Sunday, 15 May 2016

Kat Burki Vitamin C Nourishing Cleansing Balm

*Warning - make a brew.

Describe the brand in five words?
New. Interesting. Green. Bio processing.

What is it?
Repairs, renews and illuminates skin.
It's a stretch calling this a 'balm'. It's a 'bitty' gel consistency that reminds me somewhat of tapioca (that's a first in my descriptions dictionary).

Who is it for?
Everyone - but especially those with pigmentation issues or dull skins. Basically, use this if you're over 30 and are noticing it.

What’s in it?
KB5™ Complex, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe), Bio-Processed Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Mangiflora Indica (Mango Butter), Bio-Processed Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil, Beeswax, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Carrageenan Gum, Bio-Processed Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Bio-Processed Rosa Canina (Rosehip Seed) Oil, Cucumber Hydrosol, Bio-Processed Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Garcinia Indica Seed Butter (Kokum Butter), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Camu Camu, Bio-Processed Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry Seed Oil), Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola), Wildcrafted Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail), Wildcrafted Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion), Wildcrafted Geranium Maculatum (Wild Geranium), Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol

What's not in it?
Kat Burki has a brilliant visual of her ingredients policy on her site here:

Possibly acne/allergy/troubling for some ingredients?
This has shea butter halfway down the inci list, but you'd never know it to feel it - just avoid if you're allergic, not necessarily if you're spot-prone.

Natural? Organic? Man made? Vegan?

Tested on animals/sold in territories that advocate testing?

How does it smell?
To me, it smells a little of vanilla and coconut, but not the fake super-sweet vanilla. It's subtle. Lovely.

How does it feel on the skin?/Absorption rate?
It feels soft and light. Not in any way greasy or heavy.

How do you use it?/Where to use in your routine?
There is no way in high heaven that this is being used to remove my makeup. This is a second cleanse/morning cleanse/skin contact cleanser.

How long before you should see results?
Well for the cleansing, immediately, obviously. 

How long did I test it for?
I've only had this for a month or so.

How much is it? /Size/Approximate cost per usage?
£68.00/$65.00 for 60ml. Quite possibly the worst exchange rate I've seen in a long time (more of which later). You see why I'm not using it to remove makeup now?!

What’s good about it?
I love it. My skin loves it. It almost absorbs like a face cream. Washes away clean, no residue. Smells beautiful. It's honestly all good. 
Kat Burki's USP is that everything is bio-processed under 120 degrees, meaning no nutrients are lost in the manufacturing process. A bit like the raw food diet. You know when you've had an oil for only a short while and it seems to go off/rancid? It's probably heat-treated. Common in cheaper products. That does not happen here. I really love this product and am now going to make sure I use the rest of the range. 
I tried to order the Tubereuse perfume from Nordstrom but it won't let me which means the UK retailer has exclusivity even though they don't sell said perfume. *head, desk* Don't think I'm not tempted to rope in my mate Jordan for some cross-Atlantic shipping action again. 

What’s not so good about it?
That exchange rate. But honestly, the price is the only negative.

Works well with?
If this was a kids' school report it would say 'plays well with others'. 

What’s the website like?
You can tell that Kat Burki used to be a designer - her website is quite possibly the best I have ever seen in beauty, if not in general. It's detailed, beautiful, easy to navigate. It draws you in and makes you want to read and purchase more. Others could look and learn. Shop by category/collection/concern. I can even forgive them the 'Influencers' (couldn't hate that word more than I do) tab.

