Sunday, 6 November 2011

Liz Earle Cleanse & polish hot cloth cleanser

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, (L-R) 100ml, 200ml and 30ml

I first started using the famous Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish back in February. I'd read so many good reviews that I knew I had to try it. I've been using it now for about eight months and I really enjoy using it. It hasn't transformed my skin, but then again I shouldn't have expected it to. I suffer from acne which scars really easily and I was secretly hoping that this product would magic it away. Which, of course, it didn't, since it's not especially targeted at acne-prone skin. Here's what Liz Earle say it will do:

Our plant based cleanser has a two-phase action, phase one is the cleansing. Free from mineral oil, it has a rich and creamy texture and swiftly removes all traces of face and eye make up, even stubborn mascara.
Phase two is the polishing. Polish off the cream using the pure muslin cloth to gently dislodge dead skin cells and help reveal clean, soft and radiant skin.
Naturally active ingredients include eucalyptus and cocoa butter for smoother, clearer skin. (Source)
This cleanser is brilliant at removing makeup. It even removes my waterproof mascara (Maybelline One by One, in case you're interested). The instructions on the back of the pump/tube tell you to massage it onto dry skin over your eyes, face and neck. The first time I used this I was a bit nervous about using on my eyelids because I was worried it would irritate my eyes as I use contacts. I needn't have worried, it didn't sting at all.
After applying it you're supposed to rinse the muslin cloth in hand hot water (I use hot water because I find my cloth gets cold straight away otherwise) and gently polish off the cream. You want to make sure that you get all the cleanser off because otherwise it can block your pores and give you (well, me in any case) small raised bumps on your skin. I was a bit annoyed when I noticed this at first because I thought it meant I needed to stop using the cleanser, but I've found that if I'm careful to remove every last trace it's fine. It says on the bottle that you should splash your face with cold water at the end, but I don't do this because  I really hate getting water into my eyes, and anyway, have you ever tried splashing your face with water? Not the lovely refreshing moment you see in the adverts, but more of a missing your face completely and getting everything around you soaking wet moment. However, I do sometimes wet my hands with hot water and pat my face, but I usually forget. :)

Let's talk a bit about the muslin cloths. In my first order I got two muslin cloths with my 100ml pump. With my order I also got a free 30ml tube which came with one cloth. I also ordered two extra cloths (not knowing I'd get one free) because I knew I'd forget to wash them regularly. You're supposed to wash them every two or three days to prevent bacterial growth (since they're always damp and warm, that leads to lots of bacterial growth). I now have six muslin cloths (I got one with my last order as well), so I'll use one for a couple of days and then switch to the next one and so on until I'm on my last one, then while I'm still using the last one I'll wash the other five with my towels at 60°C. I usually hang them up to dry, but one got accidentally put in the tumble dryer and it came out a bit frayed at the ends.
Also, if you feel the cloths are a bit rough the first time you use them, wash them a couple of times and they'll soften. :)

One thing I should mention before I go on, the scent of the cleanser. I love it, but I know a lot of people really hate it. A lot of people describe it as smelling 'herbal', but to be honest all I can smell is the eucalyptus (does that count as herbal? To me herbal is more rosemary and thyme). It's not as strong as, say eucalyptus essential oil (I love to put a few drops of that on my pillow before I go to sleep if I have a cold), but it is pretty strong. If you know that you don't like the smell of eucalyptus, don't buy this product, there are other similar cleansers out there. If you've never smelled eucalyptus before (or don't know what it is) and can't go to a place that sells Liz Earle to smell it, go to your local chemist and see if they have some eucalyptus essential oil. If you don't like the smell, don't buy the cleanser. I don't think you should force yourself to use a product if you don't really enjoy it (unless it's the only thing in the world that works for you, or something). Anyway, let's move on.

So far I've bought the cleanser in three of the four sizes they offer, a 100ml pump, 200ml tube and 30ml tube. The first time I placed an order I got the 100ml pump and a free 30ml tube and the second time I ordered two 200ml tubes and a 30ml tube to take on holiday with me. I really like the colour of the packaging, it's a very pale robin egg blue colour with dark grey and light green lettering. I have one bad thing to say about the pump though and that is that you have no idea how much you have left. With the tubes you can easily figure out if you're running out of product but with the pump the only thing I noticed was that it got a bit lighter in weight (obviously). I don't know how they could improve that though because apart from that issue the pump is really nice and mess-free. It's probably not an issue if you live in the UK or somewhere else where they have Liz Earle counters, but if you're ordering from abroad it can be a bit stressful. Ah, well, you can have everything I suppose! :)

Now, I'm going to try something new in my reviews. I'm going to list all the ingredients of the product and a short explanation of how they work and/or what they are. I am in no way a professional but I do have a best friend called Google and paired with common sense we make an awesome team. :)
I'm doing this just to give you a sense of how the product works and what sort of stuff is in it.

