Ultra Clean 3-in-1 Wash + Scrub + Mask with Charcoal
Garnier’s Ultra Clean 3-in-1 Wash + Scrub + Mask with Charcoal is an updated version of their previous Clean+ Pore Purifying 2-in-1 Clay Cleanser/Mask and we’re happy to report they’ve nixed the irritating menthol and earned an upgrade from our team from its previous one-star rating, though still not without some significant weaknesses.
Said to work as a cleanser, scrub and mask, all in one convenient squeeze tube, this is a decent option for combination to oily skin, but the fragrance it still contains is overpowering and its three stated functions all have the same drawback.
This isn’t a very effective cleanser in terms of removing excess oil and pore-clogging debris, mostly because it contains too few cleansing agents, all used in lower-than-normal amounts. The slight lather is nice, but the blend of clay and charcoal doesn’t make for fast or easy rinsing (expect lots of face-splashing).
The amount of clay helps absorb some oil, but it’s not in contact with skin long enough when this is used as cleanser. When used as a five-minute mask (that’s how long you’re advised to leave it on before rinsing) you’ll see better results in terms of oil control, but once again rinsing is an irksome issue.
On balance, this tends to work best as a scrub. The scrub beads are from perlite, a volcanic mineral. Although perlite can be unevenly shaped, here are beads feel rounded, so they don’t feel too abrasive. Skin is left feeling smooth and refined, but as we mentioned, rinsing is still an issue.
The other concern is how fragranced this product is, because strong fragrance can be highly irritating, and traces of it linger no matter if you use this as a cleanser, a scrub, or a mask. Granted, the fragrance is less of an issue in a rinse-off product than a leave-on moisturizer, but given this product has one issue or another no matter how it’s used, we suggest looking to other cleanser, scrubs, and masks.
- Works reasonably well as a scrub or a fast-acting absorbent mask.
- Difficult to rinse no matter how you use it.
- Highly fragrant formula poses a strong risk of irritating skin.
- Minimally effective if your concern is clogged pores or “congested” skin.
Garnier Skinactive Ultra Clean 3-in-1 with Charcoal is an innovative face wash that can be use in 3 different ways. As a daily cleanser to clean pores and deeply clear skin of dirt, oil and impurities. As a face scrub to improve the skin texture to be softer & smoother and as face mask to reduce oil. Formulated with Charcoal and white clay, this product was designed to address the needs of oily and combination skin. After used, skin feels fresher and clean.
Garnier Nutritioniste At-A-Glance
Strengths: Interesting and potentially helpful cleansing oil and foundation primer.
Weaknesses: Insufficient UVA protection from some of the sunscreens; average to below average moisturizers and eye creams; mostly irritating cleansers; no effective products for blemish-prone skin; jar packaging.
Debuting with permanent hair dye and then making the segue to a full line of hair-care products emphasizing carefree, casual styles with can't-miss-it colorful packaging has been Garnier's formula for penetrating the U.S. market. Several well-known actresses have had dual roles as spokesperson for Garnier's hair dyes and skin-care products, with splashy ads appearing in magazines and on television commercials.
Unfortunately, this group of products hasn't got much going for it except the lure celebrity spokespeople provide. The amount of fragrance is perhaps forgivable for a French-owned product line, and in most of the Nutritioniste products it's not too intrusive. What is deplorable is the lack of sufficient UVA protection in the sunscreens. A skin-care line has no right to speak about the anti-aging benefits and "breakthrough approach" of its products when they cannot get this fundamental aspect consistently right.
It's also disappointing that some products contain irritating peppermint, which made us wonder whether the dermatologists who consulted for Garnier had any idea of what's good for skin and what isn't. It seems they didn't, because what they ended up with is a mix of pro and con products that make it impossible for consumers to assemble a sensible skin-care routine, not to mention products that make skin-lifting claims most dermatologists would dismiss as cosmetics puffery.
The hook for this line is the way it is said to bring nutrition and dermatology together. The products are "fortified" with antioxidants such as lycopene and nutritional ingredients such as fatty acids, vitamins (A and C, never present together in the same product!), and minerals. Garnier wants you to think this is a revolutionary idea, but it isn'tdid they also overlook that everyone else, from L'Oreal (Garnier is owned by L'Oreal) to Estee Lauder and Clinique, has been using such ingredients in their products for years? And why consult a nutritionist (as Garnier did) when their training and professional expertise has little to do with application of anything to the skin? The whole scenario proves Garnier was more concerned with creating an attention-getting story for this line rather than formulating truly breakthrough products.
Despite our disdain for the way Garnier's marketing takes precedence over making the products as good as they could be formulary-wise, there are some bright spots. Because Garnier is owned by L'Oreal, it's no surprise to find that there are lots of similarities between the better and worse aspects of L'Oreal's skin care as well as with L'Oreal's department-store sister company Lancome. In some ways, Garnier's formulas best those of both companies by including a greater array of antioxidants and intriguing skin-identical ingredients. The occasional jar packaging choice reduces the effectiveness of some of these products, but other than that, Lancome users should take note of the happy facerated products in this line. You'll be getting a better product for considerably less money here (though, at least for now, no free gift with purchasebut you can buy Lancome foundations or mascaras instead when gift time comes around).
For more information about Garnier Nutritioniste, call (800) 370-1925 or visit www.garnierusa.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.