Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser - review


This is a cult-favourite cleanser that was on my list of products to try for ages, and I finally bit the bullet and bought myself the travel size not long before I went on my skincare no buy in December last year.

I do like it and I can see why so many people love it, but it's not as gentle as you might think and I wasn't surprised to see the pH coming in at somewhere between a 7 and an 8 when I tested it yesterday (and again this morning to confirm).

Both the pH and the fact that it has dried my skin out a little tell me that it's not as skin-friendly as you might expect it to be, given that it's from a 'skincare serious' brand like Kate Somerville, so that's something to keep in mind.

Kate Somerville claims/product details:

  • A daily foaming and exfoliating cleanser for soft, smooth and bright skin
  • Gently polish away impurities, oil and makeup with this sulfate-free cleanser
  • Formulated with AHAs and natural fruit enzymes to detoxify without stripping skin of moisture and also refine skin texture
  • Pineapple, pumpkin and papaya enzymes purify skin while glycolic and lactic acids help clear buildup
  • RRP $27 AUD for 50ml; $55 AUD for 120ml; or $88 AUD for 240ml


I do enjoy this cleanser in theory, but I've found that it can be drying with frequent use so I wasn't surprised to test the pH and discover that it's between a 7 and an 8. 

I know this won't mean anything to many people, but if you're a skincare junkie like I am and you've read all the material explaining why anything that's over 7 is too high (and too alkaline) for skin, then like me you might be wondering why this cleanser has been formulated in this way. 

Indeed, the natural pH of skin is apparently around 5.5, and most cleansers I've tried from 'serious' skincare brands like Kate Somerville put the pH of their cleansers between 5 and 6, and it's those cleansers that my skin reacts to best. This one, not so much.

Moving on.

It's a pale, mint green cleanser that sits somewhere between a gel and a cream in texture. The product has a soft, fruity scent that I enjoy and I can smell citrus, so I wasn't surprised to see bergamot and orange peel oils listed in the ingredients.

A little goes a long way because when you add water, you'll get a decent lather that covers a higher surface area than you might expect. A small pea is more than enough for me personally and of course this isn't a super cheap product so you may as well use less and make it last longer.

I tend to use this product in the morning or evening as my second cleanse, because it cleans the skin very well and leaves my face clear of grime and feeling soft and fresh. Mind you, I've learned that I can't use it every day - otherwise it dries my skin out. I wouldn't say that it strips the skin but it does clean it more 'aggressively' than my other cleansers so that's something to keep in mind.

I've had a look at the reviews on Mecca's website (see here) and while most people have given it four or five stars, some people have given it two or three stars and many of those have commented on the fact that it dries out their skin, so I'm not the first person to have noticed this and I won't be the last.

Overall I think this is a nice product and I can see why people love it, but it's not a keeper for me because it's too aggressive and it has dried out my (already) dry skin with frequent use. If you have oily skin you mightn't notice this aspect and I can see why you'd love it because it does clean very well, but I wouldn't rush out and buy a massive tube of this based on the hype: I would test it first.

Not gentle enough for me personally.

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