Remember a couple of years ago, I took part in the blind micellar water trial set by Escentual? Well they got in touch again and asked 100 beauty experts (moi) if we wanted to blind trial cleansing milk this time. I had loads of fun before, so definitely wanted to do it again. We were sent 7 cleansing milks, dispensed into plain glass jars and labelled "sample A" etc and only knew the brands involved, but nothing more.
I did a little research before starting, to work out exactly which cleansers I would be using and from that managed to establish at least 3 that I was pretty certain of. The others were a bit of a mystery because I'm crap at deciphering scents! We had 2 weeks, so I began right away and used the same sample for two days straight (morning and night, so four times in total). I took notes; first impressions and more detailed ones after use of each sample. We had a comprehensive questionnaire to fill in, rating the performance (1-10) for scent, suppleness, moisture, comfort, freshness, texture and makeup removal. That last one was a bit of a hurdle for me because I haven't been wearing makeup. So I had to do a mass test one day and apply makeup and remove it (7 times!) with each cleanser. I'd say my results for that therefore, weren't as thorough as I'd normally like, but it was definitely enough to give me an understanding of how well they worked. So now the samples have been revealed alongside the results of our findings, I thought you'd be interesting in hearing my thoughts and how they compared to other reviewers.
Sample A: At first I wasn't overly keen on the scent (sticking my nose in the jar), but actually it's reasonably pleasant when using (a little floral). This one was easy to use, washed off well and left skin feeling tightened (but not tight). It did a pretty good job at removing makeup including eyeliner and mascara, with little effort. It did sting a little if it got in the eyes though. As for marks out of 10 in the 7 areas we were asked to grade, I either gave average or above average.
This one was revealed to be Guerlain Secret De Purete Cleansing Milk £27.90 (200ml). Described as the "pampering" one, with 4/5 overall and 48.8% of reviewers said they would use it again.
"Our respondents adored the scent and texture of this luxurious milk cleanser from Guerlain. It's ultra sensorial application was a huge hit and it made skin feel fresh, but reviews felt other cleansers performed better in the comfort stakes." I think my findings were much the same in this case.
Sample B: Ok, I immediately recognised this one from the colour, having used it years ago. Just opening the jar made me feel nostalgic, it's got such a lovely and unique scent (though it might not be for everyone). Again it was easy to apply and Clarins suggest warming it in the hands, then softly patting on the skin rather than massaging, I had no issue using it either way. When it came to makeup removal though, I just didn't trust using that patting technique and it's more than tricky to press your eyes! So I used it the more traditional way for that. It performed just as well as Sample A and again stung a little if it got in the eyes. Skin felt very supple after use and this was without a doubt my favourite (scents have a lot to do with me hating or loving a product). I marked this very highly, 9's and 10's across the board (with only one 8/10, not certain which category that was now).
So this was revealed as Clarins Cleansing Milk (normal/dry skin) £17.15 200ml. Known as the "cooling one", with 3.4/5 overall and 35% saying they would purchase it again.
"With its gel-creme texture and cooling feeling, Clarins performed well in the texture and comfort categories. It's emphasis is on freshness and it performed well here, but reviews felt that other cleansers were more efficient when removing every last trace of makeup." I agree there was a trace of makeup remaining, as was the case with Sample A, so I didn't give them full marks for that. I can't say I noticed the cooling feeling, though it was a pleasure to use and my comments on this one were published on the Escentual round-up!
Sample C: Sample C and I didn't get on. I really disliked the scent (it smelt 'off') and it didn't get better from there. It had a slippy texture which I wasn't keen on and that continued after I washed it off. It was difficult to remove, like it left a film behind on the skin. Though I have to say skin did feel very soft afterwards. It was better at removing makeup than A and B and had less sting on the eyes too, so I gave it full marks for that. I rated it a 2 for scent, but 8's for moisture and suppleness and average for the other categories.
Revealed as Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk £14.25 200ml, the "gentle" one. 36.3% of users would try it again with 3.3/5 overall.
"Enhanced clarity and improved moisturisation is where this gentle cleansing milk from Caudalie excelled. The stronger scent and thinner texture didn't strike a chord with our reviewers, but they loved how clean their skin felt after use." I'm glad others disliked the texture and scent, though I see some comments liked it (noooo!), definitely my least favourite and I wouldn't buy it again.
Sample D: I had similar issues with washing off this one. It felt like it left a film on the skin. Skin didn't feel tight afterwards, but soft and supple. The scent wasn't great in the jar, but barely noticeable when using. It was more runny than the others, but effortlessly removed eye makeup though it did sting. I'd say this was the best so far at makeup removal actually, though I did still feel that residue of the cleanser after. Obviously I gave it 10 for makeup removal, but a mixture of 8's, 7 and 6's elsewhere.
This one was Vichy Purete Thermale Soothing Cleansing Milk (normal skin) £7.66 200ml, the "gentle" one. It scored 3.6/5 overall with 37.5% saying they'd re-buy it.
