Review: Cremorlab T.E.N. Cremor Cleansing Gel Oil, Why Can't I Quit You?

So, last week I mentioned that I am giving up accepting Press Samples for testing and review, and the catalyst was the whopping 2 products accepted to date (which had me wrestling with reviewing ethics like Laocoon and the Serpents**) as I found myself trying to hate on products just because they'd been given to me for free.

Spoilers: As you can see, I've been going hard on this.
Today's review is one of those 2 products accepted for review, specifically the one from Peach & Lily, who contacted me back in May after we had a Twitter interaction to ask if I was interested in trying some of their products.  I still haven't reviewed the other, and I likely never will, as I just ... well.  Read on for my struggles feelings about press samples.

**Scroll down for photo reference if you're not a Classical Studies nerd like me

In this post:
  • Product Details
  • Why I accepted this product
  • Why I can't quit it
  • Demo - does it work?
  • Ingredients list
  • Final thoughts: pros and cons
As I am sure you can tell from the post title + the half empty bottle, despite all my efforts, I liked it.  Saint Snail help me, I liked it a lot.

Product Details

Full product name: Cremorlab T.E.N. Cremor Refreshing Cleansing Gel Oil
Purpose: Like oil cleansers, this is a 1st cleanser made with oily ingredients to more easily break down the makeup/sunscreen/residue on your face before being rinsed away with water, and then followed with a 2nd foaming cleanser to clean the skin itself.
Scent:  Unf.  The scent.  THE SCENT.  It's got a rose scent, but it's not that horrible fake rose floral, it's got a genuine rose scent that smells like I'm huffing petals.  It's almost identical to the Lovemore Rosa Hybrida silk mask scent, if you've tried that.  The smell is just incredible.  In fact, I struggled to identify what the scent was at first, because my brain kept saying 'a real flower' and it couldn't connect it to the perfume-scent I associate with rose.
pH result: Under 5.5, see photo below.  Gel oil cleansers apparently are aqueous enough for pH testing, unlike their traditional oil cleanser cousins.
Quantity: 150 ml
Rating: 4/5, with the cost knocking it down a bit, because Cremorlab is pricey.
Where to get it: Unfortunately, Cremorlab isn't readily available: $32 from Peach & Lily (if you want a $10 off $50 referral code, you can use this link) or if you are willing to use a buying service (like Avecko or Boyah Shop) you can get it straight from Korean for 29,000₩ which is about $25 USD, and depending on whether any coupons are available and can be applied by the buying service, you may be able to get it as low as $20.
Just keep in mind that international shipping can be quite pricey, unless you are hauling enough to make the shipping brackets worth it.  The hangul is 크레모랩 티이엔 리프레싱 클렌징 젤오일 in case you want to go hunting for it; beware of duty free store listings as they're not going to be accessible for your buying service!
Repurchase:  Yep, once I get down to the last 3rd of the bottle, I am getting a backup.  With my own money of course.  Done!  I have since repurchased this product with my own money, and it's such a relief!


Why I accepted this product

**Laocoon and the Serpents,aka
blogging ethics when it comes to press sample
s
[image credit blueboathome]
Now, before we go on, I should add that while bloggers may receive offers, most of us rarely take them unless there is some compelling reason.

So my default answer to these requests is "No", but I have to say that Peach & Lily won me over on a few counts:
  1. They clearly actually read my blog, because they conversationally managed to work in knowledge about my interests (like weird/unknown things, Hanbang, and snails) 
  2. They mentioned specifics about my skin type and the kinds of products they had in mind, but most importantly
  3. They were very polite and non-pressuring about whether they expected a review in return.  
Despite all my best efforts, I was impressed.  I really like unusual Hanbang snails, so they definitely had my attention. They made suggestions, which I declined.  I made suggestions, which included Cremorlab (on my wishlist forever) and low-pH cleansers, because I am all about that low pH life.  (Click here to read about Why the pH of your cleanser matters.)

I also made a purchase at that time to snap up some backups of my favourite pH-adjusting toner, the out-of-stock Mizon AHA/BHA Daily Clean Toner (review here) and when it arrived, it included this Cremorlab cleanser along with my goodies.  I see what you did there, P&L.  Well played.

Cremorlab: giving people a packaging boner since ... I have no idea. What's my name again?  Mmmm, pretty Cremorlab.
Well, I can't fault that they picked something that was exactly what I would have chosen for myself, if I wasn't exhausted from my string of doomed affairs with oil cleansers.

