When it comes to natural face cleansers, I have a pretty straightforward philosophy. To complete my daily and weekly routines, I need:
- A non-foaming/cream for gentle morning cleanses (usually with a konjac sponge) or for when my skin is extremely dry or irritated
- A light foaming/gel cleanser for double cleansing after oil cleansing at night
- A thick gel cleanser to use with my Clarisonic 1-2 times a week or as needed
While I tend to splurge on facial oils and antioxidant treatments, my budget for face cleansers is much more conservative. Spending more than $25 on a cleanser (which doesn’t stay on your face very long) simply pains me.
So, it’s out of line for my skincare philosophy (and budget) to spend more than that on a cleanser. While I have marked a few repurchases below that cost more than my $25 preference, you’ll see that many of my tried-and-true favorites cost way less than $25 (and are easily accessible at your local health food store or even Target!).
These are the ones I constantly recommend to friends, family and readers who are interested in cleaning up their beauty routines, and these are the ones I purchase for myself.
*Indicates press sample. Yes, I do buy my own products, and yes, free stuff gets the same level of criticism as stuff I paid for myself!
(Bookmark for later reading: The Ultimate Guide to Natural Deodorants; The Ultimate Guide to Natural Hand Creams; The Ultimate Guide to Natural Mascaras; The Ultimate Guide to Natural Shampoos ; The Ultimate Guide to Natural Sunscreens)
Non-Foaming / Cream Cleansers I Will Repurchase & Recommend
*Acure Organics Sensitive Facial Cleanser
$9.99 for 4 ounces
Designed for dry and sensitive skin, Acure Organics Sensitive Facial Cleanser delivers a relaxing, soothing blend of organic argan oil, coconut oil, olive oil, vitamin E and pumpkin seed oil to hydrate and gently cleanse the skin. Probiotics give fussy skin additional nutrients and balance.
Acure Organics pretty much always blows me away with its affordable, certified organic, cruelty-free products. This cream cleanser is also scent-free, which makes it perfect for those who have truly sensitive skin or are experiencing reactions or irritation from switching up their products too much (ahem). The texture is of medium creaminess — very easy to spread, but not runny at all. I love using this with a konjac sponge in the morning.
INGREDIENTS: Organic Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower, Organic Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Berry, Organic Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry), Organic Rosa Canina (Rosehips), Organic Punica Granatum (Pomegranate), Fair Trade Organic (Rooibos), Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (from Coconut), Glyceryl Stearate SE (Vegetable), Organic Virgin Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Stearyl Dihydroxypropyldimomium Oligosaccharides (from Sugar), Vegetable Glycerin, Glyceryl Oleate (Fatty Acid), Decyl Glucoside (Sugar Soap), Disodium Cocoglucoside Citrate (from Coconut), Phenethyl Alcohol (Fatty Alcohol), Glyceryl Caprylate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate (Lactic Acid Salt), Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Sclerotium Gum (Sugar Gum), Organic Agania Spinosa (Argan Oil) , Organic Olea Europea (Olive Oil), D-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Natural Vitamin E), Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Seed Oil, Marrubium Vulgare (White Horehound) Stem Cell Culture, Echinacea Stem Cell Culture, Fermented Resveratrol Extract (Probiotic), Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Olea Europea (Olive Leaf) Extract, Organic Curcubita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Stem Cells, Paeonia Lactiflora Leaf Cell Extract, Glycerophosphoinositol Lysine (from Sunflower).
*Blissoma Solutions Fresh Mild Rice Facial Cleanser
$31.99 for 4 ounces
Need hydration and blemish-blasting? This cleanser is for you. Blissoma Solutions Mild Rice Facial Cleanser’s smart combination of moisturizing oils (sunflower oil, coconut oil, apricot kernal oil, hemp oil) and acne-busting ingredients (willowbark extract, lavender, frankincense and rosemary) makes it ideal for transition skin — or skin that just can’t decide its classification. Litsea cubeba and palmarosa tone the skin while providing additional antiseptic to keep your pores clean.
This cleanser has exfoliating power thanks to little brown rice “scrubbers,” but is gentle enough to use everyday. I’d definitely classify this as a cleanser (versus an exfoliator) because it’s at a lower intensity.
*Brittanie’s Thyme Organic Citrus Facial Cleanser
$14.95 for 4 ounces
This gentle, soap-free formula cleanses and treats skin with nourishing aloe and vegetable glycerin to help maintain the skin’s acid mantle. Jojoba oil adds additional moisture while witch hazel, grapefruit and rosemary deep clean and prevent breakouts. I love that this cleanser is certified USDA organic yet extremely affordable and, bottom line, effective. That’s green beauty done right.
Ingredients: **Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, *Vegetable Glycerin, *Simmondia Chinesis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, *Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Bark/Leaf/Twig Extract, Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba (Guar) Gum, *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, *Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Extract, *Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Extract, *Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Extract, *Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit)Peel Oil, *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Ascorbic Acid, *Lactic Acid, Water, *Citric Acid
*frank body Creamy Face Cleanser
$19.95 for 6.08 ounces
Everything about the Frank Body line is so well-done — and that includes this Creamy Face Cleanser. This creamy cleanser is made with charcoal and targets impurities while nourishing your skin with coconut, grapeseed and sweet almond oils. I love that it’s fragrance-free, yet full of wonderful oils, butters and extracts that cocoon the skin with every little cleansing massage. That includes herbs such as marshmallow root and echinacea, which help cool, soothe, and softening the skin while.
