La Prairie Supreme Balm Cleanser has changed how Glass cleans our face forever

OCCASIONALLY, a product will drop onto Glass’ grooming desk that seriously pique our interest, which is not an easy feat when one considers the amount of skincare we sift through on a daily basis. Certain brands manage to catch our eye every time – La Prairie is one of them. 

The Swiss skincare house inspires the kind of feverishly envious, hand-covering-mouth gasps that most publicists can only ever dream of. While the Skin Caviar cream is arguably its most cult-worthy product, their not long launched Supreme Cleansing Balm could well be set to join its ranks. 

My skin has changed more than I imagined it ever could in the last few years. Once strong, hardy and able to withstand almost anything I threw at it, I now find myself gingerly patting softer, gentler formulations into it in an attempt to soothe its entirely new (and most unwelcome) tendency to flare up, become irritated and red, and sting angrily should I apply anything too powerful. Case in point, my former go-to cleanser, of the charcoal foaming variety, has found itself a new home at the bottom of my bin.


La Prairie Supreme Balm Cleanser, £117

This in mind, I was both intrigued and hopeful when I found myself in the possession of La Prairie’s Supreme Cleansing Balm. Launched as a partner-in-crime to the Crystal Micellar Water, the balm presents beautifully in a frosted glass jar encased in silver. The heavy mirrored lid twists off to reveal what appears at first to be a hard, waxy substance. This is where the little spatula, so thoughtfully perched into the side of the jar, comes into play. Dipping the spatula into the balm, I was surprised to learn that it glides through like warm butter – rather than the intractable texture I had expected, the balm is silky smooth and creamy soft, although it retains its form with pleasing ease.

One level spatula scoop is enough for the entire face and neck, as I’ve found to my great satisfaction. Whilst using the balm does genuinely feel like a luxury experience, you do indeed pay a price for this privilege (a rather eye-watering £117 to be exact) so using sparing amounts where possible makes this lavish expenditure a touch less painful.

After first swiping over my skin with micellar water, I pat dry and smear the balm directly onto my face, dividing it between my forehead, nose and chin. Natural body heat helps it begin its transformation into an oil, but it’s the manual cleansing that really does the job here. Taking this time to thoroughly and evenly massage all of the contours of my face with my fingertips, particularly around my nose and my forehead, has become a little bit of a therapeutic experience for me. The more you massage it in, the more the balm melts into an oil. It glides over the skin with exactly the type of ease you would expect from such a product, without that hideous grip that cheaper cleansing oils often feature.

Once I’ve finished working the oil in, which I usually do for a couple of minutes, I wash lukewarm (never hot) water over my face to remove the product. A common problem with cleansing oils is the inability to remove them fully from the face due to oils inherent lack of solubility, leaving a shiny, slick sensation. With the Supreme Cleansing Balm, water turns the oil to a milky emulsion, which is highly satisfying to watch run off of your face along with the day’s impurities. 

This is the point where the cleansing balm, which up until this point makes for a thoroughly pleasant but fairly standard cleansing experience, really won me over. After patting dry, my skin had never felt so soft. It was as though I’d just applied a lightweight cream to my face – totally moisturised, calm and smooth, and that tight, dry post-cleansing feeling you so often experience? Not a chance.

It’s no understatement to say that the La Prairie Supreme Cleansing Balm has changed the way that I cleanse my face. What once seemed like a chore at the end of a busy day has become a routine I truly look forward to. The fact that I feel so strongly about a cleanser of all things is not lost on me (I’m self-aware, I promise) but I think the key to my infatuation with this product is that I truly relish the experience of using the Supreme Balm Cleanser as much as I do just having the product itself – it’s a thing of beauty to behold in my bathroom.

For many, it will be prohibitively expensive, and yes, many cleansing balms are available on the market for less. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find one that compares. The true test of a great beauty product is whether a beauty editor will re-purchase it once their press sample runs out. For a good 95 per cent of the products I’m sent to review, this isn’t the case – for La Prairie’s Supreme Balm Cleanser, however, I think I’ll finally be making an exception.

by Thomas Marrington

La Prairie Supreme Balm Cleanser, £117 at La Prairie