Jurlique Versus La Mer: A Cleansing Lotion Smackdown

Published in: Product Reviews, Skin Care

Yes, the skin on my face is drier than well-delivered sarcasm, so I can’t live without my cleansing lotions.

Cleansing lotions typically have a rich, thick consistency, making them better for dry skinned ladies (and gents) than astringent cleansers. Look for moisturizing cleansing lotions that won’t produce a sudsy foam as they’re used because foaming gel or liquid cleansers are notorious for drawing moisture away from the skin. And if you’re struggling with dry skin on your face, consider removing whichever cleansing lotion you use with a tissue, instead of rinsing it off with water, leaving the lotion’s moisturizer where it can do you some good.


I pitted two popular brands of cleansing lotions head-to-head — La Mer’s The Cleansing Lotion and Jurlique’s Replenishing Cleansing Lotion — and the victor earned a spot alongside my previous cleansing lotion champion, Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple.

Two cleansing lotions, one dry face. Which one prevailed in the cleansing lotion smackdown?

First in the ring was Jurlique’s Replenishing Cleansing Lotion ($40 for 6.7 fl oz bottle). It contains marshmallow, viola, rose and lavender essential oils to, as the product packaging says, gently smooth, moisturize and cleanse the skin.

What did my testing reveal?

The Jurlique cleanser felt thick and rich like a body lotion, which to me means moisturizing, and it had a sweet herbal scent that I neither loved nor hated. In the plus column, the bottle has a pump, making it easy to dispense the lotion with one hand.


The amount of product from a single pump of Jurlique thoroughly removed most of the makeup on my face (even most of my eye makeup) and left my face and neck feeling clean and moisturized. So far it hasn’t broken me out, knock on wood. I really dig the fact that half of the ingredients are plant extracts with long scientific names (Althaea officianalis, Symphytum officinale, Stellaria media…), and Jurlique uses plants grown on their own biodynamic farms in Australia, which I thought was kinda cool.

Biodynamic farming was made popular in the mid-1920s by philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who sought to develop a method of farming that would preserve a natural balance of nutrients in soil by growing mutually beneficial companion crops near one another. Jurlique began their biodynamic farms 20 years ago, and now their line of products for face, hair and body contain plants products harvested from two farms spanning over 150 acres at Ngeringa and Mylor in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. Today they grow 50 different varieties of plants and flowers, including lavendar, rose, marshmallow, elder and calendula. The farms are both organic and sustainable, so kudos to Jurlique for being environmentally conscientious too.

La Mer’s The Cleansing Lotion ($65 for a 6.7 fl oz jar, holy crap!), the second contender in the cleansing lotion smackdown, derives most of its most precious ingredients from the sea.


La Mer’s cleansing lotion contains sea kelp, among other ingredients, and gets a lot of hype because of the popularity of the La Mer brand. A host of celebrities proclaim their love for La Mer’s products, most notably Creme de la Mer, the line’s famous face cream. Even El Hub knew about the brand (“Isn’t that what J. Lo uses?” LOLOL!), but I suspect that’s because I subject him to cheesy celebrity lifestyle shows on VH1, ha! I recently received a wee sample of The Cleansing Lotion and couldn’t wait to try it out.

Both of these brands love the scientific sounding ingredients. La Mer’s Cleansing Lotion contains several, like magnetized tourmaline and positively charged waters, which supposedly enable the cleanser to extract dirt, debris, makeup and pollutants without requiring a lot of harsh rubbing.

Although La Mer’s cleansing lotion smelled better (flowers and licorice) than Jurlique’s cleansing lotion (herbs and sugar), the formula felt thinner and wasn’t as rich as Jurlique. When I used it before bed, it didn’t remove as much of my face and eye makeup as Jurlique’s cleanser did, and I had to use substantially more than a dime-sized amount to feel clean. After rinsing off and drying my face, it felt a little tight and dry, ouch.

While I definitely preferred La Mer’s scent, for me it wasn’t enough to justify the $65 price tag. If you’re already a La Mer fan, have oily skin, but don’t wear a lot of makeup, you may feel otherwise.

That said…

The winner, by technical knockout (TKO): Jurlique’s Replenishing Cleansing Lotion!