Would I purchase/repurchase?
Rant incoming:
I've been working in cross-Atlantic beauty for nearly 20 years. You can always expect to pay extra get ripped off when you buy a product from a brand outside of their home country, but this is on another level. It hardly ever used to be like for like or higher in the UK.
Today's exchange rate for example, puts this product at £45.12. (Imagine how many she would sell if she was the same price as Emma Hardie?)
It also puts the RRP of £65.00 at $93.63 going back the other way.
So in short, I would definitely purchase - in the US. Out of principle, I wouldn't buy it in the UK unless I was desperate. This is happening more and more lately. It happened with Kypris when they first launched in Selfridges and they altered their pricing because so many of us complained. Score for Kypris. In a lot of cases it's not the brand's fault. Retailers whack up their margins, and make the brands pay for shipping and staffing, meaning the brands have to take less of a cut and meet all the costs, hence the higher costs outside of their own country. In some cases, where the brand is sold in the USA and the UK in the same retailer, the brand only gets paid in US dollars for all purchases, meaning the retailers rake it in selling outside US territories, i.e. buying in dollars and selling in pounds. Kerching. That can leave some (ill-advised) US brands selling in dollars but paying staff in Euros/Pounds. Nightmare.
Oh and you think we've got it bad? Speak to Australian beauty lovers. 
I know that Kat Burki will be a brand that I will use and love, and I will continue to review the brand, but I'm fortunate enough to travel to the US a lot for work, if you have no way of getting it other than through their UK retailer, it's going to cost you.
And being fair to Kat Burki, I'm adding exchange rates to all future reviews, including AUSD (if I can find it). This is the tip of a big rip-off iceberg. At least we're not in Levi's territory. Yet.

Similar products?
It's honestly hard to pick anything a similar texture, and I mean that as a compliment. 

Kat Burki Vitamin C Nourishing Cleansing Balm is absolutely beautiful - but - £68.00/$65.00* for 60ml and available from and 
*Price altered to £52.00 after this review. Nice work.


  1. I hear you Caroline with regards to paying more for beauty products! I am one of those Australian beauty lovers and we get hit with ridiculous pricing almost every single time. It's really disappointing and thank god in this day and age we do have access to online shopping. I can understand if there is a slight difference but at time we get slugged with paying silly amounts more than our us or uk counterparts. Thank you for aknowledging this though, I think it's fantastic!

    I love your reviews and I know you hear this a lot but I have learnt so much from you!! Keep you thoughts and reviews coming!

  2. Thanks in advance Caroline for adding the AUD rate. Annie x

  3. This product sounds beautiful!! I actually audibly scoffed when I read the price though, those prices are ludicrously imbalanced, but as an Australian I can vouch it's not uncommon to see. Thanks for explaining a bit of the reasoning behind 'why'. Sounds like one for the 'when I go to the States list'...

  4. This product sounds lovely. But even without an exchange rate $65 for 60ml is a bit much for my purse. Unfortunately, I don't see this on the Nordstrom website, which means I am hesitant to try it with my super sensitive skin. Nordstrom will take returns even if you've tried a product and it didn't work out for you.

  5. Any chance you could also put the products in Euro? If it's not too much trouble!

  6. You think you have it bad? Try buying western products in Japan.

  7. Caroline,

    Could you please create a list with your favourite cleansers? Similar to what you have for acid toners, it would be so helpful...Thanks!!

  8. Right. That's it. I'm moving to America.

    Why is this enhance rate so completely bonkers?! Aargh. Sounds like a beautiful product. This is going on the US holiday grab list...

    Beekeyper - Latest post - Laura Mercier Verbena Infusion Crème Body Cleanse

  9. I live in Australia and buy most of my stuff from Cult Beauty and other European/US retailers that offer free/reasonable shipping. All my purchases are preceded by US to AUS rates conversion and trying to get as close as possible. Even after paying tax and shipping (where applicable) I end up saving. I miss out on the shop experience but the difference just doesn't justify it.

  10. Could you explain the "Levi's territory" comment?

    1. Meaning it's a lot more expensive to buy Levi's in the uk than it is in the USA

  11. It's so ridiculous. Everytime I go to the US, it's one 23kg bag for my clothes/shoes/bags, & another 23kg for beauty products.

    Have you tried the January Labs power peel exfoliant? I picked it up recently on cultbeauty & am using it as part as my Sunday facial - results are promising so far!

