Thursday, March 20, 2008

The case of the mysterious ingredients: Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel

My original plan for today was a review of another cleanser. A pretty good one, actually. But the list of ingredients ended up annoying me, and besides, lately I've gone back to using an old standby, Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel. I've been using it on and off for nearly four years and it never disappoints. It removes layers of makeup, sweat and city gunk, doesn't make my skin feel stripped or parched and has a short and sweet list of ingredients, if you don't mind a little paraben with your papaya. From the Mario Badescu web site:

Deionized Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Papaya (Carica Papaya Fruit) Extract,
Grapefruit (Citrus Grandis Fruit) Extract, Monomide, Triethanolamine,

They don't list which monomide is used here (monomides are stabilizers for detergents that are water-based and contain over 10% of materials that tend to decompose. In other words: a preservative, just like our friend, methylparaben). The other chemical here is used to balance the gel's pH.

Something that isn't listed here is fragrance. However, what I smell from my bottle is neither papaya nor grapefruit. I like this cleanser a lot, but I'm beginning to suspect that the gel contains a bit more than meets the eye, and it bothers me. I sent an inquiry to the Mario Badescu people, so hopefully I'll know more soon, and so will you.

Mario Badescu is a NYC salon and spa. Their products are available at Nordstrom, Henri Bendel and Fred Segal and several locations worldwide. I originally got some free samples years ago, long before starting this blog and have kept buying from them ever since.


  1. Sooooo, have you noticed that it tastes good? Not that I eat it or anything, it just gets in my mouth sometimes :)

  2. i adore this stuff.. and it does taste good! haha. i am constantly mesmerized by it's sparkle. it has this glistening green shimmer to it that i wish could be turned into an eyeshadow.

  3. I really like this cleanser, too. I just started using it. Like you, I wondered about the fragrance. Did they get back to you?

  4. Cynthia- They never got back to me. Instead, they put me on their mailing list and have started spamming me with irrelevant offers. I wrote about it here:

  5. I just bought a bottle of this stuff today! In fact, I found your blog when I decided to research the ingredients. Everything but "monomide" came up on cosmetic research sites; when I googled monomide, I found you.
    SO... the label says it 'rejuvenates dull skin with Alpha Hydroxy Acids..." -- are those the Papaya and the Grapefruit?
    And yes, their spam is very annoying.

  6. I ordered a cream from their site and when I read the label I discovered that the ingredients were different (plus the list was longer) than what was listed on the website.
    As someone with incredibly sensitive skin, I always look at ingredients before I buy. I gave then cream a whirl anyways broke out in a rash. It was a frustrating experience.

  7. I just purchased the enzyme cleansing gel. I was using Dermalogica, which I loved. However, Mario Badescu was less expensive at Ulta so I thought I`d take a chance.Well, after I washed my face, I noticed my foundation was still on.There was also a very very strong parfume odor. This product is def not for me. I could smell the scent all night. No thanks!


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