I liked Jurlique’s Replenishing Cleansing Lotion so much that it’s now going into heavy rotation beside Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple, now my second favorite cleansing lotion. It’s a great option for dry-skinned gals into plant-based, organic skin care. I can’t wait to test more products from the line! I hope they perform just as well as this one does.

Purchase Jurlique products online or in person at Blue Mercury stores nationwide.

I hope your week is off to a good start. Happy Monday!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 26 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Dao says:

    La Mer is overrated! By the end of last year I caved in and got myself some creme de la mer. And I was so disappointed because it’s not anywhere near a miracle cream as it’s touted (and as the price tag implies). Btw, does the cleanser have that same grandmotherly smell like the cream? Jurlique sounds cool, I may try it out. But how does it stand compare to your micelles cleansing water?

  2. Karen says:

    Hiya Dao,

    Naw, it actually smells a little younger and hipper, ha! It’s floral but not too sweet.

    If I’m truly lazy or cold then the micellar cleansing water always wins in the end. But I do like Jurlique when I have the time/energy to wash my neck. πŸ™‚

  3. Lilan says:

    Hiya Miss Karen!

    While I haven’t tried the Cleansing Lotion, I have tried the Cleansing Foam which I think it’s wonderful!

    It smells nice, can’t describe it off the top of my head, and a little pea-sized squeeze cleansed my entire face and got most of the makeup off, including my eye makeup and sometimes fussy mascara. Have you tried? It may be a contender against Jurlique πŸ™‚

    PS – is it available in any store?

  4. Tekoa says:

    Ohhh…I didn’t know that about foam cleansers. I have combination skin leaning towards the oily side, so usually I love the foamy! Lately though I’ve gotten some winter dry patches. I think I’ll make some changes.

  5. TUPRNUT says:

    Ouch – that’s a lot of cash for face wash! Purity Made Simple is my face wash splurge and I love it.

  6. Glosslizard says:

    I’m so relieved! I didn’t want to hear that the La Mer was worth the price!

  7. Breezy says:

    yay I’m glad you didn’t end up liking the La Mer wash actually. They’re so ridiculously expensive and they’re not even that great! I know you’re a fan of Paula Begoun (don’t go to the cosmetics counter w/out me) anyway, i looooove that she totally puts the smackdown on their line. She actually was ok with this cleanser but said it was comparable to Neutrogena’s extra gentle cleanser. Neener La Mer!…..Yeah I’m a hater haha.
    Anyway Jurlique sounds kinda nice, I don’t think this one had any lavender in it which I friggen adore, but I guess its actually bad for your skin cuz its irritating. Might have to give that a try. Let us know if your skin stays ok!

  8. Breezy says:

    Ooh one more question Karen, do you not use DHC’s cleansing oil anymore? I tried it after you posted something on it and friggen love it. Anyway, just wondering if you like your other cleanser better, thanks.

  9. Karen says:

    Hi Lilan,

    I haven’t tried the foam yet. I think my skin is too dry for it. Bah, I can’t wait for warmer weather!

    I’ve seen Jurlique at Blue Mercury stores. We have one here in Marin!

    Happy Monday πŸ™‚

  10. Karen says:

    Hi Tekoa,

    Cleansing lotions are awesome. I always thought they’d be too heavy for me but the new development of dry skin has opened up an entire new world of skincare (previous to this I was all about stuff for oily!). πŸ™‚

  11. Karen says:

    Hi Tuprnut,

    I know, right? I mean, if it was really fantastic and cleared up my skin forever and was proven to prevent wrinkles I’d pay that 65 bucks (probably). But unfortch it didn’t move me *that* much.

  12. Karen says:

    Hi Glosslizard,

    I know! Some people really love it though (like J. Lo!). I don’t get it…

  13. Karen says:

    Hey Breezy,

    Sure, I’ll let ya’ll know if my skin goes nuts (eek! *crossing fingers* that it doesn’t!).

    BTW, I LOVE DHC Cleansing Oil! I just like to rotate, and I like ’em both equally. I’m a girl that needs options! πŸ˜‰

  14. Lilan says:

    Ah, I didn’t realize that foams were more drying than lotions! Learn something new from you everyday πŸ™‚

  15. Karen says:

    Hi Lilan,

    I was a foam cleanser girl forever but that changed this year. I still think foam is your friend though, if you’ve got very oily skin or live in a humid environment. πŸ™‚

  16. i was so disappointed by la mer, also. i find the original nivea creme so much better (i swear the 2 products are the same).

