Blissoma And My Search For the Holy Grail (Of Face Cleansers)

Ever since my most beloved face cleanser underwent a formula change, I’ve been searching. See, I was one of those who practically cried when Kahina changed. Yeah, I know. Not a world-shattering problem, right?  But when you rely on a product to do an important function for you every day, and you love every single thing about it, it’s a serious bummer when you can’t get it anymore. I don’t mean to dis the updated Kahina cleanser formula, it’s nice­—but it’s not perfect for me. I want my cleanser to wash off all my makeup at the end of the day, including eye makeup, in one step. It needs to leave my skin feeling soft and hydrated, not squeaky or tight. It has to be unscented, or only have the mildest scent, which I love, and that does not stick around. It must suit my sensitive countenance, and of course be super clean, vegan, and gluten free. Dang, I am demanding.

I looked high and low, in brick-and-mortars and online boutiques, studying reviews and the recommendations of natural beauty bloggers. I bought lots of things, and thought I came close a couple of times.

I tried both soap-based and detergent-based cleansers. I became determined to hone my DIY skills and create a complicated brew, but in the time I had to spend on this, was unable to find success. I ended up revisiting the oil cleansing method, and was quite pleased with using coconut oil all through the winter. But the weather change made me yearn for a nice, light cleanser.

And then, as if by magical convergence of all things clean and gluten free, Julie Longyear posted some brilliant comments on this blog, with links. Who is this free-spirited chemistry goddess, I wondered? I followed the links to some very helpful information on her blog, and discovered she is the founder of Blissoma Solutions. The brand name rang a bell, and I located several very favorable reviews on Fig + Sage, which I recalled reading. I hadn’t tried the brand at the time, because I thought the essential oils would be too much for my skin. Recently, though, Julie created a new group of products for ultra sensitive/reactive skin. I immediately ordered the set, and (cue the rising music) found the Holy Grail.

Free – Rejuvenating Herbal Gel Cleanser and Makeup Remover: In short, it meets all my demands. While the instructions say to moisten skin first, I prefer to just put it right on my skin and massage it in, as with oil cleansing, then wipe it off. It takes off all makeup with ease and gentleness. If I don’t have any makeup to take off, I follow the instructions and use it like you’d typically use a cleanser, splashing it off with water. The scent is unusual, and I really love it. It just smells like its ingredients, not like it’s trying to smell like anything. My skin feels wonderful afterward, ready for the rest of my routine of hydrosol, serum and oil.  If you have oily or combo skin, you might not even need to do any other moisturizing at night, but I’m the dry/mature sort. I wouldn’t call it a gel exactly, maybe something between a gel and a cream cleanser. I love the pump container, not a typical pump but basically a giant serum bottle. I’d call the price mid-range, at $26.99 for 4 oz.

I’m also loving the Amend serum, and I’ll do a thorough review after I’ve used it a bit longer to really see the effects—and I have a few honorable-mention face cleansers that are great enough to post about soon. But for now…

Have you tried Blissoma?  What do you love?

39 Responses to “Blissoma And My Search For the Holy Grail (Of Face Cleansers)”
  1. Kahina Team says:

    We’re sorry to have lost a faithful Kahina Cleanser user in the reformulation – we know how much you loved it, but glad you’ve found another one that does the trick! [I’ma let you finish…] Just want to clear up a few things for current/prospective Kahina Cleanser lovers:

    1. The reformulation was done, at this point, years ago, so if you like the Cleanser now, you will continue to get the same Cleanser for years to come.
    2. The reformulation actually made the cleanser vegan, as it removed honey (even if not all vegans take issue with honey)
    3. The reformulation also made it so that the cleanser has more certified organic & natural ingredients. It is certified natural & organic by Ecocert.
    4. We (duh!) love the “new” cleanser & find it spreads more readily and still dissolves makeup, though each person is unique and it depends on what makeup/sunscreens, etc. you are using and how much you’re applying. If you’re open to cloths/muslins/sponges/facial brushes, they can make the makeup removal even easier

  2. Carrie says:

    Aubrey Organics is changing a bunch of their products now and I am DEVASTATED. To make it worse, I’m living in South Korea right now so I can’t exactly test a bunch of new products as easily as when I lived in the US.

