When I received my bottle of Dr. Alkaitis Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser ($65), I had pretty high hopes. The ingredients list looked pretty awesome: a cleansing base chock full of organic oils with some great helper ingredients (including some of my personal favorites, chamomile, seaweed, and aloe vera). Also, the packaging was slim and chic in a delightfully unisex way and I loved the pump dispenser. I expect from my cleanser: thorough cleansing (enough to remove light face makeup or any remnants of heavier makeup left by my remover), relief for my dry, irritated skin, a pleasant user experience (smell, texture, etc.), and good value for my money.

The cleanser, which is a light orange gel, comes out in very small pumps which can then be worked into a kind of low, creamy lather with a bit of water. You’ll see a few small bubbles, but it definitely isn’t a foam, and it isn’t quite thick enough to be called a cream cleanser either. It’s basically a low-lather soap, which makes perfect sense considering the castile cleansing base. At first I liked this texture; however, I did run into some issues.

The cleanser has very little slip to it, which can make it somewhat challenging to glide across the face. This is doable with the fingers, but it was hard to use my beloved Clarisonic. You want the brush bristles to be able to move freely over the surface of your skin and I didn’t feel like this cleanser really facilitated that. I was able to overcome this problem by using multiple pumps (about four or five for my face, neck, and chest each). Each pump dispenses a small amount of product, and the bottle is also small (a two-month supply, according to the Dr. Alkaitis website), so I felt like I was wasting the product, especially at $65 a bottle.

The scent of this product is kind of hard to explain. I would say herbal-y but not like any herb I could recognize in the ingredients list or otherwise. I didn’t particularly care for it, but it wasn’t overly bothersome and I never noticed it outside of the shower so this wasn’t a big drawback for me.

In terms of the effect on my skin, I would say it was okay but I wasn’t wowed. When you rinse off the cleanser, while your skin is still damp, it gives you that kind of “squeaky clean” feeling I associate with traditional bar soaps, and I don’t care for that. I also associate that feeling with exacerbating my dry skin. Fortunately, this product did not do that, despite the colder weather and indoor heating I have experienced lately. When I dried my skin, it felt smooth and soft, not especially hydrated, but not any drier either.

I was pleased with this product’s cleansing abilities, though it makes no claims as a makeup remover and definitely is not one. If you wear makeup, you will absolutely need to use a separate remover all over your face beforehand, as long as you can stand the extra step.

Maybe I set my expectations too high from the get go, but overall I felt pretty disappointed by this product. Although most of my dislikes are minor (the “squeaky” feeling, the smell, and the Clarisonic issue), I just don’t feel like it’s worth $65 for a two-month supply (which might be even less when using multiple pumps). I’m willing to save up for more expensive products, but on my budget I have to really feel like it’s worth it. I will definitely finish the product I have, but I wouldn’t purchase it. However, if you don’t mind the soap feeling, you don’t use a skincare brush, and you don’t mind the price tag, there isn’t anything that would keep my from recommending this product to you. It’s fairly traditional skincare with a bit of an upscale twist.

Ingredients: Organic Castile Cleansing Base (compounded from virgin, cold pressed organic Olive*, organic Shea*, Organic Jojoba*, organic Coconut*, organic Sesame*, organic Castor* and organic Borage* oils), Organic Aloe Vera Gel *, Organic Herbal Skin Repair Complex (made up of Chamomile*, Plantain*, Black Elder*, Greater Nettle*, Myrrhº, Bitter Orange*, Rosemary*, Marsh Mallow*, Benzoinº, Marigold*, True Lavender*, Sea Wrackº and Atlantic Seaweedº), Vegetable Glycerin, Citrus seed extract, Natural vitamin A complex, Natural vitamin C complex, Natural vitamin E complex (D-alpha, beta, gamma, delta tocopherols), 100% pure Essential Oils

*Certified organically grown

º Ethically wild-crafted