Battle of the Cleansing Oils (Part 3 or so)

Battle of the Cleansing Oils (Part 3 or so)

Or more like cleansing oil-type products. Today I’m comparing the ELF Hydrating Gel Melt Cleanser and the Memebox Nooni Snowflake Jelly Cleansing Oil. Neither of these are traditional liquid oils, and yet they’re not balms, either.

If you’re unaware, I love cleansing oils. I also love comparing them as each cleansing oil has so many possible differences. I heard about an ELF one over two years ago but it took a while to actually find in-stores. This Nooni one seemed intriguing as it’s an oil in more typical packaging for a balm, yet the brand offers a balm version, as well. Maybe I should have compared the oil and balm versions to each other!

The price:

The ELF cleanser retails for $10 and the Nooni cleanser retails for $23. That said, the ELF one comes with only 1.41 oz (about $7.09 per ounce) and the Nooni with 2.46 oz ($9.35 per ounce). I find that I use more of the ELF cleanser per use, as well, meaning these are about even in terms of price per use. ELF skincare is available in many places (I think I got this at Target) but Nooni is only offered at Ulta and Memebox’s own website.

The packaging:

This is rather typical packaging for ELF’s skincare line. It’s a light blue frosted plastic with silver accents and a screw-off lid. The packaging is pretty chunky, as well. The Nooni one is plain white but the lid has a flap, as well. It’s easier to close (especially if you close it directly after taking product out so your hand is covered in cleanser). The Nooni one also includes a little spatula. I wish the lip of the flap included a way to store the spatula right along the top.

I don’t really have a preference style-wise, as both look fresh like a cleanser should, but Nooni wins this one. It’s way easier to use and much more indicative of how much product is inside.

The ingredients:

For the Elf Hydrating Gel Melt:

Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Glycerin, Water (Aqua), Sucrose Stearate, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Rosa Moschata Seed Oil, Rosa Rubiginosa Seed Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Ascorbyl Palmitate.

For the Nooni Snowflake Jelly Cleansing Oil:

Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Octyldodecanol, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dextrin Palmitate, PEG-8 Isostearate, Polybutene, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Water, Tocopheryl Acetate, Fragrance, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Butylene Glycol, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexyglycerin, Oxygen, Citric Acid

I love how neither of these include mineral oil! Cheaper cleansing oils (up to around the Nooni price point) often include it. Some people don’t like using mineral oil at all because it’s a petroleum by-product, but I mainly don’t like it because it’s a thick oil that can clog pores and doesn’t offer any real benefits.

I’ve noticed that cleansing balms often use fewer actual oils in them, as they need more products to make the consistency, and both of these are similar. That said, this round goes to ELF, as the first oil listed is only the fifth ingredient. Not only is coconut oil very far down in Nooni’s list, it comes after fragrance. And fragrance can be an irritant.

The scent:

I think we all can agree that scents can make or break a skincare item, and that we all have our own preferences. Some people prefer the honest scents of the ingredients, while others love the experience of perfumed luxury skincare. Cleansing oils are my favorite skincare item in terms of scent, as the different oils and ingredients make each product smell completely different.

The ELF one doesn’t really smell like anything (maybe a faint chemical scent). That is so weird to me as I’ve never had a scentless cleansing oil before. Some have been unpleasant smells (such as the Neutrogena one) but never scentless. I’d expect at least some of the argan and rose/rosehip to come through. And while the Nooni scent is mainly derived from fragrance, it still smells great! It smells vaguely like getting out of the shower – very fresh, with hints of a fragrant body wash or shampoo lingering in the air. Overall very appropriate for a cleanser!

Nooni definitely wins this one.

The consistency:

ELF is pretty thick going on. It reminds me more of Vaseline in terms of consistency. As I write that I realize that I haven’t actually touched Vaseline in years, but is a super thick gel. I prefer very thin cleansing oils – they move around and work into the skin easier, and it feels like a thinner, more breathable layer of product on my skin. This is probably why I prefer oils over balms, as well. The Nooni one is right up my alley. The jelly texture feels incredibly lightweight, as if the ELF version was whipped. I’m not sure if it’s that light consistency or if the product starts melting into a liquid-y oil once in contact with my skin, but it’s incredibly easy to spread.

Nooni wins this round.

The emulsion:

If you’re new to cleansing oils, you generally apply the cleanser to dry skin, then splash or pat some water onto your face to emulsify it before rinsing. And it’s supposed to turn a milky white in the emulsion (a fancy term for small bits of oil suspended in water – which lets you rinse it all down the drain). ELF’s is spectacular. I end up with little white drops rolling down my face. It takes very little water for this effect, and it’s almost too strong of an effect. It becomes a little messy. Nooni’s was a bit tamer. The product turned white-ish on my face – my skin looked paler in place. I noticed it more on my hands as I started rinsing, but even if I went in with more water the emulsion didn’t change much.

ELF wins this round.

The overall use:

Like I mentioned in the price section, I have to use a little bit more of the ELF cleanser. There’s just not as much slide or give to it. It also isn’t as great at removing mascara, although some of that may be from how much product I am using (as I go through my lashes last). It’s mostly clear, with a slight blue cloudiness. While Hydrating is part of the title, I don’t find most cleansers hydrating, as they come into contact with the skin for such a short amount of time. I also distinguish between hydration and moisture, and oil-based cleansers shouldn’t give the skin water (aka hydrate). No, this isn’t stripping, but it leaves a slight residue that stays on my skin without absorbing. I normally wash my skin with a water-based cleaanser, followed by toner, so the residue doesn’t stay long.

Nooni has more of a yellowish tint. It’s more noticeable in the white packaging.  And it’s more-or-less the opposite to the ELF cleanser. It removes all my makeup well, has a decent amount of slip, and washes completely away without residue.

This round goes to Nooni.

The verdict:

I like the Nooni Snowflake Jelly Cleansing Oil more than the ELF Hydrating Gel Melt Cleanser. That said, this ELF one is very good for what’s available at the drugstore. I think I do prefer the Burt’s Bees cleansing oil more, but this is still cheaper and may be easier to find in-stores. Nooni is definitely a solid contender out of everything I tried, but I think I still just love normal oil consistencies.

Have you checked out my other cleansing oil comparisons, here and here? How about some more recent oil reviews, here, here, and here?

-xo, Andi

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