INGREDIENTS: Water (Aqua), Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate (Natural Surfactant), Cetearyl Olivate*, Cetearyl Alcohol*, Glycerin*, Sorbitan Olivate*, Coffea Arabica Seed Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Pogostemon Cablin Oil (Patchouli), Althaea Officinalis Root Extract (Marshmallow), Echinacea Angustifolia Extract, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Salicylic Acid*, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Xanthan Gum*, Citric Acid*, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol (Natural), Charcoal Powder)
* Naturally derived
*Josh Rosebrook Moisturizing Cleanser
$50 for 4 ounces
This is the ultimate sensitive skin cleanser. Josh Rosebrook’s Moisturizing Cleanser is slippery and gentle, keeping your skin’s acid mantle balanced while kindly cleansing away the day. The aloe base makes this cleanser extremely moisturizing, while ingredients such as African black soap, honey and white willow bark work to keep acne at bay. Organic oils of olive, jojoba, evening primrose, sunflower, sea buckthorn and offer a powerhouse of hydration.
This is one of those cleansers that’s out of my typical price range, but I love it so much and reserve it for when my skin needs some extra TLC. I like to massage this into my skin — using it with a konjac sponge will cause you to lose too much product to absorption.
INGREDIENTS: Vitamin-Infused Aloe Gel, Organic African Black Soap, Organic Honey, Vegetable Glycerin, White Willow Bark, Sea Minerals And Grape Seed Extracts, Lemon Juice, Organic Pectin, Organic Oils Of: Olive, Jojoba, Sesame, Evening Primrose, Meadowfoam, Sunflower, Apricot, Almond, and Seabuckthorn, Organic Herbal Infusions Of: Calendula Flowers, Bilberry, Slippery Elm, Fennel Seed, Chickweed, Skullcap, Ginkgo Leaf, Hawthorn Berry, Green Tea, Marshmallow Root, St. John’s Wort and Alfalfa, Certified Organic Xanthan Gum & Potassium Sorbate, Natural Plant Sourced Vitamins A, C & E, Vinegar, Organic Essential Oils Of: Rosemary, Ylang Ylang, Litsea Cubeba And Vanilla Bean
*In Fiore Treate Cleansing Emulsion
$58 for 4.2 ounces
In Fiore’s Treate Cleansing Emulsion is just that — a treat — to use. This decadent, milky emulsion is made with always-soothing aloe vera, rose water and nine herbal infusions. It has the subtlest hint of jasmine blossoms. It’s absolutely divine layered atop your favorite cleansing oil for a deep, moisturizing cleanse (In Fiore makes an amazing oil cleanser that smells heavily of heavenly jasmine!). Echinacea, dandelion and burdock root get down to business on your face — the business of detoxifying skin of impurities and preventing breakouts. This cleanser is way more expensive than what I prefer to pay, but like I said, it’s definitely a treat to use and feels oh-so-soft on the skin. I’d repurchase this with the In Fiore cleansing oil for a very luxurious few months of cleansing with the 4-2-4 method.
INGREDIENTS: Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Rosa Damascena Flower Hydrosol, Organic Sugar Cane Alcohol**, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oil, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Oil, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Jasminum Officinale Flower Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Flower Extract, Echinacea Angustifolia Root Extract, Plantago Major (Plantain) Leaf Extract, Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion) Leaf/Root Extract, Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Aroma*, Limonene*, Linalool*, Geraniol*, Eugenol*, Benzyl Benzoate*, Citronellol*, Farnesol*. *Naturally occurs in essential oils **Sustainable alcohol made from the fermentation of organically grown sugar cane
Juice Beauty Cleansing Milk
$22 for 6.75 ounces
I’m drawn to Juice Beauty’s Cleansing Milk during my morning shower. It’s creamy and feels almost like a moisturizer as I massage it onto my face, and it rinses away easily while leaving a light balmy layer of protection on my skin.
I’ve used it at night before — just to test it against a layer of everyday makeup — and while it could cut through a bit of it, I wouldn’t recommend it as your sole cleanser for makeup removal. However, for that easy morning cleanse, this is a lovely, affordable option in a functional plastic pump container. This is another one that I enjoy using with a konjac sponge.
*Lyeska Facial Cleanser
$42 for 4.4 ounces
This gentle, milky, creamy facial cleanser combines Siberian cedar nut oil with a blend of apple, burdock root and calendula to cleanse without stripping, all while tackling inflammation and healing fussy skin. The texture of this cleanser is a dream: not too thick and lotion like; not too runny. It’s like a souped-up serum that’s easy to spread and massage into the skin, leaving it soft, smooth and radiant.
