liz earle cleanse and polish hot cloth cleanser review

If I had to use only one cleanser for the rest of my life, I’d go with Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. No doubt about it. I know, you didn’t expect that. If you’ve been around for a while, you know I often say it doesn’t matter much what cleanser you use. Any cleanser that leaves your skin clean but not tight will do. 

I still believe that. In the past, I’ve been super fickle with cleansers and used whatever was cheap without problems. But since meeting Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, I don’t stray as often. And when I do, I always come back to it in the end. There’s something about it my skin just can’t get enough of.

Maybe it’s the super emollient formula. Maybe it’s the addition of a muslin cloth that exfoliates my skin while cleansing, saving me time in the morning. What I know is that after every use, my skin feels super soft and clean. Here’s what makes the magic happen:

What’s In Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser?


A quick look at the ingredient list reveals something unusual: there are no detergents here. How the heck can it cleanse skin without detergents?! Emulsifiers. Ingredients like Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl esters, Sorbitan stearate, and Polysorbate 60 aren’t sexy or popular but they’re what makes this cleanser work. Emulsifiers bind oil and water together. This means they can remove both water-soluble and oil-soluble grime, such as dirt and makeup. Plus, they moisturise skin to boot. Win win.


Derived from the roasted seeds of the cocoa tree, cocoa seed butter is  super moisturising. This rich and creamy butter is loaded with fatty acids, a group of substances that make up the skin’s protective barrier. They make skin soft and smooth and bring even the driest of skin types back to health again.

In a cleanser, cocoa butter makes sure skin doesn’t come out worse for wear from the cleansing process. While some cleansers can leave your skin feeling tight, cocoa seed butter keeps it soft and smooth. Plus, it’s loaded with polyphenols, antioxidants that keep wrinkles at bay.


I have to mention the “baddies” in the formula. Eucalyptus leaf oil and rosemary oil are proof that not all essential oils are good for you. Eucalyptus makes your lotions and potions smell good while rosemary has antioxidant properties BUT both have fragrant compounds that can irritate sensitive skin.

My skin isn’t sensitive so I can use the cleanser without problems. Phew! But skincare guru Caroline Hirons points out this combination turns her skin into a red and burning mess. I’m sure most people can use this cleanser fine but if your skin is sensitive, you may want to skip this.

Related: Natural Ingredients That Can Irritate Sensitive Skin

The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients

NOTE: The colours indicate the effectiveness of an ingredient. It is ILLEGAL to put toxic and harmful ingredients in skincare products.

  • Green: It’s effective, proven to work, and helps the product do the best possible job for your skin.
  • Yellow: There’s not much proof it works (at least, yet).
  • Red: What is this doing here?!
  • Aqua (water): The main ingredient in 90% of skincare products, it helps dissolve other ingredients in the formula.
  • Caprylic/capric triglyceride: Derived from coconut oil, it makes skin softer and smoother – without giving you breakouts.
  • Cera alba (beeswax): It creates a protective barrier on the skin to keep it moisturised and gives texture and shape to skincare products.
  • Glycerin: A popular humectant that draws water from the environment into the skin, helping it to stay soft and hydrated for longer.
  • Humulus lupulus (hops) extract: Derived from hops, it may have antioxidant properties. It’s safe but it gets a yellow rating because we don’t know how effective its antioxidant properties are – and in a cleanser, they’re useless anyway. Antioxidants get rinsed off down the drain, together with dirt and makeup.
  • Chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract: It has soothing properties that reduce irritations. But it can cause allergies in anyone sensitive to any plants in the daisy family.
  • Propylene glycol: It increases moisture levels in the skin to keep it hydrated and enhances the penetration of active ingredients.
  • Phenoxyethanol: A preservative that inhibits the growth of bacteria in your skincare products, so they last longer.
  • Panthenol: It hydrates skin and has soothing properties that reduce redness and irritation.
  • Benzoic acid: A preservative and pH adjuster.
  • Dehydroacetic acid: Another preservative that needs to be used in tiny doses to kill germs. It’s mostly effective against fungi.
  • Sorbitol: A sugar that hydrates skin, leaving it softer and smoother.
  • Limonene: The chemical that gives eucalyptus oil and rosemary extract their natural, beautiful smell. It must be listed separately because it’s a common allergen.
  • Ethylhexylglycerin: It hydrates skin and has preservative-like properties that help products last longer.
  • Polyaminopropyl biguanide: Another preservative that inhibits the growth of germs in skincare products.
  • Citric acid: It regulated the pH of skincare products.
  • Sodium hydroxide: A pH balancer.


Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser has a thick, rich and creamy consistency – it feels more like a moisturiser than a cleanser. Yet, on the skin, it doesn’t feel heavy at all.


Technically, it’s fragrance-free. Fragrance is one of the most irritating ingredients in skincare, so it’s always best to leave it out. But, a lot of ingredients don’t have a naturally good smell – to the point you don’t want to use them. So, companies get around this by using fragrant natural extracts, like eucalyptus.

Problem is, the fragrant components that make eucalyptus smell so good can cause irritations in sensitive skin. *sighs* This cleanser smells strong of eucalyptus. I personally like it. It’s fresh and invigorating. But if your skin has a problem with fragrance, I wouldn’t touch this.

Related: Should Skincare Products Be Scented?

How To Use it

It’s the first (and only cleansing) step of your skincare routine morning and night. I start by massaging a pump all over my skin. Then, I dampen one of the washcloths that comes with the cleanser and wipe my face clean with it.


Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser is available in several formats:

  • 100ml pump + 2 pure cotton cloths
  • 200ml tube + 2 pure cotton cloths
  • 100ml pump
  • 200ml tube
  • 100ml pump x 3
  • 200ml tube x3
  • 30ml tube

FYI, I prefer the pump. It pours out just the right amount of product you need, so none gets wasted. The cotton cloths are fairly gentle on the skin. They don’t scratch or irritate me, but you need to wash them after every use.

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Performance & Personal Opinion

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser cleanses and exfoliates skin in one go. As the cleanser quickly  removes all traces of dirt and makeup (even waterproof mascara!), the washcloth gently exfoliate skin, getting rid of old dead cells, too.

I have to admit I was a bit sceptical at first. I wasn’t sure a cleanser this moistuirizing could do such a throughout cleansing job but it does. I’m so glad I was proven wrong! I’ve been using it daily for a month now and my skin feels so soft. Unlike most cleansers out there, it doesn’t strip the skin of the moisturising oils it needs or compromises its protective barrier. On the contrary, it keeps everything smooth and healthy.

I especially love to use it in winter when my skin gets a little drier than usual (thanks harsh weather!). Rather than aggravate the problem, this cleanser gently takes care of my skin, leaving it both clean and soft. The catch? You really need to be religious about washing that washcloth. Wet washcloths are a breeding ground for bacteria. If you wipe your face with a washcloth that’s even slightly damp, you may get an infection or something nasty.

That’s not Liz Earle’s fault. All washcloths require a little bit of extra care. If you’re too lazy to wash your washcloth after every use and wait for it to fully dry (I am sometimes 😉 ), you can use the cleanser without it. It’ll still do the cleansing job well. But, unless you use a separate exfoliant, you can say goodbye to the cleanser’s exfoliating benefits. When I don’t use the washcloth, my skin isn’t as bright as when I do. This subtle glow is the result of exfoliation. The cleanser alone can’t give it to you.

Related: Should You Use A Washcloth To Cleanse Your Skin?

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How Does Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser Compare To Other Liz Earle Cleansers?

  • Liz Earle Cleanse & Glow™ Transforming Gel Cleanser (£28.00): This gel cleanser transforms into a milky oil when it comes in contact with water. The oils in the formula remove every last trace of grime and makeup, but there’s nothing here that can brighten and exfoliate skin. Plus, the fragrance can irritate sensitive skin. Available at Look Fantastic and Sephora.
  • Cleanse & Polish™ Hot Cloth Cleanser Rose & Lavender Relaxing Edition (£18.00): The scent is very relaxing indeed. But both rose and lavender contain irritating fragrant extract. If you like the scent and your skin isn’t easily irritated by fragrance, go ahead and use it. Available at Sephora.
  • Cleanse & Polish™ Warm Cedarwood & Frankincense (£34.00): This has a gorgeous, warm, woody scent. But it’s the most irritating scent out of all the cleansers. Be careful with it! Available at John Lewis.
  • Liz Earle Pro-Biotic Balancing Milk Cleanser for sensitive skin (£18.00): A fragrance-free, oil-based cleanser that removes makeup and impurities without drying out or irritating skin. Available at Look Fantastic and Sephora.

What I Like About Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

  • Creamy texture, doesn’t leave a greasy residue behind.
  • Easily removes every last trace of makeup and impurities.
  • Leaves skin soft and hydrated.
  • Comes with a washcloth to exfoliate and brighten skin.
  • Available in different sizes.

What I DON’T Like About Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

  • Need to wash the washcloths often.
  • Fragrance can irritate sensitive skin.

Who Should Use This?

Dry/normal skin that’s not too sensitive. Especially if you’re looking for a multitasking cleanser that can double cleanse and exfoliate in one go.

Does Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser Live Up To Its Claims?

This rich, indulgent cream deeply cleanses to instantly remove daily grime, pollutants and make up, even stubborn mascara, to leave skin feeling comfortable, balanced and exceptionally clean.  Yes!
Used with the pure cotton cloth it gently exfoliates, lifting away dead skin cells to reveal smoother, clearer and brighter-looking skin. True again.
All skin types. I’d recommend it only to dry/normal skin that’s not too sensitive.

Price & Availability

Starting from £7.00 up to £76.50 (for 200ml tube x3) at Boots, John Lewis, Look Fantastic, and Sephora.

The Verdict: Should You Buy It?

I hesitate to say anything is a must-have, especially when it contains fragrance… But I am truly in love with this product and can’t imagine doing without it long term. If you have dry or normal skin that’s not bothered by fragrance, this is well worth a try.

Dupes & Alternatives

  • Lacura Vitamin C Hot Cloth Cleanser (£12.99): It removes all traces of dirt and makeup without drying out skin. It has a washcloth for extra exfoliation. But the antioxidants in it won’t do anything for your skin. Available at Amazon.
  • Pai Middlemist Seven Camellia & Rose Gentle Cream Cleanser (£34.00): An oil-based cleanser that dissolves every trace of makeup and impurities, leaving your skin clean and hydrated. But it contains fragranced oils that can irritate sensitive skin. Available at Content Beauty & Well-Being, Cult Beauty, and Look Fantastic.


Aqua (water), Caprylic/capric triglyceride, Theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl esters, Cera alba (beeswax), Glycerin, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan stearate, Eucalyptus globulus leaf oil, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, Humulus lupulus (hops) extract, Chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, Propylene glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Panthenol, Benzoic acid, Dehydroacetic acid, Sorbitol, Limonene, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polyaminopropyl biguanide, Citric acid, Sodium hydroxide.