The Review: de Mamiel Brightening Cleanse & Exfoliate


If you’ve been exploring the world of green beauty, you’ll know that brands are a dime a dozen with a new one seemingly cropping up each day. Yet there are the lines that have transcended the noise and de Mamiel is one of them. Admittedly, not as covered Stateside, this British brand is what I consider to be tops in gentle luxuries. Their cleansing balm remains one of my favorite products thanks to a beautiful buttery texture and seriously mood lifting aromas. In fact, I’d say this is the line where each product smells divine in the way that manages to be euphoric, captivating and totally relaxing simultaneously.

Now some real talk: I’d never been a huge proponent of powder cleansers until I experienced Tatcha. My early experience with May’s Clean Dirt left much to be desired and other green powder cleansers I had used simply made me feel as though I was using an incomplete or flawed product. But then BeautyHabit had a sale & I couldn’t quite shake the temptation of a pink powder cleanser with actual rose quartz, so I happily purchased de Mamiel’s Brightening Cleanse & Exfoliate.


So how do I put this…. this is everything a powder exfoliating cleanser should be and perhaps what I consider the gold standard for this type of cleanser. Not surprising considering de Mamiel also makes one of the best cleansing balms around. What I really love about de Mamiel is the thoughtfulness that goes into each product. With de Mamiel, the quality is to be experienced even if it’s not as talked about. Case in point, Brightening Cleanse & Exfoliate is a lovely shade of pink with an other-worldly aroma that harkens to pure happiness. It almost reminds me of those cute scented erasers that we all seemed to collect in elementary school, if anyone can recollect.

VSCO Cam-1
Now the performance: yes this is an exfoliator or a “polish” product so there is a physical texture that will grind around the skin surface.I tend to use this type of product on lazy mornings before slathering on a very rich, nutritious mask. My personal experience is that it is a lot more gentle and tame compared to May Lindstrom Clean Dirt so if you used that and want something similar but easier on the skin, this is a good option. As far as effectiveness goes, this does get the job done and with my once a week use (twice during summer), I’ve found it to be great for keeping my pores clear despite all the heaviness summertime can bring.

There are two ways that deMamiel’s polish can be used: alone or mixed with a cleanser. When used alone, it’s a pure exfoliating scrub, combine with a cleanser (I like the Kahina Facial Cleanser for a cream base and the Yuli Halcyon Cleanser for a gel base) and it’s a stimulating, exfoliating, deep cleanse – think of it as a suped up version of Tata Harper’s Regenerating Cleanser (the one with the ground Apricot scrub).

The Ingredients

Moroccan rhassoul clay, Montmorillonite clay, French Pink clay, Colloidal oat powder*, Sodium bicarbonate, Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) powder, Pearl powder, Red jasper gem powder, Raw cacao powder*, Alaea Hawaiian sea salt,  Buttermilk powder, Honey powder, Cucumis sativa (cucumber) powder, Santalum album (sandalwood mysore) powder, Aloe barbadensis (aloe) powder*, Camellia sinensis (green tea) powder, Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) powder Chrysantheum  indicium (chrysanththeum) powder, Rosa damasena (rose) petal powder*, Boswellia carteri (frankincense) powder, Commiphora myrrha (myrrh) powder, Cedrus deodara (himalayan cedarwood) powder, Panax ginseng (ginseng),  Althaea officinalis (marshmallow) root powder*, Rose rubiginosa (rosehips) powder, Vanilla planifolia bean*.

deMamiel describes the composition of the Brightening Cleanse & Exfoliate as follows:  healing clays, plant and gem extracts to smooth and polish skin to reveal its natural radiance and glow. A few notes: one of the reasons this works for me is the lack of spices, instead we have calming ingredients like oat powder, cucumber powder, green tea powder, and aloe powder. The ‘enlivening’ ingredient comes from ginseng which promotes circulation in place of the spices which is wonderful as it also contains lots of antioxidants. One of my favorite new ingredients, pearl powder is also in this which promotes a luster effect when applied onto skin (and is also in Lina Hanson’s new balm).

Baking soda is in this formula which I don’t love (see May Lindstrom Problem Solver review for more background on this ingredient). Now while I know that Vitamin C is supposed to mitigate the alkaline pH issue, I’ve seen beauty bloggers confirm that the pH of the Problem Solver (which also contains Vitamin C) was around a 8 pH which is definitely too far off from the ideal 5.5 pH that our skin should be at. What this means is that I always go over my skin with a acid-toner afterward just to get everything back in balance.


Overall I find this to be a very high quality product from a line that I’ve come to love for their ability to make natural botanicals work together like a symphony. In the US, deMamiel can be purchased at the following locations:

The Detox Market
CAP Beauty
Net A Porter 
Integrity Botanicals



  1. Stacey
    August 31, 2016 / 2:24 pm

    Darn. I wish I had seen this review before the sale was over. I am searching for a new exfoliant (bought Clean Dirt several times but after a while it always made my face look and feel like they were in flames) and didn’t know what to buy. Bye bye BeautyHabit sale. 🙁 But next time I’ll be ready! Thank you. 🙂

    • September 18, 2016 / 12:15 pm

      Oh no! I know it’s a little late now but add it to your wishlist for next time! Also pay attention to Shen Beauty, they have random sales every now and then.

