A Very Ordinary Cleanser (That Smells Amazing)

Vinoclean Gentle Cleansing Almond Milk - main graphic of almond tree orchard

Our Caudalie Vinoclean Cleansing Almond Milk review: Meh (B-)

I bought this at a French pharmacy on my way out of Paris. I don’t use many French skincare products — there are a zillion things I prefer à la française, but — like paper towels and garbage bags, skincare products, in my experience, are better here than there. French skincare products are, by and large, just so gentle and non-harming. I want some pizazz. I want amazing results. I actually might want a bushel of face-chemicals. That’s not what the French are doing — and it’s certainly not what Vinoclean is doing.

There’s plenty to like about this product. It’s vegan. The plastic bottle is (reportedly) made 100% from recycled plastics. Caudalie’s 100% Plastic Collective initiative, launched in 2021, means that they’ve committed to collecting (via financial incentives) and recycling as much plastic as they use (600 tons of plastic were apparently collected and recycled in 2021). (How much of this is marketing? And how much of this is a legitimate ecological success story? Who knows?) Also, the smell: It has a fairly strong, sweet smell of almonds, courtesy of the sweet almond oil in the mix — if you like it, you’ll love it, not least because it lingers on the skin better than most of my perfumes. I love it.

However, what also lingers: a residue. I guess that’s the trade-off, right? It’s gentle as advertised, and non-stripping — I never rinsed it off and felt like I needed to apply a moisturizer immediately. But I also never felt like it rinsed properly the first time ’round. Double cleansers, have at it — but I personally would have been happier if it had rinsed clean. I wear very little makeup and it did, indeed, handily remove it, but I’m sure anyone wearing more than a little mascara and lip stain would have been going back to the pump for a second wash.

It’s a funny thing, facial cleansers. So much of the condition of our skin has nothing to do with a cleanser — rather, it’s down to our genetics, our age, our diet, where we live and the attendant pollution, our stress levels, our sleep. Up against all of that, can a cleanser really do that much? Certainly higher-intensity products — serums and oils and retinoids and more — actually can, which is to say that they can literally mask the effects of our occasionally hard lives, at least for a little while. Ultimately, our Caudalie Vinoclean Gentle Cleansing Almond Milk review is that this product won’t manage that. It’s less expensive than some of the cleansers I’ve loved in the past — products that rightly or wrongly I thought did more for my face. It’s the sort of thing that, if I had a beach house, I’d leave at the beach house, in the spare bathroom, for anyone who slept over and just wanted something to use before going to bed.

Also, I found that I consistently needed precisely 1.5 pumps, which drove me nuts.

Cost: At Sephora, this is currently $28 for 200ml, or $.14 a milliliter

Best quality: Fragrance

Worst quality: Questionable efficacy

Final Caudalie Vinoclean Gentle Cleansing Almond Milk review — skip or buy? Skip

Still want to buy it? Find it here

If you’d like to try a fun, foaming, Japanese cleanser instead, try this one.