Ever since Tracie Martyn launched her Amla cleanser and my rosacea miraculously disappeared, I have been a firm believer that the single most important beauty product is facial cleanser. A good one will keep you looking young and fresh, close pores and help control acne and breakouts. A bad one will cause inflammation, dry and flaky skin, and clog the pores. I have just made an exciting new find and it is a mere $25 for 5.2oz: Seikisho Facial Cleansing Mousse
Japanese skincare products are typically (and I exclude the overpriced and unimpressive Sheisido from this generalization) extremely effective and even the fancy ones are priced at no higher than something you would expect to find on the 'posh shelf' in a drug store. The Japanese seem to set more more store by a healthy, bright complexion than anything else and I find that their products tend to focus more on delivering that kind of result than promising to rid you of every wrinkle.
Seikisho Facial Cleansing Mousse lives up to that tradition. This cleanser doesn't just make you clean, it makes you look as if you've never smoked or have ever staggered to bed later than 10.30pm in your entire life. When I first used this cleanser and looked in the mirror after drying my face, I actually said "wow!" outloud (I'm not at my most articulate at 7.30am). I had a similar (although slightly more subdued reaction) this morning - and that was after last night's Nick Cave concert at Madison Square Garden.
This cleanser is, as the name suggests, a mousse. You squirt some foam into your hand, massage over the face and neck and rinse off. After toweling dry, I also use Kose's Clear Cotton
cleansing pads ($5 for 60) to wipe off any residue. These are the best cosmetic wipe-aways I have ever come across. They are double-faced with one side a little rougher for cleaning the T-zone.
I have to confess that I am taking Seikisho at face value. The first two ingredients, mineral oil and petroleum distillates, can be dodgy. On one level they are entirely innocent regulars in most bathrooms - Baby Oil is, in fact, mineral oil and petroleum jelly is everyday Vaseline. If properly distilled, they are entirely safe. Improperly manufactured and they can contain carcinogenic by-products.
The key ingredient for improving the complexion is rice bran oil - a centuries-old Japanese face saver and known to be a potent antioxidant. Natural lipids are provided by oil from the seed of a plant called job's tears. There is also the anti-inflammatory, licorice, and moisturizing squalane. Not quite perfect, but a very good product for the price and a worthy candidate for our next round up of the Five Best at under $30.
Ingredients in Seikisho Facial Cleansing Mousse
Mineral oil, petroleum distillates, rice bran oil, sorbeth-30 tetraoleate, cycopentasiloxane, acrylates dimethicone copolymer, safflower seed oil, job's tears seed oil, licorice, peach kernal extract, peach leaf extract, butylene glycol, glyceryl behenate/eicosadioate, squalane, phenoxyethanol, fragrance.