  3. Sydney says:

    Died laughing at the “I’ma let you finish” part…..
    But this is timely because I’ve been doubting my current cleansing routine. I usually just oil cleanse with whatever oil I prefer that day (usually macadamia or almond) and it has been a face-saver for me but lately its not cutting it…I find that I still have an oil residue on my face after I have completely washed it all off where as previously my face was just perfectly moisturized and also now I have tons and tons of oil in my t-zone when I wake up. I don’t know if its the weather change or a skin change? But I’m starting to consider leaving behind my beloved cleansing routine ):

  4. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Kahina Team, thanks for your comment! I appreciate the clarification on when the formula change happened. I have been searching a long while. I still think the Kahina cleanser is better than 99% of what I’ve seen out there, though for me it is not a one-step makeup remover and I miss the previous scent. I’ll always be a loyal Kahina customer, the argan oil rules.

  5. Melanie says:

    Wait, Kahina cleanser has changed its formula? When did this happen? I bought mine three years ago (and it is *still* going! I have used coconut oil as well, which might explain its longevity). Anyone know when the change occurred? Thanks!

  6. Melanie says:

    Me again — make that two years ago (phew!). Still wondering when the formula changed, though …

  7. Julie says:

    So tickled!!! Wow!!! These are even kinder words than I had hoped for. Consider my day made. :) I am honored to be in company with Kahina as well. Always have much love for my sisters in pursuit of healthy natural beauty…. <3

  8. comagirl says:

    Wonderful post. I am still using a semi-clean unscented cleanser that I look, but am eager to try this one out. I have the same basic need: to wash away all traces of makeup and grime at the end of the day. As always, your posts are entertaining and informative.

  9. Lolly says:

    Oh man! Cleansers… That is probably the one skincare product that I spend the most on, in aggregate, and to which I am most unable to stay faithful. Part of my problem is that I want different things depending on how my I or my skin are feeling. So when I want a deep, yet comforting and luxurious cleanse, I reach for a balm cleanser, when I’m feeling bumpy or congested, it’s scrub time and when I am tired and/or lazy (most often), I use a foaming cleanser. At the moment here are the current cleansers in my stable with comments on each:

    – Emma Hardie Amazing Face: Balm Cleanser. Not 100% clean, but it’s possibly the biggest pleasure to use due to wonderful texture and magical smell. Very thorough clean, but can be a hassle when I don’t feel like faffing about with washcloths.
    – One Love Organics Skin Savior Balm: Blam cleanser (obv). Completely clean, smells divine, but because it’s coconut oil-based and quite heavy, I usually feel the need to double-cleanse. I do love it for removing heavy makeup.
    – Mrs. White’s Cold Cream: completely clean and made according to the ancient Roman recipe from Galen (or so they say); works the same way as a balm cleanser, i.e. apply, massage, remove with wet cloth. It’s a bit weird, but I sort of love it, although it’s more of a cold weather staple for me. It has wax, so it’s good for putting on top of whatever serum/moisturiser/etc I use to act like an occlusive barrier and prevent my skin from drying out overnight in the winter.
    – Tammy Fender Cleansing Milk: this is more of a traditional cleansing milk/cream, but the instructions say to apply to wet face and rinse off, so I don’t dare use it in the old school “wipe with cotton pad” way. Good for lazy days, but I worry it’s not deep enough when wearing sunscreen.
    – Kahina Cleanser: don’t love it, but it’s mostly my issue. It just doesn’t feel deep enough for me. Use it sometimes on lazy days when I haven’t been wearing makeup or sunscreen.
    – One Love Organics Foaming Face Wash: lazy night/morning go-to. It’s great, doesn’t leave my skin tight or dry, despite being foaming. I do have the sunscreen worry with this one too, but I think it’s probably unfounded. I find that if I am wearing heavy eye makeup, I do need to remove it with something else first if I don’t want to wash my face a bunch of times.
    – Suti Foaming Scrub: like this one. It has sugar for exfoliation, which acts as both a physical exfoliant (scrubby granules!) and a chemical one (sugar!). I do feel like I need to remove my makeup before using this.
    – May Lindstrom Clean Dirt: we’ve talked about this one before. It’s amazing and magical, but it feels more like a treatment than a cleanser to me, so I use it sparingly (and definitely not when wearing makeup).

