It was not love at first sight. Nor even on the second date. However, after a week of getting to know Epicuren Discovery Milk Cleanser ($22-37), we are ready to start going steady.

This is billed as a facial cleanser for the sensitive of skin and it treated my eczema-prone (this week my skin is not happy) with the gentlest wisp of a touch. At the same time, it really cleanses leaving skin soft and downy, rather than scrubbed. An unexpected - but highly welcome bonus - is that it closes pores. I had a couple of stubbornly open ones on my nose and for the first time in living memory there is a total shutdown. Quite amazing.

Back to those first couple of dates. The odor is faint (and therefore not a big deal), but definitely odd. I want to say it is like slightly sour milk, but that has to be me subconsciously extrapolating from the name, texture and color (all of a milk theme). It also took me a little while to get the hang of how much to use. Once out of the bottle and rubbed into wet hands, it becomes transparent and that seemed to spur me to keep adding more. The result was a large amount of soap flaky residue in the sink. I found that a small pump is all that is needed (which, to be fair, is what is advised by the instructions).

I was first attracted Epicuren Discovery Milk Cleanser when researching my post on solutions for sensitive, oily skin. I also remembered that Jimmy (a picky chap in such matters) likes Epicuren's sun block, called Sport Treat. For the sensitive and oily, vitamin B (rather than the more commonly prescribed, but usually irritating, vitamin A) can be really helpful.

Vitamin B is proven to prevent zits and even acne and this Epicuren cleanser has it in the form of panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), which is the specific form that a Hong Kong doctor and pioneer of vit B for acne treatments prescribes for sebum control. One of the most dominant ingredients is kukui nut oil, also known as candlenut. This is supposed to cure all sorts of skin ailments, from sunburn to eczema; although it must be said that I haven't yet found any research to back this up. Ruscus Aculeatus (Butcher's Broom) is an anti-inflammatory that also soothes cuts and infections.

Camphor is one of the other ingredients and it is likely that this moth-ball destined botanical is responsible for the aforementioned smell. It's not the most obvious thing to add to a cleanser for sensitive skin. It can be an irritant and too much of it is carcinogenic. However, Jekyll and Hyde-like, it can also be helpful against acne due to its antiseptic properties. Water Lily has a similar role. In addition, there are plenty of antioxidant extracts from yeast and tea, while horse chestnut will help reinforce broken capillaries and licorice smooths out hyperpigmentation.

In short, Epicuren's cleanser has a botanical remedy for most maladies that are likely to inflict the epidermis. For anyone who is the walking definition of problem skin, it is worth hooking up with.


Distilled Water, Glycerin, Kukui Nut Oil, Helianthus Annulus (Hybrid Sunflower) Oil, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Macadamia Glycerides, Essential Oils, Centella Asiatica Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Nymphaea Alba Flower (Water Lily) Extract, Evening Primrose Oil, Cinnamomum Camphora (Camphor) Leaf Extract, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis), Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Ruscus Aculeatus (Butcher’s Broom) Root Extract, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein, Hydrolyzed Milk Protein, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Extract, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Rosemary Extract.