I Love This Cleanser Even if It Dries Out My Combi Skin

lush aqua marina review

Lush Aqua Marina review: So apparently there’s a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin, and I have personally interpreted this to mean that one can have oily skin (like I do — ish, anyway) that nonetheless is starved of water (like mine is) — which would make it both oily and dehydrated, the worst of all possible skin-condition worlds.

I was reminded of this when I went for a makeup lesson (en français, a “beauty coaching”) at MakeMyBeauty, a Paris salon in the Upper Marais. I think of my skin as being oily, and therefore immune to the stresses of dehydration, but this was not so. “Your skin is so thirsty!” said Nelly, the makeup artist charged with teaching me how to wash my face. (Not exaggerating, and yes, I learned a lot! It’s a surprisingly nuanced subject!) At this point, she basically slathered my face in a half-inch of oil, which my skin immediately soaked up. (Think, here, of one of those sponges that expands to several times its original size when dropped in a bucket of water. This was my face.) “I don’t understand what you’re using on your skin, but it is not the right thing,” she said.

I hated to hear this, because I was delighted with my cleanser: Lush Aqua Marina, which I’d picked up guessing it was enough of a solid to make it through airport security. It’s exceptionally gentle, with a kaolin clay base, but the thing about clay is that it’s often extremely drying — which Aqua Marina apparently was, despite the inclusion of soothing aloe vera. (That “sprinkle of sea salt for a super gentle exfoliation” likely wasn’t helping in the hydration department.) I might have been able to solve the entire thing by recommitting myself to drinking a gallon of water every day (I get nowhere near this). All I knew was that yes, possibly, my face felt extremely tight when I went to bed, but everything looked very smooth (hats off to the exfoliating, super-drying sea salt) and there was a certain glow about my cheeks, which looked healthy but was almost definitely a sign of irritation. What can I say? I loved everything about it but the texture — maybe I am just bad at washing my face (is this a theme of this post?) but it was slightly tricky getting the clay to mix with water from a faucet, and every once in a while it’d literally slip through my hands into the sink. OK, so I’m just really bad at washing my face. But the consistency didn’t help. I’ve seen people compare the smell to a “mermaid fart” but I loved it, it reminded me of a greenhouse, does this make me weird? It might.

What I have found about Lush products is that more than most, they do something. Do you know what I mean? I feel like if I have a L’Oréal cleanser for dry skin and a L’Oréal cleanser for oily skin, it’s basically the same product with a different color font. With Lush, though, it does something. Dream Cream is the only skincare product I know with the word “dream” in its name that actually deserves it. Aqua Marina or Cup o’ Coffee might not be the right match for you, but it’s probably the right match for someone.

Along those lines: My Lush Aqua Marina review is that I love Aqua Marina, even though it is absolutely the wrong cleanser for my skin, unless I’m open to hydrating from, you know, within, and willing to swap my Diet Coke for water. Maybe some day that is not today. If, however, you have more hydration than you know what to do with, perhaps confidently drinking all day long from one of those sleek Outdoor Voices water bottles, I recommend it, with an open and covetous heart.