Skincare Review: Dr Sam’s Flawless Cleanser

sam bunting flawless cleanser review

Those searching for an uncomplicated cleanser with spotless credentials need search no further: Dr Sam’s Flawless Cleanser is as straightforward and effective as they come. I’ve been using it for a few months and it has gradually become the face cleanser I grab when I can’t be bothered to think about which face cleanser to grab. When I don’t have the brain space to decide whether my skin is feeling dry and stressed, or bumpy and angsty. When I’m too rushed to do a mind-altering massage with a scented balm (Darphin, guilty pleasure) or too tired to find different creams and oils to remove my various bits of makeup. The Flawless Cleanser does it all yet keeps things simple; no fragrance, no unnecessary ingredients and an easy-to-use formula that can be splashed or flanneled off.

I’ve long been a fan of Dr Sam Bunting; she’s a respected dermatologist who gives expert skincare advice that’s easy to understand. You can find her Youtube channel here (it’s a treasure trove of useful information) but she also pops up all over the place in magazines, TV shows and other Youtube channels and blogs.

And so I was seriously pleased to find out that Dr Sam had developed a cleanser. One that suits pretty much everyone, that removes all makeup and dirt, that fits into any skincare routine and that isn’t prohibitively expensive. In fact I’d say it’s rather a bargain, really, considering its credentials – £16 for 200ml. To put that price in perspective, it’s half the price of Liz Earle’s Hot Cloth Cleanser, a quarter of the price of OSKIA’s Renaissance Cleanser and only a smidgen dearer than the cleansing gels from La Roche-Posay.

If you’re wondering whether a gel might be too lightweight for you – perhaps you’re used to a thick, melty balm or a robust cream cleanser – then let me put your mind at ease. This is no flimsy face wash; the Flawless Cleanser has the same sort of thickness and unctuousness as a balm, it just feels fresher and smoother. You still get that gorgeous spreadability, the ability to really massage and work the product into the skin, but without any of the oiliness.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the oiliness of a melted-down balm. I adore a thick cream cleanser. But there’s room in the beauty world for all kinds of textures and the Flawless Cleanser gel is a welcome one. If you’ve ever tried the (gorgeous but pricey) Renaissance Cleanser from OSKIA then you’ll be familiar with the silkiness of a good gel; it feels revitalising and perky but at the same time – miraculously – nourishing and comfortable. Dr Sam’s Flawless Cleanser is no different. It removes every speck of makeup, slides easily over the eye area and leaves skin absolutely spotless without drying it out.

It’s also a sensible, no-frills formula. No added fragrance, no added colour and nothing fancy in the way of exfoliants or other bits and bobs that must surely get washed straight down the sink. I like it a lot (demonstrated by my enthusiastic usage) and I think it’s especially a great one for people with breakouts, adult acne, hormonal skin and sensitive oily skin who want the feel of something fresh and deep-cleansing but the effects of something non-stripping and gentle.

You can find Flawless Cleanser on Dr Sam’s website here – it’s £16. Hopefully some of the big retailers will snap it up soon so that you can buy it with your other beauty shopping! And for those of you wondering what else might be added to Dr Sam’s skincare range, I pestered her for some additional info…

Me (via email, at around 2am): Is Flawless Cleanser the start of a larger range of products? (I hope so!)

Dr Sam100%. The cleanser is the first in a complete system of affordable, cosmeceutical products that parallel my results-orientated clinic practising style. I want to help grown-up women tackle blemish-prone skin whilst addressing the first signs of ageing. This is by far the commonest scenario I see in my clinic – with my skincare range, I want to reach a much larger audience of women, given that at least 40% of those over 25 still struggle with breakouts, blocked pores and bumpy, unhappy skin. You can expect products which are formulated to layer with each other beautifully, with textures that are a pleasure to use. I want to guide users to great results by eliminating the guesswork with video tutorials that leave no detail spared. And I hope to deliver products that look chic, eliminating the shame factor often associated with products targeting problem skin.

Me: Which skin types will most benefit from your Flawless Cleanser?

Dr SamI honestly believe that the vast majority of people can use a gentle, non-clogging unfragranced ‘universal cleanser’, like this one, and I find that most people enjoy the ‘clean feel’ you get with a wash-off gel cleanser format. This is the approach I use in my clinic with patients suffering from a whole variety of concerns and it works well. The exception is  those whom are extremely sensitive and suffer from frequent product reactions – in this group, I recommend Avene Tolerance Extreme Cleanser or La Roche Posay Toleriane Dermo-cleanser, as both are also preservative-free. 

