* Prices may differ from that shown
A while back I reviewed a fantastic skin scrub from Sanctuary Spa, a British brand set up originally out of an spa in Covent Garden and now seemingly a growingly popular production house of high-quality cosmetics. I had always considered them to be out of my price range, being that little bit too high in cost for me to justify it. However, a combination of becoming more aware of my skin fighting the ageing process, and a very tempting review by Louisechackett on their sleep-aiding skin butter meant I did indulge in the range when given some Boots vouchers for Christmas. I have to say that I am so very glad I did, because not one of the products I have tried since has let me down, and as I alluded to in my last review, the range has been very kind to me in term of offers - almost enough so to off-set the increased costs. Clearly this might not continue and I may have had a lucky run as the firm try to capitalise on their apparently growing popularity, but for now I am doing very nicely out of it. How so? Well as well as price reduction offers and 3-for-2 on my original experiment with the brand, I have had two remarkably generous offers since. One was my new favourite facial moisturiser coming with a free gift of a whacking great tub of what I can only describe as the most luxurious body moisturiser I have ever tried (as well as the face cream being reduced), but once I received a promotional email from the brand claiming that if I reviewed one of their products on boots.com and emailed them to let them know, I would be sent a free full-size bottle of their Ultimate Facial Cleaning Oil. Well, given that reviewing things is now second nature, how quickly do you think I actually had their arm off? Thus it was that shortly afterwards, they were true to their word and I took delivery of £12.99 RRP's worth of this cleansing oil product. ***WOULD I HAVE BOUGHT IT OTHERWISE?*** Probably not. I have a paranoia about my T-zone, which is prone to shininess. Also, when run down I suffer embarrassingly big spots on my nose, and with the shininess causing my foundation to slip off, I find these impossible to hide and a huge dent to my self-confidence. As a result I never truly apply moisturiser to my nose, so I can only hope it's not going to age at a disparate rate to the rest of my face! However, I had been so impressed by other Sanctuary products that I decided to take them up on their generous offer and see if I was missing out - at the same time I had been reading so many reviews, often on Dooyoo, citing the benefits of using skin oil treatments, and the wrinkles seem to get worse every day....something has to be done! ***WOULD YOU BUY IT AGAIN?*** Definitely - this has not caused a single breakout or spot and although I do not use it every day, I find it to be a very gentle, soothing and effective cleaner. It leaves my skin feeling supple and moisturised after use without additional moisturiser, as opposed to most cleansers with which I would automatically moisturiser after using. ***SO WHAT'S THE IDEA?**** The principle behind this product is that the requirements of the skin are cleansing and hydration in balance - not stripping the skin of essential soothing oils in order to get "the bad stuff" out. Their answer to this is a blend of four oils, vitamins and essential fatty acids to cleanse the skin without being abrasive or detrimental to its moisture levels. ***WHAT'S IN THE BOTTLE?*** For £12.99 at full retail you get 150ml of a blend of the following: Paraffinum liquidum (Mineral oil), Polysorbate 85, Isopropyl myristate, Glycine soja (Soybean) oil, Persea gratissima (Avocado) oil, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) seed oil, Argania spinosa kernel oil, Tocopheryl acetate, Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) oil, Linalool, Anthemis nobilis flower oil, Citrus aurantium amara (Bitter orange) flower oil, Limonene, Geraniol, Farnesol. ***HOW DO YOU USE IT?*** You use one or two pumps of the oil, which is a slightly golden-coloured standard-looking oil product. Instantly you can smell the oils in the blend, but these are not overpowering - I would say that the Lavender Oil is noticable but this is only mild, and most of us will know how easily that aspect could overpower a beauty product. So the scents seem subtle, enjoyable and well-balanced, whilst still being delicate and feeling quite high quality. Perhaps the tiny addition of the citrus comes through, but this is very subtle indeed. You massage this over the dry skin and then when ready you add a few drops of water until the oils emulsify into a cream. You then rinse gently, and dry the skin. Avoid contact with eyes. The Sanctuary advice is to use twice - once for surface dirt, a second treatment for deep cleansing. You could be cynical and argue that this is a good way of making people use their product more quickly, but I can see, having tried it once, that it does do an even better job. However, one treatment has been enough for me after long hot days in the city and commuting, after which my skin feels filthy - this not only refreshes it but also leaves my skin feeling soothed and moisturised enough for me to then go the evening with Mr Rarr without moisturising again before bed, which helps stop me worrying about causing breakouts by moisturising too much. It is claimed to be suitable for all skin types. Reviews on the product page on the Sanctuary Spa website are all positive, with the lowest being 3 from 5 stars and most higher. ***IS IT ENJOYABLE TO USE?*** The oil cleanser spreads easily across the skin and causes no irritation - it is very soothing. The scent, being all over the skin, benefit from being subtle and gentle and are relaxing. I like to massage this oil in its "dry" form for a few minutes and - at risk of getting into the mucky stuff - I can feel it do what it claims, to "dissolve" impurities, and I see each time on my hands evidence of build up that had been blocking pores - dry skin, impurities and other nastiness. So this does truly seem to get into the pores and dissolve the battery of bad stuff that your skin is exposed to every day. I then add a little water. This cream then takes on a milky white thicker consistency, at which point I massage a little more, treating it like a nice spa treatment with the high quality oils and scents, getting more use out of the product, and then I rinse away with warm water, either in the bath or shower. It takes a few splashes as this is oil-based, but once fully removed my skin still feels smooth, soothed, and ever-so-very-slightly fragranced. It feels clean, despite also not requiring moisturiser. It is a remarkable product, unlike one I have ever tried before. It has not caused any irritation or outbreak or dreaded spots, nor has it increased subsequent oiliness on the T-zone of my face - really quite remarkable. ***WHAT ABOUT THE ETHICAL STUFF?** I can't find directly announced on the product page or website that this isn't animal tested. However, as I noticed in my last review research, this is on nottested.com and the brand claim on Facebook that their only living test victims are both willing and human. ***WHERE DO I GET IT?*** The range is available in better Boots stores, on Boots.com or direct from Sanctuary.com ***SO, RECOMMENDED?*** Yes! This has never caused my subsequent make up to slide, although admittedly I prefer to use it as a relaxing treat to remove a whole face of make up and the day's grime before sitting down to the evening with Mr Rarr, happy that my skin looks healthy and soothed and not greasy or still messy from the day. But I have used it before moisturiser and foundation and it hasn't let me down then either. The scent is so well balanced and subtle and the oil feels of high quality, rich and smooth and soothing. The fact that it truly cleans is self-evident when I use it, it truly does help cleanse deeply and when used twice is highly effective, although usually once is sufficient. Application and removal is potentially a little messy if you're over a sink but I prefer to use it when indulging in a bath or shower either on a day off or after a hard day. I find it relaxing, soothing and enjoyable and I use one or two pumps-worth of product which does not over-dispense so my freebie is lasting me a very long time. All in all I can't fault this product; if anyone had issues with an oil-based cleanser it would have been me and this has allayed all fears. It is also a lovely product to use and I am very grateful to the brand for letting me try it for free - I'm sure I will be repaying the favour by purchasing again. Thanks for reading.