Our Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by Marta on September 28, 2010


I don’t think I have come across a facial cleanser with clay as an ingredient before. Masks, of course, but not a cleanser. The clays (there are two) give La Vie Celeste’s Restorative Mother Of Pearl Exfoliating Cleanser ($40 in the TIA shop) an almost creamy texture that enables it to be massaged into the for a few luxurious moments before rinsing off. Doing so reveals a clean (but not squeakily so) complexion and skin that is lovely and soft to the touch.

The clays work as gentle exfoliators and pore closers, which is obvious really and makes me wonder why they aren’t used in cleansers more often. Not being a fan of thick and creamy cleansers (which usually feel too clogging and greasy for my skin), I find the consistency of La Vie Celeste’s perfectly pleasant. But there is much more to it than look and feel.

A good cleanser is the foundation of great skin care (as I bore anyone with who cares to listen) – especially if your skin in sensitive (mine is), prone to rosacea or breakouts and/or looking dull and worn. This one really qualifies, due in large part to its top billing mother of pearl.

Mother of pearl is also called nacre. Along with various amino acids and minerals, pearl is made up of calcium carbonate crystals and the protein conchiolin. Conchiolin is what gives pearls their rainbow-like luminescence, and is the primary source for this ingredient’s anti-aging claims. As documented in the Journal of Cell Biology in 2006, conchilion acts like the protein keratin (which is found in skin, bones and hair), and has the ability to hydrate skin cells, promote skin cell metabolism, facilitate repair of damaged skin cells, and enhance peripheral circulation.

It doesn’t stop there. Antioxidants also play a key role in the form of tea, apple, gingko biloba and ginseng extracts. Better still, there are no nasty foaming agents (this is not a sudsy cleanser) or any thing else to dislike.

Restorative Mother Of Pearl Exfoliating Cleanser teams well with the Restorative Illuminating Toner ($35).  Gone are the days when toners had to do away with the lingering residue of a bad cleanser and so now they have to make a meaningful contribution to my regimen. La Vie Celeste’s toner backs up the cleanser’s antioxidants and then some. I love that the first ingredient is aloe and that it is closely followed by vitamin B. Plus there is the very useful addition of horse chestnut (helpful for broken veins).

I know that I am going to turn back to this cleanser and toner again and again in the weeks to come. As the holidays approach, I can see that this duo will make one or two of my nearest and dearests a very welcome gift.