Joelle Ciocco Sensitive Cleansing Milk

Joelle Ciocco is kind of known as the elite cult skincare brand in France. Most of my friends in the fashion industry swear by her stuff, models, makeup artists, photographer, etc. On my last trip to Paris, I booked an appointment with her ahead of time since I knew the waitlist was insane! Fortunately, she was able to schedule me in during the 2 weeks I was in Paris.

Although the EU has a more stringent standard for skincare products, I’m surprised by how different each culture is: the English/Greeks love clean, natural skincare; the Swiss/Germans are all about science; the French love their brands and the clean skincare scene isn’t ‘super’ important to them. Of course these are massive generalizations but I have found through conversation that most people in Paris love their La Mer, Chanel, etc. and don’t really give a thought to even mass market natural brands like REN and Jurlique.

I was curious to try Joelle Ciocco, because, rave reviews from the fashion industry notwithstanding, she exemplifies the best of French niche-luxury skincare. Her treatments are known to focus on individual skin nutrition needs to make the skin ‘ecosystem’ as healthy as possible. Her products rely heavily on botanicals and good formulations.

I found the overall experience to be wonderful. Joelle is never pushy or condescending and really only prescribed 2 products for me. One of which was the Sensitive Cleansing Milk as I had told her of my journey for the perfect cleanser. I do agree that her products are VERY VERY expensive, a single treatment and two products cost me into the four figures USD.

Upon using the Sensitive Cleansing Milk, I found that it smelled delicious. The clea bottle was an absolute delight – minimal, chic, luxurious. The milk itself really did a good job or removing oil and grime without making my skin feel stripped of moisture. It does not foam much and you do need to rinse repeatedly to make sure the product washes off fully.

After 2 weeks, I noticed my skin was fresh and dewy so I continued using this cleanser. After a month however, I noticed small clogged pores around my nose and even two blackheads. Luckily, my facialist was able to extract these out. But she did say whatever I was using was congesting my pores. Thats when I dug up the packaging for this product and saw the full ingredient list:

Deionized aqua;orange flower water;shea butter;sweet almond oil;calendula extract;arnica montana extract;common horsetail;essentiel oil neroli;jojoba oil;polysorbate 60;sorbitan stearate;stearic acid;myreth-3 myristate;mineral oil;carbomer;allantoin;isopropyl myristate;tocopherol;parfum;benzyl alcohol methylchloroisothiazolinone methylisothiazolinone;TEA

For a line that purports to be relatively natural and clean, I was surprised to find mineral oil in there, which is an ingredient I know my skin cannot stand. This explains why my pores became clogged over time. I think the Shea Butter and Sweet Almond Oil are probably too much for my skin type and more suitable for dry skin. I was surprised there was parfum and two types of preservatives known for causing allergies in the formula. I was also a little disappointed because for the price, this formulation doesn’t really seem worth it.

I think I really like this line in terms of the brand message, it is very chic, and understated but then once I saw the formula and used the product – it was very ordinary. I might try a serum or another product down the line just to see if maybe there are other good products but for now I am underwhelmed.



  1. April 28, 2013 / 6:59 pm

    Ahh, and alas, the review that led me to you via Google! Okay so I too have seen this hyped up on ITG and then subsequently everywhere else apparently, especially blog comments. I’m just now learning about “milky cleansers” a la French women, and my facialist urges me to get lactic products…but no go yet. Any recommendations so far for milk cleansers?

    • April 29, 2013 / 8:38 pm

      Cleansing milks don’t really do my blemish prone skin a lot of good but if your facialist urges you to use them, I think Joelle Ciocco might be good. I also like the Ren Hydra-Calm cleansing milk for sensitive skin. Another good French brand is Dior who have great cleansing milks althought they’re less natural.

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