I like that it uses cold-pressed Siberian cedar nut, which is rich in antioxidants, vitamin E and essential fatty acids. The entire formulation of Lyeska’s Facial Cleanser is spot-on for fussy skin types: there’s enough moisture to keep it from leaving your skin feeling tight, but packed with beneficial extracts to keep skin breakout-free. The key one that gets my attention? Burdock root extract. Its antiseptic properties are excellent at taming acneic skin. It also helps treat skin issues such as rosacea and eczema, inhibits the growth of bacteria, reduces inflammation and heals wounds.
INGREDIENTS: Organic Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Pinus Sibirica (Cedar) Nut Oil, Glycerin, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Lactobacillus Ferment, Water, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, PCA, Organic Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Organic Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract, Organic Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil, Citrus Junos (Yuzu) Flower Oil, Organic Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil, Schizandra Sphenanthera (Schisandra) Fruit Extract, Citrus Sinensis (Blood Orange) Peel Oil, Organic Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, P-Anisic Acid, Sclerotium Gum, Xanthan Gum
*Mad Hippie Cream Cleanser
$15.99 for 4 ounces
Mad Hippie is one of those brands that constantly blows my mind. Awesome packaging. Awesome ingredients. Awesome pricepoint. I am constantly recommending this line and this cleanser to those looking for an easy transition into nontoxic beauty, and for good reason: Mad Hippie is the real deal!
The Cream Cleanser is lovely to use with a konjac sponge in the morning. The formula is thick and creamy, but easy to spread and feels almost like a light lotion on the skin (thicker than Acure Organics mentioned above). This is thanks to sesame oil, coconut oil derivatives and shea butter — not too heavy, not too creamy, but just right. Mad Hippie’s Cream Cleanser is housed in a glass pump bottle, making it easy to recycle or reuse (major bonus points!).
INGREDIENTS: Deionized Water, Sesame Oil (Sesamum Indicum), Caprylic/capric Triglycerides, Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii), Cetearyl Glucoside, Carrageenan Gum, Vegetable Glycerin, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium PCA, Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis Leaf), Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis), Squalene, Organic Macadamia Oil (Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil), Organic Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia Chinesis), Yeast Extract, Glucosamine HCL, Vitamin E (Tocopheryl), Sodium Hyaluronate, Algae Extract, Orchid Extract (Orchis Mascula), Titanium Dioxide
*River Veda Carefree Cleansing Milk
$34 NZD for 3.4 ounces
Thick, creamy and comforting, this cleansing milk pairs perfectly with a konjac sponge for a fresh morning cleanse. Organic evening primrose and jojoba oils replenish the skin while orange essential oil lifts the spirits. I love the feeling of this cleanser on my skin — it’s the perfect balance of creamy and indulgent, yet moves about very easily and rinses off like a dream.
INGREDIENTS: Rose Damascena organic flower hydrosol*, Vegetable Glycerin organic*, Aloe Vera (aloe barbadensis) organic juice*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (derived solely from coconut), Evening Primrose (Oenothera Biennis) organic cold pressed oil*, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Glycerol Monostearate, Shea Nut Butter organic (Butyrospermum Parkii)*, Natural Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Benzyl Alcohol Dehydroacetic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Xanthan Gum, Sweet Orange (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis) Essential Oil , Lemon peel (Citrus Limonum) Essential Oil
*True Nature Botanicals Pacific Exfoliating Cleanser
$48 for 4 ounces
One of the most gentle daily exfoliating cleansers on the market, True Nature Botanicals’ Pacific Exfoliating Cleanser takes advantage of Actifolate, a patented fungal extract that combines peptides with polysaccharides derived from cell wall components of the Mucor Miehei mushroom. This creates this cleanser’s signature irritation-free, intense exfoliation that feels finer than sand and leaves your skin feeling buffed and clean. Chamomile powder and manuka honey aid in calming and smoothing the skin with every wash.
This is another one that’s on the pricey side, but if your skin needs regular, gentle exfoliation, you can easily just use this and skip the separate exfoliator.
INGREDIENTS: Camellia sinensis (green & white tea)*, phaseolus angularis (adzuki bean) powder*, Actifoliate® [glycerin, water, mucor miehei extract, glucosamine HCI, urea], glycerin (vegetable glycerin)*, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) juice*, phenethyl alcohol**, xanthan gum, honey (manuka honey)*, colloidal oat flour*, ascophyllum nodosum (kelp) powder*, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) oleoresin*, matricaria recutita (chamomile flower) powder, ethylhexylglycerin**, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) essential oil*, pelargonium graveolens (rose geranium) essential oil // *organic; **paraben-free anti-microbial agents; % organic ingredients: 92%
*The Wonder Seed Hemp Facial Cleanser, English Daisy
$14.95 for 3.4 ounces
You know that sweet compliment I gave Mad Hippie and Acure Organics ? Same goes for The Wonder Seed. This is yet another line that sources high-quality ingredients yet keeps its prices within reach, making it perfect for those new to green and figuring out their favorites as well as those who are budget-conscious or have different philosophies when it comes to what they will spend on certain skincare items.
The Wonder Seed’s star ingredient is hemp seed oil (yes, hemp seed is the wonder seed!), which means that this everything in this line is incredibly moisturizing, including its facial cleanser. The texture of this face wash is a bit more dense compared to Mad Hippie; I would say it’s a similar texture to that of Acure Organics’ Cream Cleanser, though a bit slicker. It works well with a konjac sponge and leaves skin feeling hydrated without any films or residue.
