Pai Camellia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser is a light cream cleanser which multitasks as an eye makeup remover too. It’s delightful to use and has a fresh, floral scent. Pai was launched by Sarah Brown in 2007 who helped battle her severe skin allergies by making her own natural formulations. When doctors prescribed her daily high dose anti-histamine tablets for her skin, she said no thanks and quit her successful PR career to pursue natural skincare. You can tell from the formulations that these products are painstakingly researched and developed.
Here is the list of what you won’t find in Pai creams: ethyl alcohol (sometimes labeled alcohol denat), artificial fragrances, beeswax, formaldehyde, sodium laurel sulfate, parabens, phenoxyethanol, petrochemicals, phthalates. Whew! What really impressed me about the list is not that it’s long and that it contains the usual baddies, but the explanations around why Pai choose not to use certain other ingredients. For example, ethyl alcohol is not harmful for you, in fact it is quite benign. However, it is really drying for the skin and you’re better off without it. Unfortunately, ethyl alcohol tends to feature at the top of the ingredients lists of many “natural” beauty brands because it acts as a preservative where they are trying to avoid parabens. I was sent my bottle of Camellia and Rose Cleanser to try a few months ago and it has a best before date of 16/08/12 so the product still has a decent shelf life without the preservatives, no doubt helped by the clever pump which keeps the air out of the product.
I was furthermore impressed that Pai products do not contain artificial fragrance. Sometimes you come across a dream formulation with the only flaw that the product contains “fragrance.” For all of the hard work that goes into formulating an effective and non-toxic product full of lots of natural botanicals, it only takes a few drops of synthetic fragrance to ruin the whole thing. I know why a lot of natural brands use synthetic fragrance. It’s because they need masking-agents to counter the funky smell that that certain combination of natural ingredients makes. It can be challenging for formulators but I’m glad at Pai they persevere.
I was a bit surprised that Pai choose not to use beeswax. Beeswax is a common natural ingredient but it is a wax and as such it can block pores. It’s useful in balms in place of petrochemicals to create a barrier for skin (think lips, feet, elbows). It’s also commonly used as an emulsifier in water-free products. When you don’t have water in a product, then you don’t need a preservative. However, if you’re prone to blemishes it’s better to leave out the beeswax. Come to think about it I don’t recall getting a single spot while I was using the Camellia and Rose Cleanswer, at least not in the last month. I put this down to the solid formulation of this product.
Full ingredient list: aqua, camellia sinensis leaf oil, ricinus communis seed oil, prunus amygdalus dulcis oil, ceterayl alcohol, glycerin, butyrospermum parkii butter, cetearyl glucoside, sodium anistate, mixed tocopherols, rosa damascene oil, pelargonium graveolens oil, sodium levulinate, lavandula angustifolia oil, lactic acid, litsea cubeba fruit oil, sodium lauroyl lactylate, glyceryl stearate citrate
Water, camellia oil, castor oil, sweet almond oil, coconut-derived emulsifier, vegetable glycerin, shea butter, corn-derived emulsifier, basil extract, natural vitamin E, rose oil, geranium oil, corn extract, lavender oil, lactic acid derived from sugar beet, may chang oil, sodium lauroyl lactylate from coconut oil, glyceryl stearate citrate from sustainable palm oil
78% of the ingredients are organic and the overall product is certified by the UK Soil Association. The cleanser is easy to use – a couple of pumps massaged into damp skin and then removed with a damp cloth. I found the cloth enclosed with the cleanser a little abrasive on the skin. I substituted muslin cloths or cotton pads.
All in all, Pai Camellia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser is a solid facial cleansing product. While I’m on the topic of Pai, I have to give a shout-out to the Geranium and Thistle Combination Skin Cream which I purchased a few years ago. It’s light and easily absorbed into skin. My skin felt moist in its dry areas but not greasy in the T-zone. You can apply make up on top shortly after applying since it absorbs so well. I look forward to trying more products from the Pai skincare range.