  17. Megan says:

    So Karen…I honestly have to admit that reading along I’m slightly envious and wishing that I could hurry up and get a little older. LOL…I know I know…never wish it…but I still have problems with occasionally breaking out in my T-zone. πŸ™ So I don’t think I could manage it. I normally use Clinique mild facial bar to wash my face everyday, and then like 2-3 times a week I’ll use a stronger cleanser…like I have this one that I kinda love even though I never really knew the brand. It’s called Serious Skin Care…and I think the line was developed by somebody’s ex…I’m thinking Sylvester Stallone if my memory serves me correctly. Anyway I use their glycolic cleanser like two times a week and then I also have a Biore pore minimizing exfoliating cleanser that I use like once a week. In the winter when my skin gets drier I just double up my moisturizer on my cheeks and neck.

    I wish someone would tell me that skincare was going to get easier πŸ™

  18. Karen says:

    Hi Live Fabulously,

    Oh yah, you’re totally right! Nivea and Creme La Mer have very similar textures and the same greasy after-feel. It’s been years since I’ve used that old school Nivea cream, yikes! Talk about a trip down memory lane…

  19. Karen says:

    Hi Megan,

    I wish I could tell you it does! It surprised the heck out of me to suddenly have dry skin after always having oily skin for forever. I still get breakouts in my t-zone on occasion, especially if I’m stressed and don’t get enough sleep. What do you use when you break out? Benzoyl peroxide? Beta hydroxy acid?

  20. Hi Karen,
    Another great cleanser option for dry skin is Aromatherapy Associates RENEW rose cleanser. It melts into your skin with a luxurious and subtle rose scent and rinses clean. It leaves my skin feeling soft to the touch. When followed by Arcona Triad Pads in Refresh, exfoliating pink pads loaded with cranberry and Omegas, my skin looks consistently glowy and gorgeous.

  21. Megan says:

    I’ve found that for me Salicylic acid helps to dry the actual pimple (either clinique spot treatment or Clean and clear), but I put clean and clear cream with Benzoyl peroxide on my t zone lightly every morning. I am also on Birth Control… so I think that helps it too…I don’t really break out much…but I have my eye on a zeno… I think I might get one sometime this year. Have you ever used one? I just hate that it always seems I get a big pimple when something important is going on. So I think a zeno would be convenient…$189 is a little steep though… but I think I could look at it as an investment.

  22. hazeldazel says:

    i’ve tried the Neutragena Extra Gentle Cleanser which is great for when my skin is extra-dry in the winter and really is veerrrrrrrryyyyy gentle. However, so gentle it left most of my foundation on. So I use it for the morning face wash and it works perfectly for that – not drying at all and hella cheap! I’m pushing 40 *sigh* and I love love LOVE the MD Skincare’s Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel! It not only knocks the wrinkles in the butt, but also nukes all the acne I *still* have. Tip: Pay $3 to get them in the packets so you can then cut them in half and get twice the use. I also use them every other day and just use Neutragena’s Oil-Free Acne Wash on the off day. It has salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acid) so the acne fighting is still going on. Works wonders at removing makeup (except for mascara).

  23. Karen says:

    Thanks Beauty in Chelsea,

    Those two products are new to me, so thanks for the recommendations. πŸ™‚ Now it’s time to hunt for them and hopefully gather! πŸ™‚ Hope you’re having a good weekend!

  24. Karen says:

    Hi Megan,

    You know, I’ve heard mixed things about Zeno. I know a few gals that really like it, but I interviewed a well respected dermatologist a few weeks ago whose opinion I value and she said it’s just a waste of money. And honestly, it kinda scares me a little!

    I haven’t tried either Clinique spot treatment yet. I really like their Mild Exfoliating Cleanser with Salicylic acid so I’ll probably try the Spot Treatment next!

  25. Karen says:

    Hi Hazeldazel,

    AH, the old cut the squares in half trick! I love that one. It really streches out your dollar. Thanks for the MD Skincare rec – I’ve been wanting to try stuff from them and the Face Peel seems something that’ll be right up my alley.

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