Friday, 28 March 2014

Review : Superfacialist Neroli Daily Brightening Cleanser

I’m quite happy with this purchase from the Superfacialist range. I picked it up in Boots -15 minutes before closing time- without enough time to properly research the ingredients (which I’m usually very particular about, but my cleanser ran out that day :( The horror!) Rush-purchases usually turn out to be poor-purchases for me but this one worked out quite well!

Aqua (Water), Vitis vinifera (Grape) seed oil, Polysorbate 60, Glycerin, Sorbitan stearate, Cetearyl alcohol, Mangifera indica (Mango) seed oil, Isononyl isononanoate, Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Citrus aurantium dulcis (Sweet orange) peel oil, Citrus aurantium amara (Bitter orange) oil, Citrus limon (Lemon) peel oil, Lavandula hybrida (Lavandin) oil, Litsea cubeba oil, Canarium luzonicum (Elemi) gum nonvolatiles, Cananga odorata (Ylang ylang) flower oil, Pullulan, Benzoic acid, Sodium hydroxide, Dehydroacetic acid, Sodium hyaluronate, Hibiscus sabdariffa (Hibiscus) flower extract, Potassium sorbate, Sodium benzoate, Citric acid, Citral, Farnesol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool

{ It’s a long-ass list so I’ve put some important ones in bold: }
Aqua - …
Grape seed oil - non-fragrant, moisturising, and a well-known anti-oxidant
Polysorbate 60 - a surfactant
Glycerin - an emollient
Sorbitan stearate - a thickening agent
Cetearyl alcohol - a fatty alcohol (moisturising)
Mango seed oil - an emollient. Anti-inflammatory and high in fatty acids.
Isononyl isononanoate - an emollient
Phenoxyethanol - a preservative
Carbomer - a thickening agent. Gives products a gel-like texture.
Sweet orange peel oil, bitter orange oil, lemon peel oil - I’m lumping these together as fragrant plant extracts. Orange peel oil detoxifies the skin and helps improve skin tone.  Bitter orange oil is refreshing and calms the skin by helping control oil production. Lemon peel oil acts as an astringent and antiseptic.
Lavandula hybrida (Lavandin) oil - another fragrant plant extract. Supposedly has anti-bacterial properties.
Litsea cubeba oil - a mild astringent. Has a lemony smell.
Canarium luzonicum (Elemi) gum nonvolatiles - fragrance ingredient
Ylang ylang flower oil - purifying. Another fragrant plant extract
Pullulan - an emulsifier
Benzoic acid - a preservative
Sodium hydroxide - a surfactant. Used to adjust PH levels
Dehydroacetic acid - a preservative
Sodium hyaluronate - AKA the star ingredient of Hydraluron. Boosts hydration and helps prevent moisture loss
Hibiscus flower extract - anti-oxidant, contains AHAs
Potassium sorbate & Sodium benzoate - preservatives
Citric acid - used to adjust PH levels
Citral, Farnesol, Geraniol, Limonene & Linalool - fragrance ingredients

I felt sufficiently familiar with most of the ingredients so I thought it would be a safe purchase. Now that I’ve had time to look them all up … I think there are far too many fragrance extracts for a product that doesn’t even smell nice! (More on that later) It has a high content of grape seed and mango seed oil which is nice but I’m not fond of lemon peel oil, which is very acidic and messes up the skin’s PH level. The cleanser does have other ingredients that adjust PH levels, but I have no idea whether it's PH balanced!

On the back of the tube, it’s written that the product is formulated with hibiscus extract “to deliver optimum cleansing benefits”. That didn’t make sense then but I think it refers to the exfoliation properties of AHAs which are found in the hibiscus plant. It’s also probably why this is labelled as a “brightening” cleanser. As for the hyaluronic acid, “renowned for its hydrating benefits” … that all goes down the sink.

As an aside, Superfacialist also do a Rose Cleanser, which was my initial choice but in the few minutes I had to read the label two things made me change my mind. The first was shea butter, which acne and spot sufferers are advised to avoid. I’ve used products with shea butter without any problems but I didn’t want to chance it with something I wasn’t able to try beforehand. The next was fragrance - not the same as fragrant plant extracts/essential oils. Fragrance is an irritant and I thought it might give the cleanser a floral scent. Which I equate to the smell of air freshener so no thank you.

As it turns out, I might have better off with the smell of pot pourri because the smell of this cleanser isn’t at all pleasant. It has a funny citrusy smell … kinda like cheaply scented lemon cleaning products :/ I do not megusta.

I was expecting a cream cleanser but it’s actually a gel. Not my fave formulation, but that’s just my preference. (If I was clever and knew what carbomer was, I would have known it's a gel.) When massaged over the skin, it foams up slightly and feels quite cool and refreshing.
I use it in the morning and evening as my second cleanser to remove the last traces of ick and grime and it does the job. For the sake of experimentation, I tried using it on its own to remove make-up and suncream and it’s a complete fail. I’m ok with that since I didn’t intend for it to replace my oil cleanser.

The Verdict
Overall, I’d put this in the “average” product category. I don’t really dislike it (it works) but neither am I particularly fond of it (smell, texture). I don’t like it as much as my previous cleanser from Decleor (Aroma White C Brightening Cleansing Foam) but that costs £23.50 and Superfacialist costs £7.99. I got it for even less with 1/3 off the price for £5.33 so it’s a bargain by comparison.

I’ve been using this for over two weeks, and as far as the effects of daily use go, I can vouch for it not causing my skin to break out. The “brightening” effect? No. Assuming brighter skin = exfoliated skin, AHAs work best when left on the skin not washed off in a minute, so I’m doubtful of the brightening claim. As much as I think proper cleansing is the most important step in your skincare routine, if I’m going to spend (more) money on anything, it’s going to be on products that stay on my face for longer than five minutes. All I want a cleanser to do is cleanse and cleanse effectively. Minimal/no harmful ingredients. Maximum benefit with ingredients like salicylic acid, anti-oxidants, etc. that complement my routine but I’m not paying a premium for them. I’m happy to spend £50 on an anti-oxidant treatment (as much as one can be when parting with money) but a £50 anti-oxidant cleanser? Forget it. So for a cleanser that cost little over five pounds, I have pretty low expectations!

Would I recommend it?
If you’re looking for a cheap cleanser, this might be for you. It beats a lot of cleansers in the same price range, many of which are formulated with mineral oil, sodium lauryl sulfate and alcohol. It has too much fragrance for my liking though. I don’t mind products with fragrant plant extracts (like this Carrot Butter Cleanser), but I don’t like products with fragrance added with no apparent benefit. Also if you’re thinking of using it as your first cleanser to remove make-up/suncream, don’t bother. As a second cleanse, it’s ok. The smell and gel-formulation have put me off repurchasing but it’ll do in the meantime!

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