The Cleanser Diaries

My name is Yvette and I am a cleanser-o-holic.
I didn’t used to be like this because my skin was very prone to breakouts when I was younger and whenever I found something that worked I stuck to it for months (years). And I hadn’t given it much thought until about a month ago when I was talking to a friend about a cleanser she wanted to buy that I discovered this time in my life is long gone as I was explaining to her how I have not one or two but eight! cleansers on a daily/weekly rotation. At the same time. While having back-ups of most of them and planning on buying new ones to try. I have, of course, put a stop to these cravings for now and am concentrating on using up everything I have stocked in the cupboard because of expiration dates and, you know, sanity. I am currently halfway though the spare of a favourite morning cleanser of mine and I honestly get a little panic attack every time I reach for it because ‘But what will I do when it’s finished?! Maybe I should savour it and use another one today’ and then I tell myself I have issues and use the damn thing. See, I wasn’t exaggerating when I said I had a problem.

My mental state aside, I’ll share with you my beloved collection and what I use each of them while they’re all still in my bathroom.


1. Starting with the oldest presence in my stash – the Avene Soapless Gel Cleanser. I’ve used this for more than 6 years and it’s the one I always have on the shelf and prefer to travel with. It’s nothing special but it’s just so good! It really cleans the skin without drying it, it removes makeup very well (I now use micellar water to clean my face before cleansing but years ago I used to go in with this directly onto dry makeup and it was just fab at removing it), it doesn’t sting the eyes at all, and if you want to take it up an extra step – it works great with a cleansing brush since it’s gel. I use it day and night, usually travel with it since it’s a one stop shop for me and my skin loves it. Not many people talk about it but if you’re looking for something that does the job give it a go. It’s pretty affordable and always on offer as well, so can’t go wrong.

2. My next big favourite is the Elizabeth Arden Skin Balancing Exfoliating Cleanser. While it has some exfoliating particles (I was surprised how few in comparison to most ‘exfoliating’ cleansers), I definitely don’t think this can be used for exfoliation. On the contrary, this is the creamiest, softest, most hydrating cleanser I’ve used. I mostly use it in winter and at night as it’s so creamy a quick cleanse doesn’t do it justice. I like to massage my face with it for at least two minutes and the results are amazing. It doesn’t work with my cleansing brush as the bristles just eat the product up, but if you want something really rich and moisturising, if you’ve been in the cold all day or your skin is seriously dry – you will love this. I recommended in to a friend recently and she loved it as an extra hydrating step. The choice of name is still a mystery for us. Side note: It really stings the eyes, definitely not one for washing off makeup.

3. The Avril Exfoliating Cleanser is the closest thing I’ve found to the Elizabeth Arden one and as with every vegan+cruelty free product I buy, I was very excited. One of Avril’s night creams is in my Top 5 so I had very high hopes for it. I don’t want to say it’s a bad product – it has the same level of creamy as the EA and that’s saying something. However, it has the opposite problem with the beads – they are far too many. For me, at least. I’ve never used a cleanser with so many beads (generous!) but this means it has to be used very sparingly otherwise it’s getting on the unpleasant side. Another thing I notice is that it leaves a thin film on my skin after using it which is not my favourite thing. However, it washes the skin nicely and leaves it very hydrated. It is my least used cleanser but I haven’t given it or thrown it away so that’ s saying something. In fact, I remember being impressed by it in the beginning so it may be that mine has gone off? It is all natural after all. Yay for investing in cruelty free brands as they deserve it. Last note on this – do not attempt to wash your eyes with it.


4. Next one on the list – Clarins Daily Energizer Cleansing Gel. As the name suggests I tend to use this in the morning because I buy into their whole ‘morning energy’ thing and who isn’t craving their skin to be full of energy while still wishing for the pillow and warm duvet? That’s right, no one, gimmie that gel. This is good, I like it, it smells nice and also works great with a cleansing brush. It cleans the skin nicely and calms down any irritations, it’s very gentle. To be honest it’s pretty close to my Avene one, only more sticky and gel-like -> thicker. I do like having it and do recommend it but not for removing makeup – definitely a morning only one.

5. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser. What a mouthful! This is another oldschool one – but I haven’t found anything to upgrade it to so I keep it around. Definitely a cleanser aimed at oily acne prone skins. Mine is combination (that can get oh so dry on my cheeks) so I use it as a treatment whenever my skin needs it. That time of the month or whatever breakout I have, a few washes with this and my skin is much calmer. It is a bit drying on me but I look at it like a disinfectant for my face, as romantic as it sounds. Especially if you have oilier skin and acne issues, try this. No bells and whistles, just does the job. Works great with a cleansing brush and mixes well with other cleansers.

6. My favourite find for the past year and probably splitting that Number One spot with The Soaples Gel one is Nip+Fab’s Glycolic Cleanser. This stuff is magic. It’s not a daily cleanser, not a good morning choice and maybe not even a ‘sunny weather’ one as it has 4% glycolic acid in it and you don’t want to expose your face under the sun after using it.
However, this thing has changed my skin. Granted, I do use glycolic pads, the Pixi Glow Tonic and glycolic face masks, but none of them leave my skin this … renewed, basically. It removes dead skin cells, all dirt, excess oils, I can’t even explain what it does but on the morning after and the next couple of days after using it my skin is glowing, soft and even. I was very pleasantly surprised as I definitely expected more from the tonic soaked pads than from a cleanser that spends only a couple of minutes on my face but it proved me so wrong. I use it on my cleansing brush for extra impact and have tried mixing it with the La Roche Posay one which also works great. It smells lovely of grapefruit and you only need the tiniest amount of this as well.

