Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup Melting Butter Cleanser
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Like a slice of Limburger, a plate of escargots à la bordelaise, or — in my case — a shot of tequila, cleansing balms are an acquired taste. Chances are, your first foray into face cleansers wasn't with the solid-to-liquid makeup remover. But if you are like me and have extradry skin, you'll want to try a shot of something as decadent as Drunk Elephant's newest launch, the Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup Melting Butter Cleanser ($34) (and its partner in crime, the Bamboo Booster Exfoliant Physique).
The semitransparent cleansing butter scrapes from its jar with the texture of a sorbet before melting into skin like a slippery milk. The first time I tried it, I had on a full face of makeup (which included a mix of powder and cream complexion products, as well as waterproof eyeliner and mascara) and a layer of my favorite sunscreen. With a few circular motions, everything melted and slipped down the drain, leaving me with skin that wasn't stripped but actually felt smoother than before.
According to cosmetic chemist Nikita Wilson, the balm works so well because of how compatible its emollients are with makeup. "When rubbing the balm onto the skin, [the emollients] interact with the pigment from the makeup and sunscreens by loosening them up to be easily swept away during rinsing."
"When rubbing the balm onto the skin, [the emollients] interact with the pigment from the makeup and sunscreens by loosening them up to be easily swept away during rinsing," she says.
As for how it leaves skin feeling smooth, we know the same emollients moisturize the skin, and dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla explained the brand's use of plant extracts in the balm "keep it from altering the skin's pH, which will not harm skin's barrier." Founder of Drunk Elephant Tiffany Masterson mentioned that she made sure to run clinical studies on the effectiveness of the product in order to confirm that the skin barrier would not be disturbed.
On the third day of testing this cleanser, I decided to use a dime-size amount of the physical exfoliator made from bamboo and charcoal powder (by the way, the tiny vial of Bamboo Booster Exfoliant Physique holds about 80 uses' worth of the stuff). It seamlessly folded into the balm for gentle exfoliation, leaving me with silky — and not at all irritated — skin. "I like that the exfoliant is a bamboo powder because it is both good for the environment and gentle," Mariwalla said. "It doesn't have sharp edges, so it won't leave any scars on the skin."
When the cleansing butter is used alone, it guarantees a luxurious cleansing experience, but Drunk Elephant decided to throw in the Bamboo Booster so you get a two-step skincare routine in one box. When working with this duo, Mariwalla does have one caveat: She explains that certain fruit oils in the blend may cause irritation to sensitive skin users.
When it comes to cleansing balms, like tequila, consider me a convert. As for escargots, I still prefer them à la cannelle.
Ahead, see Drunk Elephant's newest launch, which is available now at Sephora.