I tried, guys.  I tried to hate it, in a furious determination to prove that Bloggers gladly rip products to shreds no matter what their origin.  But no, I was thwarted, and now I'm leaking tears of resignation while I add a backup to my wishlist spreadsheet.


Why I can't quit it

As I mentioned, I have problems with oil cleansers.  I have problems with sunscreen.  I also have problems with ultra-easily clogged skin.  This is a terrible combination, and requires double cleansing.  Double cleansing is not optional for me, especially since I favour low-pH foaming cleansers that just don't have the acid-mantle-nuking stripping powers that my old high-pH cleansers did.  Even then, they still couldn't clean off sunscreen properly.

I love Cremorlab's aesthetic; especially their art design.
Don't get me wrong, they clean my skin just fine, but expecting them to act like a makeup remover and tackle the thick layer of physical-only sunscreen + makeup is asking too much.

I need to double cleanse, but oil cleansers break me out because the oil gets trapped in my pores, where it can't be emulsified by water, and clogs me up even worse.

One pump of the gel oil, pre-emulsification, on my palm.
Interestingly, even though this product does contain oils and feels oily at first, I believe this is actually a 'pool' cleanser, which is a new product type for me.  Update: apparently this is not a pool cleanser, it's a 'gel oil' which is yet another type of 1st cleanser.  You can read more about pool cleansers on fanserviced-b's review of 15 first cleansers.

'Gel oil' is actually pretty accurate here, because it's much easier to emulsify and rinse than any of the oil cleansers I've even tried, even my beloved LJH Dr's Care/Cellabel cleansing oil, which I loved enough to repurchase here and that's saying a lot.  Why is that important?  Clean rinse = no clogged pores.

Same pump of gel oil, emulsified with water.
Oh, and the pH result?  Perfect.  You can't test lipid-based products with these at-home kits because they are measuring the pH of dissolved particles in an aqueous (aka water) solution, and oils are, well, not aqueous.

However, as my ill-fated Goodal Trans Foam Cleansing Oil experienced taught me, pool cleansers are not oil cleansers, and they can and do have pH results because they're gel-based, not oil-biased.  (Gel oils apparently do as well)  Fanserviced-b didn't like the Goodal pool cleanser either, and my face hated it.  It also pH tested high, but that might have just as easily been an ingredient or the formulation.

Dry strip included above for a control, note the corner of the green square where it's still dry/non-reacted.
Mmm, delicious low pH, although with the blend of gel and oil ingredients, I don't really expect this to be all that important.  Still, if there is a pH, I'd like it to be in a good range, eh?

Besides, I don't expect first cleansers to work solo.  I expect first cleansers to do the following:
  1. Cleanse off my makeup/sunscreen
  2. Emulsify and rinse cleanly
  3. Not break me out
  4. Be pleasant to use
Clearly, it knocks 2, 3, and 4 out of the park (that scent ... brb sniffing my cleanser in the bathroom like a nutcase) so how about the most important trait?


Demo - does it work?

For me, it does, and it does a good job of it.  It's a gel oil, not an oil, so it will get sticky/tacky if you work it into the skin too long, so it's not good for oil massage, but here's how it does on makeup and sunscreen:

Don't laugh, it was the the easiest way to tell which product was which!
This is a 'full face' of makeup on my hand, including all-physical (therefore hardest to remove) sunscreen, BB cushion, contour powder, highlighter, brow pencil, two eyeshadows, liquid eyeliner, a super pigmented lipstick and a lip pencil.

So, on the gel oil goes:

You can tell how easily it spreads by how quickly it's trying to drip off my hand before I can take the photo.
Like oil cleansers, you apply it to dry skin with dry hands, and massage it (gently) over the skin to dissolve the product:

Fwoooosh!  Ok, it doesn't make that noise, but sound effects are fun?  Also I had to really contort my wrist to take this shot; the gleam of the gel oil was reflecting the light so bad that it was totally washed out otherwise.
You can still see a faint impression of the brow pencil and liquid eyeliner, but I like to let my products do the work and not agitate my skin with scrubbing.  When you emulsify, the rest should come right off:

Still wet from the rinse, not even wiped dry.
As you can see, even the brow pencil and liner were no problem.  I will warn you that this product won't work for massaging pore clogs out of your skin like oils will, but I'm quite happy with it as a makeup/sunscreen remover.

