Have you ever heard of the brand Rafra? Yeah, me neither.
I chanced upon Rafra when they had a booth in a drugstore and was surprised to learn that they have been around for 11 years!
I constantly browse drugstore shelves (you know, the annoying kind that spend hours in the store and looks at every single thing but leaves without buying anything? Yep, I’m like that. Sometimes.) and I have never seen this brand before. Apparently, they have a small but loyal following of customers which is how they’ve survived for more than a decade. Their star product? Balm Orange.
I was quite curious as I have never seen a cleansing balm before, and the saleslady was more than happy to demonstrate on my hand. After which, I was intrigued enough to pick up a trial pack, heh. The pack contained samples of their many other products, but I will only review the Balm Orange in this post.
Rafra Balm Orange Extra Cleansing
This cleansing balm claims to be able to remove makeup, and can be used as a first cleanser. Just like cleansing oils, this cleansing balm requires dry hands and face.
Scoop out a dollop “the size of a muscat (grape)” (directly quoting the saleslady) and rub it between the palms for about 10 seconds. The balm is firm but soft, like a more solid kind of gel, and will soften up more with the friction.
This is when the magic happens.
The balm will start to warm up! I was so amazed the first time I experienced it! Is this a thing and you’re just sitting there rolling your eyes at how ignorant I am?
Apparently the warmth will help open the pores for a deeper and more thorough cleanse. Not sure how effective it is in opening pores, but it is quite nice and comforting, even if it’s only for a short while.
The smell however, is in a league of its own.
I swear, it’s like the goddess of oranges blessed this little pot of balm herself! Because good lordy, it smells so intensely of oranges! And in the good way. The very good way. I will happily drown myself in its scent foreverrrrrr. Fresh, sweet without being cloying, and not artificial-smelling in the least. Which makes sense as the fragrance comes from citrus peel oil and not artificial additives (view the ingredients list on Cosdna).
I enjoy massaging this over my face so very much because the warmth + being engulfed by oranges is so relaxing and therapeutic. I tend to spend longer on cleansing when I use this! Haha.
When I eventually manage to stop myself, I will add some water and continue a mini second round of massaging to emulsify it (it will start to turn white). Then I completely wash off with warm water.
Useless fact: It got on my lips and I accidentally tasted it, and it actually tastes like something edible! Sweet with no hint that it’s actually, you know, an inedible cleansing product.
Rafra Balm Orange is really quite a treat to use! I feel like it’s a little pampering session every time I use it!
The only thing I don’t really like is that it’s less convenient than say, pump bottles, as it needs to be scooped out with a spatula.
I find that it’s not as effective as a first cleanser as it doesn’t completely remove my makeup, especially my eyeliner and mascara. It does work decently if it’s just light makeup though.
However, it is great as a second cleanser! It leaves the skin clean and soft without any tightness. Really lovely!
This is definitely on my list of to-buy cleansers!
I bought this trial pack (the two 15g tubs lasted me close to 2 weeks) for 1,260 yen. This brand is not really available outside of Japan, but I managed to find the 100g tub of Balm Orange on Global Rakuten and the trial pack on Amazon.