We’d have had to eat our showercaps if Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish hadn’t made this shortlist once again. Cleanse & Polish transformed the way women cleanse our skins, via the deployment of a muslin cloth – now an essential bathroom towel rail accessory in almost every home we visit. The fact is that cream cleansers have a near universal appeal, melting away make-up and – through the very action of massaging them into skin – restoring radiance, by boosting blood flow. As these four show, whether you want an all-natural cream cleanser or a more high-tech option, there are great choices here.
GOLD AWARD SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser Cream
This pump-action, hydrating cleanser scored a completely stellar 9.4/10 across 10 testers, making it one of the highest-scoring products in Beauty Bible’s history. (Their own history is that Skinceuticals is a dermatologist brand, founded in 1997.) The product’s secret? A pretty high-tech blend of soothing orange oil and emollients specifically formulated to minimise the risk of intolerance, making it suitable for even the touchiest skins. You apply a small amount to a wet face and neck, massage in light, circular movements, and rinse.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘This is a brilliant product. I loved the feel, the citrusy smell and the effect of this cream – it left my skin fresh feeling and moisturised. I was dubious at first as I have been using gel foams for years and always thought creams weren't very good! But this has completely changed my thinking. I wouldn't hesitate to purchase this product, even if it was slightly out of my price range, it would be worth my money. I'm a bit sad that I only have a little left! I will absolutely buy more’ • ‘An ideal cleanser. It was easy to apply and took off all my make up quickly and easily. I didn't need to use a toner and there were no traces left on my pillow. It left my skin somewhat moisturised, although I still needed to use moisturiser (as I expected). It was soothing and calming and I enjoyed using it’ • ‘This rich creamy cleanser worked very well on a wet face, taking off all my make up with no traces left. I removed it with cotton pads and my skin felt moisturiser. It promised to gently remove make up and impurities, softening skin as it did so – it worked’ • ‘I really like this cleanser as it controlled the oilier areas on my T zone very well and left my skin soft and moisturised. I liked the pump bottle and it is easy to use and there is little or no waste from the bottle’ • ‘I will definitely buy this instead of my normal cleanser. It’s easy to use, makes cleansing effortless but an absolute pleasure due to the wonderful, uplifting orange fragrance. Left my skin calm, comfortable and soothed. I look forward to cleansing now, rather than finding it a chore’ • ‘This cleanser is THE BEST I have ever tried. It was so easy to apply, and so hydrating that I could have gotten away with not using a moisturiser afterwards, and I have dry skin! The texture of my skin dramatically improved and make-up was then sitting better on my skin.’
£31 for 200ml - click to buy
SILVER and BEST NATURAL AWARD Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser
What can we say about this that hasn’t already been said? Already been said by our own testers, indeed – who’ve consistently given Cleanse & Polish high marks in our Beauty Bible Awards trials. (This time, only a Silver Award, despite notching up 9.1/10 marks!) For anyone who’s been living the life of a hermit, however, here goes: this rich, cream cleanser – based on make-up melting cocoa butter – is infused with a blend of uplifting botanicals including rosemary, chamomile, hops and eucalyptus, which work to purify, decongest, tone, soothe and calm in one. An accompanying cotton muslin cloth makes for a gentle exfoliating action – ‘like a mini-facial every time you use it’, they promise.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘I used this about 10 years ago and switched. I had forgotten how good it is. My skin loves it; it looks invigorated, really glowing & pumped up so I'm now switching back’ • ‘It is very good, I have used it before and I think it’s great for that clean feeling’ • ‘Never used this before but have heard the hype – I am a complete convert. I have dry skin and it always feels tight after cleansing – well, no more. This takes off makeup and makes my skin very smooth and soft. It said it took off stubborn mascara, like the one I use, and yes it did! Absolutely love it’ • ‘I love the fragrance of essential oils. Yummmm. And I love that this product removes my eye make up too. I would – and do – buy this.’
