Superfacialist by Una Brennan Rose calming creamy cleanser review

nice big chunky tube

nice big chunky tube

What can I say. It’s £7.99 for 150ml. (Plus it’s always on some kind of offer in Boots, making it a great budget buy.) It’s a lovely creamy cleanser with a great consistency that turns a little more milky as it’s massaged in. It leaves my skin feeling fairly normal, although I do have to moisturise quite quickly afterwards. There’s nothing much to worry about in the ingredients list, it takes everything off bar the most stubborn eye make up and wipes off with a hot cloth leaving nothing behind. So far so good, right?

Nothing to see here, move along...

Nothing to see here, move along…

But -oh, the smell. Never a fan of rose at the best of times (unless you count Sisley Black Rose oil, which smells exactly like a rose should), this just smells synthetic and overpoweringly of Nana’s knicker drawer. It smells to me like every cheap gift set of ‘rose’ soaps you were ever given as a teenager multiplied to infinity. Maybe it’s because I’m a florist, and I’m used to knowing what certain floral smells should be like, and this is just too much. The rosewater in the ingredient list wouldn’t account for the scent alone, which is clearly the ‘parfum’ listed halfway down.

UB Rose

It’s such a shame. I have a lot of love for Una’s Vitamin C skin renew cleansing oil (which also has a strong scent, but this time of orange peel, which I can tolerate, especially as I really like the cleanser), but I find myself holding my breath while I use this so I don’t have to smell it. The majority of reviews I have read disagree with me -people seem to love the scent. I realise that it’s horses for courses and there will be smells I adore that other people hate (Aesop, I’m looking at you…) but if the fragrance was toned down just a little bit, I think it could easily be one of my go-to cream cleansers, especially when I want to use something less expensive in the day-to-day as it’s a does-what-it-says-on-the-tin kind of product. As it stands: computer says No.

How have you got on with the Superfacialist range? Am I just being (literally) too sniffy?

Rose Hydrate Calming Creamy cleanser is available at Boots HERE for £7.99

Info: Purchase

ESPA Optimal Skin ProCleanser review

ESPA are one of those brands that if I was forced to choose, I would happily spend the rest of my life using only their products. In my opinion they are consistently the best at facials and I cannot WAIT to get back to the OneSpa in Edinburgh, which is where I have spent some of the most blissed out days of my life.

Gorgeous miracle stuff

Gorgeous miracle stuff

Their ranges are great for more mature skin that are seeing the first to middling signs of ageing.

I’d been meaning to buy this cleanser ever since it was used on me at my last ESPA facial at The Grove.

If only this were in smell-o-vision

If only this were in smell-o-vision

 Possibly I love this so much because it positively honks of Moringa seed -it’s a pretty convincing double of Emma Hardie’s Amazing Face balm, scent wise. There are notes of citrus and jasmine too, and it has a gorgeous smelling, unctuous texture.

It’s not as balm-y as EH – this is a slippier gel type consistency which is full of little jojoba micro beads which are supposed to exfoliate as you cleanse. I’m not sure that they do to any noticeable extent (I would use a separate exfoliator anyway) but the sensation is lovely on the skin. There are pumpkin enzymes in here too lifting away dead skin cells and altogether leaving everything a bit more radiant than when you started.

Bead working magic

Bead working magic

I massage this into dry skin for a couple of minutes and take off with a damp hot flannel. My skin feels soft, hydrated, comfortable, and looks even coloured and healthy.

Being ESPA there are no nasties in the ingredients list, just natural plant carrier oils and essential oils.

It’s a bit spendy at £30 for 100ml, but it’s not an everyday cleanser for me, this is one I’d pull out when I was going full-on Spa-Night in the bathroom and wanted the full sensory experience from every product I used.

Brilliant stuff this -worth every penny. Have you tried it? What did you think?

ESPA Optimal Skin ProCleanser is £30 for 100ml and you can buy it HERE

What you need to know: Purchase.

Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser review

Not like me to use a foamer...

Not like me to use a foamer…

Next up this week in my cleanser stash overhaul is Ole Henrikson’s African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser which I bought as part of a massively reduced set in order to get my hands on the full size Truth serum Collagen Booster, which I go through like nobody’s business -being as it is (for me) a poor man’s Good Genes.

