they generally haven’t lasted as long for me as other cleansers.
I encourage those who are anxious about foaming cleansers to try this one out, because I feel it is a cut above the rest when it comes to maintaining our skin’s moisture and dermal health. Overall I’m just super excited the brand has made it onto Aussie shores and I can’t wait to try out more from the range (Hydra-gel eye patches, I’m looking at you).
Simple As That Cleanser*
This was a brand I had heard nothing about until I became an ambassador for The Beauty Drawers. I was drawn to them because of their funky yet simple packaging and pharmacist-designed products. While I have reservations about the philosophies of the brand (regarding their claim that there is no testing of synthetic ingredients to determine whether they are safe or not, and no restrictions for what goes into skincare products), I love the simple product formulations which allow the active ingredients to shine.
This cleanser features only four ingredients and is vegan friendly. Ingredients are organic and fair-trade too which is great for the environment and those who are conscious about organic ingredients. Two of my favourite ingredients in this cleanser are tea tree oil and glycerin (plant-derived). Tea tree oil has strong astringent & antibacterial properties which is perfect for keeping acne-causing bacteria at bay, and glycerine is a humectant to help maintain the skins moisture. Orange blossom water is a new one for me in skincare. I know it smells amazing and I am usually drawn to fragrances containing notes of orange blossom, but my familiarity with it in skincare is limited. According to LUSH, it has skin brightening and clarifying effects, and a review of it’s safety has listed it as a skin protectant and conditioning agent. May Chang is another oil I am not familiar with, and my quick attempts at researching this ingredient showed it’s thought to have astringent and antiseptic properties as well, although information was pretty limited.
I love this cleanser as a pre-cleanse for days when I am wearing heavier makeup than my usual daily mineral powder. It helps to melt away daily oils and makeup so that the second step in my double cleansing routine is more effective. You can use this by soaking a cotton pad and wiping skin in circular motions, and then washing off with your usual cleanser. I don’t suggest this as a cleanser to be used alone because I don’t think it is ‘tough’ enough, but do recommend it if you are keen to start double cleansing. It smells fresh and light, and I can really detect the orange blossom water and tea tree oil. I find this product intriguing because of it’s ingredients, and the fact that it feels like a watery pre-cleanse rather than a cleansing balm which can get messy when I’m using it.
If you’re interested in Simple As That, you can browse the range on The Beauty Drawers.
NIOD Sanskrit Saponins*
Sanskrit Saponins (SS for short) is quite a viscous balmy paste that features unrefined and concentrated Ayurvedic (an ancient Indian health practice) plant surfactants. It’s pH-balanced for our skin, contains Lysine and avoids synthetic surfactants, sulphates, oils, esters or micellar technologies. Saponins are a class of chemicals called glucosides and have foaming characteristics. The Ayurvedic plants featured in this formulation are shikakai which is a nutrient-rich herb and sapindus mukorossi (soapnut) which is used in many topical skincare products and hair shampoo. Deciem regards plant saponins as a method of cleansing that has a delicate balance of effectively deep cleaning the skin whilst respecting the skin’s integrity.
This is such a hard product to describe, and you really need to experience this for yourself to truly understand it. Your skin should already be removed of makeup, and wet when you apply this. Work into your skin in circular motions and then rinse off with warm water. The scent of this is something that may be polarising to people. It isn’t fragranced, so the natural scent of the ingredients is apparent and honestly, is quite strong. To me, it smells like coffee, but with an earthy/herbal scent that is actually attractive to my sensorial palette.
I find this balm to be a product that you have no idea what it’s really doing as you’re working it into your skin, but you just know it works. For me, I notice it has a slight ‘blurring’ effect to my skin, as if I was using a pore-filling/silicone primer. I’ve seen Wayne Goss try to describe by saying it seems to ‘suck’ away your pores and I personally find it hard to describe it better than he. I use it 2-3 times per week after removing makeup either with the LVCE or Simple As That cleanser from above and I fancy them somewhat of power duos in my skincare routine. The combo cleanses my skin really well but not to the point where I feel like I need to use a moisturiser or serum immediately after it, because it doesn’t feel like my skin’s hydration is compromised afterwards.
Another way I like to use this as a quick mask or treatment. I remove makeup with the LVCE and rinse my face with water before patting dry. I then lather the paste in wet hands and pat into my skin to sit for about 5 minutes to really give my skin a purifying deep clean.
For those like me who really have a hunger for experimenting with cleansers, add this to your list. Every time I use this I feel ultra hipster and suave, just with really good skin.
Have you encountered any new cleansers that are unique and intriguing? Let me know in the comments below, as I’d really love to explore more!
* Indicates a product sent for editorial consideration. The generosity of the providing has not influenced the material presented. As always, The Beauty & the Geek AU is not an expert in the field so please do not substitute these opinions as professional advice