Perfectly Clean Multi-Action Foam Cleanser/Purifying Mask
5 fl. oz. for $25
Last Updated:12.18.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Lauder revamped their core cleansers and toners, and this one for oily skin is said to do double-duty as a facial mask. Although you can use this foaming cleanser as a mask, the formula isn't as good as any of the oil-absorbing masks we recommend.

As a cleanser or a mask, though, this product is potentially too drying, especially if you leave it on skin as a mask which would be a mistake. It contains soap-like cleansing agents and a high amount of potassium hydroxide (that's lye) along with absorbent clays, which aren't the best for removing makeup or using around the eyes.

This will cleanse your skin, but not "perfectly" as it cleanses almost too well, and just because skin is oily doesn't mean you need to over-cleanse it with a drying product. Doing so can cause irritation that stimulates more oil production, making matters worse. See our list of Best Cleansers for superior options.

  • Cleanses and removes makeup.
  • Contains primarily drying, soap-like cleansing agents (and the clays reinforce the drying nature of this cleanser).
  • Not suitable for use as an oil-absorbent mask (you don't want to leave the cleansing agents on skin for any longer than is absolutely necessary).
  • Borderline pricey.
Treat your skin with this refreshing foam that cleanses gently yet thoroughly. Use it 2 ways: Morning and night as a daily cleanser to purify skin. Or twice a week as a 3-minute purifying mask.
Water, Myristic Acid, Glycerin, Behenic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Palmitic Acid, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Lauric Acid, Stearic Acid, Sucrose, Montmorillonite, Silybum Marianum (Lady’s Thistle) Extract, Gentium Lutea(Gentian) Root Extract, Algae Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sorbitol, Caffeine, Zinc PCA, PEG-3 Distearate, Kaolin, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.
Brand Overview

Estee Lauder At-A-Glance

Strengths: Some of the most state-of-the-art moisturizers and serums around; excellent sunscreens; some good cleansers, toners, and makeup removers; several categories of makeup excel, including some extraordinary foundations (that include shades for darker skin tones), concealers, powders, blush, and eyeshadows; a mostly good selection of eye, brow, and lip pencils; their long-wearing lip color and some of the lipsticks are supremely good.

Weaknesses: Several items are highly fragranced; incomplete and/or problematic products for anyone battling blemishes; many of the Re-Nutriv products are priced too high given similar, less-expensive options from Lauder; some of the sunscreens and foundations with sunscreen lack sufficient UVA protection; the brushes aren't on par with those from other Lauder-owned lines, such as Bobbi Brown or M.A.C.; jar packaging.

From its humble but attention-getting beginning in 1946, Estee Lauder has grown to become a multibillion-dollar company whose products are sold all over the world and advertised in just about every fashion and women's lifestyle magazine you can think of. Their product assortment is mind-boggling and would be much more frustrating to wade through if their tester units weren't so well-organized and their salespeople so well-trained. (Although most of what they talk about is claim-driven and not worth paying much attention to, they do know their way around the huge assembly of products.)

We suppose the biggest compliment we can pay to the venerable Estee Lauder line is that their state-of-the-art moisturizers and serums have had a hand in redefining how we evaluate products. They (and some Lauder-owned companies, notably Clinique) are so far ahead of their department-store competition in these two areas that they alone have been consistently raising the bar as new research comes to light. In fact, we are confident telling anyone who asks us where to find the best moisturizers in the department store to sail right past Lancome, Chanel, Clarins, Shiseido, and Elizabeth Arden (among others) and park themselves in front of the Lauder counter (or a Lauder-owned line specializing in skin care such as Clinique—definitely not Origins, but you have to read about Origins to see why). We don't agree with most of the claims Lauder makes for their products and the fragrance is often intrusive, but when it comes to formulary excellence culminating in products that give skin what it needs to function optimally, they are tough to beat.

Despite Lauder's formulary innovations, they're not immune to problem products. Some of their cleansers contain irritating ingredients, jar packaging is prevalent, and their sole product for acne isn't going to help anyone's blemishes improve (actually, Estee Lauder is not the line to shop if managing acne is your concern). The company has also taken a somewhat "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach, much like the many skin-care companies with cosmetic products targeted at women considering cosmetic corrective procedures. Some of the claims (and statistics) about what their skin-care alternatives (to these procedures) can accomplish still stretch the boundaries of what's possible, but most of them have impressive ingredients that benefit skin. They just can't change skin in the same effective way a cosmetic corrective procedure can.

