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Sometimes you just feel like treating yourself to a really pampering treat, and I'd had my eye on this Laura Mercier One Step Cleanser for a while, so last month I followed up the sample I'd had, indulged myself and bought a full-size bottle.
Laura Mercier is a French makeup artist who has developed a line of (very!) luxury makeup and skincare products aimed at the more moneyed audience. Her One Step Cleanser is marketed as "gliding over the skin to melt away all makeup (even eye makeup) without stripping the skin and leaves your skin soft and hydrated", which sounds pretty much perfect as I don't like fussy skincare routines and I also can't be bothered with spending loads of time on it.
Apparently, it's a very gentle, pH-balanced cleanser and toner in one product, which also contains vitamin E and witch hazel for skin health: these are great claims but they don't mention that the product also contains alcohol, which can be very drying, and ammonium laureth sulphate which can definitely cause eye and skin irritation. If you're keen on natural products, be aware that the One Step Cleanser contains chemicals like this.
The One Step Cleanser comes in a tall greyish white bottle, very chic, with a pump dispenser. Once you've squirted out some of the product into your hand, you can see that it's a pearly, peachy kind of colour, quite thick and opaque looking. It's definitely not oily and it's also not a cream - I suppose it's closest to a gel but that doesn't quite cover it either. It doesn't really smell of anything, which is reassuring as I don't like putting highly perfumed things on my face. It stays the same peachy colour even when you wash it off, so if you wear a lot of foundation, you might find yourself confusing it with the cleanser itself!
The Laura Mercier One Step Cleanser is a 'balm' cleanser, which means you rub it on your face then wipe it off with something. I get my face wet with warm water, use about three pumps to get enough to spread all over my face - not too generously as it's damned expensive, but I do want enough to actually do the job! Laura Mercier recommends using twenty (yes, that's 20) pumps to remove makeup and cleanse thoroughly, but either she's anticipating women wearing makeup six feet thick or she's keen for us to use up her products in approximately a week. So, three pumps it is for me.
Once I've got the cleanser well and truly all over my face, I tend to rub it in circular motions to really get it working on my skin, then leave it for 30 seconds or so and then get it all off with a flannel or muslin cloth. I do enjoy a good muslin cloth and in many ways I think it's the cloth having the good effect on your skin - it's very exfoliating and makes you feel very clean, which is always a plus point in my book.
My face is always lovely and squeaky clean after I've used this: I can't fault its cleaning powers, especially combined with a cloth. My skin tends to be good and not very spotty, but I haven't had any breakouts while I've been using this - I'm loath to put it entirely down to the cleanser, but it certainly hasn't GIVEN me any spots. My face doesn't feel tight or dry after using this, even in the morning, and I don't feel any need to use moisturiser.
I don't wear foundation or really any makeup except mascara and eyeliner about once a year, so I can't comment on how well it removes foundation, but I do find that it's not always good at getting all the last traces of mascara off, so I use a separate eye makeup remover as well. This kind of defeats the point of having a ONE-step cleanser as it's then automatically two steps and more time consuming. It's not even that I wear tough waterproof mascara, as I only ever stick to the usual stuff; I think this just might not be up to the job without having to use loads of it (which I'm not going to do).
Another point I'd like to mention is that the pump dispenser is really, really annoying. After a few uses it clogs and starts spitting out those hard little lumps of solidified cleanser when you press it down to dispense some product - I'm aware of how expensive the product is and am kind of annoyed that it wastes some like that.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
I bought my bottle from House of Fraser, priced at £29 for 200ml. Laura Mercier products are available from a lot of big department stores - I know John Lewis, Selfridges and Harrods definitely stock them. Frankly, £29 is a lot of money for a cleanser and I'm not sure if I'll be repurchasing when my trusty Avene cleanser is only £8 and seems to do as good as, if not a better, job.
A lovely cleanser let down a bit by the packaging and marketing claims. It's not a one-step product for me as I have to use eye makeup remover as well, plus the clogging factor is a bit of an issue. The results I've had with this have been great but, as I've said, not better than with my Avene cleanser, so although I've enjoyed my dalliance with Laura Mercier, I think this will be my last bottle.