Monday, January 3, 2011

Inventory #12: Facial Cleansers

Here's the long delayed start of my skincare inventories. We begin with facial cleansers.

Don't laugh at me but I have 10 different cleansers, not including special exfoliators and masks.  This is what happens when (a) you're acne-prone and (b) you can't resist a sale or a deal.  The result is (c) you become a beauty junkie/hoarder.

Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel
Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam
My skin isn't so bad in the winter but it turns especially sensitive and acne-prone in the summer.  Anyone who struggles with acne can relate to the emotional and psychological torment I've felt by living with pock marks and scars on my face, seemingly without an end in sight.  You've gone to see the dermatologist, dried out your face with prescriptions and Proactiv, and tried applying every single anti-acne treatment that you can afford... to no avail.  I haven't had clear skin since I was 25 or 26, and it took me a long time to realize that wearing a lot of makeup doesn't help the cause.  Cleansing your skin thoroughly but gently at the end of the day is very very very important.

It seems to me that the acne problem actually seems to get better when I don't fuss over my skin too much.  I can't really explain it.  Consider those "lucky" creatures who wash with only water and soap (or sometimes even just water) who never have issues with skincare.  My youngest sister struggled with acne until she turned to unscented Dove soap.  That's all she used.  Dove soap and water.  Within months, her skin had cleared up and to this day she has beautiful clear skin (with only the occasional flare-up).  However, she has gone from oily skin to extremely dry.

I, on the other hand, am frivolous and experimental.  I constantly fall for marketing gimmicks and pretty packaging.  I can't resist trying something new, especially when it's on sale.  That's how I ended up with 10 different cleansers in my bathroom cabinet.  Here's a breakdown of what I've discovered about each of them.

Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel - I tried a sample from Sephora and was so impressed that I bought the full size even though the price tag versus the bottle size was disconcerting.  I felt that I needed this desperately as it calmed my skin when my face had massive flare-ups in August, just before my sister's wedding for which I was the maid of honour.  I was willing to try anything.  Aveda's Outer Peace Foaming Cleanser was the best anti-acne cleanser I had ever tried, but my face had become immune to it.  Clinique's Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam didn't do anything for me at the time.  In fact, this cleanser is so precious to me that I'm saving it for only the really bad face days, which is not now.  For oily/combination/acne-prone gals, I totally recommend this.

Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam - Like I said above, this didn't quite work for me.  I don't know what it was.  Maybe it works better if you use the matching trio of cleanser, toner and moisturizer.  I had tried the matching toner before and thought it was effective, which induced me to go for the cleanser as well.  I thought about returning this but decided to keep it as back-up just in case it worked in the future at a different season.  I'm thinking now that I should have returned it after all.  Le sigh.

pHisoderm Gentle Facial Cleanser for Normal-Oily Skin - I picked up this one because it was on a crazy sale.  I had noticed it sitting quietly in the anti-acne section of the drugstore for about $10-$15 a bottle, and when I saw that they were selling two for the price of one, suddenly my faith in the product skyrocketed even without sampling or testing.  Shoppers Drug Mart + Optimum Points + Sale does something crazy to me at times.  (It's gotten better now but last year the craziness was at an all-time high.)  Anyway, I like this cleanser quite a bit, but I abandoned it because whenever the slightest bit of it trickles into my mouth, it tastes HORRIBLE.  I was explaining this to my other sister who also has fairly good skin with minimal attention and she was like, "Then don't eat the cleanser."  Well, not that I mean to eat my soap, it just happens sometimes.  And the experience was so bad that I'm kind of fearful of it now.  Sister is diligently working through the first bottle of Phisoderm but it's going to take a while as it's quite sizeable.  I may just give the second bottle away unless she really wants a challenge and wants to finish all of it. 

RoC Hydra + 3 in 1 Cleansing Moisturizing Tonifying Care - I can't find the exact product on the RoC website but I got three bottles of this for free from a male friend who ordered it by accident with a discount from a friend who worked at Johnson & Johnson.  It's supposed to be a cleanser, toner and moisturizer all in one and claims to remove makeup and clean and tone without the use of water.  Well, I tried it and used a huge amount of it to wipe off the makeup with sponge pads and cotton balls.  Call me conservative but I like using water to wash my face at the end of the day and my oily skin didn't really care too much for the product sitting on top of it.  I gave away the first bottle to the married sister with dry skin (no word on how she liked it).  Two more bottles to be given away.  Recommended for dry skin. 

