Clay cleansers may resemble a water-downed version of a clay mask, at least I think about them this way. They are usually a gentle and effective way to cleanse the skin especially when you have acne. Like a clay mask they help to purify and balance the skin, and as we may not always have the time to apply a mask a minute or two of cleansing can bring somewhat similar results. I’ve tried a few clay cleansers, and I picked my top three.
Alverde Waschcreme Clear Heilerde
My first clay cleanser, which technically isn’t a clay cleanser because it contains loess not clay but similar, is Alverde Waschcreme Clear Heilerde. Let’s translate it to Alverde Clear Healing Clay Cream Cleanser, for the sake of understanding the name. This is one of many cleansers that I’ve been using off and on for a couple of years now. Alverde is a brand of a German chemist’s chain called DM, which operate in a few European countries. Alverde is DM’s ‘natural’ brand as well as vegan. You can’t go wrong with DM. Not all of their products might be spectacular, but they are always affordable. If you look for a decent product at a low price, DM is the place to go.
This cleanser has a consistency of cream/lotion, not a heavy cream but not too runny. It does not lather at all. It’s not drying, nor is it irritating despite few types of fragrance added. It has a pretty emollient base, almond, corn, and sunflower oils, also no harsh surfactants. There’s soothing green tea (organic), which is a great anti-inflammatory ingredient. There’s not much to say about this one. It’s pleasant to use, and it cleanses the skin thoroughly. I wouldn’t necessarily use it to remove sunscreen or makeup, but it can deal with the first one for sure. It doesn’t irritate; I actually consider it as a soothing cleanser when my skin is aggravated sometimes. The cleanser is cheap €2.25 for 100 ml, and the price hasn’t changed since 2009 (you can check it on DM’s website). If you are in Germany or any other country where there’s DM then go and grab it, you won’t regret it. I would also check out the entire shop, but it may take you a while…
The cleanser costs €2.25 for 100 ml at any DM shop and online.
Ingredients: AQUA, ZEA MAYS OIL, SORBITOL, COCO-GLUCOSIDE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, LOESS, DISODIUM COCOYL GLUTAMATE, GLYCERIN, XANTHAN GUM, SODIUM COCOYL GLUTAMATE, PRUNUS AMYGDALUS DULCIS (SWEET ALMOND) OIL, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, TOCOPHEROL, MALTODEXTRIN, CITRIC ACID, LEVULINIC ACID, p-ANISIC ACID, SODIUM LEVULINATE, PARFUM (NATURAL ESSENTIAL OILS), LINALOOL , CITRONELLOL (www.dm.de)
Ren Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser
I think this product suffered the least after Unilever had acquired Ren. As many products were stripped down and reformulated, this remained pretty much the same. How can you make it cheaper? It’s a clay cleanser after all.
This cleanser is the thickest and the richest in potential irritants, aka fragrance and essential oils. However, it’s Ren so you should expect a high amount of essential oils, as it’s one of those ‘natural’ brands. So if fragrance and essential oils are not for you, then definitely skip this one. I must say that the amount is not overpowering, at least for me, but there’s a heap of different types of oils in here. However, this product also contains a few good ingredients, obviously, the clay (as kaolin) and zinc gluconate. Zinc, in general, is excellent for acne and the skin. Willow bark extract which helps to purify the epidermis (willow bark is used to produce salicylic acid), and mayblossom extract which helps to balance and even out the skin. As for the use, this is almost as dense as a regular clay mask, though it washes off pretty quickly and doesn’t turn into a stone on your face. It won’t do much of a job at removing sunscreen or makeup, it can, but it would be a hustle with the consistency. The cleanser leaves my skin smooth and without any feeling of dryness. I use it to wash my skin, in the morning or as a second cleanse. I like this face wash mainly for travelling because it can double up as a clay mask. I leave it for about 5 minutes, the results are satisfactory, and it cuts on the products I travel with.
The Ren Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser retails for £21, and you can get it from lookfantastic.com and other retailers.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Kaolin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Glucoside, Glycerin, Benzyl Alcohol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Zinc Gluconate, Bisabolol, Oryzanol, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Linalool, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Leptospermum Scoparium Oil, Tocopherol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil, Citral, Xanthan Gum, Lactic Acid, Citronellol, Farnesol, Limonene, Crataegus Oxyacantha Stem Extract, Glucose (renskincare.com)
Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser
I think this the OG of Sunday Riley (SR) products. As a few of the first products that SR released have been discontinued; this one stays strong, at least I hope. Ceramic Slip was my second favourite product from SR; I loved the Artemis oil. The zesty lemony smell and its balancing properties made it one of my most favourite products. Unfortunately, it’s been replaced with that green, unidentified thing, which I won’t be trying in the near future — anyway, going back to the cleanser.
Ceramic Slip contains two types of clay, French green clay and Moroccan rhassoul clay both helpful in regulating the sebum production and improving the overall state of the skin. I must admit this product does what it says, and it gives the porcelain look which SR promise. The results are guaranteed by the clays as well as the vitamin C ester present in the product and the essential oils. I suggest not to wash this cleanser off after a couple of seconds. Instead massage it into your skin for a minute or two, to get the best results. Despite the high price tag, which SR justify with the addition of supposedly expensive French clay (once a product has a something to do with France, the price goes up…), it’s my go-to cleanser, especially during summer months when my skin gets oilier. There’s nothing better than washing your face with Ceramic Slip in the morning; it has a smooth consistency, not your typical clay cleanser. It’s something like a gel/cream, I would say. It doesn’t foam up; it just creates a bit of a lather that allows for your hands to slip around your face and remove impurities. Afterwards, the skin is refreshed, smooth and not stripped of moisture. I particularly recommend this one for oily and acne-prone skin types. My only problem with this product is the addition of black pepper fruit oil, which may be irritating for some, especially as they are a few different essential oils in here. So if you are sensitive or have particularly dry skin, perhaps this cleanser might not be right for you.
Ingredients: Water, Montmorillonite (French Green Clay), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocopolyglucoside Tartrate, Sodium Cocopolyglucoside Citrate, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Ester), Piper Nigrum (Black Pepper) Fruit Oil, Botswellia Carterii (Frankincense) Oil, Jasmine Officinale Oil, Santalum album (Sandalwood) Oil, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium Edta (the outer box)
Update 04/03/2021: The Alverde Waschcreme Clear Heilerde has been repackaged. Here’s a photo of the new tube so you can easily recognise it while shopping.