Free shipping on all domestic orders over $39

La Vie Celeste Restorative Exfoliating Mother of Pearl Cleanser & Illuminating Toner Review

is a Solution for:
Dry Skin, Dull Skin, Large Pores, Uneven Skin
September 28, 2010 Reviewed by Marta 18 Comments
TRU Rating
A gentle, cleansing duo for sensitive skin


Loaded with antioxidants and no foaming agents


Cleanser may be too creamy for oily skin

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) 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.

  • October 11, 2012

    by PAMELA Gleason

    I love the fact that this cleanser removes everything from my pores and then closes them back up again. Am amazed at the effectiveness of this unique little cleanser. Great for my mature, dry and somewhat sensitive skin. Never would have known about this product if it wasn't for TIA reviews. So grateful for this site!

  • June 6, 2011

    by Emily

    Just thought I would chime in. I loved the writeup on La Vie Celeste's cleanser and toner when it first came out (and was already impressed with the rest of the line) so I bought it during the winter...but let it sit in the cabinet until the warm weather arrived. So I've been using both for a few weeks now. (I do wash my face first with the Nutra-Lift non-soap cleanser to remove dirt and makeup, so as to conserve LVC.) I'm now a convert: both products are great, effective, and gentle. Somehow the city in the summer just feels so dirty and this is the antidote!

  • May 22, 2011

    by Marta

    Hi Jane, that's a great question. It would definitely be a good cleanser for a 26 year old. I firmly believe that the best thing a 20-something can do is invest in a good cleanser and this one is really good.

  • May 22, 2011

    by Jane

    Is this cleanser appropriate for a 26 year old?

  • March 23, 2011

    by Teri Dourmashkin

    Sean, both the pink and white clays are very gentle light clays that remove impurities, gently cleanse and exfoliate. They are both suitable for all skin types, but particularly sensitive, mature and dry skin. They are not drying at all and can actually faciliate skin renewal, increase circulation and help soften skin. That is why I felt they would work so beautifully in the La Vie Celeste cleanser. So, yes, it would be great for your skin type for daily fact many of our customers who use it are over 40!

  • March 22, 2011

    by Sean

    I've always thought of clay as being very drying. Do you think this cleanser would be ok daily for dry-ish, over-40 skin?

  • February 16, 2011

    by Steve

    I have been using La Vie Celeste for a short time now and my results are allready just amazing to me. The surface of my skin is re-newing. Its brighter, tighter and just overall more youthful. I am a male who enjoys taking care of himself, including my skin. LVC is very affordable, easy to use and I don't have to buy alot of products. I have a clenser/toner/face cream. Simple. Thanks to Joe for his recomendation. Works GREAT !

  • February 8, 2011

    by marta

    Great tip Joe. I'm going to lend mine to my husband and see if he likes it too.

  • February 8, 2011

    by Joe

    Just wanted to pass a hint onto some of the men on here. I've been using the La Vie Celeste Mother of Pearl cleanser as a shave lotion. I've never gotten a smoother shave. No irritation, no razor burn, no tugging on my beard, and the best part, you only need a dime amount size on your palm - better yet, you only need to let is stay on for 30 seconds and shave. I usually have to leave regular shave cream on for a lot longer. Try it!

  • December 11, 2010

    by VickyL

    Tracie Martyn is wonderful but too expensive. After using the LVC for a couple of months I really am happy with it. It has become my primary cleanser (toner is great too).

    I also found that I needed something extra to remove the eye makeup. TIA must be training me right! I went to my cupboard and used a bit of avocado oil even before I saw Marta's comment that she uses olive oil to remove eye makeup. It does work perfectly.

    I still use Skin Perfection clear skin cleanser with glycolic on my oily T-zone a couple of times a week. Really helps pores.

    I always have some Eminence Organics Stone Crop cleanser (the poor wo-man's tracie martyn). For me, it's a mild gel that I can dilute, get a bit of foam and rinse the sleep out of my eyes in the am. Other times I use it with a dash of Prep where needed. My skin seems to need a change up once or twice a week.

  • December 8, 2010

    by Danielle

    Thank you very much for the feedback! It is great. I am getting used to the makes my face feel really smooth and the tone seems to be a bit brighter. One of the main reasons I tried LVC is because of the cost associated with Amla. I will look into the olive oil..thanks for the suggestion :) All the best!

  • December 8, 2010

    by marta

    Hi Danielle, I remember hearing that when Tracie Martyn formulated Amla one of the hardest things to get right was foaming without using harsh chemicals. Same for makeup dissolving. They certainly account for part of the cost. I like Amla, but many people find it too drying. There are always trade offs, my dear. In cheaper cleansers, I tend to avoid foamers because there's usually a compromise with one surfactant or another. I see LVC as something that is great to massage in for all its ingredients and rinse of knowing your skin is being exfoliated. But you have to get into a different mindset and not have the expectations you would for foaming and makeup removing product. You may end up going back to Amla, but a low cost alternative might be LVC plus some pure olive oil to remove makeup (it really works).

  • December 7, 2010

    by Junko

    Danielle, Tracie Martyn Amla Cleanser is my favorite cleanser! But it's oh so expensive! Haven't tried La Vie Celeste, but I'd say Tracie spoils anyone who uses it! Thank you Marta...for a bit of spoiling, you know exactly what to point to for that :)

  • December 6, 2010

    by Danielle

    I recently received my order. I've noticed that I don't get the lather that I usually do with other cleansers. I also notice that it's not really taking off my eye make-up. Am I not using enough of the product when cleansing my face? I really like the tracie martyn amla cleanser...hope I didn't get too spoiled. Any thoughts?

  • November 17, 2010

    by marta

    Yes, both the color and texture are due to the clay. Tell us how you get on with it Isanna after using it.

  • November 17, 2010

    by Isanna

    Just received my order. I was somewhat put off by the color of the cleanser. Is that because of pink clay?

  • September 28, 2010

    by Angela J


    Even though I still love my L'uvalla Milk Cleanser and Orange Toner, I'm running low on both and I think I'll replace them with La Vie Celeste. A perfect example of my obsession, that you and TIA continue to stoke, to find something even better. Thanks for the enabling!

  • September 28, 2010

    by Julie Kay

    I'm on record as not using traditional cleansers... but this one looks lovely, as does the toner, which I do use. What a lovely marriage these two make! I'm even considering... =) ~jk

Join the discussion! Leave a comment below.

My Comment

Add a comment...

-or- Cancel Comment
* Required Fields
truth in aging's five best

Truth In Aging's Five Best

The very best to choose from for your skin concerns.

Read More

truth in aging videos

Truth In Aging Videos

Helpful how-tos and reviews from Marta and friends.

Watch Now

meet our contributors

Meet Our Contributors

The TIA community consists of our trusted reviewers.

Meet Them

be inspired

Be Inspired

Inspiring thoughts and women who are aging gracefully.

Read More