Product Review: Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm

I'm going to start off this blog post by asking if any of you have ever used (or heard of) this product - Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm? I had never heard of this product, or even this brand, prior to choosing it as one of my free samples in a Sephora order. How do I not know about this brand??

Because of my sensitivity to certain ingredients, I have a little routine when I receive samples. First, I go online and look up the product. Then I check the ingredient list. If that passes the test, I move on to the reviews. Now, I take reviews with a grain of salt (even though I do reviews myself). This is because I find that most people tend to leave reviews when they don't like something, and people also tend to not read how to use a product or check ingredients for potential skin issues before using it - then they blame the product for not performing properly. So grain of salt.

sample packet of Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm

The Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm is described as a black cleansing balm that removes all makeup and impurities without stripping the skin of natural oils, leaving it hydrated and nourished. It's supposed to even remove waterproof makeup.

Ingredients: Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearyl Heptanoate, Squalane, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Polysorbate 20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene, Fragrance, Saccharomyces (Hungarian Thermal Water) Ferment Extract, Tocopherol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hungarian Thermal Water, Linalool, Malpighia Punicifolia (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Phospholipids.

Do you see that I highlighted "fragrance" in the middle of the ingredient list? This was a bit confusing to me, because on the product page on the Sephora site, in the description, it says: "It does not contain petrochemicals, silicone, PEGs (polyethylene glycol), synthetic colors, or fragrances." Note the last word in that sentence. So if it doesn't contain fragrances, then why is "fragrance" listed in the middle of the ingredient list?? Since I tend to be sensitive to fragrance, I was a little concerned about trying the product, but I decided to wait until I opened the package to judge the amount of scent.

Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm in the palm of a hand

When I opened my sample, the first thing I noticed was that the product didn't look "black". Some of the reviews said it was black, some said it wasn't. Mine wasn't, as you can see in the above photo. It was more of a brownish-plum color that faded as I massaged it over my skin. There were tiny granules of some sort in it, but they were not abrasive. There wasn't much scent, but what was there was an odd scent. My first whiff reminded me of Chinese food (I don't know why), and then I sort of got an ashes/ashtray vibe. That said, the scent didn't really bother me because it dissipated almost immediately (or my allergies made my nose not work, which is possible).

The important thing with this product is to be sure to apply and remove it correctly. If you do not follow the instructions, you will be one of the very many people writing a one star review saying that the product is terrible and doesn't work properly (and there were ever so many that look ridiculous because they describe how they used the product and clearly didn't use it according to the instructions). So here's how you do it:
  • Start with a dry face
  • Rub a small amount of the balm between your fingers and then apply to face (including eye area)
  • Massage gently in circular motion
  • Remove with a damp, lukewarm cloth

Since this is a balm, as I massaged it onto my skin, it "melted" and started to dissolve my makeup - including my waterproof mascara. This is what it looks like when you start massaging it on your skin:

Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm almost becomes invisible once you begin to massage it onto your face.

I thought it felt very moisturizing, and I quite liked the way it felt on my skin. I wasn't sure if I should expect any warmth or not because of the word "thermal" in the name (hey, it's a legitimate question!), but there wasn't any - so I assume the "thermal" is just for the Hungarian thermal water in the ingredients and the fact that the Hungarian moor mud used comes from the largest thermal lake in Europe.

It's very easy to remove if you use a washcloth. The trick is to not try to rinse it off by splashing it with water. I'm not sure how well you can see it in the photo below, but to show you what happens when you try to rinse with water, I stuck my hand under running water - and basically it just left an oily mess on my hands. The water didn't remove anything, it just made it more difficult to wipe the cleanser off my hands:

It's important to follow the instructions for using Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm. Rinsing with water only will leave an oily residue! You need to remove the balm with a cloth.

So to remove the cleanser from my face, I placed a warm washcloth over my face for a couple of minutes and then gently wiped the cleanser away. (You can skip the "steaming" part if you like.) It definitely left my face feeling soft and smooth. But, of course, I wondered if it had really removed all of my makeup.

I usually use Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water to remove my makeup before I cleanse my face. For testing purposes, since this product claimed to dissolve even waterproof makeup, I did not remove any of my makeup prior to using the cleansing balm. After I cleansed my face with the balm, my face appeared to be clean - even my waterproof mascara was gone. So I took a cotton pad saturated with the Micellar Cleansing Water and wiped it over my face. This is what it looked like:

makeup on a cotton pad

There were no traces of mascara, but there was definitely some of my foundation (IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better™ CC Cream) or tinted sunscreen (Paula's Choice Resist Super Light Wrinkle Defense SPF 30) left on the pad.

If you're not sitting down, you should sit down now. I was floored by the price. A 1.7 oz. jar is $110, and a 3.5 oz. jar is $175!! (You can also get a 0.5 oz. jar for $32.) I'm going to tell you right now - even if I loved this product more than every other cleanser out there - there is no way I would ever pay $175 for 3.5 oz. of facial cleanser. It's fun to give it a try, but for me, that's just unreasonable. Some reviews said that the cleansing balm left their skin feeling moisturized enough to skip an additional moisturizer - so for them, it was a 2-in-1 product that justified the price. I still think it's pricey, even for a 2-in-1 product. Plus, at my age, I'm not skipping my anti-aging potions, so it wouldn't save me any money.

Bottom line? It's a nice product. I liked it. But I think it's way over-priced. And it doesn't even come with the $15 cleansing mitt that they recommend. It didn't remove all of my makeup, I don't think the ingredient list contains anything tremendously special, and it doesn't stay on the skin long enough to really do anything anyway. For $175, I shouldn't have to wash my face twice or buy a $7 drugstore product to remove my makeup just to make sure my face is clean. If it was $30, I'd probably consider buying it to use 3-4 times/week.

Would you spend $175 for a facial cleanser?


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