Our Rating: 5 stars

Stemulation is a recent find of TIA’s and I had noted recent rave reviews of its Rescue Repair Hand & Body Treatment and the Micro Derm Scrub, both of which sounded like my sort of thing. Then TIA offered me Stemulation’s Gentle Gel Cleanser ($35 in the shop) to test, just as the weather got hot and sticky. I’ve been using it for almost a month now and found it a remarkably effective and pleasant product. I’m not generally impressed by cleansers – they are either too expensive for not much benefit or just too harsh for my skin. This is a keeper, and I will buy it again.

I turned to Stemulation’s website to learn something about the made-in-the-USA brand. The clean and professional-looking site says that this anti-aging line contains products that encourage the regeneration of skin cells. It doesn’t explain much about the alleged “technology” though apparently the treatment products, at least, contain some kind of “unique derivative of stem cells” implied by the brand name. Whatever.

The Gel Cleanser’s ingredients are not overly mysterious and I think represent a good balance between standard chemical components and some nice anti-aging additions. There are surfactants, lubricants, emulsifiers, and foaming agents that are often seen – the only question marks might be propanediol, which turns out to be propylene glycol, I think, and phenoxyethanol, both of which merit some reservations in the TIA ingredients database. On the botanical side, besides aloe, there are number of great fruit and herb oils and extracts. The really appealing citrus smell must be due to orange and grapefruit peel oils; but there is also lavender, bergamot, chamomile, and an impressive number of antioxidant berry and fruit (mulberry, pomegranate, goji, acai, etc.) extracts.

The cleanser is indeed slightly gel-like. (Stemulation’s website notes that it “removes makeup and impurities without disturbing the delicate pH balance of the skin. It can also be used by men as a soothing shaving gel.”) And as an aside, I had the same experience Nisha mentioned in reviewing the Scrub: product tends to pool in the lid of the tube when it’s stored standing up, so be warned. As I mentioned it has a great citrus smell. But more importantly, it seems to clean thoroughly without being at all drying – excellent for anyone who’s over 50, or just has dry skin, or, ahem, both. I particularly noticed that when I’ve worn makeup, I was able to wash it all off with one go – while with my usual, admittedly cheaper cleanser, I’d wash my face two or three times to be sure I got it all. The Stemulation Cleanser effectively removes the makeup residue, and even in this sticky weather it’s really left me feeling clean. Which is the bottom line, of course.