Cleansing oils are kind of the best thing, ever. I only wish my poor skin had discovered the miracle of double cleansing a long time ago — I feel like I would have saved my face a lot of agony. Now that I know just how amazing they are, I've made it my mission to test them all out. As such, I've tried everything from cult classics like Shu Uemura's original Cleansing Oil, to luxurious ones like Tatcha's geisha-inspired Camellia Cleansing Oil. But, never has a cleansing oil left such lasting effects on my skin like African Botanics Pure Marula Cleansing Oil.
This South African-based brand uses marula, an antioxidant- and omega-rich tree nut, plus moringa, baobab, and wild-harvested African chamomile oils. I received a sample size of it as part of SpaceNK's epic Beauty Wish List GWP (gift-with-purchase) and promptly tucked it away and forgot about it, as I usually do with the tiny little beauty treasures I tend to amass. I rediscovered it a few weeks later while packing for a trip to visit a friend in Chicago. I stockpile those little samples for just such traveling occasions — they're great to keep on hand so you don't have to dig around in the travel beauty aisle at the drugstore in a last-minute frenzy.
I poured some of the oil in my hand and was surprised to see it was a little thicker than the slippery potions I was used to working with. I went ahead and coated my palms with it and massaged it on my dry face. The first thing I noticed was the fact that it smelled like candy corn. This has absolutely no bearing on the efficacy of the product or how it works, I just found I weirdly really liked slathering candy-corn-scented oil on my face after a long day.
The rest of the cleansing experience was on par with what usually happens in my double-cleanse routine: I worked it in, splashed some water on my face to emulsify, then followed with a traditional cleanser and towel-dried my face.
It was then, when I touched my face, that I immediately
saw felt a difference. While one of the main benefits of oil cleansing is that it hydrates your skin during the face-washing process and doesn't make it feel so dry, I had never, ever had my skin feel this soft to the touch. I've tried some pretty snazzy products and fancy-schmancy facials, but this was a new level of soft. I followed my friend around her apartment insisting she touch my face and confirm its angel-wing softness. It's a testament to our friendship that she didn't kick me to the curb right then and there.
Those skin-softening benefits stuck with me throughout the day, even enhancing the hydrating effects of my usual serum and moisturizer. So enchanted was I with my new velvet skin that I immediately snagged a full-size bottle and began religiously using it every night. The moisturizing and softening effects have endured, which has been a blessing during NYC's Polar Vortex 2.0.
One small downside with the Marula Cleansing Oil is that it's not that stellar at removing eye makeup. My usual cleansing oils always served as a replacement for makeup remover, but I found this one had some issues with breaking down my waterproof mascara and dark liner. So, I soak a cotton pad in eye-makeup remover (hi, Talika Lash-Conditioning Cleanser!) first to get rid of stubborn cosmetics, and then move on to the cleansing oil and cleanser.
As we start to work our way into the less fun half of winter (i.e., no holiday cheer to distract us from the plummeting temperatures, biting cold, and punishing winds), this cleansing oil is going to be indispensable for me. Hey, any help I can get keeping my skin safe from stupidface stupidhead winter weather (yes, that's a technical meteorological term) is appreciated.
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