Laneige Multi Cleanser ($22 for 6 fl. oz.) makes many claims for a facial cleanser, but unfortunately it doesn’t live up to several of them.
First, it’s supposed to be for all skin types. Although it lathers up beautifully into a gentle-feeling cushiony cloud of dense foam (far denser than any typical cleanser; it’s similar to a Shiseido cleanser I tried many years ago), skin is left feeling clean. Too clean. After other cleansers, my fingers can still glide over my skin, but after Multi Cleanser, my fingers drag and skip over my skin. So it’s too harsh for dry skin. (Yet it’s strangely satisfying in the summer to feel all the oil stripped from your face.) Update: I tested the pH level to be 8, which explains the squeaky clean feeling. Also, the dense foam takes several extra splashes to rinse it from your hairline or (ew) nostrils.
Next, it makes four claims:
However, it doesn’t melt away makeup; you must still remove makeup as usual (face wipe, oil cleanser, whatever). I tried to remove BB cushion swatches from my arm and fingertips and it only partially worked. I tried that “foaming action” three times!
Given its performance with makeup (which was SPF 50+ and water-resistant), I wouldn’t expect it to melt away sunscreen. This claim was the main reason I wanted to try Multi Cleanser; sunscreen is usually hard to remove without oil, and I was impressed that a non-oily foaming cleanser could remove sunscreens (especially since humidity-proof ones are so common in Asia). Well it can’t.
Does it exfoliate? I can’t say since it’s only on my skin for 1 minute max.
As for the fourth and last claim, I’ll give that one to Laneige. Sort of. It feels as though you’ve thoroughly cleansed and have brighter, fresher-feeling skin, even though makeup and sunscreen haven’t been fully removed.
So in the end, I only recommend this cleanser to someone with normal to oily skin as a second cleanse–after makeup and sunscreen have been removed. (And if you don’t have any makeup or sunscreen to remove, try a non-stripping cleanser such as derma e Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Cleanser ($12.75 for 6 fl. oz.), which also boasts papaya as an exfoliating ingredient. I use this as my morning wash and reserve Multi Cleanser for nighttime.) Update: I threw this out and cannot recommend this product to anyone due to the very high pH level.
Pros: Leaves squeaky clean feeling. Economical because a little goes a long way. Dense, fluffy lather.
Cons: Leaves squeaky clean feeling. Not actually squeaky clean if you’re trying to clean off stubborn makeup or sunscreen.