Considering that I’ve already emptied three tins of this cleansing balm, this review is actually coming pretty late. As with all products that get send out to bloggers after their release, this one had its stagelight moment a loooong time ago; you won’t find it mentioned in many monthly faves nowadays, but there’s still some popularity lurking underneath the surface.
I was introduced to it by Caroline Hirons, who very poignantly said that the whole Camomile range is, »whilst not perfect, […] a step in the right direction«, and I believe she wrote that in regards to the relatively low price of this product. Well, while I don’t agree with her on a lot of things — sheet masks, essences, her neglecting the importance of pH in skincare, daily use of sunscreen, etc. —, I do agree that this cleansing butter is really more of a gateway drug to better products than a long-term staple. But let me explain that in a minute…
The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter
15€ for 90ml
ETHYLHEXYL PALMITATE • SYNTHETIC WAX • PEG-20 GLYCERYL TRIISOSTEARATE • OLEA EUROPEA (OLIVE) FRUIT OIL • BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA) BUTTER • CAPRYLYL GLYCOL • TOCOPHEROL • PARFUM • AQUA • LINALOOL • LIMONENE • HELIANTHUS ANNUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL • ANTHEMIS NOBILIS (CAMOMILE) FLOWER EXTRACT • CITRIC ACID
Here we can already see what makes this butter so problematic — it contains ethylhexyl palmitate, a derivative of palm oil that is used in »natural« skincare as a substitute for silicones, but can be clogging or irritating in high amounts (and it’s in the first place here), synthetic wax, and shea butter, which are all known to cause CCs on some skins. But that’s actually not the real problem; I am fairly acne-prone and have used this butter for two years without any incidents — no, the real problem comes in the form of parfum, linalool, and limonene. We don’t know what hides behind the term »parfum«, but it’s generally something you want to avoid. Even bigger are the dangers that can come from limonene and linalool — irritation, sensitisation, contact dermatitis… the list goes on. Just in the case you forgot: Irritation is accumulative, meaning that the ill-effects won’t necessarily show up right away; that’s why it’s best to have a completely irritant-free routine.
Apart from this, the INCI is pretty average. The surfactant is PEG-20 glyceryl triisostearate, which is nonionic, which is good. Ethylhexyl palmitate, synthetic wax and plant oils give the product its thick consistency; the oils might actually also have some conditioning effects, especially on dry skins. Overall is this product better suited for dry/combo-dry, non-problematic skin; acne-prones might want to use a cloth to remove it.
Official product description
This cleanser is an indulgent make-up remover for the whole face. It gently and efficiently melts away make-up and impurities, leaving skin feeling clean, refreshed and pampered.
- Gently melts away make-up.
- Leaves skin feeling clean and petal-soft.
- Removes all types of make-up.
- Suitable for sensitive skin and contact lens wearers.
[source: The Body Shop UK]
Okay, so The Body Shop basically want to sell you a makeup remover that actually has skincare benefits. It’s easier to do that with cleansers of this type, because they’re usually very heavy and leave a layer of product on your face, which in turn might give you the impression that your skin is thoroughly moisturised already. And while this might be true with purely organic cleansing butters, I’m not convinced that it also applies to this one; I rather have the feeling that the smooth sensation that you get afterwards comes from ethylhexyl palmitate, which, as I said, is a substitute for silicones, which have a similar effect in non-natural skincare.
Another claim that I feel I have to point out is that this product is supposedly »suitable for sensitive skin« — it’s not. Again, it might give the user a feeling of gentleness, but the fragrance components ultimately render this not suited for long-term use.
And because I hate closing a section without having said something positive: It does kill all kinds of makeup.
A relatively flat round tin with a screw-on lid. It feels a bit cheap, but is very functional, and survives even under the harshest toiletry bag conditions (with a few dents). It actually reminds me of the tin boxes in which old films rolls were stored.
The butter is a bit hard to scrape out of the tin as it’s really thick and solid, but upon contact with skin it melts into more of a dry oil (hence the inclusion of ethylhexyl palmitate) that is easy to work with. I use it on travels as my makeup remover of choice because it doesn’t require cotton pads like micellar water does, plus, it does the job quicker, more efficiently, and with less irritation to the skin. One round is usually enough to take off all my makeup and sunscreen, so that I can move straight on to my usual cream cleanser. It does give me the blurry eye, but it doesn’t sting in the least (and this comes from someone whose eyes can’t tolerate even the high-pH micellar waters), and it leaves skin incredibly soft and smooth. I just wished it wasn’t perfumed — I would use it every day.
Every other thick cleansing balm/butter/solid/whatever-they-named-it under the sun. Famous examples are Lush Ultrabland, The Organic Pharmacy Carrot Butter Cleanser, Clinique Take The Day Off Balm, Boots Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm, Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm, and the one who started it all, Eve Lom Cleanser. Out of all these butters, I’d only recommend Eve Lom, Clinique and, surprisingly, Lush, as they’re the only ones who don’t contain parfum and declarable fragrance components. Learning that I can’t use my beloved camomile butter in the long term, I think I’ll take a closer look at Ultrabland, simply because it’s the cheapest in the bunch, and probably has the best skincare properties out of all these options. I’ll update you as soon as I have it!
√ surfactants: PEG-20 glyceryl triisostearate (nonionic)
√ notable ingredients: olive fruit oil, shea butter, tocopherol, sunflower seed oil, camomile flower extract
× acne-prones should use with caution
× fragranced with parfum, linalool, and limonene (which is strange, because the smell is extremely faint; it doesn’t really smell like it was heavily perfumed)
√ gives good slip, but isn’t too wet; blurs the eyes a bit, but doesn’t sting whatsoever
√ available at The Body Shop
~ price-size ratio: could be cheaper, but it does last you a long, long time
√ price-performance ratio: very good
Résumé: I’m actually really sorry that I can’t go on using it daily, like I used to do until now. It’s a truly outstanding makeup remover that left my skin feeling good, but I don’t want to run the risk of over-irritating my skin with fragrance, so I will have to drop it. Sorry, camomile butter. We had a good time together.
Next post will be appearing next Saturday!
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