  12. Are both prices net of taxes? In the US the taxes are on top of the price but aren't they built into the price in the UK? It might be helpful to show both prices without taxes.

  13. I agree, some of the conversions make no sense. I can understand it not being exactly the same -- your UK price includes the VAT baked into the price, where in the US we are taxed based on where we live. But this exchange is insane. On the other hand, go check and see what it costs me to buy Zelens through their US website -- the conversion is criminal.

    Re: buying perfume via Nordstrom, you may also be running into international shipping restrictions. Just like you couldn't send the Flowerbomb from your giveaway to the US, they can't send you perfume.

    I often Cult Beauty price on something because I can get it in the US with the VAT removed. But I hate that their shipping just restricts things that have pumps shipping internationally. (See my above Zelens rant.) I hate relying on international travel, but I'm lucky that it is an option.

  14. Hi Caroline!

    I love your blog because you give straight up and truthful reviews, so I was wondering if it was possible if you could give a deeper review on some of your favourites from the Muji Skincare Line, or perhaps tell me which products your like the most? I just wanted to which products to invest in (I'm a student) and which ones to pass on.

    Thank you so much! (sorry for bothering)

  15. I use some of this range but haven't tried this balm (adding to my wish list now) the Vitamin C cream is lovely. I stopped using it then went back and noticed how beautiful the texture was immediately. I have just received my second pot plus a serum and the body cream and eye serum. Exchange rates are the downside and I am guilty of buying the products but my skin loves them. I didn't know about the perfume, but would have to cover my eyes if it was here after reading about the mark up : ( I am looking for a perfume and love the sound of this!

    Thank you for the balm/gel review I paid almost the same for Oromovicza hydra balm and the thermal balm but this sounds even better once I get over the cost. I would have to save it for treat nights!

  16. Hi Caroline!

    I have the same moan about Sephora. I couldn't afford to buy the full sizes of both SR Luna and GGenes on Cult Beauty or Space NK, and I was desperate to try both and couldn't choose. Sephora do the AMAZING 15ml of both as a super whammy pack for £65.00! I KNOW!! But, the exchange rate is such that when it arrived after packaging it was more like £100! *cries* HOW! in other news, I was just about perfecting my skin and so over the moon ecstatic that it hasn't looked this good in ... ever. Because I have forked out all the money spare and got a Caroline-Friendly routine form start to finish, (Muchos thanks) when suddenly, I used Luna for the first time and BROKE OUT EVERYWHERE. :( Is this normal? Will it calm down?

  17. Hi Caroline! I've been loving your blog. Could you please do a post on your everyday makeup? You always look glowing and fresh in your videos but never in an overdone way. Thanks for creating a comprehensive and informative blog. :)

  18. "use this if you're over 30 and are noticing it" LOL I am right there! You touched me deeply with that comment. The exact same reason why I made an emergency trip to Sephora today for new Skincare!

  19. Love the sound of this. And thank you for including us poor (literally sometimes when buying o/s hehe) Aussies. We get absolutely ripped off in terms of beauty products. As well as ridiculously (in some cases unjustified) shipping costs.
    The Beauty Bloss

  20. Hi Caroline! I know I've said this before, but I would love to see a "who is it not suitable for" section that would say any age group that should stay away from certain things (such as peptides, which Dr. Lens says people in their 20s should stay away from - thoughts?). Thanks so much!

  21. SpaceNK sell this, I really wish that brands would put together a trial pack for sale so you could sample their products first. It's so irritating to buy something costly only to discover it doesn't then suit your skin. Oh that was a bit of a rant..sorry!

  22. Hey Caroline, any concern about vitamin C and the jar packaging? Kat Burki also has a Vitamin C moisturizer, in jar packaging, that I'd like to try, but I'm hesitant only due to packaging concerns. Thanks!

  23. as a recent american expat/hirons devotee i now fully understand this exchange rate/global distribution 'levi's' nightmare...VAT is now the bane of my existence!

  24. I think they have adjusted the pricing.. it's selling for GBP 52 at SpaceNK now :)