Cleansing the face is possibly the most important step of our skincare routine. Removing all makeup and impurities at the end of the day is crucial to maintaining healthy, clear skin.
You cannot just use any old cleanser though. Most of the ones I’ve tried just don’t cut it for my combination dehydrated skin. They’re always either too drying or stripping which is the case with basically any foaming cleanser I’ve ever tried, or too greasy in the case of cleansing balms and oils. But everything seems to cause breakouts which isn’t what I want. Recently I started using the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Cleanser Water Gel for a double cleanse and even though I love the rest of the range and it promises moisture, it was drying. Just like the rest of ’em. What a disappointment.
There are only two cleansers that I return to without fail. Sometimes I stray, when something new gets me all excited, or I have too much money to spend on skincare, but I almost always regret it and go right back as nothing makes my skin quite as nice.
SUKIN CREAM CLEANSER– AU$10.95
This is hands down my all time favourite cleanser. The absolute best. I have been using this consistently for my nighttime cleanse for about 5 years. Yep when something works it gains my loyalty. It’s a cream cleanser and extremely gentle. And super affordable! Sukin is an Australian brand. It is cruelty free, vegan and carbon neutral, with 98.8% naturally derived ingredients. Sukin formulations are grey water safe and all their packaging is recyclable.
It removes all makeup effortlessly. I like efficiency, and I am kind of lazy so I usually don’t use a makeup remover pre cleanse. Using two pumps of product, I massage it on dry skin then rinse it off. Et voila! Literally all makeup just slides off. No residue, no mascara, no eyeliner left behind. This is the only cleanser I have ever used that removes literally everything without the need to then go in with eye make up remover, or a second cleanser, blah blah blah. It’s just perfect!
Ingredient List as seen on the Sukin Website: Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil (Rose Hip), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Equisetum Arvense Extract (Horsetail), Arctium Lappa Root Extract (Burdock), Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Leaf Extract, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Vanillin, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene*, Linalool*. * Natural component of essential oils.
AVÉNE EXTREMELY GENTLE CLEANSER LOTION – AU$31.99
This cleanser is very very gentle. I love it because it is a no rinse formula and therefore I do not need to use too much water on my skin. I use this in the mornings, massaging it onto the skin and removing it with a damp muslin cloth. It does not do the best job of removing makeup fully so I reserve this for morning use. It does however leave your skin very soft, smooth and does not cause any irritation.
There is one disclaimer I should make with this product though. There seem to be variations in formula. I have seen a few negative reviews from US customers claiming it is very harsh so I wanted to compare the ingredients on the US website to the ingredients of the one I use in Australia.
Ingredients as seen on the US Avéne website: Avene Thermal Spring Water, Cetearyl alcohol, serine, centrine bromide, coco-glucoside, disodium edta, piroctone olamine, sodium benzoate, sodium cetearyl, water.
Ingredients as seen on the AU Avéne Website: AVENE THERMAL SPRING WATER, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, SERINE, CETRIMONIUM BROMIDE, COCO-GLUCOSIDE, DISODIUM EDTA, DISODIUM PHOSPHATE, o-PHENYLPHENOL, SODIUM CETEARYL SULFATE, WATER.
The formulations are similar but not identical. Where they divert is about halfway down the ingredients list where Piroctone Olamine and Sodium Benzoate appear in the US ingredient list. While Sodium Benzoate is quite a safe preservative in small doses, it can become dangerous as in reaction to Vitamin C it turns into benzene which is a carcinogen. Not great for a skincare product. What I suspect has resulted in the harshness of the US version is the Piroctone Olamine which is widely used as treatment for Seborrheic dermatitis and a common ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos. So keep an eye out for what version you may be purchasing and what ingredients may be used in your country.