When it comes to cleansers, it's almost impossible to find one product that works for everybody. After all, it's no fun when you find yourself using a face wash that's too rich or too drying—because clogged pores, tight skin and sensitivity are all possible outcomes.
But there is one product I've discovered that I do think you'll like, no matter what your skin type. It's inexpensive, free of the clogging and irritating ingredients I always caution against, and gentle but oh-so-effective.
Let's talk about the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser!
First Aid Beauty Background
First, some quick background on First Aid Beauty, which has been around since 2009 and is known for its "less is more" approach to skincare.
Founder Lilli Gordon set out to create a line of everyday essentials that would deliver maximum results without irritating her sensitive skin. As such, the brand was "clean" long before that became a buzzword, and formulated with only safe, skin-loving, allergy-tested ingredients.
Today, there are more than 1,300 ingredients on their "no-no" list, including:
- Artificial fragrances
- Artificial colourants
- Mineral oil
- Drying alcohols
First Aid Beauty products are also cruelty-free.
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser
The First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser is a gentle cleanser that does exactly what it promises: removes dirt, oil and makeup while leaving skin soft and supple.
The brand specifically claims that all types of skin—normal, dry, oily, combination and sensitive—can use it. That's a rare thing for a face wash!
It's a non-stripping, pH-balanced formula that won't make your skin feel uncomfortably tight once you remove it (like so many cleansers can).
Most importantly, it's very effective. I've found that I don't really need to use a separate makeup remover before I wash my face with this product—it gets everything off that well. So if you're looking for a "one and done" type of cleanser, this will fit the bill.
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser Ingredients
The First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser is a simple formulation, with not a whole lot of bells and whistles. Here's the most up-to-date ingredients list:
Water/Aqua/Eau, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, Allantoin, Chrysanthemum Parthenium (Feverfew) Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium PCA, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Lecithin, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Maltodextrin, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Tetrasodium EDTA
The first thing you need to know is that it's free of sulfates—always the first thing I check for in a cleanser. In my opinion, everyone should avoid them because they're harsh detergents that can compromise the skin barrier and cause dryness and irritation.
In their place is sodium cocoyl isethionate, an ultra-mild cleansing agent that produces a rich, creamy foam. It's bolstered by various humectants (including glycerin and aloe) and emollients (like stearic acid and allantoin) to help soothe and condition your skin.
There's also a plant-derived antioxidant blend that includes feverfew, white tea leaf and licorice root extracts. (However, that won't give you comparable benefits to a leave-on antioxidant treatment, like a vitamin C serum, since you're rinsing this off.)
Just as important as what's in here is what's not. Unlike most cleansers, it has no synthetic fragrance or essential oils—and for good reason, since they are the number one cause of skin reactions.
It's also oil-free and silicone-free, which is rare for a cream-textured cleanser. Since these ingredients can clog pores and leave residue on the skin that leads to breakouts, I'm happy they were left out.
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser Texture
This is what the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser looks like straight out of the tube.
If it reminds you of liquid hand soap, you're not alone. It has the same pearlescent white colour, but the texture is a little more luxe, thick and whipped. (And unlike hand soap, it's fragrance-free, of course.)
Once you massage it over damp skin, you'll notice that it transforms into a creamy lather.
And the best part? It rinses off completely with just water, and doesn't leave any film behind on your skin.
How to Use the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser
Apply to damp skin: A little goes a long way, so a dime-sized squeeze of First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser should be more than enough to do your entire face. Apply it to damp skin, and massage onto all areas of the face to break up dirt, oil and makeup.
Rinse or wipe off: Although this cleanser comes off easily with water alone, you can also take your cleanse to the next level by removing it with a soft washcloth or muslin cloth. Simply drape a warm, wet cloth over your face for about 10 seconds before using it to gently wipe away the cleanser. The steam will help to soften your skin, and the cloth will give you a gentle exfoliation. Rinse the cloth and then repeat up to four more times.
Tone and moisturize: Follow up with your favourite toners and hydrators to keep your skin's moisture levels intact.
Conclusion + Where to Buy
I always used to steer clear of cream cleansers, as I found they didn't get my skin thoroughly clean. But the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser is definitely an exception—it really cuts through the grime! At the same time, it leaves my skin feeling so much more hydrated than most foam and gel cleansers.
There's one more thing I love about this face wash... all the size options! The smallest one, at 2 oz., is super affordable, especially considering how little product you'll need each time you cleanse. They also have a 5 oz. and an 8 oz., once you're ready to commit.
You can find this cleanser at:
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