If you’re sensitive to scents, do know that the English Daisy scent in this cleanser is present — though to my significant other and me, it smells more like a minty scent (I spy peppermint extract toward the end of the formulat). It’s not overpowering, but it’s definitely detectable.
INGREDIENTS: Purified Water (Aqua), Virgin Organic Hemp Seed Oil, English Daisy Essential Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Organic Aloe Vera, Organic Green Tea Extract, Glycerin (Vegetable), Behenic Acid, Organic Cucumber Extract, Cetyl Alcohol (Coconut Oil Based), Sweet Birch Extract, Hyaluronic Acid (Natural Plant Based), Borage Seed Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose (Coconut Oil Based), Cellulose, Coconut Oil, Echinacea Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Xanthan Gum, Magnesium Cocoate (Coconut Oil Based), Dextrin, Potassium Stearate (Natural Plant Based), Peppermint Extract, Lauric Oil Extract, Centaurea Cyanus Extract, Nutmeg Oil Extract, Sea Salt
Non-Foaming / Cream Cleansers I Will Not Repurchase
Eminence Coconut Milk Cleanser
$36 for 8.4 ounces
This is a great summertime cleanser thanks to the healing coconut milk (and that summertime coconut smell that most of us love!) and calendula oil. However, I’m not sold on it for year-round mostly because of the coconut scent. Everything else about it is just fine — the ingredients are clean (it even includes salicylic acid for us acne-prone types) and the pump packaging is ideal. I just can’t do this particular scent on my face every day of the year.
*Fig + Yarrow Cleansing Nectar
$30 for 4 ounces
A change in its marketing would put Fig + Yarrow’s Cleansing Nectar into the positive for me. Presented as a washless cleanser and toner for gentle exfoliation, the Cleansing Nectar is under-performs in the cleansing department but excels in the toning department. Call me old-fashioned, but when I think cleanser, I think gel/foam/cream + water. I get the multipurpose idea behind this product, but just didn’t feel very clean using it as a cleanser.
After cleansing with a different product and using the Cleansing Nectar as a toner, my skin and I felt happy. Perhaps look for this on an ultimate guide to toners instead.
INGREDIENTS: Aloe barbadensis (aloe) leaf water*, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower water*, Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) leaf extract*, Salix nigra (willow) bark extract, Malus domesticus (apple) cider vinegar*†, Lactobacillis ferment, Calendula officinalis (marigold) extract*, Ginkgo biloba extract*, Camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract*, Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract*; manuka honey (active 16+)*†, salt of the Dead Sea, Sodium benzoate, Potassium sorbate, essential oils of: Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary), Lavandula angustifolia (lavender)*, Anthemis nobilis (chamomile), Cistus ladanifer (rockrose), Salvia sclarea (clary sage), Aniba rosaeodora (rosewood). *certified organic, †virgin
*Marula Pure Marula Cleansing Lotion
$38 for 4.23 ounces
From a formulation standpoint, this cleansing lotion was just fine. It was the delivery that put Marula Pure Marula Cleansing Lotion on my “no thanks” list.
I had to use several pumps of this cleansing lotion to get a quarter-sized amount on my palm. Perhaps I’m overdoing it, but we’re talking about 6-7 pumps; the spout of the pump is a bit puny, so I have to be aware of how much product I actually use. I’ve already explained to you that I’m conservative when it comes to the price of my cleansers, so I’m not sure this one is worth the $38 price tag. It’s a fine product and isn’t excessively expensive by any means, but I think there are some better buys out there that are loaded with even more exciting ingredients.
*Meow Meow Tweet Face Cleanser
$25 for 3.8 ounces
Though it’s described as a cream cleanser, Meow Meow Tweet’s Face Cleanser is more watery and slippery, making it very difficult to effectively apply and massage into the skin. It’s better described as “an oil cleanser that rinses off” but without the oily consistency because of the witch hazel (ingredient No. 2). The thinness of it makes the essential oils in the formula a bit too strong for my skin. I would love to see this cleanser bulked up a bit for a better consistency to use either in my hands or with a konjac sponge. When I used it, I lost a lot of product because of the watery texture.
INGREDIENTS: *helianthus annuus (sunflower) oil, hammamelis virginiana (witch hazel) distillate, *vegetable glycerin, castile soap [aqua (water), *potassium cocoate, *potassium sunflowerate, *potassium ricinoleate, potassium citrate, citric acid, *rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract], *simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil, *ricinus communis (castor) oil, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, citrus bergamia (bergamot, bergaptene free), *juniperus communis (juniper), *ocimum basilicum (basil), *sunflower lecithin *certified organic ingredient
*Narynda Skincare Cleanser
£12.50 (~$18.90) for 3.38 ounces
Though extremely gentle and soothing, Narynda’s Skincare Cleanser’s milky, runny texture wasn’t quite to my liking. When applied to a konjac sponge and then massage over my face, I could keep the formula from running, but if I cleansed just with hands, the cleanser liked to run down my arm. The formula itself, as I said, is very gentle, and would be lovely for someone with dry skin or as the morning cleanse, but it just didn’t sit well with me in the texture department.
