Five Best cleansers 2013

A little spring cleaning is called for now that the new season is almost upon us. Facial cleansers that don’t dry out the skin, but leave it brightened, supple smooth and, of course, clean are the foundation of good skincare. My favorites come with gentle exfoliators, anti-aging ingredients and natural sudsers, and redefine soap bars. Here are my Five Best cleansers for 2013.

  • La Vie Celeste Exfoliating Mother of Pearl Cleanser

    La Vie Celeste Exfoliating Mother of Pearl Cleanser ($40/4 oz in the shop). The brightening cleanser. This is the third year that LVC’s cleanser has been a Five Best winner and it remains one of my all-time favorite cleansers. This doesn’t foam so you need to get into a new mindset and enjoy the pretty color (due to the pink clay) and lovely texture as well as the good things it is imparting. The key ingredient is Mother of pearl, a source of the protein conchiolin, which acts like the protein keratin (which is found in skin, bones and hair), and has the ability to hydrate skin cells and facilitate repair of damaged skin cells. The exfoliation is gentle, but you can expect a brighter, polished complexion.
  • Red Flower Lymphatic Phytopower Sea Cleanser and Masque

    Red Flower Lymphatic Phytopower Sea Cleanser and Masque ($42/8.8 oz in the shop). The antioxidant cleanser. I love the all-natural ingredients, the way it makes my skin feel and that it does double duty as a mask. Whether rinsed immediately or left on for a few moments, Red Flower’s cleanser is calming and moisturizing. The standout ingredients here are juniper, sunflower (helichrysum) and three types of antioxidant mushroom. There’s always a scent with Red Flower and this one is light and citrusy.
  • Arcona Toner Tea Bar

    Arcona Toner Tea Bar ($38/4oz). The redefining soap bar. I once thought I wouldn’t be seen dead with a soap bar, but they have been cleaning up their act and Arcona’s are a real pleasure to use. The soap suds are courtesy of sapponins from yucca and aloe plants and so this is free of chemical surfactants. Witch hazel gives this soap bar part of its scent, and the fragrance is rounded out by earthy tea aromas. There are black, white and green teas here for a strong antioxidant effect. Witch hazel is also an antioxidant as well as a useful astringent.
  • ReLuma Illuminating Anti-Aging Cleanse

    ReLuma Illuminating Anti-Aging Cleanser ($35/1.7 ozin the shop). The anti-aging cleanser. This heavy hitter has ReLuma’s key anti-aging active, human conditioned media. Given the healing and wrinkle repair power of this ingredient, it is worth leaving this on for a few minutes before cleansing. This cleanser does foam a little on contact with water and the soapy stuff is provided by quillaja saponin, a Chilean tree that provides a natural surfactant. It is given a hand by coca betaine, another gentle cleansing agent. There’s also a spot of calendula (marigold), an anti-inflammatory. The only controversial ingredient is, inevitably, a preservative: methylisothiazolinone. Men will also like this scent-free formula.
  • Living Nature Vitalising Cleanser

    Living Nature Vitalising Cleanser ($35/3.4 oz). The creamy cleanser. Normally I don't like cream cleansers as I find them too rich and my skin doesn't feel cleansed. But this one is really different. It leaves my skin looking really clean, without being stripped – even removing makeup. It rinses off well without leaving any residue. I like the floral honey smell as well. There’s nourishing avocado and macadamia oils and the natural cleansing agent is extract of pomaderris kumerahou flowers.