[REVIEW] Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser With Cottonseed (Before and After)
Texture: Thick consistent cream
What you get: 130ml
*There are several websites that display different ingredients, including the Sephora one, so the list I’m referring to is from the Clarins website itself.
Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycerin, Stearic Acid (Emollient + Viscosity Controlling), Myristic Acid (Surfactant/Cleansing + Emulsifying + Perfuming), Potassium Hydroxide (Buffering), Dimethicone (Emollient), Lauric Acid, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate (Surfactant/Cleansing + Emulsifying + Viscosity Controlling), Tipa-Laureth Sulfate (Surfactant/Cleansing), Glycol Distearate (Emollient + Emulsifying + Viscosity Controlling), Glyceryl Behenate (Emollient + Emulsifying), Ozokerite (Viscosity Controlling + Emulsion Stabilising), Parfum/Fragrance, Propylene Glycol (Moisturizer/Humectant + Solvent + Viscosity Controlling), Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide (Surfactant/Cleansing), Tetrasodium EDTA (Chelating), Gossypium Herbaceum (Cotton) Seed Extract, Gypsophila Paniculata Root Extract, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Methylchloroisothiazolinone (Preservative), Methylisothiazolinone (Preservative), ♦️BHT, ♦️Benzyl Salicylate, ♦️Butylphenyl ♦️Methylpropional, ♦️Limonene, ♦️Linalool, Ci 77891/Titanium Dioxide (White Pigment)
[C1110D]: This is written at the end of every Clarins product ingredient list, it’s not an ingredient, it’s just a serial number to refer to the ingredient list.
Glycerine: Widely used as a quality Hydrator (occurs naturally in skin and its chemical structure attracts water). You can find this ingredient in most good skin-replenishing products.
Lauric Acid: Cleansing + Emulsifying + Potentially Anti-acne
Gossypium Herbaceum (Cotton) Seed Extract: Anti-bacterial + Leaf extracts have: Antioxidative + Wound Healing properties (Seed extracts tend to possess more or less the same properties as their leaves)
A lot of people assimilate alcohol and fragrances in skincare to dehydration and irritation. I would recommend that you watch this video: “Is Alcohol Safe in Skincare Products?” (by Liah Yoo, who worked at Korea's largest beauty company, AmorePacific and now also has her own brand: KraveBeauty) and consult the links provided in the infobox which refer to published scientific studies and articles. The main point is: yes, alcohol and fragrance can be very stripping and irritating to the skin, but it all depends on how they are used and combined in the final formulation and of their ratio, the reactions they have with other ingredients, etc…
BHT: (Antioxidant + Preservative) There is some contradicting research on this ingredient. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review expert panel has assessed this ingredient to be safe when used in cosmetic products. Some research shows that oral intake of high doses of BHT could lead to either cancer or significant lung/liver/kidney damage, while other research could not reproduce the same data. BHT used in cosmetic formulations is very low in concentration, so the general consensus is that it is safe. I personally think it’s present in low enough concentration in most formulations as to not cause any harm, after all, a lot of ingredients present in too high of concentrations are really bad for the body (you can die from water), so as long as the safety guidelines are being respected, fear is not found. I don’t really like seeing it in any cleansing skincare products since we usually also cleanse our eye area, but this Clarins cleanser specifically instructs to ‘avoid the eye area’ so I’m good with it. Final Report on the Safety Assessment of BHT.
Formulated for: Normal to combination skin types.
Gently cleanses. Non-drying, creamy facial cleanser—with soothing Cottonseed extract—water-activates into a silky foam that rinses away impurities, trapped makeup, excess oils and dead surface cells: Yes, this cleanser is quite gentle, it doesn’t strip away your skin of anything necessary. My cousin was even using this cleanser on her burnt skin and it was gentle enough as to not cause any further irritation or discomfort. As I say in every cleanser review: ‘‘Cleansing is the harshest step of any skincare routine’’. So finding a cleanser that is strong enough to remove impurities and actually clean your skin while still being gentle enough as to not irritate or dry it out can be quite challenging. But the Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser With Cottonseed does tick all those boxes. If you have normal to combination skin (which are the skin types this cleanser is made for), you’ll probably really enjoy using it. The cleansing experience itself is great because you only need the tiniest bit of amount to clean your face. Note: some reviews complained about this being over stripping or not gentle enough, I think they were just using too much product, so be careful with that as using more product will amount to more cleansing which will amount to a more drying effect.
