It's no surprise that Darphin have entered the balm cleansing market with one of their newest offerings, Aromatic Cleansing Balm with Rosewood. After all, this company produces elegant essential-oil based skin and body care, pitching them perfectly towards this sort of cleanser.
So when I heard about the new cleansing balm they were releasing, I asked the brand to send me one to trial - I adore Darphin, and think their skincare is nothing less than stellar. I have tried to break the Eve Lom habit because it's so expensive, but nothing's really come close: Spezia stinks, Time Balm was underwhelming - so how does Aromatic Cleansing Balm fare?
For starters, it's bigger than Eve Lom cleanser, which retails at about €72-€73 for 100ml. Darphin are charging €75 for 125ml, so it works out more affordable ml by ml, though you don't get any cleansing cloths with it, so you'd have to shell out extra. Texture, which is one of the biggest things I like about Eve Lom's version, is totally different. This is ever-so-slightly jelly-ish, with a silky, loose feel to it. Gently touching fingers to the surface lifts off enough of the honey-coloured balm to clean a whole face. The scent is pleasant, a woody, slightly sweet floral fragrance that's not overwhelming.
And it does cleanse very well, emulsifying with water to remove stubbon slap. You're recommended not to use it to remove eye makeup, though. I've been disregarding that and it does sting a little if it gets into the eyes, but otherwise, I'm using it to take shadow and mascara off and it's doing a fine job. Skin is left feeling soft and conditioned and all-in-all, this is a great buy for anyone who likes this sort of cleanser - plus it will last, and last - and last. You should get three months out of a pot like this, bringing the damage down to €25 every 30-odd days, which may help to justify the initial outlay.
But is it as good as Eve Lom? No. Frustratingly, I just can't find a product I like as much, or even more. There's just something about her iconic cleanser that ticks all my boxes: thick, unctuous texture, lovely smell, and great result. Darphin is very close, and something I'll very happily and gladly use to the end.