INGREDIENTS: Prunus Persica (Peach) Kernel Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Aqua (Water), Sucrose Palmitate, Sucrose Laurate, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Limonene, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil (Chamomile), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Flower Oil (Sweet Orange), Linalool, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender Oil), Calcium Gluconate, Geraniol, Farnesol, Citral
*Nonie of Beverly Hills AHA! Skin Cleanser
$25.99 for 7 ounces
With a mix of citrus oils, grapefruit seed extract and apple cider vinegar, Nonie of Beveryly Hills’ cleanser was a bit too tingly for my skin. Though it’s in a base of coconut and almond oil and has a lovely, lotion-like texture, I found the citrus oils a bit too irritating on my facial skin. I’d use this with a konjac sponge to get a good morning cleanse, but decided to instead focus more of the cleanse on my T-zone and under the chin, which seems to be able to handle the natural alpha hydroxy acids a little better than my cheeks.
INGREDIENTS: Distilled Water, Hamamelis Water, Coconut Oil, Coconut Emulsifier, Almond Oil, Citrus Mix of Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange, Bergamot & Neroli Oils; Vitamin E, Grapefruit Seed Extract & Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.
Foaming Cleansers / Gels I Will Repurchase & Recommend
Acure Organics Superfruit + Chlorella Growth Factor Facial Cleansing Gel
$9.99 for 4 ounces
Designed for combination to oily skin, Acure Organics’ Facial Cleansing Gel gently washes away the day’s grime and helps remove any additional makeup that your first cleanse left behind. Antioxidant-rich acai, blackberry, rosehips and pomegranate make this affordable cleanser an obvious repurchase — there’s a lot of clean, botanical ingredients packed into these four ounces! I love that this is a true gel formula (not slippery or watery), and if you’re a cleansing brush kind of person, you can easily use this with your device of choice.
INGREDIENTS: Organic Curoxidant™ Superfruit Blend (Organic Euterpe oleracea (Acai) Berry, Organic Rubus fruticosus (Blackberry), Organic Rosa canina (Rosehips), Organic Punica granatum (Pomegranate), Organic Calendula oficinalis (Calendula), Organic Matricaria recutita (Chamomile), Fair Trade Certified™ Organic Aspalanthus linearis (Rooibos) , Lauryl Glucoside (vegetable derived), Decyl Glucoside (sugar soap), Fair Trade Certified™ Organic Olea europaea (Olive oil), Organic Chlorella pyrenoidosa (Chlorella Growth Factor), Glucono Delta Lactone (Fermented sugar), Marrubium vulgare (White horehound) stem cell culture, Echinacea stem cell culture, Fermented Resveratrol Extract (Probiotic), Organic argania spinosa (Argan) oil, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Olea europea (Olive leaf) extract, Potassium Sorbate (Food grade preservative), Citrus Limon (Lemon) Essential Oil, Citric Acid.
*Dr. Alkaitis Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser
$65 for 4 ounces
Inside a base of castile soap, Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser packs a complex blend of organic oils, herbs and extracts to refresh, repair and treat the skin. Though the price is way higher than the amount I typically like to spend on cleansers, it’s one that I like to treat myself to from time to time.
*Hum Honey Face Wash
$20 for 4.5 ounces
Handcrafted in Minnesota from raw clover honey, vegetable glycerin and organic castile soap, Hum’s Honey Face Wash is one that I have been reaching for again and again. Remember that whole “be careful with castile soap” thing? Hum gets it right by balancing sudsy, cleansing castile soap with a generous amount of raw honey to keep this cleanser equal parts moisturizing and cleansing. Dare I say it may be one of my favorite affordable cleansers to date. Be on the lookout for a full standalone review to come.
INGREDIENTS: Raw Clover Honey, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Castile Soap
*Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser
$22 for 6.75 ounces
Anything that’s labeled as a blemish-clearing product gets attention from me, and Juice Beauty’s Blemish Clearing Cleanser delivers. Extremely affordable and easily accessible, this cleanser deep cleans thanks to organic lemon, cherry and aloe juices. Your skin is never left feeling stripped or tight, and your breakouts calm a bit with regular use. The pump top bottle is also extremely convenient.
INGREDIENTS: Organic juices of citrus medica limonum (organic lemon juice)*, prunus avium (organic sweet cherry juice)*, vitis vinifera (organic white grape juice)*, aloe barbadensis (organic aloe juice)*, decyl glucoside, vegetable glycerin, sodium hydroxide, gluconolactone, sclerotium gum, xanthan gum, lysolecithin, pullulan, sodium benzoate, sodium levulinate, organic botanical extracts of salvia officinalis (organic sage leaf extract)*, taraxacum officinale (dandelion leaf extract), melissa officinalis (lemon balm leaf extract), algae extract, tocopherol (Vitamin E), retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A), citrus aurantifolia (lime oil), tetrasodium glutamate diacetate, sodium anisate, citric acid, litsea cubeba (may chang), citrus aurantium amara (organic bitter orange)* and cananga odorata (organic ylang ylang)* pure essential oils
Kelly Teegarden The Secret Anti Aging Facial Cleanser
$22 for 6 ounces
This scentless, weightless cleanser combines organic aloe vera juice, fruit extracts, and plant oils for a gentle, moisturizing wash that lightly foams and leaves the skin feeling soft and clean. The formula includes medicinal herbs such as spikenard, Spanish marjoram and meadowsweet flower to help combat inflammation and deep clean the skin. I’m taken by just how gentle yet effective this formula is. It’s easy to use both morning and night if you just want one cleanser.