  2. Susan
    September 22, 2016 / 5:08 am

    You are getting nothing else out of these products, what so ever expect some exfoliation.
    If you like these dry products just use 1 tbs of baking soda, 5 tbs of aztec clay, some oat ground oatmeal mix and cleanse away, also acid tone right after.

    Lets break this down:
    These dry products are only popular in green beauty, because a real chemist knows that an effective formula need water. Powdered dry, mix mask or dry cleansers with herbs, and botanicals do not have the opportunity to release photo-nutrients, and infuse properly in the mixture. So the licorice, green tea, marshmallow root, and other ingredients are not able to fully perform. A little water will not soak up the ingredients properly, especially if there is no set ratio, it is likely the water will grab at the clay first. Herbs and botanicals need many days if not weeks to infuse, that is a fact. They really cannot be beneficial in a cleanser, that is on the skin for under a minute, or a mask for an hour.

    Cleanser is best in a gel, creme, or oil based, formula loaded with antioxidants, and properly infused ingredients. The cleansing your getting out of this product is the clay which absorbs oils, and baking soda which absorbs, and strips the skin. It’s great for teeth but can remove the enamel too.

    The real problems with these dry formulas is not really the ph, you can use a good toner to balance the ph.

    The real problems are as follows:

    #1 Baking soda eats away at the acid mantle, period. No matter what you add to balance the ph, just because the ph isn’t totally alkaline doesn’t mean baking soda does not eat away at the acid mantle. There is no vitamin or nutrient activity in baking soda, just an empty ingredient. The stinging/warming effect on the skin, is not good. This sort of feeling on the skin is usually associated with irritation, and is produced by harsh chemicals being introduced to the skin. Yes, baking soda is a chemical and it does not grow on trees neither does L-Ascorbic Acid.
    The results may be instant for blackheads and it does look great for a day, but you are actually breaking down your own skins protective barrier, this damages the skin function over time.

    2. No active ingredients, the only active vitamins in these products are vitamin c, which is used as a ph adjuster. Baking soda destroys nutrients, and vitamins alike–especially L-Ascorbic Acid. All vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants are very fragile. Once water is introduced into the products the vitamins are being destroyed the “magic bubbles” that is a chemical reaction and any level of vitamin activity is out the door. Not much of anything can live in an alkaline environment, which is why many naturalist call it the cure for cancer. However there are alkaline forms of Vitamin C that are beneficial, but that is a different topic. What could be beneficial to the skin isn’t going to happen in 60 seconds of cleansing, vitamin c needs to be left on the skin for proper absorption. Hence why the most effective vitamin c is in a serum, gel, or creme form and the powders you add to existing formulas.

    3. Large bottles encourage users to indulge often…How is this a problem? The more your encouraged to use these products the more damage your doing. Clays are wonderful, but thats about all you are getting in this product and the clean dirt too…Also many of the nutrients are destroyed just by the aggressing rubbing.

    I love green beauty, but hold it to a higher standard them the main stream lines. I see green beauty as a platform to do better, in every single way. Green beauty companies should make better products, do more research, utilize accurate skin science, and have higher percentages of skin beneficial ingredients, that out perform the main stream brands, better for the skin and the environment.

    These clay cleansers are much too expensive for the level of product, these products are very SUPER BASIC KITCHEN RECIPES, and lack basic knowledge of cosmetic formulation. They offer no real skin benefits for the price. Which is really upsetting, because it is really is no different then the rest of main stream luxury beauty. I had to ask myself is $80.00 for baking soda and clay and in-active ingredients, better then $80.00 of 70% water and crappy ingredients, neither are good for the skin.

    Here are some links, for more information.
    Scientists have known the consequences of mixing sodium bicarbonate and vitamin C ever since 1936, when a study on the subject was published in the “Journal of Nutrition.” The authors of this study measured the amount of vitamin C recovered from the urine of people who drank a fixed amount of orange juice. The authors determined that the amount of vitamin C excreted was decreased by administration of sodium bicarbonate. Followup studies in the 1940s showed that this effect was due to the neutralization of the vitamin C by the sodium bicarbonate.
    These results suggest that baking soda causes an increase in pH and subsequent destruction of flavanol compounds and antioxidant activity. Use of an appropriate leavening agent to moderate the final cake pH to approximately 7.25 or less results in both good leavening and preservation of cocoa flavanols and procyanidins.

    • October 3, 2016 / 9:46 pm

      Thanks for leaving a comment here Susan. I’ve said previously that I’m not a fan of Baking Soda in products, check out my May Lindstrom Problem Solver post for more on that. It’s good to know that baking soda + vitamin C is indeed not a great mix. We differ a little on the dry vs requirement for water to be considered active perspective. I think if the formula needs water infusion – sure but a dry powder doesn’t mean it can’t be active: see wasabi sold in powder form, milk powder, matcha. These powders are often times more concentrated and active than the forms that come premixed in liquid/paste form with water. But there is room for differing views and many products that will satiate all of us!

      • Karla
        October 20, 2016 / 2:07 pm

        Girl, I continue to be impressed by your knowledge which you share in a kind and open way unlike others who try to steamroll with faulty logic.

  3. B
    September 23, 2016 / 9:51 am


  4. Laura
    November 14, 2016 / 1:15 pm

    You mentioned to make sure and use an “acid toner” after cleansing. Which acid toners would you suggest as being your favorite?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *