I’m no great fan of face washes, but this summer’s humidity has had even me craving some soapy suds to wash away the crud, if only in the name of research. Cleansing foams remain hugely popular, and I can see clearly how practical and convenient an in-shower face product is, as well as how much more refreshing than a heavy balm and hot cloth.
I stand firm on washes not being anything like as effective at removing foundation and sunscreen as other formulas (none I tried passed my towel test – all left a smear of diluted makeup on white cotton), and generally being more drying. But I was impressed with a handful of new finds, albeit on the understanding that they’re used exclusively for morning cleansing, when skin should be wearing only skincare, oil and perspiration.
CeraVe’s new-to-the-UK SA Smoothing Cleanser (£12 for a whopping 236ml) is technically both a face and body wash, which would generally alarm me, but I found it so gentle and forgiving that I confidently passed it on to my own teenager. The active here is salicylic acid, an oil-soluble exfoliant to smooth uneven texture and moderately clogged pores.
If your needs are simpler, I loved Bounce Back Jelly Cleanser (£7.50, 100ml), from elf, the consistently good and woefully underrated (at least here in the UK) US vegan makeup brand. The viscous, jellied texture is similar to others that are three times the price, and it uses coconut-derived (modest) foaming agents, cucumber and aloe, making for a pleasant, cooling cleanse. It rinses or wipes off with zero residue, and is well worth the bargain price tag.
The Body Shop makes several excellent cleansers (I’m a longtime admirer of its Vitamin E Gentle Face Wash, £8, 100ml, but foam addicts will be dismayed) and so I was intrigued by its newest, Carrot Wash Energising Face Cleanser (£8.50, 100ml), made from wonky, ugly but perfectly fine carrots that would otherwise go to waste. This bright orange vegan wash will satisfy lather lovers, smells lovely (though I’m not crazy about the inclusion of menthol and see no practical benefit), rinses off easily and leaves skin perky and bright, though drier types may not find it perfectly comfortable. But, as one of those myself, I’m inclined to say this about almost any foaming wash.
In the heat, the similarly parched should reach for a gentle, cooling cleansing milk instead.
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