(I was sent this to review but all thoughts are my own)
A long time ago now I was sent Clean Start by Dermalogica's starter kit to review (also sent their lip balm/gloss which I previously reviewed here ) and am finally getting round to it. My excuse is that I needed a long time to test it out to see how it worked with my skin. And well that's partly truthful, but also I am just rubbish at posting recently :P
Anyway while I am definately still able to review the products I have realised that I was not their demographic at all. It's aimed for teenagers and young adults, which i guess i still am but in the loosest possible sense of the word, but a lot of the products seem designed to counteract oily, acne prone skin. My skin is very dry, never greasy and I get spots now and then but it's so rarely that I really have no need for special skincare. My point is that while I will review the products the best I can I can't say how well some of these actually work on the problems they are designed for as i do not have these problems.
I was sent the Clean Start Starter Kit, which contains 5 products and the basis of a proper skincare regime. The products are mini sized, each one is 15ml, however I found that they all lasted a long time. Oddly the exfoliator was the first to go because, even though i used it the fewest times a week, I found I had to use a lot to cover my face. That lasted about for about 10 uses, the cleanser I used for about 2 months and it's still going strong as you need so little.
The kit arrived packaged in a half clear half foil resealable pouch and also included 2 leaflets about the brand. I also recieved a lot of little sample sachets, I'm not sure if this is because it was sent to me for review or if everyone gets them. I really like the products packaging, with it's bold colours on a stark white background it's sort of pop-art-ish.
The Starter Kit costs £22.50 which I think is a fair price for the amount you get. It lasted me for at least 2 months, which seems good for a starter kit, you can easily see if the products are right for you. Though of course if you don't like the products then £22.50 is very pricey.
Wash Off cleanser
I really liked this cleanser. It's quite a thick gel and you only need a tiny bit, it lathers up beautifully. The gel smells slightly medicinal but not horrible. It's herbal, I can definately get lemongrass but not sure what the rest of the smell is. It's quite nice but not my favourite scent. Anyway it doesn't linger at all after I wash it off. I found it removed makeup well, though not all of my mascara. It left my skin feeling clean and refreshed and ever so slightly tingly, but it did not make my skin feel dry or tight and did not at all sting my very sensitive eyes. Very nice face wash, but it doesn't quite beat my holy grail Body Shop Passionfruit cleanser.
The full size is £14.30 for 180ml
All Over Clear toner
I really can't give a long review for this because I can't for any toner. I sometimes use toner (when I'm being good with my skincare routine anyway) and find it refreshing and, perhaps psychologically, feel it makes my skin feel more clean than if i used cleanser alone. However I have never found a toner that really makes any difference to my skin. I like the feel of it but it doesn't do anything to me. And this toner is no different. The smell is not exactly the same as the cleanser but very similar, herbal and slightly clinical and 'clean' smelling. The smell really does make it feel more refreshing. It comes in a spray bottle, which is nice for spritzing all over your face, however I prefer to wipe my toner over my face to remove the last bits of my makeup. The formula itself is no better or worse than any other toner I've tried, but I prefer my (sadly discontinued) Boots Original Formula Rose toner purely because I like the rose smell better and it has gorgeous vintage style packagaing. If you prefer a more medicinal scent and like a spray bottle then this is a damn fine toner.
The full size is £12.30 for 120ml
Ready Set Scrub exfoliator
This is an interesting product as you can use it as both a masque and a regular exfoliator. Or at least in theory it's both. I have very sensitive skin in that lots of products cause my face to have what I can only assume is a very mild allergic reaction. It starts to tingle and then it gets worse and worse until it is stinging and horribly painful. This exfoliator set off this reaction but only mildly. Basically if i use it as just an exfoliator, i.e. I put it on, massage it a bit and then wash it off, it's fine, it does tingle a bit, but no pain. But if I leave it on to use as a masque it started to sting and become painful. So I can't tell you how effective it is as a masque. As an exfoliator however it is fine. Again it has the same lemongrassy smell. It has the consistency of a clay masque but with tiny tiny grains. Because of this slightly dry, clayish consistency I had to apply quite a lot in order to cover my face. I found it quite gentle as an actual exfoliator, probably because it is meant to be kept on your face for extended periods as a masque. It left my skin feeling very cool and tingly and I don't know if that's due to my sensitive skin or if it does that for everyone. However it made my skin feel cleaner and got rid of dry, flaky patches of skin i had without making my face feel dry or tight. If you have very sensitive skin I'd avoid this just in case you have the same reaction as I did, if not then I think this is a good product anyway and would be even better if you could use it as a masque too.
One thing I did find odd was the the tube suggests you use this 3-5 times a week, which seems very excessive for an exfoliator to me. I generally use a scrub 2-3 times a week, and as this one irritated my skin I definately would not have used it more. People without my sensitivity might not have the problem but I still think there is no need to use a scrub 5 times a week.
Full size is £14.30 for 75ml
Bedtime for Breakouts nighttime treatment
I used this every night for about a week and then gave up on it. I didn't notice any difference at all. But then I wouldn't as I don't tend to get breakouts anyway. So I really can't review this at all, it didn't do anything for me but it's not designed for me. It's a quite runny gel with the same sort of herbal, medicinal smell as the other products, but it's not noticable once it's on the face. I found I had to use quite a bit of this to cover my whole face as it seemed to 'set' on my skin quite quickly.
Full size is £14.30 for 60ml
Welcome Matte Spf 15 moisturiser
This is the one product I haven't used very much. I tried it a couple of times but didn't like it. It made my face feel a little tight, not terrible but not pleasant. Other than that I didn't get anything out of this, it didn't feel moisturising or hydrating to me. However as I have dry skin I am used to rich moisturisers and I have no need to mattify my skin. I actually was excited about this when I first heard about it, but I was being stupid. I love a matte look to my foundation (I don't understand why anyone would want to look dewy) and somehow managed to confuse myself that this would sort of give me the same look. But of course it doesn't as this is just a moisturiser, but one that meant to help combat oily skin.
The full size moisturiser costs £15.35 for 60ml
So as you can see I had a mixed bag with these products. I liked the cleanser and toner a lot, although they are not my favourites, but the moisturiser and nightime treatment did absolutely nothing for me. However I cannot say at all that this is because they are bad products simply because they are designed for a completely different skin type from me. Overall I would say that if you have oily or spotprone skin these are definatley worth a try but if not, while most of the products are still good, you would not get the best out of them and could do better. I also would not say the products are overpriced but they are expensive, especially when they're aimed at teenagers who obviously do not have as much disposable income.
I've just seen this post at British Beauty Blogger which brings up some slightly questionable tactics of the company. I don't know enough about it to comment, if true it's slightly dodgy. But I must say the people who contacted me were very nice and personable so I'm not going to complain about something I don't know anything about.