Face cleansing deserves a bump up in the beauty obsession categories—maybe even surpassing serums which generally steal the limelight.  I say this because starting with a clear and balanced canvas is one of the most important steps you can do for the health of your skin. Not many people realize that the wrong cleanser can really botch things up, and it’s where a lot of skincare regimens trip up. That’s why I make a point to seek out cleansers that don’t disrupt the skin’s acid mantle, a.k.a. its pH. We’ll get to why that’s important.

So when the gorgeous new MŪN AKWI Purifying Cleanser ($60) + Ikeuchi Organic Wash Cloth ($12) landed in my mailbox thanks to Beauty Heroes, I was all over it.  Through interviews with the lovely Munemi Imai, founder of MŪN, I learned how particular she is about everything she creates—from ethically sourced ingredients to unparalleled textures and performance.  Her goal with each formulation is to produce a product that is so exceptional that you never want to be without it. Her latest release achieves it, plus respects the skin’s pH.

Not your typical oil cleanser

I’ve become a bit of an oil cleansing snob mainly because the green beauty market is saturated with them. Some of them are outstanding, and others don’t impress me at all.  In my opinion, there is definitely room for innovation in the category of face cleansing and makeup removal.  MŪN did a lovely job of breaking free of the stereotypical texture while still remaining true to the benefits of an oil cleanse.

AKWI, defined as awakening in Berber, is not your typical oil cleanser. It begins as a pearly cream that transforms into an oil with a rich glide to give you a fantastic facial massage and thorough sweep of makeup and grime.  My skin does indeed feel the promised softness and is free and clear of makeup—however, I did not feel that way at first. Here’s why.

Oops! Don’t do what I did

I made the mistake of not following instructions when I first used AKWI, so please spare yourself the disappointment or confusion and read the box or the bottle—which incidentally also has directions and ingredients etched onto it, in case you need to refer to it again and already threw out the box. (It is this kind of attention to detail that I love about MŪN.)

In my first haphazard attempt to clean my face with AKWI, I used way too little product and expected it to rinse right off.  It did not. Let me just say right off the bat that this cleanser does not emulsify the way that I thought it would based on the description of it being a creamy emulsion. (In other words, it is not like steady favorites Jordan Samuel’s Plié: a metamorphic gel to oil to lightly foaming face wash or One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil, an oil that dissolves instantly when it comes in contact with water).

Then I read the directions (duh).  Now I pump about 6-8 pumps of cleanser into my palm and take a moment to indulge in the spritely yuzu and cucumber scent (though I detect more of the citrus notes). Castor oil, if you’re familiar with it, tends to sit on top of skin and has more viscosity than most other oils. In concert with the other oils in the blend, it makes a luscious massage oil.

When removing makeup, I pay special attention to working the formula into areas that usually get clogged, like my nose, chin, and sides of face that somehow I always miss when cleansing. It’s also an opportunity to use sweeping and uplifting motions to remind skin which direction you want it to go. (Note to skin: ixnay on the drooping ray.)

This cleanser can be used to remove eye makeup too, though I haven’t tried that yet.  I follow the facial massage (which can take as long or as short as you like) with the dampened cloth that’s included in this box. Together they remove makeup thoroughly, but again I emphasize that they do need to be used together.  Like most oil cleansing rituals, it doesn’t work as well without the aid of a washcloth, and this one is no exception.

Why pH counts

As mentioned earlier, the cleanser is pH balanced which means skin is left feeling comfortably clean, not itchy, dry, or oily. That’s very important in a cleanser because throwing off the pH with overly acidic or alkaline cleansers is often where the troublesome skin problems flare up, causing breakouts or dry patches, depending on which side of the pH spectrum it leans.

The different oils in the blend harmonize perfectly so that it maintains the natural pH of the skin which is slightly more acidic, usually at about 5.5 on the pH scale. (YouTuber And the Color Green has a wonderful seven minute discussion on pH with references that’s worth watching here!)

Here’s a breakdown of some of the hero oils with their superpower properties:

  • ARGAN OIL – anti-aging
  • CAMELLIA SEED OIL – anti-aging, anti-inflammatory
  • CASTOR SEED OIL – clearing, antibacterial
  • CUCUMBER SEED OIL – anti-aging, detoxifying
  • RICE BRAN OIL – anti-aging, brightening


About that Ikeuchi Organic Wash Cloth


Can I just share my adoration of this $12 organic cloth? The absorbent towel grabs dirt like a vacuum without rubbing my skin raw. It’s so lofty it should come with a thread count like down coats have to gauge the fluffermeter.  And it’s not white (though Beauty Heroes offers white too). I’ve got a puritanical fear of soiling white washcloths with my makeup and I’m not usually OCD.

Ikeuchi Organics is a linen manufacturer that wind weaves organic cotton, bamboo, and compostable rayon towels in Imabari, Japan. MŪN had a custom blue color and size created for them with their embroidered logo and using low impact dyes.

Jeannie Jarnot, founder of Beauty Heroes, loved these organic wash towels so much that she decided to bring them in from Japan and offer them in the beauty store.  They are available in red, white, and blue and sized at 13.75″ X 13.75,″ though they are a bit fluffier.  I truly love the one in December’s box and plan to buy more to keep on hand.

How to get this deal

AKWI Purifying Cleanser and the Ikeuchi towel are another Beauty Heroes dynamic duo that I was thrilled to receive. If you follow directions (unlike this girl right here), you will not be disappointed, and you will also keep your skin balanced and soft this winter without a trace of dryness or oiliness after cleansing.

To enjoy December’s Beauty Heroes Discovery Box—a combined value of $72— click that button below.  Each box costs about $38 with 3, 6, or 12 month membership.

*Full disclosure