On the Liz Earle website they say that they always try to use high quality, safe, naturally active ingredients and you can have a look at their ingredients philosophy here.

Now, let's have a look at the ingredients and what they do.

✦ Aqua - Distilled/purified water is used as a solvent in products, meaning that it dissolves the other ingredients, allowing them to disperse equally in the container.
Caprylic/capric triglyceride - an oily liquid made from coconut oil. It forms a barrier on the skin's surface slowing down water loss from the skin. It also alters the thickness of liquid products.
Theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter - Slows down water loss on the skin's surface by forming a barrier, it can also provide relief to the skin.
Cetearyl alcohol - Keeps an emulsion (a mixture of water and oily liquids) from separating.
Cetyl esters - Acts as a lubricant on the skin's surface, making it appear smooth and soft.
Sorbitan stearate -  Helps to form emulsions, that is, it helps water and oily liquids to mix together.
Polysorbate 60 - Helps other products to dissolve in the solvent, in this case the water. It also helps to form emulsions (see above).
✦ Glycerin - a humectant, meaning that it increases the water content on the top layers of the skin by drawing out moisture from air around the skin. This helps to moisturise your skin.
Cera alba (beeswax) - Helps to keep an emulsion (mixture of water and oily liquid) from separating. Also increases the thickness of the oil components in the product. 
Propylene glycol - Attracts water and acts as a moisturiser, reducing flakiness in skin and restoring suppleness. It also helps stabilise formulations.
✦ Humulus lupulus (hops) extract - Has astringent and skin conditioning properties as well as having a pleasant fragrance.
✦ Panthenol - Derived from vitamin B5, it acts as a lubricant on the skin's surface, making it appear soft and smooth.
Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) extract* - An antimicrobial agent (inhibits the growth of fungal cells), antioxidant** (prevents or slows down deterioration of skin cells caused by a chemical reaction with oxygen), fragrance agent and it forms a barrier on the skin, slowing down water loss.
✦ Anthemis nobilis (chamomile) extract - Enhances the appearance of dry skin and has a pleasant fragrance. 
Eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus) oil - Enhances the appearance of dry skin and adds fragrance.
Limonene - Adds fragrance.
Citric acid - Acts as a preservative and adjusts the pH (acid/base balance)
✦ Sodium hydroxide - controls the pH, meaning that it controls the acidity.
✦ Phenoxyethanol - Prevents or slows down microbial (often fungal) growth, acts as a preservative. 
✦ Benzoic acid - pH adjuster (adjusts the acidity), preservative and adds fragrance.
 Ethylhexylglycerin - a preservative, often used instead of parabens. 
Dehydroacetic acid - Kills microorganisms (bacteria) and prevents the growth, thereby acting as a preservative. 
✦ Polyaminopropyl biguanide - a preservative. 

Cosmetic Info
EWG's Skin Deep

* The Liz Earle website does not say whether they use Rosemary Leaf extract or Rosemary flower extract, so I'll list the properties of both.
** I have very little faith in the powers of antioxidants. I have yet to find a scientific article or study which proves that they work when used on your skin. If anyone knows of such a study I would love to see it. :)

So what are my final thoughts on the cleanser?
I really like the smell and enjoy using it. It hasn't magically transformed my skin, but it has made it look brighter and I think it's reduced some of the acne (like the spots you get from not cleaning your face properly). I will try to repurchase this product, although I might have some trouble when I run out of my backup 200ml tube as my sister has moved back home so I'd have to have it sent to me in Iceland and then pay the customs for it, which would probably be the same amount that I paid for the actual product (see earlier posts).
I would recommend this for someone looking for a luxurious feeling cleanser. It's maybe a bit much to spend on a cleanser, but if you want to enjoy your skincare routine and feel a bit pampered, then this is for you (providing you like eucalyptus!)

A 100ml pump costs £11.75, but for £13.25 you also get two muslin cloths. To see other sizes and for more information, see their website

I really hope this review was helpful to some of you and that you enjoyed learning a bit about the ingredients. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in a comment below, or email me. :)