Garnier Moisture Rescue Fresh Foaming Cleanser - This was also from a sale and it was supposed to be my gym cleanser.  Have I gone to the gym since?  No.  That's going to change in 2011, I swear.  I love its counterpart Gel Cream so much that I have great faith in this cleanser.  [Post to be updated with a mini review when I do try it.]

DDF Brightening Cleanser - I got this at Sephora a few years ago after another exhausting round of battling acne and the result left me dotted with unsightly scars.  The online reviews are favourable, but it's super super drying.  If my oily face finds it drying, I can't imagine how dry it would be on someone else.  The area around my mouth is particularly sensitive and this cleanser left it in a disastrous condition.  Other areas of my face was fine, however, so I sometimes use it by avoiding the mouth area.

Philosophy Purity Made Simple - I've already raved about this cleanser in a previous post, where I declared it a 2010 favourite.  As you can tell by the pic, it's the only one that's visibly on its way to completion.  I'm hoping to receive a free new bottle of it from Sephora as a Skincare Challenge prize, but they're out of stock currently and I'm not sure if they're actually going to follow through with the reward.  In any case, this is suitable for all skin types and I recommend it for those looking particularly for a gentle but effective cleanser.

Marcelle Hydra-C Facial Exfoliating Gel - Another drugstore bargain.  I really like this one.  Sometimes I use it after the Purity cleanser on a particularly makeup heavy day, or sometimes on its own in the morning.  Marcelle is a dermatologist-approved Canadian company that I'm not sure is available in the U.S. (or anywhere outside Canada).  I once went to the crankiest and meanest dermatologist in the world (yes, she lives in Toronto) and although she was mean and cranky, she recommended Marcelle products for both skincare and makeup and I've never had an issue with any of their products.

Clean & Clear Morning Burst Purifying Facial Scrub - Ahhhh, memories of teenage yesteryears.  Who hasn't tried a Clean & Clear product?  Looking at their website now, they have a crazy number of cleansers and I can't find this particular one so I think it's been discontinued.  I guess the most similar thing would be this "Oxygenating Facial Scrub"?  Sorry, I have no idea.  Also a result of a drugstore sale splurge, I keep this one for the mornings when it feels like I need slightly more exfoliation.  I think this is the only cleanser in the stash with those micro buffing beads.  It smells good in the shower and hasn't harmed me yet.

Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser - I don't know why I still have this.  I hate it and it's been kicking around in my bathroom cabinet for a long time.  I tried to give it away but nobody wanted it.  The reason I don't like it is it never seems to come off the face.  I'm rinsing in the sink forever afterwards and it never makes me feel good or clean.  It also does absolutely nothing for me during breakouts.  I want to like Neutrogena and have bought many of their products in the past, but overall I think the brand has let me down more times than not.  Never again!

Well, there we have it.  Another inventory down and another hard truth to face.  I need to reduce and I won't be buying a new facial cleanser until... oh, maybe 2014.  At least I have plenty to pick from.

What are your facial cleansers and which are your faves?


  1. woah loads of information! haha great post!
    Maybe it's the beauty junkie in me, but I don't think this list is too terribly long. I think I've had slightly more face washes going before, but I made a point in the last few months to work through them, so I've toned my stash down a lot. My main cleanser currently is that Garnier Foaming Cleanser. I like it alright but don't think I'll purchase again (though it sounds like our skin types are very different, so it may work well for you).
    And I'm in the US and have never heard of the Marcelle brand.
    Thanks again for all the information!

  2. Thanks for the nice comment! I thought the list was long because I was originally under the impression that I only had 6 or 7 cleansers, but it ended up being much more. I was a little horrified at myself.

  3. Thanks for your comment on my blog! I am inspired by you and think I will try and embark on a journey to use up what I have and only get something when I actually finish something!

  4. Good luck with that! I really think that we can train ourselves to do so. Your comment is so encouraging to me!

  5. I have to agree, that was a great post! You have a great knack for this :) It's interesting because I never really considered how many cleansers I had until now. I actually don't have too many, but I guess for non-beauty junkies, anymore than two is probably excessive lol. I have been considering the Boscia cleanser (seems we have similar tastes/needs :) but I have a love/hate relationship with Sephora because they so often leave Canada out of the loop! Especially if you aren't near a store (c'mon August! Hali is getting one finally!!).

  6. Aw shucks, you're too kind.

    Sephora recently had a sale on sale items which was available only online for U.S. customers. BOO. I, too, am disenchanted with them lately, but it sure is convenient when you need something rather desperately. (Yay for Halifax!)


NO LINKS IN COMMENTS. Comments for posts older than 10 days will not appear on the page until they have been approved.