INGREDIENTS: Aloe Barbadensis (ORGANIC Aloe Vera Leaf Juice) (and) Purified Water (Aqua), Sodium Hydroxypropylsulfonate Lauryl-Glucoside Crosspolymer (Coconut), Decyl Glucoside (Plant Derived), Pure Glycerin (Vegetable Derived), Sodium Levulinate (Natural Preservative), Sodium Anisate (Natural Preservative), Sclerotium Gum, Persea Gratissima (ORGANIC Avocado) Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernal (Argan Oil), Xanthan Gum (Natural Thickener), Capryl Hydroxamic Acid (Naturally Derived Preservative), Caprylyl Glycol (Naturally Derived Preservative), Sorbic Acid (Natural Preservative), Alcohol, Lavendula Angustifolia (ORGANIC Lavender Oil), Lavandula Burnati Hybrida (ORGANIC Lavandin Oil), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon Peel Oil), Citrus Reticulata (Mandarin or Tangerine Peel Oil), Thymus Mastichina (Spanish Marjoram), Nardostachys Jatamansi (Spikenard), Cucumis Sativus (ORGANIC Cucumber Fruit Extract), Spiraea Ulmaria (Meadowsweet Flower Extract), Lycium Barbarum (Goji Berry Fruit Extract), Cocos Nucifera (ORGANIC Coconut Oil), Beta Glucan, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane), Pyrus Malus (Apple Fruit Extract), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon Fruit Extract).
*m-61 Power Cleanse Pore-Purifying Glycolic Face Cleanser
$34 for 8.4 ounces
While it’s not the most botanically based cleanser on the list, m-61’s Power Cleanse Pore-Purifying Glycolic Face Cleanser gets a spot on my repurchase list because of how relatively clean it is (no ingredient scores higher than “4” on the EWG Skin Deep Database) and how fantastically effective it is at deep cleaning acne-prone skin. This intense glycolic-based face cleanser is free of synthetic fragrances and includes tea tree and vitamin B5 to help treat acne and soothe irritation. The star ingredient, glycolic acid, works well my my combo-oily acne-prone skin to remove dead surface skin cells and deep clean, both treating and preventing breakouts. I like to use this cleanser the week before and week of my period to keep my hormonal acne in check.
INGREDIENTS: Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycolic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Cocamidopropylamine Oxide, Ethoxydiglycol, Polyquaternium-10, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Phytic Acid, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Glycerin, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate
*Mukti Balancing Foaming Cleanser
$36.62 for 200 ml
With just two pumps, Mukti’s Balancing Foaming Cleanser, a gel that creates a very gentle lather, cleanses your skin and keeps it in balance. After a wash, the skin is never tight, thanks to an extremely hydrating base of aloe leaf juice and calming ingredients such as calendula and chamomile. This cleanser is lovely to use both morning and night. It’s gentle enough for a quick morning cleanse in the shower (which I usually reserve for cream cleansers), and strong enough to use after makeup removal at night (which is when I usually use my foaming or gel cleansers).
This is the perfect hybrid cleanser for combination/oily skin, and it has a slight citrus smell thanks to pink grapefruit and mandarin.
INGREDIENTS: Aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, Brachychiton acerfolius (Flame Tree), Tasmannia lanceolata (Mountain Pepper Leaf), Fucus vesiculosus (Bladderwrack), Calendula officinalis (Calendula), Chamomilla recutita (Chamomile), Ginkgo Biloba leaf, Equisetum arvense (Horsetail), Urtica dioica (Nettle), Trifolium pratense (Red Clover), Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary), Salvia officinalis (Sage), Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) extracts*, cocoglucoside, glyceryl caprylate, xanthan gum. Essential oils of Citrus aurantifolia (Lime)*, Citrus grandis (Pink Grapefruit)*, Citrus amara (Petitgrain)*, Citrus nobilis (Mandarin)* & Rosa Centifolia (Rose) absolute.
*Certified organic by the Organic Food Chain (OFC). Organically produced 93% of product.
*skinnyskinny The Cleanser Organic Face Wash
$25 for 4 ounces
I absolutely adore this cleanser. Its scent, packaging, cleansing action and price make it a home run in my book. Seriously, when I heard that my spa may not carry it anymore, I nearly had a cow (I hate having to order a bunch of stuff online if I can easily pop into a local store and buy it there instead!). The Cleanser’s beautiful blend of active, certified organic ingredients cleanse, calm and nourish the skin. The chamomile is extremely soothing, and I like that this formula contains extra virgin olive oil (an ingredient that tends to go in and out of vogue in green skincare, but to me, is a classic).
