James Wong’s botanical lowdown on Cleanse & Polish™
Cocoa butter and beeswax
At the heart of our cleanser is a rich, creamy base combining natural cocoa butter and beeswax. This carefully crafted blend mimics the properties of your skin’s own natural oils, helping soften dead skin cells and dissolve impurities so they can be gently lifted away by the cotton cloth to reveal smoother, brighter-looking skin. Cocoa butter also has the curious property of melting at body temperature, meaning it spreads smoothly over the surface of the skin on contact to create a uniquely rich sensorial experience. I call this the ‘softening’ phase!
In what I call the ‘care’ phase, we add a trio of essential oils that help nurture the skin while providing a natural, uplifting fragrance. Perhaps my favourite of the three is rosemary. This rugged coastal species from the shores of the Mediterranean has evolved a range of antioxidant compounds to protect its delicate plant cells from the extremes of its natural habitat. By gently steaming leaves grown sustainably on our partner farms in Spain, we can harness the plant’s antioxidant properties.
Much like rosemary, chamomile plants synthesize their aromatic compounds as a protective shield against environmental damage. Harnessing these gentle compounds for their skin-soothing effects is by no means a new idea. In fact, chamomile has been used for millennia, with evidence of its chemical signatures found in the remains of cave-dwelling Neanderthals.
Finally, eucalyptus essential oil adds a fresh, uplifting note. Gum trees produce such copious amounts of this oil that you can often see it wafting off their canopies as a light blue haze on hot, sunny days – it’s what gives the Blue Mountains of Australia their name. We use Chinese-sourced eucalyptus extract for its invigorating, uplifting properties and fragrance, and fascinatingly, these two attributes are related. The very reason humans are drawn to the scent is that evolution has programmed us to seek it out for its beneficial effects.
This key blend of botanicals is so effective, yet gentle, that it has remained unchanged since Cleanse & Polish™ launched 25 years ago. As much as I love tinkering with new ideas and ingredients, sometimes the old school solutions really are the best.