Which cleanser’s the clear winner?
From wipes to microfibre cloths, there are so many make-up removers on the market. But our test reveals the ones that REALLY scrub up
CLEANSINg your skin is an intrinsic part of a daily beauty routine. But if you have used the same cleanser for years without even looking at other options, it’s time to reconsider your choice.
For there are now hundreds of cleansers on the market in many different forms, from wipes and foams to microfibre cloths and oils. But which one most effectively removes make-up without leaving your face covered in product — or feeling dry?
ALICE SMELLIE, whose usual routine involves garnier Micellar Cleansing Water (£4.99, boots.com), tested a range of options over the course of a week. Each evening, she applied two squirts of foundation, 14 flicks of mascara per eye and a sweep of lipstick to a clean face.
An hour- and- a- half later, she removed it as well as she could with the product being tested, then applied a moisturising serum by Epionce.
The next morning, she wiped her face with a damp cotton wool pad to see how much make-up remained.
Here are the results . . .
EASY AND ECO-FRIENDLY
Simple Biodegradable Cleansing Wipes (25-pack), £2.50, boots.com
WHAT IS IT? Cleansing wipes made from sustainable wood pulp and renewable plant fibres — the main ingredient is water. I’m thrilled these are biodegradable: typical disposable wipes aren’t remotely eco-friendly. These contain no artificial colours or perfumes, no animal- derived ingredients and no harsh chemicals. TEST: I wipe my face thoroughly with one wipe for just under a minute — after this, no more make-up seems to be coming off. My face feels clean, but a bit tight, and I feel like I’m scrubbing hard to get the makeup off. RESULT: The next morning, I’m a little horrified by the amount of make-up that’s still on my face. Perhaps I should have used three or four wipes, but I felt like I was dragging my skin. Almost all my stubborn mascara has come off, though. 6/10
Eucerin DermatoCLEan 3 in 1 Micellar Cleansing Fluid (200ml), £9, boots.com
WHAT IS IT? An all-in- one micellar water that is appropriate for sensitive skin and works on all water- soluble make-up. It is free from fragrances and parabens, suitable for use with contact lenses and contains hyaluronic acid to give skin moisture.
Micellar waters contain microscopic bubbles made of oil, which remove dirt, grime and other make-up ingredients. They leave no residue on the skin, meaning it’s not necessary to use a dehydrating toner afterwards.
TEST: This is applied using cotton wool. I must admit, I seem to need an awful lot of the product — around a tenth of the bottle — to get rid of my make-up. My skin feels a bit dragged, but fresh and toned.
RESULT: Extremely impressive, even if one use cost me about 90p. There’s barely a scraping of make-up left. Already, people are starting to comment on how good my skin looks, which makes me wonder if we could all benefit from giving our cleansing routines a bit of thought. 8/10
SLOW BUT LUXURIOUS
Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Cleansing Ritual (two x 75ml), £32.50, charlottetilbury.com
WHAT IS IT? A two-part cleansing ritual that’s a pleasure to use, if a little time-consuming. TEST: First is a citrus-scented cleanser that contains coconut oil. I rub it on and then remove it with a damp muslin cloth. Next, a bamboo charcoal cleaner helps draw out impurities.
My skin feels the most hydrated of all with this product. RESULT: This probably left the least residue. Hardly surprising, given the lengthy double-cleanse, but impressive nonetheless. 9/10
Face Halo, three for £18, beautybay.com
WHAT IS IT? This disc of soft, microfibre fabric is dual- sided, reusable and can be washed up to 200 times, meaning it is far better for the planet than non biodegradable wipes and cost-effective. Simply add water.
TEST: Very easy to use and I love that there’s no lotion involved. The disc looks filthy, but I don’t have to scrub to feel fresh.
RESULT: I’m surprised to see a deep smudge of foundation on the pad the next day, but there’s not a speck of mascara. 8/10
natural Spa Factory Damascene Melting Cleanser (50ml), £22.50, naturalspafactory.com
WHAT IS IT? A rose- scented, oil- based, antibacterial and antiseptic gel that melts on to skin to scoop up grime. TEST: I smooth the delicioussmelling, velvety pink gel all over my face, splosh on a little water so it turns into a creamy foam, then wipe it off with a damp cotton wool pad. I was concerned that my skin might feel a little dehydrated, but it’s actually rejuvenated and feels very clean. I’m surprised all my mascara appears to have come off, as I slightly avoided the area so the gel didn’t get in my eyes. A word of warning, though: it smells divine, but if you have sensitive skin, then you will probably be better off choosing a more natural product. RESULT: Impressive. When I swish a damp cotton wool pad over my face in the morning, there’s only a small smudge of mascara left over, as well as a little bit of grime. 7/10 Clever creation: Alice tries out the reusable Face Halo Picture: JOHN LAWRENCE
DRY SKIN SOOTHER
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (200ml), £24, escentual.com
WHAT IS IT? A water- soluble oil cleanser containing rosemary leaf oil, olive oil and vitamin E, which removes make-up without making the skin feel greasy. TEST: I massage this on to my skin with my fingers — a little goes a very long way — then I rinse it off with water- soaked cotton wool. I love this on my dry skin and it takes only a minute. RESULT: An impressively small amount of residue is left — there’s a very slight smudge of foundation and a hint of mascara. 8/10
NEVER BEAN CLEANER!
Lush 7 to 3 Cleansing Wipe, one for £2, uk.lush.com
WHAT IS IT? They’re a clever bunch at Lush. They’ve eradicated the need for wipes with these reusable, biodegradable discs made from ground cannellini beans and seaweed extract.
They feel like rubber and smell like soap, though they actually contain a ylang ylang and dove orchid infusion. TEST: I splash my face with water, wet one side of the pad and glide it over my face to activate the light cleansing cream. I’m not a fan of putting it on my eyelids as I wear contact lenses and hate the feel of soap near my eyes. I rinse it all off with water. My face doesn’t feel dry, and I applaud the concept, but I loathe using water on my skin. RESULT: Excellent. I may not have enjoyed using it as much as the Charlotte Tilbury cleanser, but all my eye make-up is gone. 7/10
GENTLY DOES IT
SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser (200ml), £31, lookfantastic.com
WHAT IS IT? I adore SkinCeuticals serums, so I fully expected to fall in love with this product. It contains glycerin, allantoin and orange oil and is a gentle, creamy formula for dry and sensitive skin. It’s free from alcohol, soap and synthetic fragrance. TEST: As advised, I apply a little to my wet face and neck in light, circular motions, then rinse thoroughly. I overrinse and my skin feels dry, but when I test out the cream again the next day, I use less water and get a better result. RESULT: Very little makeup remains when en I run the cotton n wool around the edge of my jaw. It’s pleasant — but it’s not for me. 5/10 0