Banila Co Launches at Ulta With Some Tempting Exclusives + a brief message from me

Please read: as the world is currently dealing with a brand new level of fear, stress, and uncertainty, I do not want you to think that I am oblivious to what we all are going through. I am back to posting blog content but it’s not ‘business as usual’ for omgbart. The below is me serving pure info-tainment in hopes of putting a smile on your face or distracting you for a minute. Please stay safe, connect with your loved ones to make sure they are safe as well, wash your hands, drink water, and stay local. This too, shall pass. xoxo

If you enjoy one stop shopping for all things self-care, no place is more efficient than Ulta. Because where else can you get the best cotton rounds, the latest shampoo and every one of your skincare staples? And then get tempted by the most practical travel size minis as you’re waiting to check out. Recently, the retailer broadened its K-beauty horizons even further and welcomed Banila Co, the brand behind Clean It Zero — one of the most popular Korean cleansing balms. Currently, the retailer is offering the formula in all four versions and snagged an exclusive for a very much wished for travel size jar of the original formula. That’s not all — Banila Co also launched Intense Essence that is not available anywhere else. 

Clean It Zero

When it comes to cleansing balms, there are two types of texture preferences: dense and creamy balms that spread and melt beautifully but can be messy during travel (think Emma Hardie, Elemis or Eve Lom) and weightless sherbert-like solids with a significantly higher melting point (think It Cosmetics, Farmacy or Heimish). Clean It Zero falls into the latter category. It scoops up like a dream (use the spatula and inner lid inside the box) and liquifies the moment it comes in contact with skin. Within seconds, all makeup, stubborn SPF, and city grime are gone. Just apply it to a DRY face, massage it into skin, add water, and watch it turn into a milky solution that rinses clean. 

The four Clean It Zero formulas that Ulta now carries are: Original, Purifying, Nourishing, and Revitalizing. Personally, I love the OG but since my skin tends to get dull, I am enjoying the Revitalizing version with added antioxidant protection courtesy of Resveratrol. Each formula is powered by the brand’s Zero Balance Technology to remove makeup and gently exfoliate without stripping the skin. I actually feel confident saying that my skin feels hydrated after removing the balm. 

Do you need to follow up with a foaming cleanser? 

Here’s what I do: when I remove a cleansing balm with a cloth, I do not follow up with a water-based cleanser. But when I massage a cleansing balm into the skin and rinse it off after hopping into the shower, I reach for a cleansing gel or foam. If you’re a fan of Korean foam cleansers, the Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Foam ($14) is pretty neat. The smallest amount generates copious amounts of non-drying lather and leaves the skin feeling sparkling clean and fresh. Not tight or dry at all. 

Intense Essence

Part of the Dear Hydration range, the juicy liquigel is technically labeled an essence but feels more like a deeply hydrating serum. The ingredient callouts here are Neem Leaf, Holy Basil, and Peppermint Extracts. If you fear the last one may give it a strong aroma or tingling sensation, there’s no need to worry. Intense Essence ($28) is actually borderline unscented (in spite of some added fragrance). At the moment, I’m loving this hydration booster pre-sheet mask and as a post-exfoliation soother. I know I will reach for it more often during the upcoming summer months, when I’ll likely wash my face multiple times a day. So far, two thumbs up for this Ulta exclusive. Well played. 

Check out the moisturizers!

If you’re looking for a basic moisturizer, Banila Co brought their Dear Hydration Boosting Cream ($20) and a more lightweight Balancing Moisturizer ($25) to Ulta. Similarly to the essence, both formulas are infused with the brand’s patented Urban Water Guard System (aka proprietary blend of the three botanicals mentioned above and Lotus Flower Water) to deliver immediate and lasting hydration to parched, stressed skin. Whether you have a texture or packaging preference, these moisturizers are pretty great, especially considering the affordable price points. There are no parabens, sulfates or mineral oil. In the spirit of sticking to all facts, the brand does include silicones and added fragrance. 

Personal favorites: Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm ($19-$24), especially the travel size ($7) because packing a full size cleansing balm is never a good idea. Also, very much into the Intense Essence. Check out the whole range at ulta.com.

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