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L'Oreal Paris

Pure Clay Cleanser Exfoliate & Refine

4.40 fl. oz. for $ 6.99
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Pure Clay Cleanser Exfoliate & Refine is a cleansing scrub that absorbs excess oil and rinses well, leaving skin smooth and fresh, but that is where the positives stop and the problems begin. The issues are twofold: the scrub ingredient is far too abrasive, which risks injuring skin, and the fragrance is off-the-charts strong, presenting skin-damaging irritation for all skin types (see More Info for details).

The strong fragrance is a greater risk to skin because, even though this is a rinse-off product, the scent lingers on skin, almost as if an invisible layer of perfume is left behind. Ultimately, this makes for bad skin care—even without all the fragrance this ends up being a problem because it's simply too rough on skin.

Esthetically, this has an interesting texture that combines clay, skin-softening ingredients, and cleansing agents in a cream-to-mousse formula that foams. That's nice, but doesn't excuse the problems mentioned above. See our list of Best Cleansers or Best Scrubs for better options.

Pros:
  • Absorbs excess oil and rinses cleanly.
  • Leaves skin feeling smooth and fresh.
Cons:
  • Highly fragrant formula poses a strong risk of irritating skin.
  • The fragrance lingers on skin even after thorough rinsing.
  • The scrub granules can feel abrasive.
More Info:

Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.

This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin's barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin's surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.

A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.

References for this information:

Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419

Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175

Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80

Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832

Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202

International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43

Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475

American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes

L'Oreal Paris Skin Experts created our 1st range of clay-to-mousse daily cleansers that leave skin looking perfectly clear. Each cleanser is powered by 3 different clays in their pure form and enhanced with a nature-sourced ingredient. Pure Clay Cleanser goes beyond daily cleansing to clarify and detoxify for skin that can breathe better. Immediately skin is purified of dirt, oil and pollution, and is left with a clean, clear healthy look. Skin looks revitalized with a fresh glow. Use after use, skin's overall quality is improved. Dull skin appears more radiant and luminous.

Aqua/Water, Kaolin, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Zea Mays Starch/Corn Starch, Decyl Glucoside, Perlite, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Carrageenan, Phenoxyethanol, Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499/Iron Oxides, Salicylic Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Parfum/ Fragrance, Zinc Gluconate, Citric Acid, Moroccan Lava Clay, Montmorillonite, Palmaria Palmata Extract.

L'Oreal Paris At-A-Glance

Strengths: Budget-friendly prices; good makeup removers; wide assortment of self-tanning options; one of the best, most comprehensive makeup collections at the drugstore, with superb options in almost every category; the mascaras are a tough act to follow.

Weaknesses: Jar packaging hinders some of the skincare formulas; many of their skincare formulas contain problematic amounts of fragrance and/or other irritants; exaggerated anti-aging claims.

L'Oreal's extensive makeup collection retains its stature as one of the better selections at the drugstore, though they have stiff competition from Revlon and, in some cases, sister company Maybelline New York. In recent years L'Oreal has made significant strides with foundation shades, powder textures, concealers, and, of course, superlative mascaras that rarely fail to impress. Their lipsticks are excellent and you will find many L'Oreal makeup products have a Lancome counterpart, and that the differences are minorif there are any at all.

L'Oreal's displays in many drugstores reflect better-organized products and shade categories (though testers are still scarce). Given the number of lipsticks they sell, it only makes sense to put them in color families so consumers have a better shopping experience. Their True Match products are also sensibly laid out, but the rest of the foundations aren't as organized, likely due to the smaller selection of shades. Speaking of foundations, L'Oreal has made further strides by offering more that provide sufficient UVA protection. Revlon still has the edge for consistently launching impressive foundations with sunscreen, but at least L'Oreal is (finally) catching up.

The bottom line is that every category of L'Oreals makeup has some winning (and in some cases, benchmark-setting) products.

Unfortunately, despite the brands enormous presence in the beauty industry, L'Oreal's moisturizers and treatment products are a nearly all unremarkable and repetitive. When it comes to moisturizers or serums, just about anything from Dove, Olay, Neutrogena, or Aveeno is preferred. L'Oreal does well with most of their cleansers, along with scrubs and self-tanning products, but given the widespread availability and financial resources of this line, they could be doing so much more. The good news is their makeup has made major strides and now ranks as the best overall color collection at the drugstoreimagine the results if their skin care followed suit.

For more information about L'Oreal, call (800) 322-2036 or visit www.loreal.com or www.lorealparisusa.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.