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Is Your Face Wash Aging Your Skin?

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Do you often wonder "Why is my face so dry after I wash it?"

If so, there's a good chance that your face wash is damaging your skin. Fun fact: many cleansers that fall into the foaming, gel, or face wash category are filled with harsh detergents and alcohols that strip your skin of its natural oils. Everyday use of these products will eventually weaken the skin barrier, leading to dehydration and damage.

So, what's the solution?

Non-toxic face wash! No matter what your skin type is. Here's my tips on how to avoid "bad" face washes and cleansers, plus as usual I've sifted through the ingredients list to bring you my top ten clean beauty picks.

Here's how what you need to know about "bad" face wash:


The two main ingredients to look for (and avoid) in a face wash are "bad" alcohols and harsh surfactants. Unfortunately, lots of facial wash and cleansing products have a really high content of both of them. Over time, daily use of these products have shown in studies to damage your skin barrier.

The skin barrier's main function is to keep

moisture in your skin to prevent dehydration. And to also keep environmental hazards like free radicals, UV rays, and bacteria out preventing skin reactions and premature aging.

A healthy, strong skin barrier —or lack thereof, is the difference between glowing skin or dull skin.


Alcohols are used in beauty products as either a preservative, to make formulas lighter, improve the texture, or to help other ingredients penetrate the skin. But, there are good alcohols and bad alcohols.

Bad alcohols like "SD" and "denatured" have traditionally been recommended for oily and acne-prone skin types —think astringent. This is because, initially alcohol strips the skin of it's natural oils. A temporary solution for oily skin.

As the skin continues to dry out the skin barrier becomes weakened, and the body goes into overdrive to produce more oil. This excess oil production can block pores leading to acne.

For dry, sensitive and especially mature skin types, these alcohols are just as damaging. By stripping the skin of its natural oils the skin barrier is left weakened. Vulnerable to dehydration and environmental pollutants that age the skin.

Bad alcohols to avoid;

  • benzyl alcohol

  • SD alcohol

  • denatured alcohol (alcohol denat.)

  • ethyl alcohol

  • isopropyl alcohol

Good alcohols, also known as fatty alcohols;

  • cetyl alcohol

  • stearyl alcohol

  • cetearyl alcohol


Surfactants are common ingredients used in shower gel, bubble bath, shampoo, and also facial skincare products like cleanser and face wash for their cleansing, foaming, thickening and antimicrobial effects. There are different types of surfactants, but the most common ones used in beauty products are anionic and amphoteric.

Anionic detergents

Over time, daily use of skincare products containing anionic detergents will leave skin feeling 'dry' and 'tight'. They are known to disrupt and damage the wall-like structure of the skin barrier, leaving your skin vulnerable to environmental damage and dehydration.

Harsh surfactants to avoid;

  • sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)

  • sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)

  • ammonium laureth sulfate

  • disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate

Examples of amphoteric detergents considered milder and less irritating;

  • cocamide meacocoamidopropyl betaine (CAPB)

  • sodium cocoamphoacetate

Cocoamidopropyl betaine is created by mixing raw coconut and dimethylaminopropylamine (try saying that after a few wines!). It can be found in many natural and organic personal care products. Brands will often use the words "coconut-based cleanser".


All Skin Types

Whamisa Organic Flowers Foaming Gel

Buy from Amazon

Face wash or dry, sensitive skin

Neal's Yard Remedies Rose Facial Wash

Buy from Amazon

Face wash for normal skin

Drunk Elephant Jelly Cleanser

Buy from Amazon

Face wash for dry, sensitive skin

Fushi Enzyme Face Wash

Buy from Amazon

Best face cleanser for oily skin and large pores

100% Pure Charcoal Cleanser

Buy from 100% Pure

Dry skin face wash

Lixirskin Electrogel Cleanser

Buy from Amazon

Best cleanser for combination skin

Antipodes Juliet Skin Brightening Gel Cleanser

Buy from Amazon

Face wash for dry, sensitive skin

Tata Harper Refreshing Cleanser

Buy from Amazon

Natural face wash for oily skin

Evolve Beauty Daily Detox Facial Wash

Buy from Glow Organic

Best cleanser for combination skin

Grown Alchemist Gentle Gel Facial Cleanser

Buy from Amazon

Welcome to my little piece of cyberspace! I'm Gabrielle and I show women how to cut through the marketing BS, understand skincare labels, find non-toxic beauty products —and achieve their skin glow goals!

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