"In terms of freshness and makeup removal, this cleanser knocked it out of the park! Vichy are well known for their soothing formula's and this cleansing milk is no different, offering comfort, moisture and suppleness in abundance." Totally in line with my findings.
Sample E: Not sure if anyone else found this, but it felt pleasantly warm on my face! This one was thicker and I had this one down as being fragrance free (it was), but I got a whiff of honey every time I applied it! It washed off easily and though skin didn't feel tight, it wasn't as supple as with previous samples. When it came to makeup removal, it didn't sting eyes at all and easily removed makeup. There was a trace of eye makeup left though. A 9, a 7, two 6's and three 8's is how I rated it.
Revealed as Eucerin Dermatoclean Mild Cleansing Milk £5.66 200ml (which I did guess correctly), it earned the nickname as the "efficient" one. It scored 3.9/5 with 38.8% of users saying they'd use it again.
"The most affordable cleanser on our list packed a huge punch in all categories. Reviewers loved its ability to quickly and efficiently remove all makeup whilst leaving skin feeling fresh, balanced and moisturised." I slightly disagree. I think it's perhaps too gentle to remove all traces of makeup efficiently and I felt it wasn't overly moisturising.
Sample F: I'm not a massive rose scent fan and I realise it won't be for everyone, but while I probably wouldn't choose it in something like a moisturiser, it was pleasant enough in a cleanser. You can see from my photos that this had a thicker texture as it didn't look as fluid as the others. That felt rather luxurious though,. which was nice. It applied well and washed off easily, leaving skin feeling squeaky clean. I didn't find it as moisturising as the others and I think with continued use it might be quite drying. When it came to removing makeup it felt creamy on the skin and took no effort, with no stinging in the eyes. I did find a trace of makeup (face makeup mainly) remaining after washing off though. I scored this above average.
Ok, so the rose scent was a dead giveaway, I knew this had to be Nuxe Comforting Cleansing Milk with rose petals £9.33 200ml, the "moisturising" one. It scored 4/5 and half of use would use it again.
"Comforting by name, comforting by nature! Our reviewers thought that this was one of the most effective cleansers for improving moisture and suppleness, noting that skin felt velvety after use." While I agree that it felt really pleasant in use, afterwards my skin did feel less moisturised than with the others, so I don't find it to be particularly comforting. If dry skin isn't a problem for you, then this is a really nice cleanser.
Sample G: I wondered if this one was also fragrance free, because the scent was very faint. To me, it smelt mildly of bananas! I know, random! This was another one that felt quite thick. It applied and washed off well and felt very pleasant on the skin. I noticed skin felt a little bit tight, again it might be an issue over time. I didn't notice any sting on this when removing eye makeup and again, there was a little residue left on both face and eye makeup after removing. A bit of a mixed bag in my scoring with mostly higher than average and a couple just higher (6).
The final sample was revealed as La Roche Posay Physiological Cleansing Milk £8 200ml, the "winning" one. It scored an impressive 4.5/5 overall and 61.3% of us would repurchase it.
"The all-rounder winner in every category, this ultra-fresh moisturising milk leaves skin feeling petal soft. Reviewers noted that there was an improvement in the appearance of their skin, and the milk really enhanced their routines." I did enjoy using this one, but it wasn't the best at makeup removal and I do worry that over time dryness could be an issue (especially in a cleanser aimed at dry/very dry skins).
Generally speaking, I think all of the cleansers (bar 'D' Vichy) left a little makeup residue. However my technique wasn't as exact as it would be normally (I only removed half a face with each one) and to be truthful I prefer using a separate eye makeup remover anyway. Not all said they were safe to use on the eye and so I can't really mark them down for that, but trialling blind meant I used the same technique for all (and the stinging was mild, not terrible). Likewise, some suggested not washing off, but just removing excess cleanser with toner or a tissue (after normal cleansing), which is a good technique for dry or sensitive skin. As I wasn't sure which ones these were, I washed them all off. My skin before the trial was extremely dry (and flaking) thanks to a cleanser funnily enough! So using these nourishing milks cleared that issue up right away. Also something to note (which is massive for me) is my skin has been clearer than it has in a long time during this trial. I figured using so many different things at once would aggravate my acne, but I've actually not had any new breakouts in the past two weeks.
I'd personally avoid 'C' Caudalie (I just realised looking at that last post, that I hated the Caudalie micellar water too) and I'd rush out and buy 'B' Clarins. I'm sorry I can't be more specific in which categories I scored what, but filling it in online meant I just jotted down the scores in my notebook as a guide for the next sample and I didn't think to write what each was for. My written notes are explanation enough though. I can't remember which ones I said I'd repurchase either, obviously not C, but I think I'd be happy to use most of the others again.
Samples were provided for the blind trial but a blog review was not mandatory. I thought you would be interested to know my thoughts though. Post contains affiliate links.