Review: The Great Cleanser Hunt - Boots Botanics Age Defense Replenishing Cleansing Oil

I know it's been a while since I've done up an entry on this blog.  I can't quite believe it's almost been a whole year since my last post!!  Somehow, The End Of Secondment just meant that I no longer had something called "time" and consequently, I stopped doing my own manicures.  I guess sitting in a (usually) comfortable chair having someone doing my nails for me while I promptly fall asleep also appeals a lot more to my inner Lazy.

Aside from not bothering about my nails, I've also somehow managed to slack in the skincare department.  I stopped using my sheet masks and have also gotten much lazier with the SK-II routine.  I also ran out of my Oratane tablets (generic drug of Roaccutane) and have not managed to make a trip down to the dermatologist to replenish that (I've been on a low dose of Oratane for adult acne for the past year).  In any case, I'm well aware that I should not be on such strong medication for extended periods of time and have therefore started The Great Cleanser Hunt in hopes of achieving my teenage-hood perfect skin sans medication.  An uphill task, in my opinion.

Warning: Long story ahead.

Up until now, I had been happy double cleansing with the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil followed by the SK-II Facial Treatment Cleanser in the evenings.  In the mornings, I would use only the SK-II Facial Treatment Cleanser for a light wash.  Things started going wonky about three months after I had stopped taking Oratane.  I guess any remaining medication in my body had run its course.  Pimples were sprouting on my face at a rate faster than tao gey on wet cotton wool and those nasty cystic nodules from hell started brewing.  In pairs!  Plus, I had a clogged sewer on my chin (which I'm guessing facilitated the puberty of the cystic nasties).  It was just awful.

As luck would have it, I ran out of my DHC Deep Cleansing Oil and itchy backside me happily chose to try something new. I came across the Oil Cleansing Method online and after (selectively) reading the glowing reviews, decided that I'd give it a whirl by blending my own organic oils together.  My logic: I had already been cleansing with oil, using my own concoction couldn't be that bad, right? Well, it worked. It was Fun Times for like 2 weeks, and then the pores on my cheeks started clogging.  That scared the living daylights out of me - my skin is combination/dry.  My cheeks never get clogged. Ever. My nose also started peeling despite the oil cleansing (I suspect it's the amount of castor oil I had used, but that's another story for another day).  Needless to say, I stopped using my own concoction and searched for a new cleanser to abuse try.

I found the Boots Botanics Age Defense Replenishing Cleansing Oil (what a mouthful.  Let's call this "Boots RCO" from now) in Phuket while on a short holiday there.  Being formulated without mineral oil or parabens, the Boots RCO immediately caught my attention.  Plus, 250ml of cleansing oil for 275 Baht (approx. S$10.80) sounded like quite a good deal to me. 

Please excuse the condition of the bottle.  I didn't realise the oil was leaking (horrible pump, seriously) and it had dissolved the adhesive, lifting the label off from the bottle.
The oil is colourless and clear.  Viscosity-wise, it's actually quite light and runny (unlike the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, which has a bit more weight and hold to it) and I had to constantly squeeze my fingers together whenever I pumped the product out to ensure that it did not drip all over my bathroom sink.

I applied the oil liberally on my face and then got to work massaging the oil in small circular motions using my middle and ring fingers of both hands simultaneously.  I had read somewhere that the 4-2-4 method of cleansing was good (4 mins of oil cleansing, 2 mins of foam cleansing and 4 mins of water rinsing) and made sure that I spent a full 4 minutes working the oil across my face (I'd suggest propping your ipad by your sink and watching a music video or two to pass time).  After 4 minutes, I rinsed the oil off with water.  There was some emulsifier in it, so the oil rinsed off cleanly.

Like the OCM method, the Boots RCO deep cleansed pretty well.  Hardened whiteheads from plugged pores were "sucked" out and I would feel the gritty feeling, similar to when I had used the organic oils.  This also left my skin really soft and smooth immediately after cleansing.  I did eventually find it rather drying around my nose area, but thought that I would stick to the cleanser for a bit longer to give it a fair test.  I reckon you don't actually need a foaming cleanser on top of this, but I did use one anyway just to ensure no oil residue was left behind.  I'm paranoid that way.

Unfortunately, around one week into using the Boots RCO, I started breaking out in weird bumps around my upper cheeks near the eyes, and my chin, although it had unclogged somewhat, had also started to re-clog for some reason. Thinking it was the 'purging' phase, I persevered and continued using the Boots RCO.  I also stopped using a foaming cleanser after the Boots RCO just to rule out incompatibility of skincare products.  Another week later, it got worse.

Here's the back label of the bottle:

Formulated without mineral oil or parabens and packed with active plant extract, Ginkgo.
I'm not sure what is in there that does not suit my skin, but I'm determined to find out.  I've run the ingredients through (results here), but the results did not throw out any red flag ingredient.  Olive oil and jojoba oil, while possibly comedogenic to some, are usually rather harmless, and butylene glycol and tocopherol are found in a gazillion other products that have had no horrible effects on me whatsoever.  Oh well.  The two of us were just not meant to be.

I've since stopped using the Boots RCO and have also binned the product (I got about 1/3 way through).  It's quite a pity, because I actually really liked how soft my skin felt right after using it for the first few times.  I also find the packaging pretty attractive.  Simple and clean.  

I can't seem to find a stock photo of this product, neither is it listed on the Boots website.  I'm not sure if Singapore's Guardian pharmacy outlets carry this particular product, but I do know that the outlet in Takashimaya carries the Boots Botanics range.  Worth a shot trying to see if they have it.  Maybe it might work for some of you?  For reference, my skin hasn't been particularly sensitive, although I can't say 100% for sure that my skin hasn't changed over the past few years. 

Verdict: 3.5/5

The Great Cleanser Hunt continues.


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