It's such a relief for me to have a 1st cleanser that I can actually use daily without clogging my pores, causing breakouts, or requiring me to vibrate the oil cleanser back out with a Clarisonic.  I use a lot of chemical exfoliants in my routine, so it's important that I minimize irritation to my skin.


Ingredients list

I pulled this from Peach & Lily's product page:
Water, Methyl Gluceth-20, Sorbitol, Isohexadecane, Octyldodeceth-16, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Rose Flower Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Squalane, Carapa Guaianensis Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Oil, Tocopherol
That rose flower oil.  Did I mention the scent of this stuff is amazing?   I feel like I have, but my memory is clouded with thoughts of petals dancing on the breeze in a garden, so things are a little fuzzy.

Here's the Cosdna analysis page, where nothing scored above a 2, mostly oils, which makes perfect sense.  The box also mentions that it contains no parabens, mineral oil, or artificial colours, and while 'no parabens' normally makes me side-eye things, I'm pleased to see that there are preservatives in this product.

Any time a Korean brand goes for a 'natural' marketing angle, I'm instantly wary of that translating to 'low, ineffective, or no preservatives' and while I'm looking forward to moving out of the desert and no longer losing lipsticks to the melting heat, I don't want to tempt fate.

The description on Peach and Lily's product page mentions "T.E.N thermal water" but I just ... yeah.  Let's not take that seriously, shall we?
Made with Cremorlab's T.E.N. thermal water, evening primrose, and andiroba oils, this cleansing gel quickly dissolves makeup residue and skin impurities while also moisturizing and helping to improve skin's appearance. 
Well, "thermal water" questions aside, they'll get no argument from me about what it actually does, which is clean off makeup and sunscreen.


Final thoughts: pros and cons

This is pretty straight forward; obviously I like it enough to repurchase it, and it works for me.  Does that mean it will work for you?  Not necessarily, and sadly it does not come in sample sizes that I've found.  On the other hand, if you've been itching to get your hands on some Cremorlab, love the smell of roses, and struggle with oil cleansers, this might be something to keep on your radar.

Pros:
  • It gets the job done
  • Does not break me out
  • Emulsifies and rinses easily
  • Smells amazing
  • Low ingredient triggers
  • Has a rocking package design

Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Difficult to source

So, there it is- the most reluctantly positive review I've written in a long time.  I spent more time wrestling with the fact that I was deliberately trying to find excuses not to like it instead of just reviewing it impartially that it prompted me to change my mind about accepting press samples.   I've been burned by oil cleansers so much in the past that this would have been near the bottom of my Cremorlab list, so I'm grateful for the twist of fate that put it in my hands.  Now I have to figure out how to send a leak-proof decant to my mom.

All the best,
-Cat

**Disclaimer: All products reviewed/mentioned in my blog, are 100% purchased with my own money, with a single exception of a press sample I tested & reviewed in 2015 (which, if you hadn't guessed yet from it being mentioned in the very first paragraph of this review, is this product right here) which swore me off of them forever.  (No more press samples, plz no I can't handle it. Nooooo!)  This blog contains  both affiliate and non-affiliate links, and clicking the former before you shop means that this blog may receive a small commission to assist in this blog supporting itself.  Please see my Contact Info & Disclaimer policy for more information.

20 comments

  1. I'm wondering if you've tried the other, more balmy type of cleansers like Banilla or Botanic Farm Grain ferment?

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    Replies
    1. I have, and unfortunately my skin loathes them. :( I have a Mizon one that isn't great, but it sort-of-almost tolerate it, but it flat out hated all the Banila versions I tested, and the Sum37 balm cleanser as well. So much sadness. So many breakouts.

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  2. This product sounds a lot like something I found on ebay: Multi Effect Aqua Snail Cleansing Gel Oil. The ingredient list is much different, however.

    Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Triethylhexanoin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dextrin Palmitate/Ethylhexanoate, Snail Secretion Filtrate(3,000mg), Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Octyldodecanol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Fragrance, Tocopheryl Acetate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract

    What do you think?