    I never tried Blissoma before, but this cleanser sounds like it would be right up my alley for lazy cleansing. I guess I better find some more room in my bathroom (and some spare cash in me wallet)… Why, yes, I DO have a problem, why do you ask? :-)

  10. Lolly says:

    Also, the OLO Skin Savior Balm is a *balm* cleanser. NOT a “blam cleanser”. Although I could be well up for testing a blam cleanser, if one were to be lying around.

  11. Kahina Team says:

    @Sydney – ha! We were writing the response and then realized it was a total Kanye moment and had to put it there. Glad you get our humor :)

    @Rebecca B – We are forever grateful for the support you’ve given our brand & products over the years xxxoo Thank you!

    @Melanie – the Kahina Cleanser formula changed in 2011. After reviewing the records (aka our blog…), it wasn’t released until Dec of 2011, so not quite 2 years. We were wrong to say “years” plural. Check out the announcement here:
    If your cleanser has been open for more than a year, you might consider getting a new one. The PAO (period after opening) is 12 months. That said, if you haven’t noticed any changes in consistency, scent, or function, you should be fine. We know how big that 200 ml / 6.7 fl oz bottle is – lasts FOREVER.

  12. Beth says:

    @ Lolly-Laughed tears at “blam cleanser”. I’m still chuckling.

    @ Rebecca- I’ve been eyeing Blissoma for the last year. It’s good to read a review.

  13. Melanie says:

    @Kahina: Thank you for the information! I cannot believe how long it has lasted. It’s like a bottomless bottle. That’s some serious bang for the buck. I doesn’t seem to have changed to me, but I look forward to ordering some more soon!

  14. nancy says:

    Cleansers… Using double cleansing method with either oils that I mix or OLO Skin balm . Followed by Kahina (old formula that I’m glad purchased in multiples:). When I run out of Kahina I may try this one… although based on how long a bottle of Kahina’s lasts, this may happen years from now(btw, mine has been opened for a long time and is just a good as it was on the first day of use )

    @Lolly :) be thankful that your “problem” is restricted to cleansers only

  15. kimberlyloc says:

    I am LOVING Blissoma, too. My new favorite cleanser is also by them — but it’s the Fresh Mild Rice Cleanser. I’ve tried Free and it’s not really my thing, but Fresh … Fresh is da bomb! I also love Blissoma’s mask and Restore Oil. Julie is onto something here! Props to the St. Louis company (and Jayhawk founder!) <—I live in the Midwest, so I get excited about companies from my area. :)

  16. danielle says:

    I started using the Kahina cleanser right after the new formulation came out. I have never tried the other. This cleanser is just perfect for my 40 something skin. It is my go to product along with a couple of their other products. I love reading reviews of new products but this is one area I am not switching-Thanks Kahina!

  17. Susannah says:

    Oh wow there are so many Blissoma products I want to try now, but I’ll definitely start with the Fresh Mild Rice Cleaner. Sounds amaze. I’m also intrigued by the Amend serum. I’d love to know what ingredients like heather flowers, club moss, and comfrey do for skin.

  18. April says:

    I’ve been using this cleanser along with 3 other Blissoma products for just under a month. I’m 35 and pregnant and my normally oily/acne prone skin went into complete overdrive, quit responding to my normal routine and got flaky and red on top of everything else. In desperation (and almost tears), I shot Julie an email to ask for suggestions. She steered me towards free cleanser, smooth serum, refine treatment, and either one of her toners. She also gave me some great skincare tips. All I can say is….Wow. My skin looks at least 70% better than it did a few short weeks ago. I’m loving it and plan to try out the amend serum with my next purchase to address some age/sun related issues.

