The best budget cleansers
At the end of the night, when you have to take it all off: the day's stress, the worries and the makeup, there's no need to go high-end. Some of my favorite products have been some of the most affordable ones, and when it comes to cleansers, something that isn't meant to stay on your skin but rather to take off what's on it, I think it's the last place you need to splurge.
Moisturizers, serums and toners, those are the things that really penetrate your skin and where the ingredients list thus becomes a bit more important; but as long as your cleanser isn't too stripping (i.e full of alchohol and/or foaming) then look no further than your drugstore.
Garnier has really shone for me this year as they've come out with two cleansers I use on an almost daily basis: their micellar cleansing water and their nourishing cleansing oil.
The Micellar Cleansing Water is a dupe for the much coveted Bioderma Crealine H20 micellar water that every makeup artist and beauty blogger have in their kits. Why? Because it removes the toughest makeup and it's extremely gentle on the skin. I own both and I honestly see no difference between the two. If you live outside of France, though, Bioderma is more expensive, so I'd go the Garnier route. I use this on a cotton bud to correct any eyeliner mistakes, or if I'm wearing a lot of eye makeup, I'll dab it on a piece of cotton and wipe my entire eye area. Even water-proof mascara and eyeliners are removed with one single swoop.
For removing makeup from my entire face, however, I like to use a balm or oil. There's nothing more enjoyable than warming a product between your hands and massaging it into your face. Even if I'm bare-faced, it's a religious ritual I wouldn't be able to forego before going to bed. It's also a lot more eco-friendly, as you're not using up cotton to remove your makeup.
One of my all-time favorite balm cleansers is The Body Shop's Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter. The formula stands between a wax and a butter, and once you rub it between your fingers and onto your face it turns into an oil-like consistency within seconds. All makeup is dissolved and a faint smell of camomile comes to meet your nose. I wipe off everything with a flanel and my skin is left feeling soft, clean, and smooth.
Because I've unfortunately finished up my Body Shop Cleansing Butter, I wanted to see what the drugstore had to offer. I haven't been disappointed by Garnier's Clean + Nourishing Cleansing Oil. The fluid cleanser is conveniently dispensed by a pump which makes the application fast and mess-free. I use one to two pumps of the oil into wet hands, emulsifying the cleanser into a creamy liquid that removes all my makeup. The oil contains more fragrance than I'd wish, but it's certainly not overwhelming.
Note that the first ingredient, however, is mineral oil, which some people (notably those with oily skins) don't react to as well. Skincare guru Caroline Hirons abhors this ingredient, but I have combination skin and I've experienced no negative side-effects and only happy, clean, soft skin so far. As I also mentioned, because a cleanser stays just a few seconds on your face before you wipe and rinse it all away, I don't think it matters that much. However, unlike the Body Shop offering, this cleanser is running out very quickly. I've been using it for a little over one week but I'm already 1/6th of the way done. A tub of the Body Shop butter will last me well over three months.
If you're in the U.K, the Unna Brennan cleansing oil has received much praise from bloggers, particularly Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup. However, I have two issues with it: the fact that it doesn't come with a pump (making it hard to dispense just the right amount of product into my hands) and the scent: it smells like dish soap. I can overlook the first, but not the last, and I was therefore unable to finish the bottle, which is somewhat unheard of for me. I haven't heard or read any bad reviews though, so the fragrance might only be an issue for me. This cleanser nonetheless does the job well and it's super affordable.
Feel free to splurge on fancy and expensive cleansers, but before you make a dent in your wallet, make sure to give these a try! What are your favorites?