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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Eco friendly facial cleansers

Reader Amanda emailed me asking:
I was wondering if you could do a review on your favorite eco-friendly facial cleanser. I am in the market for a new cleanser and want to get the best product for the least money that is the most eco-friendly. Who doesn't?! I am sure that you have a wider experience with these products and was hoping you would be able to help me out.

Well, let me tell you, I've used the gamut of cleansers. For a long time I used Noxzema to wash my face, but that got expensive (I was young and poor), so I switched to the generic brand of it. I then moved on to some drug store foaming facial cleanser that was similar in creaminess but easier to use.

From there I got fancy (by now I was making a lot more money) and began using Estee Lauder cleansers. At last (now more concerned about the products I was using) I settled on Alba Organics Pineapple Enzyme Cleanser and was pretty happy with it.

Now, let me back up and tell you a little about my skin type. I used to be a complete greaseball in my teens, then moved into greaseball status only in my T-zone in my 20s and now I am somewhat greasy in my T-zone but dry around my mouth in my 30s. So, in spite of trying everything from drugstore brands to department store brands, I found the organic choice to be equally effective. (As an aside, I love, love, love! Alba's Kona Coffee After-Sun Lotion as a body moisturizer - I just have to stop myself from wanting to lick it. It's a freaking vacation in a bottle. My facial moisturizer habits are a whole 'nother post.)

About a year-and-a-half ago I decided to do something rather crazy. Well, at least for someone whose skin tends to break out like crazy. I switched to using plain ole soap. Not Dove or Irish Spring or other petroleum-based soaps, but Dr. Bronner's. I was half expecting my face to explode, but it didn't.

In fact, my face felt less dry than using some of the other products. I use the bar soap in the shower in the morning and the liquid soap (diluted with water in a foaming pump dealie) at night. And I haven't looked back. No plastics, no petroleum, no nada. Just fair trade, vegetable-based organic oils wrapped in paper or refilled in bulk. And, even better, it's super cheap compared to the other products and I don't have to have multiple bottles of stuff taking up space.

So, even if you have ├╝ber-finicky skin, you might want to give a natural or homemade, cold-processed, soap a whirl for washing your face. If that's just too risky, then check out the Alba line of cleansers. They have a coconut milk one that looks divine for dry skin.

What facial cleansers do you all use? Is it organic?

17 comments:

hedgeshappenings said...

I love the Kiss My Face olive oil bar. It has great lather, a great feel, and doesn't dry out my mid-forties face or neck!

Paper wrapping, obsessively organic!

die Frau said...

Ditto on Kiss My Face olive oil bar. Plus, it's a bar, so it lasts forever. I've been very happy with it, as has my combination skin. I just rinse with water in the morning and use the bar at night.

amandaginn said...

I like the fresh scent and clean feel of Desert Essence's Thoroughly Clean Face Wash.

Amber said...

I wash my face with honey. It felt a little weird when I first started, but now I love it and wouldn't go back. It's totally awesome for my sensitive combination skin. :)

Accidental Huswife said...

I have similar skin, that's gone the same path from oily to dry around cheeks and mouth. And, I still was getting breakouts into my 30's. The thing that cleared it all up was to stop using any kind of commercial cleanser. This sounds crazy, but I use warm water and raw, virgin coconut oil. No breakouts, ever, anymore. Pores are smaller. Dryness gone. It's amazing. I've been meaning to do a post on this -- I should really get around to it.

Terra said...

I've used the Alba Coconut cleanser and it is AWESOME. Of course, I really like Alba Botanica products in general. But, being frugal, I have to day that I too, really love both honey and coconut oil. They soften and moisturize, and seem to really kind of plump the skin - honey is a humectant, and local!

Jenni at My Web of Life said...

I love this new blog of yours! I have also migrated to plain ol' bars of soap. I love Dr. Bronner's but I have also found a bar in our health food store that is a shampoo and conditioner in one (which I use on my body as well). It feels a bit wierd rubbing a bar on your head but I've got the whole family doing it now and I certainly don't miss all those plastic bottles.

As for my face, a friend recently bought me a Norwex cloth. NO SOAP NEEDED and my break-out prone skin has been looking great!

Deanna said...

I've tried the Kiss My Face olive oil bar and didn't like it for two reasons: the size of the bar and the smell. Other than that it was just dandy.

Honey, huh? How does that work? Oh, nevermind, I just looked it up. Does it remove makeup at all? From what I was reading, people mixed it with either baking soda, brown sugar or crushed aspirin if they wanted to exfoliate.

I might just be tempted to try it, using coconut oil as a moisturizer. But I'm afraid of giant zits.

What the heck is a Norwex cloth? Is it like a ShamWOW :)

Yoga Witch said...

I have recently posted on this issue (skin care), and have found the less is more approach to be wonderfully effective. However, I hope you will post on your moisturizer when you get a chance. I am experimenting with lots of things, but have not found an ideal solution. My skin is SO DRY!

Here's my "story" on facial cleansers: http://greenspell.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/leave-your-face-alone/

Marissa said...

Ha! I recently did the same thing. I was using Dr. Bronners, but switched to Ballard Organics since it is local. I use the "uber moist" bar and I absolutely love it.

LynnieBee said...

I have been using the Kiss My Face Olive Oil Bar on my body for months now and it never ocurred to me to use it on my face. I tried it today and so far so good. I have had a terrible time finding facial cleansers and moisturizers that actually work on my picky skin and aren't awful for the environment and my body. So, today, I went out and bought the Alba Coocnut Milk Cleanser and the Pineapple Scrub. I'll start using them tomorrow and we'll see what happens.

I also use a honey scrub on occasion, I mix honey with cornmeal, rub it into my face, and leave it on as a mask for 10-15 minutes, my skin is sooooo soft afterwards, I'll have to try the brown sugar too!

Kitten said...

Have you ever tried making your own cold process soap? That's a way to control exactly goes into the product and also add skin-beneficial extract and oils.

If soap making isn't appealing, I have to suggest African Black Soap, the real raw stuff, it is extremely mild and moisturizing.

Mandy said...

I have actually been using the olive oil method. Check it out here http://walkslowlylivewildly.com/index.php?s=olive+oil+method. My skin gets very crazy when I'm pregnant, but this seems to calm it down. I only wash my face w/ the olive oil/castor oil blend 2-3 times a week. I use coconut oil everyday as my moisturizer and it is awesome! I was afraid that it would make my skin look awful and greasy, but it actually did the opposite.

Megami said...

I use the olive oil method as well, alternating with Lush products.
I use sweet almond oil to moisturise around my eyes.

Anonymous said...

raw honey works wonders... i don't even like it much (to eat) but for my ridiculously dry & sensitive skin, the raw honey leaves it feeling wonderful. i've been using vitamin e and mario badescu products (which all work well) as moisturizer, etc, but i'm going to try the coconut oil...

Anonymous said...

I use skinfood - a New Zealand product that is fantastic, natural and cheap (even including postage from Amazon).

anushka sweety said...

Thanks for hosting! This week I’ve shared a post about my decision to stop eating corn and cucumbers and other summer produce until they come into season again where I

live.


Best Facial Cleansers for Sensitive Skin