7. I’ve had a little sample size of the Clinique Foaming Facial Soap since around Christmas and I haven’t really used it much as I can never decide whether to keep it for travelling or really test it and not risk travelling with something I’m not sure of. It really foams up and it’s soft on the skin but I have to say I’m not blown away. It has a pearly creamy consistency which looks too chemical-y for me and although it cleans my face it also leaves this annoying film on my skin which makes me want to wash my face all over again. Granted, it does not annoy me as much when my face is dry and it sinks in but I still don’t think I’m going to buy the fill size. Not very fond of the scent either.

8. The last one in the current rotation is the Nuxe Reve de Miel Cleanser. I picked this up on a whim in Marseille last Spring. I hadn’t heard anything about it which is something I never do when buying skincare. I read all of the reviews before buying. But when in a French pharmacy might as well empty at he shelves, right? It’s a good cleanser but once it’s finished I know for a fact I won’t repurchase it. The first days of using it were very hard for me because of the smell. You know that Reve de Miel smell of sweet sweet honey? Yes, this has it. And while I love eating honey I can’t stand the smell of it in products, it’s too sickly for me. I have now completely blocked it/gotten used to it and it doesn’t bother me at all, however I once used it with my boyfriend in the bathroom and he was straight up offended by the smell so it’s definitely not for everybody. As a cleanser it does the job but it’s nothing special. It’s soft and I use it both day and night, with fingers and a brush. It just hasn’t given me that ‘wow’ factor. It’s not drying but on the other hand I feel my skin cleaner after using others, especially if it’s in the evening after wearing makeup. So, you know what, you can skip this one unless you love honey scents. It’s not a bad product so if you love the smell you’re probably going to love it. Sidenote: it’s brown which was also very strange to get used to in the beginning.

Those are they. My current eight. I have my eye on the Clinique Take the Day Off balm but in all honesty I don’t have the space in my cabinet at the moment so it’s going to have to wait. I hope you found this interesting and helpful and I really want to hear any recommendations of cleansers you love to get me excited about emptying those shelves and giving my skin a refresh!


My minimalist packing tips from the neck up

As a lot of women today I am borderline obsessed with skincare – I have so many creams, tonics and concoctions I am practically a chemist. Hence when it comes to travel I have a pretty substantial stash to pick from and it was a problem for me a few years ago (one of my biggest personal mistakes is going to Greece with just one very light moisturiser – the salty water destroyed my dry skin and it was beyond repair for months after). However, thanks to a lot of travel and product testing I like to think I ace my travel skincare needs and I know exactly what I need depending on the destination.
Since I was packing for Budapest I decided to make a few quick photos of what I’m taking with me and why and hopefully give someone a helpful idea.


Those are the final picks for my skincare bag – the absolute smallest and lightest so I can afford the glass jar of my Nuxe lip balm. I have lighter ones but since the temperatures are going to be around -8C I am taking the best with no regrets.
I will walk you through everything else in the photos and how I justify taking it.

  • A lot of Elizabeth Arden – they hit the hydration bingo for me. A day cream + a night cream + the Eight Hour cream which I use as a multi-purpose balm or layer on top of night cream when my skin is extra dry. I also use it instead of an eye cream when travelling and it does a pretty decent job as a lip balm. Usually I even skip the separate lip balm and just use this all over.
  •  La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo – the best thing for targeted treatment of blemishes, I never travel without it in case of emergency. Extra points for how small and easy to pack the tube is.
  • The sponge I use instead of a face cloth for my cleanser in the morning- easy peasy, small and light and goes in the bin at the end of the trip. Here may be the time to add that my cleansers aren’t shown here as I pack them separately with my face brush and micellar water.
  • I am very happy with my little cotton pad box which I found in a tupperware set. I suggest finding something similar as it’s perfect for travelling and most of all very hygienic.
  • The Clarins Daily Energizer I use as a primer on top of my moisturiser. If it were warmer I would skip it but alas, -5C is not to be underestimated.
  • The small tube on the top is a travel size L’occitane shower gel with some wet wipes for glasses.
  • Body butter, obviously. This I also use instead of a hand cream.
  • Caudalie grape water or any thermal water, I never travel without one. I use it all the time – to refresh my skin during a long day of walking around cities with polluted air, to quickly wipe my face with a cotton round before landing, on the beach for refreshing and after the beach to remove leftover salt from my skin asap, to help with cakey makeup, it’s just the best.

Another tip of mine is to use an eyeglasses case for carrying jewellery and small delicate things such as hair pins and bobbles. There are plenty of gorgeous ones and even if you’re not a glasses wearer you can find a purpose for them. I always use this Klimt one I got as a gift for my earrings and hair pins and the size stops me from overpacking all of my jewellery. Plus I’m not worried they’ll smash in the suitcase if it were dropped or squished.


This is it for this trip, cleaners aside. There’s nothing interesting to note there so I am skipping them this time. If anyone is interested in my cleanser obsession and current rotation of 8 I will gladly write a post about them at another time.

I really hope you found this helpful and I wish you all happy packing!