£15 for 100ml - click to buy
BRONZE (JOINT) AWARD Dr Levy 3Deep Cell Renewal Bio Resurfacing Cleanser
This brand, so we’re told, was created by an anthropologist-turned-medic-turned-dermatologist who specialises in laser and wound-healing. The range contains an ArganCellActiv complex, ‘to stimulate, protect and nourish skin’s own regeneration system’, while this cleanser specifically harnesses skin-brightening alpha-hydroxy acids and rice microbeads, to brighten skin with every cleanse. (Use it on dry skin for a deeper exfoliating action – and it can be left on for a quick mask treatment.)
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘This is fast becoming one of my all time favourite cleansers! I've never used a cleanser that also provided exfoliation, and I loved it. Also loved the mask use. I feel with longer use I would see even more benefits. I'll happily continue to use the cleanser until it is finished and will most likely buy a replacement’ • ‘I have used many cleansers over the years, and quite honestly I loved this one. I truly felt is really cleansed my skin without irritating it, skin felt very comfortable after. Also loved the exfoliating beads, I like the feeling of manual exfoliation anyway, and I felt that I was gently exfoliating every day with this cleanser, a bonus for a cleanser, and my skin felt really clean, fresh and soft after using it. I also like that there are different applications - as an ordinary cleanser, for intensive cleaning and micro surfacing, and as a skin renewing fast mask. It’s an effective cleanser, exfoliator and mask in one product, and multi-tasking is always appreciated to reduce the number of products one has to buy and store’ • ‘I liked the easy to use flip up lid container. The product is quite thick- a smooth paste with some bits in it - but easy to apply and it took off make up very easily, leaving my skin moisturised. I really like how thorough it was. It left my skin very clear’ • ‘I felt this was an intense deep cleanse rather than the gentle process it promised. It was invigorating in the morning but not very soothing in the evening. I would use it as a treatment rather than a daily cleanser’ • ‘This product is a fantastic cleanser; my skin felt really clean and super fresh after using this product. It promised to renew the skin, even out skin tone, smooth skin surface and combat ageing… it did a pretty good job of proving all claims bar anti-aging, but with time I would expect this to be entirely possible on the strength of the great condition of my just a couple of weeks!’
£39 for 150ml - click to buy
BRONZE (JOINT) AWARD Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser
Also a pump-action product, this is sold with its own dual flannel-like cloth – one side’s muslin, the other terry toweling – to swoosh away the alcohol- and detergent-free formula. (Just use the terry side, Pai recommend, if skin is sensitive.) The rich cream itself is rich in skin-cocooning camellia, castor and sweet almond oils, alongside shea butter, gorgeously fragrant with Damask rose, rose geranium and lavender. It is kind enough even to use on eyes, so we’re told.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘I am a convert! This is the best cleanser I have ever used for my dry skin. It is totally non-abrasive and leaves skin feeling refreshed and absolutely great after use – not at all dry, which is really unusual for me. The subtle fragrance does smell of real roses. I will absolutely buy this product and always use it’ • ‘Very easy to use this smooth slightly foamy product that you just sweep on dry skin, then stroke with the lovely two-sided cloth that comes with it – and you wet that. There is a smoother and rougher side, which actually wasn't in any way rough and didn't feel harsh. It claims to be a gentle hydrating cleanser and it is just that. I would buy it’ • ‘I absolutely love this cleanser and will be using it from now on. The texture is very luxurious and the smell is so light and fresh. I experienced no irritation with this product and my skin felt fresh and well cleansed, very well moisturised and soft. It didn't feel as if it stripped my face of natural oils as some cleansers can. The muslin cloth provided can be used in two ways: one side for gentle cleansing, the other for gentle exfoliation. I also found that a little goes a long way with this product. I will definitely be trying other products from this range as a result of my experience with this cleanser’ • ‘I honestly think this beats my go to cleanser of over 20 years. It's really easy to use which is a real pleasure. My skin felt really gorgeous and not at all dry. I feel it absolutely lives up to what it says on the packaging. My skin didn't feel stripped of its natural oils; it was hydrating and gently lifted my eye make up away’ • ‘The ingredient list was the clearest I have ever seen on any skin care packaging. Each ingredient has its official name and then a translation, which makes it so informative and also I feel really demonstrates what good high quality ingredients are including in the product. Have a look – it’s really informative!!’
£40 for 200ml - click to buy