My foaming cleanser klaxon started blaring, obviously, but given that just about every single product I’ve used by Ole I really rate, I gave it a go.

One pumps worth

One pumps worth

It comes out of the bottle as a very dense creamy foam. Two big pumps is enough to do my face and neck. The blurb says to use on damp skin but I go straight in on dry skin because it massages down into quite a thick creamy consistency and I hate ‘drippy’ cleansing.

On the skin it feels soft, certainly not harsh and smells of citrus peel, all of which is to the good. The problem came when I went to wash it off -with a hot flannel, naturally-.

rubs down to a thick cream

rubs down to a thick cream

It washes off easily and leaves no residue, and my skin looks firm, even toned and small pored -but it also leaves my face feeling fairly tight and sore and screaming for moisture. It’s not as stripping as some I’ve used over the years -possibly much oilier skin than mine might be able to tolerate it better, but mine is too dry to start with to be able to afford to lose any moisture at all.

The lesson here is -when will I ever learn when it comes to foaming cleansers??

Sorry Ole -this one, sadly is going to be rehomed.

How do you get on with foaming cleansers? Are you feeling the love?

Ole Henrikson African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser costs £26 for 207ml and is available HERE

What you need to know: GWP

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Orange Flower and Chamomile review

I’m just going to put this out there -I’ve never got on with the original C+P despite absolutely everyone telling me that they wouldn’t be without it and that they would throw themselves from a precipice should it ever be discontinued bleh bleh bleh.

I put far more effort than was needed into trying to figure out just why my skin hated it so much; it would go bright red and sting after even the most gentle cleanse. In the end I gave it to a friend and accepted that my skin will never get along with eucalyptus.

Orange Flower and Chamomile

Orange Flower and Chamomile

Then I had a chat with a lovely lady at Boots in Westfield a while back, who assured me that this (typically limited edition with orange flower and chamomile) would be a better match for my skin as it had absolutely no eucalyptus in it (I’ve had a good look at the ingredients list -everything else is exactly the same -how odd that just the one ingredient made my skin want to fall off.)

And -who knew!- My skin now LOVED it, and I finally could join the rest of the population in swooning about C+P.

It eventually migrated to the back of the cleansing shelf (yes, I have such a thing), and I only thought about it the other day when I saw the set of 3 C+Ps in John Lewis which made me immediately want to buy the lot.

So I dug out my (nearly depleted) bottle and gave it another go, and it is as good as I remembered.

Creamy goodness

Creamy goodness

I think the thing that people love so much about the formulation is that it’s fairly grippy -you have to work it into the skin quite firmly so you have time enough to give yourself a really good facial massage while you’re cleansing, and when it comes to wiping off with the muslin (shmuslin -I use a flannel), it doesn’t leave behind a film that you need another cleanse to get rid of. My skin feels calmed, soft and ready for serum when I’ve used it.

Now I just have to resist the lure of the limited edition trio…

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish in all its various forms starts from around £14 for 100ml and is available HERE.

Info: Purchase

Alpha H Balancing Cleanser with Aloe Vera review

God love you, QVC and your occasional insanely bumper value days where I got a huge bottle of Liquid Gold, 200ml of this cleanser and an eye serum FOR LESS THAN THE PRICE OF A NORMAL BOTTLE OF LIQUID GOLD. *brain quite literally explodes*

I love Liquid Gold more than I love my cat (sorry, Lester) but I’ve never fancied anything else in the Alpha H range, possibly because the packaging seems so…meh.

Alpha H Balancing cleanser

Alpha H Balancing cleanser

I know exactly how fickle and ridiculous that makes me sound but I mean: look at it -it looks like a supermarket own brand that you’d walk straight past.

Well, more fool me, because this stuff is amazing. I don’t know how I shoved it to the back of the cupboard, because now I’ve used this again it’s going straight back into rotation.