INGREDIENTS: Distilled water, coconut oil*, vegetable glycerin, extra-virgin olive oil*, potassium hydroxide (none remains in finished product), castor oil*, jojoba oil*, aloe vera*, lavender essential oil*, chamomile essential oil*, rosemary extract* *certified organic
*SMB Essentials Lotus Moon Amaranth Gentle Cleanse
$34.95 for 6 ounces
I finished the travel size of this cleanser so quickly thanks to its perfect gel texture and easy squeeze-tube packaging. The full size is packaged in a pump, and SMB Essentials is a perfect example of what’s on the inside really counting. I don’t find the packaging and design to be anything quite beautiful, but the ingredients and performance are fantastic for getting that nice, gel lather that’s compatible with a konjac sponge or fingers.
Though Amaranth Gentle Cleanse is formulated for normal to dry skin, I found that my combo/oily skin responded very well to it and did not feel stripped or unclean with regular use.
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Sodium Laurylglucosides, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Sodium Cocoyl Hydrolyzed Amaranth Protein, Nymphaea Coerulea (Blue Lotus) Flower Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Zeolite, Citrus Grandis (Pink Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil*, Boswellia Carterii (Frankincense) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Santalum Austrocaledonicum (Sandalwood) Oil, Glycerin, Sodium Decylglucosides, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate. *Organic
Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash
$28 for 8 ounces
This foaming gel cleanser gives my skin a thorough cleanse and my senses a happy, brightening effect. Yes, my senses. Made with cedar, spearmint and lime, Ursa Major’s Fantastic Face Wash makes you feel invigorated without overly stimulating your skin or your mind. The spearmint top notes of this wash give a bit of tingle without setting your face on fire the way many minty washes can. The inclusion of rosemary, vetiver and lavender gives this face wash amazing depth in both scent and treatment. There’s some fantastic skin-brightening, deep-cleansing and mind-calming effects in this cleanser that I recommend for both men and women. Also, because the gel is nice and dense, a dime-sized amount is all you need for a perfect wash.
INGREDIENTS (*denotes organic): Aloe vera leaf juice (Aloe barbadensis)*, Lauryl glucoside, Coco-glucoside, Sodium cocoyl glutamate, Sodium lauroamphoacetate, Inulin, Glyceryl laurate, Sodium lauroyl glutamate, Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxlitol, Xylitol, Rice seed extract (oryza sativa)*, Sugar Cane extract (saccharum officinarum), White tea leaf extract (camellia sinensis)*, Lemon extract (citrus medica limonum), Orange fruit extract (citrus aurantium dulcis), Apple fruit extract (pyrus malus), Green tea leaf extract (camellia sinensis), Black spruce needle oil (picea mariana), Fir needle oil (pseudotsuga menziesii), Rosemary leaf/flower water (rosmarinus officinalis), Lavender flower water (lavandula angustifolia), Pink grapefruit peel oil (citrus paradisi), Lime peel oil (citrus aurantifolia), Owyhee leaf oil (artemisia ludoviciana), Cedar wood oil (juniperus virginiana), Tanacetum anuum flower oil (tanacetum anuum)*, Spikenard root (nardostachys chinensis), Vetivert root oil (vetiveria zizanioiedes), Speramint leaf oil (mentha spicata), Sodium phytate, PCA glyceryl oleate, Citric acid, Gluconolactone, Sodium benzoate
*Yes To Bluberries Age Refresh Foaming Facial Cleanser
$9.99 for 5 ounces
This is a great budget buy and extremely accessible (think drugstores and mass retailers). I like that the pump releases an instant burst of foam — and gentle foam at that. Many ready-foam cleansers (and gels) that I’ve tried are extremely stripping, even for my oily skin, but Yes To Blueberries’ Age Refresh Foaming Facial Cleanser is not.
Though it’s marketed for maturing skin, it’s quite nice for any skin type because of how gentle it is. It’s enriched with chamomile and glycerin for additional moisture (important if you like to use foaming cleansers in the winter — more moisture, please!). Organic blueberry extract and vitamin E are included for their antioxidant benefits.
INGREDIENTS: Water (Aqua), Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine,Glycerin, Glyceryl Oleate, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Caprylate, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Tocopheryl Acetate,Glyceryl Undecylenate, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid,Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum).
*Yours Truly Organics Take It Away Gel Cleanser
£29.99 for 3.38 ounces
This was my go-to cleanser for use with my Clarisonic Mia. Yours Truly Organics’ Take it Away Gel Cleanser had a dense gel texture that took well to the brush head, keeping a nice, thick layer of protection between the sonic speed bristles and my skin. When used with just hands and water, it’s difficult to really massage this cleanser in, so I recommend using it with a brush head or a konjac sponge.
