Pre-what? Precleanse. First introduced circa 2005 or 2006—I can still remember being blown away at that beauty editor event—it's a lightweight oil that thoroughly removes any traces of dirt, oil, makeup and sunscreen, before you then cleanse again with a regular (non-oil) face wash. Dermalogica created it after discovering that women typically only wash their faces for THREE seconds, which meant their faces are still kinda dirty after a single wash—ew. Not removing long-wearing makeup and sunscreens can lead to acne outbreaks, milia and other skin issues.
The two-step process is the sort of oil cleansing I can get behind: Precleanse is super-light, non-comedogenic, easily emulsifies with water and then gets completely rinsed away with the second cleansing step. I've used it for years now anytime I need a deep cleanse after wearing heavy makeup, and it works beautifully (i.e. no disasters like this one).
Le problème? The pure oil can be a little messy, and there's just no way I'd ever attempt to travel with it—can you imagine what would happen if it spilled in your suitcase? That's why it's so genius that Dermalogica has now released Precleanse in the form of a biodegradable wipe. I've seen loads of cleansing wipes before, but never an oil wipe. How cool!
When you first pull one out, you will think you've somehow been duped and got a defective package, as the wipe is so dry—I expected it to feel like it was soaked in oil. But the lack of greasiness/wetness doesn't mean a lack of effectiveness. One wipe thoroughly removed a face-full of foundation, blush, tricky mascara and my brightest, most waterproof MUFE eyeshadow stick. After a second wash with a gel cleanser, my face felt baby-soft and incredibly clean. It was actually easier than working with the original Precleanse!
The other great thing about these is the signature spa-like scent. You get to enjoy it a bit more by placing the wipe over your face and just inhaling. Precleanse, take me away!
Would love to hear what you thought. Have you tried 'em?
Where to buy
Note that my press sample above included 10 wipes, but these are retailing with 20 per pack. Find them at the links below as well as at authorized Dermalogica skin centres, spas and salons. See here for locations.