Lovely stuff

Lovely stuff

It goes on as a lovely light, non greasy cream that has a very faint scent -the nearest I can think of is my much-beloved Superdrug vitamin E hot cloth cleanser (which I’ve just looked for online and have gone into freefall as it’s not listed as stocked anymore….Gah). It’s got plenty of slip and it takes everything off, then comes off easily with a one-two with a hot flannel. The greatest thing about this cleanser though, is how my skin feels afterwards. Comfortable, supple, hydrated, soft…the superlatives keep on coming. Its blurb says that it ‘repairs a stripped and impaired acid mantle’ and I think, given the way this makes my skin feel, that it’s probably true, thanks to the Aloe and Vitamin E.

This one has just gone back to the top of the shop, and I’m going straight back to QVC to pick up 2 bottles of 200ml for £30, which is a saving of £20 (if bought from the Alpha H website).

Sometimes the best things really do come in underwhelming packaging, don’tcha think?

Info: Purchase

A week of cleansers!

Some of my stash

Some of my stash

Last week I emptied out all of my bathroom cabinets in order to try and wedge more stuff back in. This of course led me to find a whole trove of products that I haven’t used in a while -specifically cleansers while I’ve been on an Emma Hardie moringa balm binge-

I’ve had to be brutal; some just haven’t made the cut, but I have revisited a few that I wasn’t sure about (or had forgotten about, to be honest) and I’ll be talking about them this week.

Let’s get CLEAN, people!

Stila magnificent metals foil finish eye shadow dupe review

Gah! But have you seen the price tag on this one? I don’t think of Stila as an overly spendy brand (Their smudgesticks last for ever, don’t budge and are currently on offer here) but when I saw this on a stroll through M&S the other week, I had to have a go on it.

Stila Magnificent metals

Stila Magnificent metals

The colours are something else: golds, platinums, plums, aquas -and of course, Kitten-

For £33.50 (let me say that again -thirty three pounds fifty), you get a little dropper bottle of primer and a pot of foil pigment to dab on top. The principle is that you can apply a wash of sheer glitter or amp it up by layering the foil until you can single handedly rival the lighting rig at Pacha. This kind of look is usually not for me and I leave it to the whippersnappers. It’s a lovely product which for evening wear on unsullied, uncrepey eyelids would look fantastic *sighs heavily*.

I went for the sheer wash of gold, which was still pretty glittery. I blinked at myself a few times in the mirror, went through the dilemma of wiping-it-off versus doing-the-other-eye-to-match, did the other eye and then wandered over to Superdrug…

…where I found THIS

Look familiar?

Look familiar?

Now, I don’t want you to think that I’m secretly in the pay of Make Up Revolution, so heavily have they featured here recently, but I am a firm believer of cheap and cheerful make up for the odd times when you want something fun. Foundation, blush, powder -all worth splurging on in my opinion because you mostly wear them every day. Quality, longevity and superb finish all count and my maxim is pay as much as you can afford for the stuff you like.

For glittery eyeshadow that comes out once in a blue moon my purse stays firmly in my bag.

These foils, which come in 5 finishes (so not as many as Stila, but hey), cost FOUR POUNDS. And they come with a primer.

Left: Pure Platinum Right: Rose Gold

Left: Pure Platinum
Right: Rose Gold

The MUR foils come with a little tray for mixing your colour, should you want to, but this works just as well patted on with a finger.

Left: Rose Gold. Right: Pure Platinum

Left: Rose Gold. Right: Pure Platinum

Separate Primer

Separate Primer

You can also buy a separate bottle of primer (£3, above) which I’m currently trialing under other eyeshadows and is working quite well.

The difference, as far as I can see is that the Stila foil has larger particles of actual glitter in it, whereas the MUR version is finer and slightly more sheeny on application.

Below are photos with and without primer:

Swatched without primer: Left: Rose Gold. Right: Pure Platinum

Swatched without primer: Left: Rose Gold. Right: Pure Platinum

With primer

With primer

The light didn’t fall brilliantly on the silver with primer, but I think you can see that the primer makes all the difference in terms of intensity.

So there you have it. The difference of £29.50 for effectively the same product.

Stila is available HERE and MUR HERE

Have you tried either of these? Which do you prefer?

What you need to know: Purchase.