  19. linda says:

    I used to have acneic skin in my teens and twenties then stopped completely in my 30s after I switched to La Prairie, La Mer, and SKII (I suspect now that this is because some anti-biotic/anti-inflammatory ingredients they put there). I’ve religiously tried EVERYTHING green offered in SBL (I bought the complete sets for each brand including their face oils) in the last 8 months after I switched to 100% clean (food, skin care and body care). To my great disappointment acne came in with full force. Then I switched to OCM, also with no avail. Greasy, coarse skin surface with red acnes to be precise. I almost wanted to call it quit and go back to those dewy clean face days La Prairie’s foaming face used to give me, until I re-read the formula that made me want to throw up once more. I’d rather be healthy in the long run with acne than have a dainty face with potential organ problems in the future. Providentially, 1.5 week ago I read Rebecca B’s discussion with Julie. The rest is history. No more new acnes, everything calms down as if my skin thanks me and says, Finally!. I guess now in retrospect: Acneic skin like mine should not try face oils and OCM (I’ve tried sweet almond, castor, jojoba, VCO with various proportion). Thank you, Julie! You truly save my life and I love you forever for that. PF: Please don’t ever change the formula.

  20. jen says:

    Another vote for Mrs. White’s Cold Cream. I swear by it but it can be hard to find – I only have one source in Brooklyn and they are frequently out of it! They are also kind of expensive but one jar lasts months for me (and I apply it quite liberally). It’s the best, really. (Can you tell how much I love it!)

    Someone mentioned Egyptian Magic which seems to have similar ingredients and is easier to find – but does not have the rose water. I may try that next. I use a lot of mascara so I need a hardcore remover :)

  21. Rebecca Bailey says:

    So glad to hear others are loving Blissoma!

    @Lolly, that’s quite the collection. I’m going to try May Lindstrom, still figuring out exactly what I want. It will be an occasional use line for me, I think.

  22. Lolly says:

    @Rebecca B: it’s ridiculous, that’s what it is. I think because cleanser tend to cost less than, say, serums or creams, I can justify buying and trying all these different things. Btw, I know you know this, but I definitely would not recommend the Clean Dirt for you – it’s divine, but it’s definitely intense and I’m not sure your skin would be able to handle it (it totally sounds like I’m calling your skin chicken! Promise I don’t mean nuthin’ by it!). Her oil is supposed to be quite lush, but it does have citrus EOs, so it could cause an issue for sensitive skin? Also, I think citrus EOs are photosensitive, so could cause oxidative damage if used in the sun? Something to keep in mind. The body oil sounds fab though! So maybe try that?

  23. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Lolly, WHO YOU CALLIN CHIKIN?? : ) I have been venturing into more EOs on my face lately, but I always try everything on my hands, chest and/or back first. It’s not a guarantee it will be okay for my face, but a good test. And I actually could use some help on those areas right now so I’m eager to try May’s stuff, even if I never decide to put it on my face. She actually suggested I try mixing The Clean Dirt with coconut oil, an idea I love. I wouldn’t just try any old EO (and I think you are right about citrus), but I’m trying to put some trust in a few of the really amazing alchemists out there who make natural beauty products and know how to blend. There are oils I would absolutely never use on my skin at all, like jasmine or ylang ylang. If I follow my nose I usually do pretty well.

  24. Lolly says:

    @Rebecca B: Heeee! :) I think the follow the nose approach is usually good, although I did get this super-pure, super-organic serum made with rosehip oil and Rose Absolute, which smelled heavenly, but was the first oil my skin full-on hated. Like, itchy, red, angry allergy skin. Which is weird, because when rose is mixed with something else, it doesn’t bother me. Pure rose/rosehip must be too intense, I guess. But if you’re getting into oils, have you tried Yuli? It’s seriously badass. It doesn’t smell particularly pretty, but it has amazing ingredients and is one of the few clean lines out there that truly makes a product that couldn’t be replicated (I don’t *think*) by even the most cunning DIYer (like your lovely self, I hasten to add). Those folks are true alchemists in the best sense of the word. Their stuff isn’t cheap, but definitely not crazy money compared to other prestige clean brands. Anyway. Plug over :)

  25. Lisa says:

    Anyone have a sense of how clean Ren Mayblossom cleanser still is? I started using this a year ago, and heard there were reformulations in the works – true or false? I love this in the AM (even though Alexandra *is* right, you don’t *need* a cleanser first thing…old habits) and hope it’s still on the Clean List.

