Beauty Review: Balance.Me Daily Essentials Pure Skin Face Wash

I've been a bit slack with the empties posts of late, mainly because I had loads of things that were on the verge of being used up and then suddenly they all went at once, so I have a few to catch up on! This is the first, and it's my first skincare one: Balance.Me Daily Essentials Pure Face Wash.
I got this free with Glamour magazine, as a replacement for the Himalaya Herbals face wash I bought in India, and admittedly I mainly bought this for the price - at £2 for a 50ml size bottle, when the full size (125ml) is worth £16, I thought that was pretty good. The product describes itself as for normal to combination skin, which is very close to my skin type; I tend to get quite dry cheeks but my forehead and nose can get a little bit greasy and shiny, so I was quite keen to try this and see if it actually did balance my skin.

I have to say that it was a bit of a mixed bag in the end. Whilst it did make my forehead feel a little less greasy, it also made my cheeks feel quite dry and tight. Although once I'd applied my serum and moisturiser my skin felt OK, it's still not ideal, so that was something of a black mark against the product from the off. I also found that it smelt a bit medicinal, almost chemically, which is a bit of a turn-off for me. I'm aware that the brand prides itself on being (almost) fully organic, so that could explain why it smells as it does, but it still feels a bit like it's almost gone too far the other way. I don't mind products that smell of something but I do like it to be a nice smell!

That said, it did help to clear up my skin a little bit. I've had pretty terrible skin since I came back from travelling, which I think is mostly due to the water in India and then switching back to London water, and using this twice a day did help to improve things. (For the record, I use the hot cloth cleansing method as recommended by the Guardian's beauty writer Sali Hughes - flannel soaked in hand hot water, apply cleanser all over dry face, remove cleanser/make-up/dirt etc with hot flannel. You can use a muslin cloth and/or a separate eye make-up remover if you'd prefer.) So on that front, it did do what it said on the tin!

However, I have to say I don't think I'd buy this, mainly because of the price and how it made my skin feel - it just wasn't comfortable, and frankly that's where I draw the line in terms of whether a product works for me. Plus, £16 feels like a lot for a product that I don't love. In comparison to Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, which is in a similar price range, this just doesn't have that same luxurious feel and creaminess that would make me come back to it.

Overall, as a £2 freebie it's worth a try and would make a good product to stash in an emergency travel/weekend beauty bag, or for refreshing your face between work and going out (or is it just me who likes to take one load of make-up off before I do another one?) but I'm not sure I'd use it as my proper cleanser again. But if your skin is a little more oily than mine, then it might work better for you.

If you fancy trying this cleanser, you can buy it from the Balance.Me website or from a wide range of other stockists, including John Lewis and Lookfantastic, where it costs between £13 and £16 for a 125ml bottle. Glamour also quite often includes the 50ml size as a freebie (along with other Balance.Me products) so it's worth keeping an eye out for that.

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