Dr. Pedro Catalá, founder of TWELVE Beauty, is one of our favorite founder-formulators. Every time he introduces something new, we can be sure it will be a must have item; we can also be sure there's some interesting science behind its formula. TWELVE's new Clementine Cleansing Balm is no exception — here, Pedro explains why it works so well with just five ingredients.
Ayla: What prompted your creation of the Clementine Cleansing Balm?
PEDRO: I have been studying the electric charges of oils and their ability to solubilize and mix with other ingredients for decades now.
Solubility is the key parameter by which to guarantee the longevity of a final formula. In other words, if ingredients don’t mix together well, the formula will not be stable —and, soon, you will see the different ingredients separating or precipitating at the bottom of the bottle or some oils floating on the surface of the jar.
While studying oils (oleochemistry), I realized that some oils are better for removing makeup, impurities and dirt. The secret lies in the amount of electric charge that a given oil possesses. Those that lack electric charges or have minimal charges, called non polar or low polarity oils, are the most successful at trapping and melting pollution and dirt by capturing impurities.
Ayla: We haven’t heard much discussion of the polarity of oils before, which is so interesting. Why are non polar / low polarity oils the best for cleansing?
PEDRO: Impurities, makeup, and pollution are positively charged — which means that when these negatively charged (non polar/ low polarity) oils come in contact with them, they trap them in their structure, and when you remove the balm, you also take away all the dirt which is attached to the oil. The novelty resides in their high efficacy, meaning that you do not need to rub or scrub the face (which is too aggressive to the upper layers of the skin); with a light, soft massage with these oils, you can remove even the most stubborn makeup.
Ayla: What are some examples of these oils?
PEDRO: The oils I used in this wonder product are mainly cottonseed, safflower and rice, which are highly sustainable as they grow quickly in the right environment with little water and produce huge amounts of oil.
Ayla: What are some examples of high polarity oils?
Triglycerides, which are used to condition the skin with positive charges. It’s almost like you make your skin dirty, which feels comfy. Think about when you apply shampoo — shampoo leaves your hair negatively charged, because you remove all the positively charge dirt. Then you add the conditioner (which has positive charges) to make it feel comfy again.
- Is there a specific skin type or condition you suggest this product for? I always formulate with sensitive skin in mind, but everyone can benefit from this balm as it helps to reduce the dreaded TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss).
- Is there a specific skin type or condition you would NOT suggest this product for? In theory, no. But we are all individuals, so I recommend checking the list of the ingredients first and trying it before you buy it, if you’re in doubt. I made sample packets of this product so that everyone could try it.
- What do you think of the process of double cleansing? I think it is not for everyone, or at least not on a daily basis. I guess it depends more on your needs and how much makeup or sunscreen you use and where you live, too. Cleansing is an aggression to the skin with all the friction involved, so the milder you make the step, the better it is.
- What do you love best about this product? I love two things. First, the fact that you can create highly performing natural products with fewer but better ingredients. Secondly, the aroma: it is my little tribute to my hometown, Ondara (in Spain), where we are well known for growing clementines. In fact, the whole town is surrounded by these trees, releasing the most aromatic smell — so your nose will tell you when you are approaching the town.
Doesn't it sound beautiful? It might be even better than it sounds. As our team member, Ellen, put it: "It's one of the best cleansers I've ever tried. And I wanted to eat my face, it smelled so good." Particularly marvelous when used with the impossibly soft TWELVE Softest Muslin Cloth. Shop the TWELVE lineup here.