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    Replies
    1. I haven't tried that one, and it's hard to tell exactly how a product will be from an ingredient list alone, but if you do try it, let me know how it is! :)

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  3. Thank you for the review! It sounds so interesting. May I ask how does the texture of this as a gel cleanser compares to the SUM:37 cleansing balm? I much prefer the SUM:37 cleansing balm over Banila Co. and other cleansing oils like Kose Softymo because the SUM:37 cleansing balm melts down to a very soft oil -- while the others feel very thick.

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    Replies
    1. It's pretty much what you would expect out of something called a 'gel oil' because it's exactly what it sounds like - an oily gel. :) It's slightly less drippy than a regular oil, but it's still very fluid and not at all like a thick gel. It thickens when it's on the skin if you rub it for too long, as it can get sticky, but by that point all my makeup is long gone and it's getting into 'oil massage' territory, which it's really not suited for.

      I hope that helps! :D

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  4. I actually went on a hunt for that thermal water, because I like hot springs and we're planning a trip to Korea with friends, so... But I got nowhere.
    I actually emailed the tourist office in the province where that thermal water comes from and they said they never heard of it, and that if it exists, it's not that famous. Suggested I contact the manufacturer and ask for more details.

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    Replies
    1. I can't say I am surprised at all, because well, it's not like we didn't see that coming, right? ;)

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  5. This sounds delightful!! :D Your reviews are awesome!!

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  6. This sounds amazing. And now I want it. *pushes empty wallet around*

    Thanks so much for the review, and the honesty on how hard it was to write the review and feel like you gave a good objective opinion. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! :D I've heard rumours that it's available for even cheaper on Testerkorea in case you are making a haul there! TK is sort of on my 'ehhh' list right now due to the issues they've had since last fall in fulfilling their orders in a timely fashion, but if you don't mind waiting (I think my last order from them took a whopping 53 days to get to me) that is an option. :)

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  7. I love your reviews, onna put this in my watching list (cause I already have plenty of oils to test already~~you know, our testing list is a never-ending, ever-growing thing) xD

    Ah Cat, a bit ou fo the topic but, I remeber you saying you were looking for a 100% physical sunscreen with a confortable finish, well, I'm happy to suggest you trying the Nivea sunprotect water milk MILD, it's a fantastic product with a very confortable wear. It's not matte, but leaves my combo skin nice even in hot and humid days. I hada a friend suggesting it to me and other friends, well, we all now have a new sweet daring in the sunscreen world. hahaha

    It's targeted for sensitive skin, so it'svery mild, I use it even in my eye area and have no problem. GO for it girl and later tell us your impressions. :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi five for endless testing lists!

      I will keep an eye out for that sunscreen! I'm pretty happy with the one I am using now (which I have not reviewed yet) but you know me ... I'm always on the watch for new options! ;)

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  8. I have been trying so hard not to get anything Cremorlab, cause the ingredients lists don't translate well to their price points, but buuuuut, buuuuuuuuut... You damn enabler.

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  9. It is difficult not to have a love at first sight kind of experience with your blog! Now I want to try this oil gel cleanser!! To the point.. Just as you, I Love me a good beauty balm or cleansing oil that emulsifies and melts makeup, but that leaves my face hydrated without breaking me out (In general I just love skin care as much as other gals love them some purses or shoes) I want to share with you two of my favorite cleansing oils that emulsify: Rodial Glamtox cleansing balm and the Tata Harper Nourishing oil cleanser. Have you tried them? and what are your thoughts? The Rodial one, I use to get at Marshalls for a third of the price, not anymore :( but if you see it.. take it as if you have found a treasure jajajja and the Tata Harper I save my pennys to pamper some once a year because as good as they are they can also make a hole in my pocket. Last but not least had to share one of my favorite exfoliants created with asian philosophy: Tatcha Polish gentle rice enzyme powder, they come for different types of skin. Nighty Nighty and sweet dreams!

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  10. For someone who is prone to clogs (on the forehead and chin) and who only wears light mineral makeup on blemish spots as a concealer, do you think this would be okay as a 1-step cleanser without a follow up? Or a morning cleanser after a workout, and use a foaming cleanser at night? Thanks in advance!

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    Replies
    1. Hm, what are you using to remove your sunscreen? Sunscreen is tough to remove, no matter how minimal your makeup is. I think it would be fine for an AM cleanser, though!

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  11. So I'm over a year late finding this post and you're excellent website. Yay for real science!

    Question for ya: how long did a bottle of this last for you? This post and other reviews have it in my cart on peach and lily but that price though!

    Thank you!

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