January 8th 2021
Thicker than a cleansing oil, thinner than a cleansing balm, they’re characterised by their more gelatinous textures, conditioning ingredients (dry skin types will be particularly drawn to them) and chameleon-like formulas that can switch from jelly to milk with just a splash of water. A new beauty category that’s picking up pace, here are our favourites.
Best for: Clean beauty fans
This oil-based gel transforms into a milky cleanser when you add water to it, deftly removing makeup and SPF and ridding your complexion of pollution too. One cleanse is enough to leave your face feeling fresh, and you only need to use a washcloth to wipe off too so there's no need to feel guilty about adding cotton pads to landfill. The packaging is 50 per cent post-consumer recycled as well, for more ethical points.
Best for: Back-to-basics skincare
Plenaire launched in the UK in 2019 and threatened to steal Glossier's millennial pink crown - but we for one have room for both the brands on our bathroom shelf. This cleanser rapidly dissolves makeup with minimal water - just apply to a full-face of makeup, add water and watch the formula turn into rose-coloured milk that's almost too pretty to wash off.
Best for: Vegans
Drunk Elephant remains one of the most anticipated brands to launch in recent years, so we certainly were ready for this jelly. Mild cleansers and makeup dissolving emollients work together to rinse away makeup, impurities and oil, leaving skin soft and smooth. The clear jelly froths up into a rich foam for a super-satisfying clean that is suitable for vegans.
Best for: Skincare on a budget
This non-foaming jelly delivers a gentle, non-foaming cleanse that leaves the face feeling clean and pampered with absolutely no tightness. It's a no-frills product, and that's what we love about it.
Best for: A soothing cleanse
This conditioning jelly cleanser transforms into a silky milk when mixed with water to leave skin soft and smooth. Containing poloxamer, the same ingredient found in contact lens solution, as well as glyceryl cocoate to break down makeup and grime, it’s gentle yet thorough. Furthermore, a quarter of the water content is replaced with soothing rosewater to help reduce redness (exactly what’s needed in the current cold climate) and it’s also fragrance-free too to keep risk of irritation to a minimum.
Best for: Makeup removal
This pick comes with a micro-cloth to help remove end-of-day makeup and dirt. Transforming from jelly to oil to milk, it’s as effective on your foundation as it is your eyeliner and leaves skin squeaky clean but not stripped thanks to the inclusion of rice bran oil, plant extracts, sunflower oil coconut and glycerine on its ingredients label. It’s also fragrance-free and its packaging, airless - a welcome bonus to ensure it keeps for longer while also reducing wastage too.
Best for: Dry to combination skin
Dry to combination skin types will reap most rewards from this particular jelly thanks to its texture and mixture of hydrators such as sunflower oil and skin soothers such as willowherb. Lightweight and refreshing, it sloughs through dullness, boosts radiance and leaves skin softer and more supple.
Best for: Really dry skin
Containing over 30 per cent pure oils, this vegan cleanser is the perfect treat for parched skin. Richer than the others in this edit, its balmy texture (definitely jelly-like despite its name), spreads like butter on skin, transforming into a light milk when emulsified with water. Plus, its ingredients list reads like a travelling wishlist - black cumin oil from Egypt, rosehip oil from Chile, camelia oil from China and Community Trade organic olive oil from Italy...its boasts one of the most exotic blends on this list.
Best for: Combination skin
Who says you need water to whip up a foam? This oil-free and alcohol-free cleanser does it by itself, transforming from jelly to lather in a matter of seconds to gently lift away makeup and impurities. Enriched with honey and royal jelly for a more caring cleanse, it leaves skin refreshed but hydrated - very clever stuff indeed.
Best for: Spot-prone skin
If you suffer with break-outs, chances are you've tried something from Neutrogena before. This landed in early 2020 and is aimed specifically for people with oily, spot-prone skin. Despite harnessing the power of turmeric, this gel is clear, but the wonder-spice has strong anti-inflammatory powers to soothe agitated skin.
January 8th 2021
August 4th 2020
February 4th 2019
September 6th 2018