    @Lolly @Rebecca: I second Lolly in the May Lindstrom Clean Dirt. I have really sensitive skin and received it as a gift. Holy outbreak! Smells delicious, like a spice cake, but is far too abrasive and “active” for my sensitive skin, even on the rest of my body, even when I mixed it with coconut oil! Boo, I wanted to love that!

  26. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Lisa and @Lolly, I appreciate the cautions and intend to be very careful.

    Lisa, looking at the ingredients here it seems to not be super clean. It has phenoxyethanol and some other things that look questionable to me. It’s got at least a few ingredients that rate 3-4 on Skin Deep. I would hope if they are reformulating they’ll take out those things.

  27. Anna says:

    @Sydney- have you tried Laventine cleansing oil? You massage it into your dry skin with dry hands, like normal OCM, but it rinses cleanly away. They make three different kinds. I’ve used the one for normal/combo skin before and liked it very much. It also takes eye makeup completely off! It conditioned my lashes nicely and made them grow like crazy.

    I’ve always killed myself trying to find the perfect natural cleanser, but I kind of gave up and just started using raw honey or Blum Naturals Chamomile cleansing wipes to clean my face, and my skin has never looked better. It was a relief, but I feel a bit dumb!

  28. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Lisa, I had a chance to look up one of the ingredients in the Ren that I thought was questionable, triethanolamine is on the blacklist in the NMDL book.

  29. Sydney says:

    @Anna Hmm no I’ve never heard of Laventine before but it interests me! I really like the simple ingredients in the Olive Forte one and I think that if I were to buy, I would go for that one. I’m curious now, this might be my new cleanser! Thanks for the recommendation :) Do you know if they do samples?

  30. Anna says:

    @Sydney, you’re welcome. :) You know, I don’t think they do samples. I usually don’t buy full size skin care products that I haven’t tested first, but honestly I took a chance when I ordered Laventine and I’m glad I did. If you end up not liking it as a cleanser, look on the bright side, you’ll have a big bottle of eye makeup remover to last you until the end of time. :)

  31. Lisa says:

    @Rebecca: Thank you thank you for the double-check on Ren! Oh well, you think you got ’em covered…back to Evan Healy only for me.

  32. Sydney says:

    @Anna OMG so true! Haha well I think I’m sold :)

  33. Stephanie says:

    Rebecca Bailey – love this post – thank you! I am curious – I know you are a fan of some products in the Evan Healy line – what do you think of her cleansers? Have you tried her cleansing milks? Are they a bit drying or strong for sensitive skin? I am grateful for your input. Thank you!

  34. Anna says:

    @Sydney Yay! I hope you like it!

  35. Julie says:

    Wow, I just checked back in after a few days and holy comment explosion! :)
    April and Linda, I am so glad that your skin is doing better on Blissoma. It really makes me so happy to know we’ve helped. And Linda, no plans to change our recipes currently. Everything is doing well as is in terms of supplies and customer results.
    @Susannah about the herbs that sparked your curiosity… Heather flowers are a good source of quercetin which is an antioxidant flavonoid that is helpful with skin healing, preventing free radical damage, and fighting inflammation. Club Moss is used in herbalism for dusting onto skin wounds to encourage healing and deter itching and irritation. This makes it great for skin irritated by sun, as a sunburn is effectively a wound to skin. Comfrey contains allantoin as well as mucilage (gooey, gelatinous substance that is soothing for skin), Zinc and other compounds. It is generally known for being exceptionally soothing and also has cell proliferant properties, which makes it great for skin that needs a healing boost as it encourages cells to rebuild and repair faster.
    @Kimberlyloc truly appreciate the midwest support and your kind words here as well. Trying our best to highlight the secret awesomeness of our area. The coasts don’t have a complete monopoly on cool. ;)
    Thanks for the love all!! What a great week. xo

  36. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Stephanie, I’ve tried the EH blue line and it was good as I recall, I think my main issue was the smell was stronger than I like in a cleanser. Maybe a little more powerful than my dry skin needs. This was quite a while back, so it’s hard to recall details. The EOs will probably be okay for some sensitive types, it didn’t do anything bad to my skin, just wasn’t quite the thing. I think you can get both cleansers (rose and blue) in trial sizes.

  37. Rueben says:

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