Botanical Effects Cleanse 2
4 fl. oz. for $14
Last Updated:03.16.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This rather simplistic, though emollient, plant oil–based cleanser is appropriate for someone with normal to dry skin. It doesn’t rinse all that easily, so it’s best to use a soft washcloth with it to be sure you remove it completely.

Although it claims to be suitable for sensitive skin, the ingredient list doesn’t support that notion. It does contain Momordica grosvenoriifruit extract, which has some research showing it has benefit when taken orally to treat diabetes, but that has little relationship to skin. It also contains two fragrant plant extracts, including Plumeria alba and the giant water lily. Both of these potentially can be irritating when they come in contact with skin, but given that a cleanser is rinsed from the skin, along with makeup and the day’s buildup of oil and debris, the irritation from these plants is less of an issue; though, ideally, they shouldn’t be in here at all. Overall, this isn’t a bad cleanser, but it’s definitely questionable for use on sensitive skin. For the money, there are better options out there.

  • Creamy formula for dry skin is capable of removing all types of makeup.
  • Leaves skin feeling soft and smooth.
  • Veers toward expensive considering the small container.
  • Doesn’t rinse easily; you need to use a washcloth.
  • Contains fragrant plant extracts that pose a small risk of irritation.

This facial cleanser gently removes makeup and impurities, leaving skin feeling clean and soft and looking healthy. Contains a special antioxidant-rich botanical complex, is hypoallergenic, and formulated without synthetic dyes or added fragrance. Suitable for sensitive skin.


Water, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glycerin, CetearylEthylhexanoate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, GlycerylIsostearate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-8, Stearic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Plumeria Alba Flower Extract, NymphaeaGigantea Flower Extract (Giant Water Lily), SilybumMarianum Fruit Extract, MomordicaGrosvenorii Fruit Extract, C14-22 Alcohols, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Tocopherol, Butylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, PEG-4 Laurate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol,IodopropynylButylcarbamate, Methylparaben, DMDM Hydantoin

Brand Overview

Mary Kay At-A-Glance

Strengths: Most of the products are fragrance-free; packaging that keeps light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use; a handful of well-formulated moisturizers; very good eye-makeup remover; effective wrinkle filler; excellent cream blush and several other impressive makeup products.

Weaknesses: The overall collection is a mixed bag of exciting and disappointing products; several outdated moisturizers and cleansers; no AHA or acceptable BHA products; the CC Cream doesn't provide good enough UVA protection; some lackluster makeup products.

The last few years haven't been glamorous for one of the world's largest direct sellers of cosmetics. Mary Kay lost a lawsuit filed by TriStrata, the company whose founders hold over 100 patents on the use of AHAs in skin-care products. It was revealed that Mary Kay's former AHA products infringed on three of these patents, and, after some back-and-forths in court, Mary Kay ended up paying royalties of over $40 million (interest included) to TriStrata. Perhaps because they're still licking their wounds after this defeat, the company has not launched any new AHA products, and no longer sells the ones that were in question during the legal battle (Source: www.bizjournals.com/dallas/stories/2006/04/03/daily26.html).

However, the company's spin on the issue of AHAs is that they no longer use them because skin-care technology has advanced. That's an interesting twist, but the fact of the matter is that AHA products, when well-formulated, are still considered advanced and capable of doing far more for skin than the alternatives Mary Kay has devised (including an at-home microdermabrasion scrub and products with vitamin C derivatives).

Although they're not a company for you if you are looking for exfoliants (though you should be looking for a good exfoliant), Mary Kay has recently developed a surprising number of excellent products. With over 1.6 million Mary Kay consultants selling products in 30 countries, this family-owned company (founder Mary Kay Ash passed away in 2001) has slowly been proving that they intend to remain competitive with the best of the best. A refreshing change of pace is the omission of fragrance from almost all of the products. Now that is what we call progress!

Despite its size and capital (wholesale figures were $3 billion in 2012), Mary Kay still has a lot to learn. For instance, although their guiding philosophy of empowering women is admirable, the assortment of products still leaves much to be desired. Yes, things are looking up, but there are several weak spots that keep Mary Kay from being in the same league as Avon, Estee Lauder, Procter & Gamble (Olay), and Johnson & Johnson (Neutrogena, Aveeno, RoC). These include outdated cleansers, toners, and moisturizers, along with letdowns in products designed for oily, blemish-prone skin. The TimeWise product range has expanded considerably, and offers a few state-of-the-art products worthy of its name (although, as with all skin-care products, they're not going to turn back the hands of time and erase all signs of aging).

If improvements like those in Mary Kay's latest products were translated to the entire line, it would be standing much taller, at least as far as what current, substantiated skin-care research indicates is optimum for creating and maintaining healthy skin. As is, this is a line to approach with a keen understanding of what to focus on and what to avoid. One last bit of good news: Mary Kay offers well-packaged samples of selected products, either directly or from your consultant.

Unless mentioned otherwise, all Mary Kay products are fragrance-free.

Note: Mary Kay is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because their products are sold in China. Although Mary Kay does not conduct animal testing for their products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brand’s state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law”. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Paula’s Choice Research Team.

For more information about Mary Kay, call (800) 627-9529 or visit www.marykay.com

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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Love it!

I come from a long line of sensitive skin issues and this stuff is great. It's smooth and creamy. Glides on nicely and you hardly need much to do your whole face. My skin is bright and velvety after using it and I've noticed my pours looking smaller. Worth every dime. I tell everyone I meet about it. Lol

Reviewed by
Jessica, P
sad replacement

The consultant sent this to replace creamy cleanser #2. original was 6.5 oz bottle, this is 4 oz tube. This does not feel creamy and stinks. even when i remove it i still smell it. The smell reminds me of my teen years and clearasil.

Reviewed by
Jeri C
Great for sensitive skin, even combination skin

I have EXTREMELY sensitive combination skin with acne. I recently purchased this cleanser thinking it would be another let down but to my surprise it has already started helping clear up my current acne break that got worse from other cleansers. It is milky, smooth, has a light scent and feels amazing. You just need about a dime size for your whole face, you will need to use a wet wash cloth to rinse it off. Over all great product, decent price and works great. Would recommend for sensitive skin

Reviewed by
Shellan G.
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