My 15-year-old niece Thea describes Drunk Elephant as ‘the coolest brand ever’. And though that may be on the superlative side, I know this beauty company has really caught people’s attention. Yes, there’s the cute name (derived from its key ingredient of marula oil – eating the fruit is said to make elephants tipsy) and the colourful packaging, but it’s more than that. Drunk Elephant represents a sea change in the business; it’s beauty zeitgeist stuff, riding into the skincare arena like a knight on a charger, championing the clean movement. For its big message is that it’s free from what it calls the ‘suspicious 6’: essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical screens, fragrance/dyes and sodium lauryl sulphate.
Although I hadn’t quite found my personal groove with the label, I realised this was a case of the cheese stands alone. Other than the marula oil, which is lovely but not dramatically different from others, I hadn’t come across my hero in the range: until now, with the recently launched Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser (£29, spacenk.com). Butter is the perfect name for this because it looks like a balm but feels really soft and is easy to spread over the face. It’s also lightweight and glides on with the fingertips, making it super-easy to give yourself a facial massage at the same time. Rubbing it into the skin will lift off any kind of grime, make-up or sunscreen. Add a touch of water and it turns to a light milky texture that’s easily wiped off with a warm flannel.
My new cleanser of choice, it makes my skin feel ultra-clean without being dry or leaving behind any residue. And though the name Slaai may sound like modern slang for beating the competition, it’s inspired by the Afrikaans for salad, with a dash of artistic licence as the ingredients – including blueberry, kiwi, strawberry extracts and cranberry, acai and watermelon fruit oils to comfort and moisturise skin – are found in a fruit salad rather than the green version.
It comes with a small vial of bamboo and charcoal grains for an exfoliating boost. Sprinkle a small amount into the cleanser once or twice a week to turn it into a dual-action thing of wonder.
3 more classy cleansers
Chanel Anti-Pollution Micellar Cleansing Water (£32, chanel.com) is a very swanky but also effective and gentle make-up remover for all skin types. Ingredients are 96 per cent natural in origin and a prebiotic helps to maintain good skin health.
Formula Radiant Cleanse Cleansing Balm (£14, marksandspencer.com) is a hardworking, lightly perfumed balm that emulsifies into a milky texture. It comes with muslin cloths for removal, though personally I prefer to use a flannel.
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (£24, harveynichols.com) has become a cult favourite. It’s formulated with antioxidant-rich olive oil, which gives a really thorough cleanse, though some will prefer to use oil as the first step of a double cleanse.
Beauty assistant: Alice Robertson.