Me (selfish question, because I don’t always do a proper morning cleanse!): Is a full morning cleanse a must even if you’ve cleansed thoroughly the night before?

Dr SamI think it depends on your skin-type – combination and oily skin will benefit from a morning cleanse, as excess oil will stop leave-on products penetrating the skin and cosmetics won’t layer well. I think in normal/dry skin-types it’s optional – if you do like the fresh feeling of a morning cleanse (as many do), the main thing is to use a product that doesn’t degrade the skin’s barrier function, especially as we move into winter. Flawless Cleanser was designed to be kind in this regard!

More reading:

Q&A with Dr Sam Bunting on Pregnancy-Safe Skincare

Cleanser reviews

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  2. December 6, 2018 / 9:23 am

    Thanks for the review. Never heard about the brand before.

  3. Carmen
    October 17, 2018 / 12:58 pm

    Hi Ruth, This might seem a bit out of the blue, but do you know if there is a difference in the formulation of a cleansing oil and a facial oil. I know that in terms of cleansing oils they usually emulsify upon application, but I have a huge bottle of baobab oil that I’d like to use up and was wondering if I could put this to cleansing purposes.

    Specifically as a first cleanse and then thoroughly flanneled off. Would you suggest this? I’ve researched, but to no avail. Thanks so much! Love the blog.

    • October 17, 2018 / 5:43 pm

      Yeah usually the cleansing oils have ingredients added specifically for the purpose of getting them off again easily – I always notice the difference if I try to cleanse with (for example) coconut oil. I get a residue even with flannelling. Haven’t tried out baobab but you can only give it a go – let me know how it is? x

  4. Hannah
    October 16, 2018 / 11:04 am

    I love this cleanser. As a devotee of Caroline Hirons I’ve been using balms and oils. But after using this one for a week I’ve noticed a significant difference to the blackheads on and around my nose (sadly I have more than normal which really fill up). As a teenage sufferer of acne my more mature skin at 40 is somewhat drier but I still had the odd lumps and bumps in addition to the blackheads. I’m thinking this may just be the answer!!

  5. Adella
    September 23, 2018 / 12:13 pm

    I’ve now purchased this and I can’t wait to get it because I love gel cleansers and was so desperate to get something new I’m trying improve the look of my skin and since this review I have also purchased a shit ton of stuff Dr Sam has suggested …. refuse to check my bank statement!!!!
    I hope this is good the price is reasonable
    Thanks for this review

  6. September 20, 2018 / 1:29 pm

    I am a huge fan of her channel and her advice and really hope the cleanser will be available via other retailers soon too.

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

  7. Jan Kelley
    September 19, 2018 / 6:41 pm

    How I wish her products were available in the US. I long been an admirer. Her advice is spot on. I also have to add that I truly enjoy your blog and vlogs. Thank you.

    • September 19, 2018 / 7:38 pm

      I think she’s JUST started shipping to the US x

  8. Linda
    September 19, 2018 / 3:51 pm

    I love this cleanser too, but I find that it doesn’t work on removing eye make-up and it really stings if it gets into my eyes. She also says you have to massage it in for a full minute which I’ve religiously been doing, but sometimes this gets a little tedious. Either of these things don’t stop me from ordering my second bottle though!

    • September 19, 2018 / 4:06 pm

      Oh I found it fine on the eyes! I don’t massage in for one minute though, nowhere near. I think that’s probably just to get people to take the time to really work it in – I think you know when you’ve done a good enough job of applying it! : )

  9. Andrea
    September 19, 2018 / 1:12 pm

    I LOVE this cleanser!!! My beloved La Roche Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser comes in at a very close second. I never thought I would say that.

    Dr. Sam is an absolute gem. I cannot wait for future products!

    • September 19, 2018 / 4:06 pm

      Still need to try that LRP one! x

  10. September 19, 2018 / 8:58 am

    I Flipping LOVE this cleanser, I think it is fab and honestly made a huge difference to my skin.
    I need her to produce more thought because my bottle has nearly run out and they are out of stock! :(

    Leanne |

    September 19, 2018 / 8:47 am

    Ha, i was just reading reviews about this cleanser the moment i received notification about your post. Weird :)). And yes hopefully big retailers will get this soon, because shipping to my country is 12 pounds when shopping from dr sam’s online shop.

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