Funny how I remember snippets of advice my mom gave me here and there when I was a teenager, like never to wash my face with soap. “It will dry out your skin,” she told me in no uncertain terms. Heeding her words of wisdom from that day forward, I’ve used countless cleansing lotions, creams and gels on my face–drugstore to prestige brands–but never stayed faithful to a single one.
When Liz Earle recently asked if I’d try its Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, I eagerly accepted the offer. Although I’d never heard of the product, it’s become a big cult brand across the pond since it was formulated 23 years ago by Liz and her good friend, Kim. They had just become mothers, moved from London to the Isle of Wight in the countryside, and set out to create a cleanser that would work on Liz’s sensitive, eczema-prone skin as well as on Kim’s oily skin.
QVC was launching in the UK around that time, and a friend invited the women onto the show to informally talk about their new cleanser. Cleanse & Polish sold out in the first half of the segment, on its first UK show, and its reputation kept spreading through word of mouth. What’s more, the brand has consistently stayed on top of the beauty charts during the last two decades, even without the glossy advertising and celebrity endorsement so common in the industry, and it has won over 120 industry awards. It’s so popular that one customer even baked a cake in the shape of the cleanser bottle for the birthday of a woman in the Liz Earle customer service center. That’s devotion!
THE SECRET IS COCOA BUTTER
OK, so what makes Cleanse & Polish so sought after by our UK sisters that even its formula hasn’t changed one iota in over two decades? The secret is cocoa butter, said James Wong, an ethnobotanist for Liz Earle, who oversees the selection of botanicals used in the company’s products. “We have a genuine dedication to source the best and most effective botanical materials,” James told me.
“Cocoa butter (the same ingredient used to make chocolate) is the prime reactor in the cleanser. It’s a rich cream that melts at body temperature and helps soften, smooth and moisturize the skin, but isn’t a bit greasy. We also use camomile, which is soothing to the skin and reduces inflammation; rosemary, which is high in antioxidants; eucalyptus essential oil for a refreshing and invigorating scent, and mild cleansing agents,” James explained.
I dispense two pumps of the creamy Cleanse & Polish into the palms of my dry hands, then massage it into my dry face, eyes and neck. It spreads over the surface of my skin really, really easily, and quickly removes makeup, even stubborn mascara.
THE EXTRA INGREDIENT OUTSIDE THE BOTTLE
Now here’s the secret ingredient: Every bottle of Cleanse & Polish comes with two pure cotton clothes to remove the cleanser and “polish” the skin. I simply dip a cloth into warm water, and rub it over my face, eyes and neck–one section at a time–to reveal clean, smooth and radiant skin that doesn’t feel like it’s been stripped of essential oils. “We call it the extra ingredient in the cleanser,” James said. I use the cleanser and cloth morning and evening, and finish by splashing my face with cool water.
The soft, two-ply cloth is made in India in a sustainable factory run by women. “It’s biodegradable, carbon neutral, absorbs water really effectively, and helps remove dead skin and cells, but doesn’t cause redness and irritation like a polyester fiber would,” James explained. The cloth can be used in the shower and washed in a machine with warm water. “The action of the cloth exfoliates, removes dirt, pollution, grime and makeup. It also improves the circulation so you feel rosier and fresher,” James added.
Individual cloths can be purchased separately.
COMING TO AMERICA
Now Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, along with a carefully-curated collection of other skin care products, are available to American women online and through QVC. The first Liz Earle U.S. show is on QVC tomorrow, April 6, 2018, between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., EST
Instant Boost Skin Tonic, a gentle toner with a geranium, lavender and sweet orange scent, is designed to brighten, smooth, and balance the skin. It includes aloe vera, cucumber extract and natural vitamin E, and is alcohol free. “It’s like a drink of water to your skin, and preps it for our moisturizer,” James explained.
Skin Repair Moisturizer is lightweight and silky feeling, and includes borage and avocado oils, plus echinacea and natural source vitamin E, to hydrate, smooth and soften the skin for up to 48 hours..
Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion is a gentle, revitalizing infusion to wake up and refresh tired, puffy eyes and leave them visibly brighter. It’s also an effective eye makeup remover. Naturally active ingredients include eyebright to calm, cornflower and aloe vera to soothe, hydrate and refresh, and witch hazel to revitalize. Eyebright works wonders to relieve puffiness when I use it as a 10-minute compress.
“We always want to innovate, but we don’t chase the latest trends and produce products just because someone loves something NOW,” James stressed. “If a formula works well, whether it’s novel or not, we’ll carry on doing it, like Cleanse & Polish and Instant Boost Skin Tonic. If we messed with the cleanser, it would be the end of us!”
P.S. Enjoy the Liz Earle beauty experience with an intro kit for only $27. Great for traveling, too!