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You are here because you want to find the best organic facial cleanser. You know that there are toxins lurking in your personal care products. You want to find something that you can feel safe using everyday.
You also want a product that is effective, a product that will leave your face feeling clean but not stripped.
When you are looking for an organic cleanser for your face, there are a few things you need to look at:
- What ingredients are in the cleanser?
- What is your skin type?
- Does the cleanser leave your face feeling dry, is it too strong?
- Is the cleanser actually cleaning your face enough? Or is it leaving residue behind?
- Do you want anything extra in your cleanser?
Below I will share with you the steps in choosing a cleanser.
Step 1 : Know Your Ingredients
Avoid these known irritants:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate
- DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (momoethnanolamine), and TEA (triethanolamine)
- Parabens (Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, and Ethylparaben)
- Petroleum and Mineral Oil Derived Ingredients (Propylene Glycol, Parraffin, Mineral Oil, Butylene Glycol, Isopropyl Alcohol and Petrolatum)
Look for these gentle alternatives:
- Sodium Hydroxypropylphosphate Laurylglucoside Crosspolymer, Sodium Coco-Glucoside Tartrate and Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate (natural, plant derived surfactants)
- Natural plant oils
- Essential oil blends
- Fruit and plant extracts
Is Water the First Ingredient?
Water as the first ingredient means that most of the product is water (75 – 95%). You are essentially paying for a filler.
Preservatives must be added to any product containing water, leaving only a small amount of space for active ingredients. It is better to find a product that uses aloe vera or something other than water as it’s first ingredient.
What are the First 3 Ingredients?
These are going to make up the bulk of the product. The first 3 ingredients should be something you can feel good about putting on your skin. If the first 3 ingredients are plant-based, bio-active compounds, you know you have a potent product.
Step 2 : What is Your Skin Type?
Knowing your skin type is essential in choosing a product that is going to benefit your skin. If you don’t know what your skin type is, I will talk about them in the following sections, just choose the one that most suits you.
Skin types can change with the seasons and with age. Sometimes you can have multiple skin types such as dry and sensitive or oily and sensitive. For simplicity sake, we will stick to the 5 main skin types:
- dull, rough complexion
- less elasticity
- small pores
- red patches
- visible lines
When exposed to drying factors, dry skin can crack, itch, peel and become irritated or inflamed. Your skin can become rough and scaly.
Cleansers for Dry Skin: Dry skin will want a cleanser that is moisturizing and doesn’t dry out the skin.
Cream-based cleansers are great for adding moisture, but foaming cleansers tend to be too drying. Avoid harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances and alcohol as they contribute to dryness.
Look for cleansers containing glycerin and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients draw water to the surface of the skin.
[Read Our Dry Skin Guide for Product Recommendations]
Sensitive skin will react to certain triggers, which differ for everyone. Skin becomes itchy and irritated when exposed to ingredients that trigger a reaction.
Cleansers for Sensitive Skin: Fragrance-free, paraben-free, gentle cleansers are a must.
Glycerin is a good ingredient to look for, it brings moisture to the skin but is non-irritating. People with rosacea would also use a cleanser meant for sensitive skin.
[Read Our Sensitive Skin Guide for Product Recommendations]
- Dull or shiny, thick complexion
- Enlarged pores
- blackheads and pimples
Oily skin can often get worse in warm weather and increased humidity. Stress can make your skin break out in more blemishes.
Cleansers for Oily Skin: Look for a gel formula to eliminate oil without over-stripping. You want to find products that are non-comedogenic (meaning they won’t clog pores).
A nice foaming face wash that doesn’t over-dry or irritate your skin will work well. Look for antibacterial ingredients such as lavender or tea tree oil.
[Read Our Oily Skin Guide for Product Recommendations]
- Shiny and oily T-zone (nose, forehead, and chin)
- Dilated pores
- Areas of normal or dry skin
Combination skin can be normal or dry in some areas with others being oily (most often the nose, chin and forehead).
Cleansers for Combination Skin: You will want to stick with something that is non-drying but cuts through some oil.
A gel cleanser can give you a good clean without being too harsh.
[Read Our Combination Skin Guide for Product Recommendations]
- No or few imperfections
- No severe sensitivity
- Non-visible pores
- Radiant complexion
People who have normal skin are the luckiest of all. Their skin is neither too dry, nor too oily. They do not suffer from many breakouts and their skin is not easily irritated.
Cleansers for Normal Skin: Any cleanser that effectively cleans will work on normal skin.
Step 3 : Is Your Cleanser too Strong?
If your face feels taught, itchy and dry after cleansing, then your cleanser may be too strong. Your face should feel the same as before you washed it, only lighter.
If rubbing your skin after cleansing makes a squeaky sound, your cleanser is too strong. Make sure to only wash your face no more than 2 times/day. Over-washing can contribute to dryness and irritation.
Step 4 : Is Your Cleanser Actually Cleaning?
There are a couple ways to test if your cleanser is actually cleaning your face properly.
- After washing your face, use a cotton pad to rub some non-alcohol based toner or cleansing oil onto your skin. If the cotton ball contains lots of makeup or dirt, your cleanser isn’t cleaning enough. You may need to use a makeup remover first or get a stronger cleanser.
- After cleansing, touch your wet skin with your finger. Drag your finger along a mirror. If the water is clear, your cleanser is doing a good job. If the water is cloudy, the cleanser isn’t cleaning well enough or is leaving behind a residue.
Step 5 : Do you Want Anything Extra in your Cleanser?
Many cleansers are formulated with specific issues in mind. When shopping for a cleanser, keep in mind what issues you are looking to address, so that you can find one designed to target your concern.
- Are you looking for anti-aging properties? [Read our Anti-Aging Page]
- Are you dealing with eczema or rosacea?
- Maybe you have acne and you need a cleanser to help stop breakouts [Read our Acne Page].
- An anti-aging cleanser will be intensely nourishing and contain potent antioxidants.
- A cleanser for eczema will be cooling and soothing.
- A cleanser for rosacea will be gentle and free of irritating ingredients.
- Acne cleansers will contain salicylic acid to help clear pores.
A Couple Cleansers we Love for All Skin Types
This cleanser is suited for use on all skin types, including acne, rosacea, dry and sensitive skin. It removes makeup and dead skin cells without stripping your skin of it’s natural oils.
The scent is light and herbal. Utilizes a soap base that has been cured for 6 months, to guarantee the cleanser will not be harsh.
A gentle cleanser suitable for all skin types, including very sensitive skin. No chemical preservatives, SLS, SLES, Propylene Glycol, PG derivatives, parabens, sulfates, dyes or synthetic fragrance
Gently and thoroughly cleanses the skin without stripping or drying.
Finding a cleanser can be a difficult process, but informing yourself with the above knowledge should help you in your decision.
The most important things to remember are: avoid harsh, synthetic chemicals, stick to natural ingredients, buy according to your skin type, and test your cleanser. I hope this helps you in your hunt for the best organic cleanser.
What do you think? Do you have any questions or comments? Leave them below and I will be sure to address them!
Yours in Beauty,