For more information about Estee Lauder, call (877) 311-3883 or visit www.esteelauder.com.

Estee Lauder Makeup

Although Estee Lauder has made some impressive strides with its skin-care formulations, their makeup collection has become a frustrating mixed bag. We were genuinely surprised at how many average makeup items have recently appeared. Of course, there have also been some improvements, most notably in the foundation, eyeshadow, and lipstick categories. But for such an established, worldwide brand to not have more to extol is almost embarrassing. That attitude of bigger and better things is there in the descriptions, but the products tell a different story.

The most frustrating element by far is the number of foundations with sunscreen that either lack essential UVA-protecting ingredients or carry an SPF rating that is below standard. In contrast, the sunscreens in Lauder's skin-care lineup are almost all top-notch. Even more perplexing is that Lauder's sister company, Clinique, really has its act together when it comes to foundations with UVA-protecting ingredients, and they feature a lower price point for superior products.

Despite the shortcomings, many women will continue to shop for makeup at their local Lauder counter, and there is still reason to do that—just not with the same blanket sense of confidence you may have had in the past. This is an exhaustive makeup line, with seemingly endless choices. We like that Lauder's makeup tester units are much more user-friendly, particularly for foundations, powders, and concealers. Their sales staff is more enthusiastic and present (often to the point of hovering) than the staff of many competing lines, but also quite helpful and up-to-date on product comings and goings. We feel strongly that you won't be disappointed with any of the Lauder makeup rated "best" below. Without question, those products are shining examples that prove Lauder has the capability to elevate the current state-of-the-art, raising the bar for their competitors. If only such innovation were evident in the entire line, there would be few reasons to shop elsewhere, save for the prices. As is, and more than ever, it pays to be a savvy consumer when you're about to navigate the cosmetics department.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Well I love it

I had a sample of this and used it ringing off with water, the results were ok. I have normal skin which can be prone to painful cysts and read somewhere that said to away from water when cleansing so I tried with this cleanser using tissues to remove and the results were amazing. From the first use my skin was soft and really clean. I am now a non water convert especially as I have not had any cysts since.

Reviewed by
Claire A
Severe burn reaction

Very disappointed with new multi action cleanser. Caused severe burns especially around eyes. Face is swollen, very dry. I do not even look anything like myself. Recently visited Italy and Switzerland. Old product is still being sold there. I have used the product for almost 30 years. do not know what to use now. Doctor prescribed prednisone.

Reviewed by
Lee D
Horrible! Burns eyes!

Received a sample in a GWP. On first use, I got some in my eyes and it burned so badly. It is the next day and my eyes are still stinging and blurry. I do not have sensitive eyes or skin, and have never experienced this type of extreme pain with any product. Checked the Paula's review, and was shocked to see it contains lye. This product is dangerous and should not be on the market.

Reviewed by
Is Estée Lauder self-destructive?

I know better than to try this. Honestly, I've learned to trust this website and to go here before I put anything on my skin. Usually.. But, between the changes in their skin care.I.think Estée Lauder has gone down hill.I used to buy a lot of Estée Lauder products but. But, I'm very disappointed in the brand.

Reviewed by
Annette D.
Too Harsh.

The Estee Lauder rep recommended this to me. I am 57 with summer/oily skin and winter/dry. The product foams up nicely but, it is harsh--- the smell, the drying effect and burning eyes. I don't use it as a mask. I just put a nickel sized amount in my hand and gently spread over the face, add the water and cleanse. I does a good job of removing makeup, but you get this product in your eyes and you have tears. I'll will use and not buy again.

Reviewed by
Leaves a Film!

I received a generous tube in a GWP and initially loved the smell (mild, yet fresh) and the soft texture. It cleaned my face well, removing long-wear makeup, but it left a nasty, unpleasant film. I'll use up the rest of the tube to clean the toilet. Soap is soap!

Reviewed by
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