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Lauryl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Decyl Glucoside, Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate/Sebacate, Polyglyceryl-6 Caprylate/Caprate, Glycerin**, Glyceryl Laurate, PCA Glyceryl Oleate, Sodium Chloride, Shea Butter Polyglyceryl-6 Esters, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil*, Xanthan Gum, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Powder*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Dehydroacetic Acid, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Bixa Orellana Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Limonene***, Benzyl Alcohol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil*. * Ingredients from organic farming ** Made using organic ingredients *** Component of natural essential oil 99% of the total ingredients are from natural origin 29% of the total ingredients are from organic farming
Foaming Cleansers / Gels I Will Not Repurchase
100% Pure Jasmine Green Tea Cleanser
$28 for 6 ounces
With its instant burst of foaming goodness, 100% Pure’s Jasmine Green Tea Cleanser gently washes away the day without drying the skin — a tough feat for a true foaming cleanser. This is because 100% Pure’s cleanser leaves out harsh detergents and instead uses a mild coconut cleanser infused with lavender honey, green tea, berries and jasmine. For a jasmine addict like me, though, this cleanser really doesn’t smell like anything at all. But that can be good for those of you with sensitive noses and skin! Instead, it’s basically scentless save for a mild green tea scent. Though this is made for normal to dry skin, it’s basically fine for any skin type (including my combo/oily skin). It’s not on my repurchase list because, well, I kinda bought it because I wanted a jasmine cleanser. Also, it contains Japanese Honeysuckle extract as a preservative, so if you’re avoiding that ingredient, be aware.
INGREDIENTS: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Juice) Leaf Extract*, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water (Organic Rose Hydrosol)*, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Juice, Sodium Cocoate (Saponified Coconut Oil), Extracts of Camellia Sinensis (Organic Green Tea) Leaf*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root and Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower, Jasminum Officinale Oil (Jasmine Essential Oil), Extracts of Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Leaf, Centaurea Cyanus (Cornflower) Flower, Echinacea Purpurea (Echinacea), Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail), Hyssopus Officinalis (Hyssop), Lonicera Caprifolium Flower and Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle), Benzyl Alcohol**, Benzyl Benzoate**, Linalool** * Certified Organic ** Component of Natural Essential Oil
*derma e Purifying Gel Cleanser
$15.50 for 6 ounces
Fragrance- and sulfate-free, this gel cleanser would be perfect if it had a few more moisturizing ingredients. Post-cleanse, my face is a little bit dry (but not completely tight and uncomfortable). The base of aloe vera helps with this, but the formulation is missing key oils (like olive or sunflower) that can help keep skin feeling soft.
INGREDIENTS: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Cellulose Gum, Charcoal Powder, Fucus Vesiculosus (Bladderwrack) Extract, Undaria Pinnatifida (Wakame, Kimarine®) Extract, Epilobium Angustifolium (Canadian Willowherb™) Extract, Organic Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract* (.1%), Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin.
Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash
$6.50 for 8.5 ounces
Designed for oily and acne-prone skin, Desert Essence’s Thoroughly Clean Face Wash contains old faithful tea tree and lavender to treat and prevent breakouts while offering a nice lather in a base of castile soap. Be very mindful of how your skin feels with this wash, as the castile soap can be a bit stripping without additional moisturizing ingredients (your skin should not feel tight after cleansing!).
I like to use this cleanser during hotter, more humid months when my combo/oily face is a bit more on the oily side. I haven’t repurchased this in years, so I’ve moved it to this section to reflect my updated thoughts.
*Sara Ross Blemish Therapy Cleanser
$15 for 4 ounces
Made with raw honey, glycerin and an infusion of cherry oil with calendula, ginger, roses and enzymes, this gentle gel cleanser targets acne but keeps the skin from feeling stripped. I wanted to love this cleanser — the low foam was extremely gentle and deep-cleaning — but the herbs and other ingredients left a bit of an after-scent and after-taste if I got it on my lips. Call it user error if you will, but I just couldn’t handle the herbal after effects.
INGREDIENTS: Ingredients: Glycerin, Sulfosuccinate, Organic Cherry oil/ Organic Coconut oil infusion (Cherry oil, Ginger, Rose, Calendula), polysorbate 20, Organic Raw Honey, Papain, Bromelain, Essential oils of Blood Orange, Sandalwood, Jasmine, Juniper, Cedar wood, Tea Tree, Rosewood, and Lavender.
*Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Detoxifying Charcoal Cleanser
$9.99 for 5 ounces
This paraben-free detoxifying cleanser is formulated with charcoal to draw out impurities and has a dose of tomato extract for a shot of antioxidants. Jojoba spheres help gently exfoliate, and salicylic acid deep cleans pores and prevents future breakouts. However, it’s not on my repurchase list for two reasons: 1) I’m not a fan of the slippery texture and 2) I can’t handle the scent, which is somewhat perfumed (fragrance is on the ingredients list). This could be a real winner if the scent were more subtle.
INGREDIENTS: Active ingredient: Salicylic Acid 1%; Inactive Ingredients: Water, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Propanediol, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Glyceryl Caprylate,Polylactic Acid, Charcoal Powder, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit/Leaf/Stem Extract*, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract*, Cucurbita Pepo(Pumpkin), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract*,Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos Tea) Extract*, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Glyceryl Undecylenate, Iron Oxides (CI 77499), Alcohol, Fragrance. *Certified Organic Ingredient