I’m a bit of a cleanser snob if I’m honest. I don’t care about luxury or expense (some of my favourite cleansers ever cost less than a tenner), I’m just fussy. If you ask me, a great cleanser that offers up a deep clean without disrupting the skin barrier and causing tightness lays at the heart of any perfect skincare routine. Because the truth is, and I know you don’t want to hear this, but that rather satisfying tight feeling you get after going in with a new cleanser doesn’t mean your skin is super clean, it’s just its way of crying out for help.
My skin is naturally quite oily, so although my cleanser of choice is never stripping or drying, that’s not to say balmy, creamy, moisturising cleansers do my skin any good either. The sweet spot, for me, is a cleanser that really does its job at clearing pores of gunk and bacteria, but doesn’t leave it looking or feeling taut afterwards. It doesn’t sound like a big ask, but you’d be surprised. The real issue is that actually, cleansers that promise to keep the barrier in check all too often leave a sort of moisture film over the skin which always proves bad news for my blackhead situation.
So, when I caught news of the fact that Augustinus Bader was due to bring out a new cleanser, you can probably understand that I was a little bit dubious. For those that aren’t familiar with the brand, Augustinus Bader is a super-luxe German skincare brand (headed up by professor Augustinus Bader himself) famous for creating seriously efficacious moisturisers that are loved by some of our favourite celebs (VB, Alexa and Margot, I’m looking at you). From the iconic The Cream to the cult glow-boosting, skin-loving Cell Rejuvenating Power Serum formulated in collaboration with Victoria Beckham Beauty, all of the Augustinus Bader products have one thing in common: they all contain the brand’s famous (and of course patented) TFC8 complex which works to reduce signs of damage and ageing.
Let me first say that I am a huge fan of the TFC8 complex. The VB Beauty serum is basically one of my favourite skincare products ever and there is no doubt that long-term skin health is at the centre of all Bader products. So, in theory, I should have been totally over the moon about the new cleanser. However, my initial reservations were founded in the fact that I’m not a huge fan of the original moisturisers (The Cream and The Rich Cream). For my oily skin, they are simply just too rich for my already congested complexion. My concerns were that the new The Cream Cleansing Gel (£50), would also have a thick, rich cream consistency that my skin rejected. But good grief, how wrong I was.
The truth is, the new cleanser is genuinely the most perfect cleanser my face has ever been blessed to. My concerns that the texture would be overly creamy and sumptuous were totally wrong. Actually, it’s a relatively runny, gel-like formula that has the silkiness and nourishment of a cream, but the deep cleansing abilities of a gel. With aloe vera leaf juice, cucumber extract and rose flower water, it’s calming, soothing and purifying, making it ideal for sensitive skin types like mine. However, most importantly, it’s formulated with TFC8 to deliver all of those high-grade vitamins and amino acids to boost cell renewal and repair. When massaged into damp skin, it creates a luxe-feeling lather that cleanses pores with ease and, once rinsed, leaves skin feeling healthy and, dare I say, normal. Plus, after a couple of weeks of use, my skin looks healthier, clearer and noticeably more glowing than it did previously.
Any downsides? Well, as with all Augustinus Bader products, the price is a total elephant in the room. Sure, it’s wonderful in just about every single way, but a puny 100ml will set you back a staggering £50. It’s genuinely heart-breaking. However, as I sat in front of my bathroom cabinet and really thought about this for some time, I realised that actually, if I were to add up the cost of all of the waste-of-space cleansers that I find myself buying throughout the year just to “give them a go”, I’d probably get to £50 in no time at all. Plus, the power of this cleanser means you require much less product than you might be used to applying.
In fact, after much debate, I’ve come to the conclusion that if testing new products wasn’t my job and my life as a beauty editor was a distant memory, Augustinus Bader The Cream Cleaning Gel would be the only cleanser I use.