What is it? Cleanser, with added Alpha Hydroxy Acids.
What does/should it do? Clean your skin but exfoliate at the same time.
Elemis is a brand that hasn’t been in my skincare wardrobe before, because although it gets rave reviews from its devotees for the Pro-Collagen range, those products sit at a price point way above my budget. The Superfood range, however, including this (relatively) new cleanser, is (relatively) more affordable, but mostly I needed a cleanser and many a beauty influencer had raved about this one.
The AHA Glow Cleansing Butter is a thing of beauty. We’ve talked about cleansers before. If it cleans your face, excellent. If it’s at a price you’re willing to pay, even better. But sometimes you get a cleanser that’s a joy to use. An Experience. Something that makes you look forward to that part of the day when you take off your bra, apply your trackies, and clean your face.
The best part of the day.
The texture is divine. Although it’s called a ‘butter’, it feels like a rich, cooling cream-gel, with the tingle of acid exfoliation. Soft and silky, I could genuinely stand in front of the sink and massage my face for a good five minutes every time, it feels so lovely.
I was surprised that the AHA does actually exfoliate my skin. I’ve used plenty of AHA ‘exfoliating’ cleansers in the past and none of them have done a (visible) thing beyond cleansing, so my expectations here were low. Instead, I had been using a glycolic toner to exfoliate after cleansing, although my sensitised skin protested every time I used retinol. I’ve since ditched that: the AHA Glow I was promised is real, and my sensitised face has calmed down considerably while still getting the exfoliation I want.
AHAs are alpha hydroxy acids, which work by loosening the bonds between the top layers of skin cells. These top layers are dead cells, so removing them reveals your newer, softer skin. This is what makes your skin look brighter and healthier, meaning that the products you use afterwards – serums, treatments, or moisturisers – can penetrate the skin better. But removing those protective dead-cell layers also increases potential damage from UV light, so please make sure you’re using an SPF. Obviously, you’re already using one every day, but it’s especially important when you’re using any kind of exfoliator.
Alongside the pumpkin enzyme-derived AHA, and the actual face-cleaning ingredients, Elemis have added antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and Mango Seed Butter to leave you with hydrated and nourished skin. They market the AHA Glow as a 3-in-1, which I think is a bit cheeky, given the breakdown is make-up remover, cleanser, and ‘deep cleansing’ AHA mask – all of which is still using the product as a cleanser, just at different steps.
Personally, I’m using it as my second cleanse in the evening, as I want those AHAs to get a chance to work, rather than just take off my makeup. Unusually for me, I’m also using it as my morning cleanse, popping it on my face before heading to the shower between one and ten minutes later, so I get that combination cleanse/mask action.
My biggest problem with the AHA Glow is also, paradoxically, one of my favourite things: it has no fragrance. This is a departure from Elemis’s other products, and I’m not a fan of fragrance in my face goo anyway. But look at it. When I open the jar, I’m always mildly disappointed it doesn’t smell of pumpkin pie spice.
I am genuinely enjoying this cleanser so much – it’s a permanent addition to my routine. Don’t forget your SPF!