Let me get right to the point.... if the Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Hydrating Creme Cleanser were the launch product for some no-name start-up company, they would be doomed. The only thing the Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Hydrating Cleanser has going for it is a pleasant scent, impressive packaging and the cache' of the Estee Lauder products empire. I didn't purchase the cleanser...it came as a "gift with purchase" and accompanied a perfume which I bought for my mother for her birthday. It serves me right for not giving Mom the Re Nutriv Cleanser as well as the perfume, but I decided to keep it and test it because I have such fond memories of Estee Lauder from years gone by, and I am always on the lookout for a great creamy facial cleanser. I expected it to be MUCH better than it turned out to be.

After giving it an honest and fair trial, there is nothing about the "cleansing or hydrating" performance of the Re-Nutriv Intensive Hydrating Creamy Cleanser that justifies the $39 price tag (4.2 oz) for me.  It has a pleasant scent and a nice texture, but so does Ponds Cold Cream, which sells for $4 per jar. A big 4$ jar. You may remove the Estee Lauder Hydrating Cleanser by either rinsing or tissue-ing off, but in both cases  traces of product remain, which causes a bit of an oily feel. The marketing materials promote the cleanser as being "soap free", (like Ponds), but neither the Estee Lauder website nor a Google search provided me a complete or scientific ingredients list to comprehensively clarify what actually IS in the cleanser. My "gift with purchase" 2 oz sample did not include an ingredients list in the package, nor are the ingredients listed on the tube itself.

Ingredients are important, especially at this price point,and my quest to get the whole story was frustrating and disappointing.  It was much more difficult to track that information down than it should have been. After two hours of fruitlessly searching online for ingredients (including the Estee Lauder site itself), I finally resorted to emailing the company directly with my ingredients query, which in todays' increasingly consumer savvy (and value oriented) world, is really a marketing oversite. Interestingly, the Estee Lauder web site offers "a live chat" feature for customer service and even has a specific "tab" for inquiries about ingredients, so it must be a regular request. So much for the "live chat"....three days later I recieved a form letter email listing the ingredients.

After a review of the list, there is little that is truly innovative for a cleanser.  It is likely that the greasy traces left behind are because olive fruit oil and safflower seed oil are major ingredients, as a percentage. To be fair, if someone has painfully dry skin, this would be better than a "soap" and it certainly beats any cleanser containing sulfates, but there are so many other great soap-free cleansers available. In May of 2008 and March of 2009,  Marta posted an article for the  five best facial cleansers, and when you read the ingredients in those products, you can see innovation, powerful organics,  antioxidants,  and some great value. Marta also recommends Ren Zostera Marina Comfort Cleansing Milk,  and I heartily recommend either the Mychelle Honeydew Cleanser or the Nia24 Creamy Cleanser. It isn't that there is anything really "wrong" with the Re-Nutrive product.... the addition of green tea leaf extract is nice, and I would consider squalene a great addition if this were a moisturizer instead of cleanser. The butylene glycol is a mild humectant (retains moisture).  But for $39 for a 4oz tube, there had better be some pretty spectacular age-defying potions in a creamy cleanser,

Estee Lauder has a proud history and has brought to market some outstanding products over the years. Sadly, there isn't anything about the Re-Nutriv Hydrating Cleanser worth boasting about.

Ingredients:

Wateraquaeau, caprylic/capric triglyceride,  butylene glycol,  glycerin,  olea europaea (olive) fruit oil,  carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil,  phenyl trimethicone, pentylene glycol, linoleic acid , camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, hordeum vulgare (barley) extract, sucrose stearate, squalane,cholesterol,salvia officinalis (sage) leaf powder ,caffeine, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ extract, isopentyldiol, hydrogenated lecithin, carbomer, ppg-20 methyl glucose ether, glyceryl laurate, tromethamine  fragrance (parfum), phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, caramel, yellow 5 (ci 19140)