Obviously, as you can tell, I've used the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser since before I even started this blog - and in fact, before I even started University (now that's even longer ago!), and it's still in my beauty stash to this day. There is one sitting right at my sink, in the largest size you can buy, right now. Yet, I've never actually written a proper review on this cleanser, although I did mention in this beauty box review that I've been using Cetaphil for a long time. I put it down to the fact that sometimes, simple everyday products often get less attention than the flashier, newer things, and with new skincare products flooding the market all the time, it's easy to often overlook reviewing the daily staples.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser: A famous cleanser that is also one of my personal favourites
Well, not any more! Finally (after years later), I am getting around to giving this a proper review. And as with always, I like to start with the ingredients list, to take a closer look at what's in the product.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser Ingredients
The ingredients list of the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser actually is pretty short and simple. There's Purified Water, emollients (Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol) and a humectant (Propylene Glycol), both of which give the product moisturizing properties, the surfactant which actually removes the dirt from your skin (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate), and the preservatives to prevent the product from going bad (Methyl Hydroxybenzoate, Propyl Hydroxybenzoate, Butyl Hydroxybenzoate).
The interesting thing about this formulation is that it is very emollient and humectant heavy - Cetyl Alcohol and Propylene Glycol are second and third on the ingredients list respectively, being present at higher amounts than the surfactant, and Stearyl Alcohol is fifth. So, as you can easily conclude, this is a cleanser that will be pretty moisturizing and non-drying, due to the high concentrations of emollients and humectants. I know some people may have concerns over Sodium Lauryl Sulphate being drying on the skin, and while by itself in high concentrations it can potentially be drying to some skin types, in this formula, it appears to be present in fairly low doses, combined with a large amount of moisturizing ingredients. So I'm not worried that the formula will be drying at all.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser: A non-alkaline cleanser with pH6.5
To confirm this, I tested the pH of the cleanser! Often, a high pH (meaning that the cleanser is very alkaline) is often associated with very drying or stripping cleansers. Our skin's pH is pH5.5, or slightly acidic, and ideally, we want to be as close to that number as possible. Pure water has a pH of 7.0, and is considered neutral (neither alkaline nor acidic), so any pH value larger than 7.0 would be alkaline, and the larger it is, the more alkaline it is, which, in the case of a cleanser, means it is likely to be more drying as well. In this case, we have a pretty good reading of pH6.5, both when the cleanser is tested alone, and when it is tested mixed with some tap water (to mimic how it might be used in an everyday setting when you wash your face). This means it is a non-alkaline cleanser, and yes, is indeed formulated to be quite mild and non-drying.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser: A creamy white lotion that feels moisturizing on skin
Now that we've looked at the ingredients, how does it perform? Well, as you can see from the photo above, the cleanser has a pretty creamy texture. I remember when I first used the Gentle Skin Cleanser, I thought that the texture was more similar to that of a moisturizer than a cleanser! It does feel nice and moisturizing on the skin, due to the high levels of humectants and emollients, and does indeed live up to its reputation of being a gentle cleanser. It also rinses off cleanly, although it doesn't lather up and generate much foam, if any. Basically I use a pump of this, spread it over my face, massage it around for a bit (and don't worry if it doesn't foam), and then rinse it off.
I do have pretty acne-prone skin (as I'm sure you know if you've been reading my blog for awhile), and I don't find this irritating or drying to my skin at all. I also really appreciate that it is fragrance free, and the short ingredients list also means that this product doesn't have any fragrances or potentially irritating plant oils and the like, too, which is also a plus.
Perhaps the only downside to this product is that because it is pretty gentle, it's not going to function as a makeup remover for heavy makeup, like some stronger cleansers do. It does remove some light makeup, but if you have a full face of makeup on, I would suggest that you use a separate makeup remover before using this cleanser. I personally get the best use out of this as a post-makeup-remover cleanser, to make sure everything is really cleaned from my skin, and as a morning cleanser, when I have no makeup on my skin but want to wash off any oils that may have been secreted during the night.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser: A staple of mine for many years, and a great addition to any skincare regime
So, would I recommend the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser? Yes I would! I've been using this product for perhaps a decade now, and it is one of the staples in my skincare regime, so of course I really like it and think it's a great buy. For an affordable price, you get a well-formulated gentle cleanser that does help to clean the skin, while not stripping it or leaving it feeling tight and dry, and that doesn't aggravate skin allergies or sensitivities. The only downside is the need for a separate makeup remover if you use makeup, but I really appreciate having a great basic cleanser to fall back on.
|Recommended?||Formulation||Packaging||Ease of Use||Effectiveness|
|Yes, a great gentle cleanser||9/10||8/10||9/10||8/10|
|The Bottom Line: Cetaphil's Gentle Skin Cleanser is an affordable, no-frills product that lives up to its claim as a gentle cleanser, with moisturizing properties.|