Sunday Riley Charisma Crème Cleanser – Softening & Calming

I’ve been meaning to write this review for a while. I kept pushing it back, not because I couldn’t find the right words (OK, maybe I did have a wee bit of hard time), but more over, it’s because I’ve been enjoying this cleanser a LOT. By “a lot” means, I’m this close of finishing it up!

It is no secret that I love Sunday Riley skincare products. I would gladly try all of her products because I know they work, at least the ones that I’ve tried.

Sunday Riley Charisma Crème Cleanser.


Sunday Riley currently has two cleansers in the lineup, Charisma Crème and Ceramic Slip. The latter seems to have more popularity and success stories. But I wasn’t sure about it because I’m afraid I might be irritated with the black pepper ingredient. Black pepper beef stir fry warms up my throat easily, I could only imagine what it’ll do if I put it on my face. Sort to speak.

Believe me, I had a pretty darn hard time deciding this. Ultimately, I chose the one that I’d feel safe first with, Charisma Crème it is.

Packaging wise, I appreciate that the pump is lockable. One can only feel safer about having to accidentally press the pump or drop the whole thing and not splat everything out. The bottle is plastic too, which makes me feel at ease already. Sunday Riley does an amazing job at describing every product and print all of the information on the packaging, so I’d suggest you click on the photos for the zoomed version.


I will highlight the first thing, skin softening. No kidding.

As much as I like the feel of squeaky clean stripped skin, there’s nothing better than having soft, cushy skin. And that’s what Charisma Crème gives me, every single time. Some might say it leaves a greasy, slippery film on the face, I call it encases and fills my skin with all the nutrients. It just feels really lovely, for my preference. It’s a unique experience, I’ve never encountered anything like it before.

Calming the skin? Oh, yeah. If I can, I would LOVE to bathe and soak myself in it. As a matter of fact, I do love keeping the cleanser longer on my face, sort of like a quick mask. After massaging it, I’d leave it on while I brush my teeth. The extra few minutes will ensure my skin will get every bit of goodness this cleanser has to offer. Charisma Crème will soothe whatever inflammation that I might have that day. Sometimes, a cold, refreshing product could only help so much. But this cleanser actually helps my skin to wind down.

I use it as a second cleanser after cleansing oil/balm. My favorite way is to use it after the TATCHA Camellia Cleansing Oil + Rice Enzyme Powder combo as my first cleanse plus exfoliation. This cleansing regime will make my skin feels SO SO SOFT. The TATCHA combination will take away dead skin and Charisma Crème will nourish my skin back in and more. It’s not just smooth and soft, it has a moistened, squishy, creamy feel to it. I can’t stop touching my face afterwards!


I use it at nighttime only, because it feels too luxurious for morning use. Although I do it sometimes whenever I’m feeling self-indulgent. It took me a few tries finding the right amount for every use and I still missed every now and then. The milk cleanser is quite watery, doesn’t foam up so I need a good 3-4 pumps (3 on a successful day) on a dampened face and hands.

The tricky part is the level of the dampness. If it’s too wet, say goodbye to the cleanser that will run down my face and hands and I’ll end up trying to catch everything to put it back on my face, if I’m fast enough. If my face is too dry then the cleanser won’t glide properly and I’d feel it doesn’t cover up my whole face, hence the extra pump (and a touch of water). My current success rate is at 89% and rising.

A note, it tends to separate so I make sure I give it a good shake couple of times. Another note, this cleanser has a scent that I’d describe as soured milk. It’s bearable, after a while. If you’re not a fan of dairy products, better hold your breath while using this.

To be honest, I did question how effective it is at removing makeup. Because it says it does, but it doesn’t feel like it because of the thin consistency. So I did a little test using no less, SUQQU Karakurenai (swiped a few times) as the object and about a little less than a pump of Charisma Crème.

DSC_7782-3 DSC_7785-3 DSC_7790-3 DSC_7791-3 DSC_7793-3 DSC_7799-3

Sorry, no GIF image here. I tried and the whole thing become pixelated and just unrealistic. Apologies for the different lighting in some of the photos too, the sun and the cloud were playing a little too playfully.

If you notice, the moment the cleanser hits the lipstick, it seems to emulsify and disintegrate the pigment a little. By the time I massage it in a circular motion, the whole thing breaks down easily. Once that’s done, I just wash my hands with tap water and pat it dry. It’s probably not too visible, but there’s a hint of stain left. I am not bummed though, because this is a mere experiment. Obviously, I don’t wash off my lipstick (I have Biore for that) or my whole makeup-ed face with it because that will just take too much product and I don’t want to waste it. It’s just to satiate my curiosity and show you that it helps to remove makeup, or whatever residue is left after the first cleanse for that matter.

It’s on the expensive side, USD 45 for 125 ml. I would’ve finished this months ago if I hadn’t rationed it to 1-3 times a week. I’ll use it 3 times a week whenever I really need it, say, during PMS where my skin could get a little bit out of hand. Or when my skin is feeling a bit dry and flakey.

I know it seems absurd, hoping for a face cleanser to do anything else other than cleansing. But for me so far, Sunday Riley Charisma Crème Cleanser does what it says. And I don’t say that lightly. I do believe that every single (skincare) step counts, so why not make the best of each. This cleanser is probably one of the best I’ve tried so far. That being said, this doesn’t mean I’m neglecting everything else, a full regime is still crucial!

I’m currently trying to get a back up :D


  1. Hi, how do you think does it compare to Ceramic Slip? I’m in a sort of dilemma because I have a very moody skin and I can’t decide which one I should get :/


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