Softens and soothes: No. For texture to soften you need an exfoliator, and this cleanser does not contain any chemical/physical/enzymatic exfoliators, and for your skin to get soothed out, you need soothing ingredients like Centella Asiatica, which this also does not have. It is probably a more soothing cleanser than most due to how gentle it is, but if you have inflamed or irritated skin you should be using something specifically created to soothe out skin like the Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream. Incorporating the Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser in a ‘soothing routine’ would be beneficial, but the cleanser itself on its own won’t do much.
Respects skin’s natural moisture balance: Definitely! This is one of my favorite part about this cleanser. The majority of face washes I’ve used tend to leave my skin on the dryer side, and although they aren’t particularly stripping, I wouldn’t feel comfortable walking around without putting at least a toner on to give myself a boost of hydration. However, with this cleanser, I don’t feel like I lose any hydration or moisture and I’ve tested it out a couple of days where I’ve only cleansed my face with it without using any products and my skin still felt completely fine and moisturized.
If you wear makeup, you’ll definitely need to take it off with an oil or micellar water beforehand, my experience with this cleanser is that it works very well to cleanse your skin, but when you put it on skin that has foundation, it doesn’t mix as well with the foundation; there’s kind of a barrier feeling to it, as if it was slipping on the foundation and not emulsifying with it. If you however don’t wear makeup, the cleanser will get rid of all the gunk on your face. If you wear eye makeup, as I mentioned above, this contains BHT, and the product instructions warn against using this on eyes. *The arrows in the after picture: a bit of foundation left on the folds of my skin.
There isn’t anything revolutionary about this product as it doesn’t contain ingredients that are particularly anti-aging or exfoliating or anti-oxidating. This cleanser is able to achieve its gentle properties by its combination of well chosen emollients and cleansing agents. It really reminds me of the Pyunkang Yul Low pH Pore Deep Cleansing Foam cleanser: the texture is more or less the same and both products religiously respect your skin barrier. I feel like the Pyunkang Yul one is an overall better product since it has more interesting ingredients and costs less (10$ in comparison to clarins 26$). But Clarins is a good match if you’re looking for something that you can more easily and readily find and if you’re looking for a more luxurious experience.
As for recommendations, as mentioned above, if you have normal to combination skin, I’d encourage you to try it out. If you have oily skin, depending on the oiliness levels of your skin, you may or may not like this cleanser, if your skin is extremely oily, a product like the Shiseido Senka Perfect Whip Cleansing Foam is a better match. If you have sensitive skin, there are a couple of perfuming ingredients (marked by a ♦️ in the ingredients list above), so I would not recommend it for you, try the Pyunkang Yul one mentioned above instead. If you have actively acneic skin, I would not recommend it for you since your skin is more prone to reacting badly to certain ingredients (like the fragrances), and you should be using products formulated specifically for your skin, check out this post instead :  Anti-Acne products that actually work + A Skincare routine.
Cleanses oil/gunk/dirt from the skin very well
Leave skin moisturized
You don’t need to rush to re-hydrate to re-moisturize your skin after it
A little goes a long way
Too pricey for a cleanser.
Doesn’t mix well with makeup, so it doesn’t really remove it
Not suitable for the eye area
☁️Score: 3.5/5 --- I really enjoyed using this Clarins cleanser, I don’t think it’s revolutionary in any way but it’s a good gentle cleanser that keeps your skin moisturized and that will last you a long while since you only need a bit of it to clean your whole face.