Much of my new brand discoveries happen on Instagram and Harborist is no exception. Late last year I spotted their account and I was particularly intrigued by their Balm-Gel Cleanser. Firstly, I love testing cleansers and secondly, I absolutely adore gel-to-oil formulas, especially those that emulsify with water. So, when Kate Porter contacted me back in February to offer me a sample, I was thrilled. I was also really interested in the brand because despite being based in the UK, they chose an Australian cosmetic chemist to formulate their product.

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Kate, who previously worked as a visual effects artist in film, was inspired to create a skincare line targeted at sensitive skin due to her own family’s battles with reactive skin. Her desire to create top quality products led her to appoint Australian cosmetic scientist, researcher and innovator Amanda Foxon-Hill who, through her own experience with sensitive skin, has helped to engineer Harborist’s single product, the Balm-Gel Cleanser. In the first Fluke Beauty Podcast I talked about why indie brands often have a small range of products. I always consider this a good thing because it shows that a lot of time, energy and focus has been put into making a high quality product which is evident in the ingredients, the texture, formulation and most importantly performance of the Balm-Gel Cleanser.

I always like to introduce a product by talking about ingredients and this is especially important to those with sensitivities. The Balm-Gel cleanser has a a short list of 9 or so ingredients which are all favourable to irritable skin types.

To remove makeup and dirt, Harborist have engaged the power of coconut derived surfactants and plant sugar emulsifiers which help the product turn from oil to a light milk. With their high fatty acid content the natural oils of Jojoba, Camellia and Avocado Oil nourish and balance the skin whilst plant derived Glycerin provides much needed hydration. Bisabolol, derived from chamomile is an anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial ingredient, perfect for combating sensitivity. All in all, a concise and considered group of ingredients which are 100% natural, vegan and cruelty free.

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Packaged in a pump, the Balm-Gel Cleanser is a light yellow colour that is completely scent free which is important, because even natural scents from essential oils can irritate some skins. The initial gel texture is soft, silky and luxurious and once massaged into the skin it soon transforms to a lovely oil which glides without pulling or tugging. I like to use plenty of cleanser so two pumps is my desired amount for a first cleanse. I apply it to dry skin and it works so well to dissolve makeup without stripping the skin or sapping it of its natural oils. It also removes eye makeup but it can make my eyes stingy if I’m not careful so I just have to be mindful and keep them closed. I also think that this product makes for a great massage balm if that’s something that you’re into.

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Overall, I am really impressed with the whole package. Harborist’s commitment to producing high quality formulations makes me really excited to see some of the new products that they are launching this year. They have teased us with a few photos on Instagram so take a look at their account for a sneak peek. The Balm-Gel Cleanser is currently out of stock but new stock is expected early May, shortly after this review is published. It comes in 100ml size which retails for approximately AUD$45.00. It’s available directly from the Harborist website.

I hope that you enjoyed reading about another hidden indie gem and all-round fantastic cleanser. What’s your latest beauty discovery? Let me know in the comments below or you can email me and connect with me on Instagram and Facebook. To access the latest podcast, please visit iTunes.

Next week: Current skincare favourites.

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