I am fairly new to this product even though I realize from the reviews here it's been around for a while, and even may have been discontinued for a few years and then returned... I will get back to that in a moment...;)
Like many have stated this is a fairly simple cleanser, non fragrant and geared towards sensitive skin and can therefore be used with or without water depending on preference. I who suffer from dry skin, and not particularly sensitive have however found a a very good little companion in this product for the periods of time during the year when I have false eye-lashes done or glued ;). (The kind that is glued lash by lash on your existing lashes, and is an in-salon service, not to be mixed up with false eyelashes that you use for an evening). When you have these lashes done, you need to banish all kinds of products that contain any type of oils or fats in them for use around the eyes to preserve the glue for as long as possible. And for me who usually use fairly creamy cleansers and can't use lathering kinds, I had to find a working substitute.
And this is when I found the Centella cleanser! It is glycerin based, which makes it slippery, but it contains absolutely no oils or fats whatsoever. And therefore works as a cleanser around the eyes too, at least to wash of fatigue and simple mascara free make-up! It leaves my dry skin a tad bit taught, but to compensate I have added a toner, (the rescuing kind from Paula's choice which is really more of a toner with serum content and holds a lot of hyaluronic acid for instance), so the combo works really well for me, even now in wintertime! I use it with water, since wipe of cleansers simply don't feel as good for me personally... I would prefer the foaming kinds, but can't use them anymore, especially not during wintertime, due to dryness.
Hence 4 lippies from me in overall rating. It would have gotten a 5 if it had been able to keep my skin barrier even more intact, but then again, very few cleansers do that, and most non fat versions don't come close to this! (My favorite that does contain shea butter, and therefore cannot be used now is Clarins Gentle foaming cleanser, w shea butter, which doesn't foam at all!, but can be used on wet skin, just like one who does. It is very good at preserving the skins barrier!).
The price is mid-range high, and in all honesty a bit expensive for the simple ingredients it carries, but Kiehls is a well known somewhat high end brand and can therefore charge pretty much what they want. ;) This is however content wise more of a drugstore solution than a dermatologist solution... if you are picky... But it shall have points for not using lemon oil or any other herbal or artificial fragrances and still manages to smell ok, or pretty much nothing!
Many non fragrant products have an offensive smell, which is not very glam, even though it is better for the skin. But this is quite pleasant to use!!
Packaging is good but would have gotten a 5 from me if it had come in a tube instead of a pump bottle... Yes, pump bottles look nicer, but unless airtightness is needed, I really am tired of clogged up pumps and difficulty to extract product once the bottle begins to get empty... U simply don't have that problem with a tube... Tubes also travel better and takes up less space... But this is my personal opinion. It looks good in that typical high end honorable apothecary style that Kiehls sports... ;)
Back to the content and the presumed discontinued production of this product. Judging from the reviews here it seems like it has been taken off the market for a while... Also when I read through the ingredient list I notice there are some changes...
This is the ingredient list according to MUA member SunnyK who wrote the first review of this cleanser back in 2008:
"water, glycerin, cetyl alcohol, propylene glycol, stearyl alcohol, sodium laureth sulfate, methylparaben, propylparaben, aloe leaf juice, centella extract, chamomile extract"
This is the ingredient list of today:
Water, glycerin, cetearyl alcohol, propylene glycol, stearyl alcohol, sodium laureth sulfate!, methylparaben, propylparaben, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, ammonium polyacryldimethylauramide/ ammonium polyacryloyldimethyl taurate, centella asiatica extract, camomilla recutita extract/ matricaria flower extract.
As you can see it is no longer a very short ingredient list, some chemicals are added, maybe a tad bit more aloe vera, but also a perhaps not so welcome continued use of sodium laureth sulfate, which is more and more banned these days even for use in hair products! The resurrected version of the Centella cleanser also still contains parabens, which really also begins to feel a bit dated in newer products, since there are better alternatives. What the added chemicals do, I don't really know... My guess is they are slip agents to dilute the glycerin-feel, but that is just a guess!
Wonder why they changed it this way? It will probably not increase it's safety for sensitive clients but it is in all fairness still a very simple and not overproduced cleanser with not too many offensive ingredients...
My guess is it got re-vamped and re-launched as a part of their more recent "dermatologist solutions series to be a good companion for their micro dermabration scrub and the accompanying Centella salve that is to be used to calm skin down after the use of abrasive products. But that is just a guess... Perhaps some of you guys know the whole story? ;)