I’ve never really struggled with acne or oily skin (sounds like a humble brag I know, but stay with me here–we’re about to get to the negative part). I have, however, dealt with very dry, sensitive skin and I’m prone to eczema. Because my skin can get so dry, I’ve had a hell of a time finding the right face wash for me. Most cleansers gave my skin that “too tight” feeling. And I know you’re supposed to cleanse twice daily, but I stopped washing my face in the morning because it dried it out too much. I would only rinse with water, but that’s not great either (for me, personally). Cleansing your skin in the morning is important because it removes cellular waste (aka gunk that builds up on your face overnight).
But finally, I found a face wash that thoroughly cleans my face without leaving it dry as the Mojave Desert: Grown Alchemist’s Hydra-Restore Cream Cleanser ($49). This Australian brand has a fan-favorite following in the beauty industry, mostly because of its vegan ingredients and its chic, minimalist packaging. It also has the ‘ole celebrity stamp of approval: Kim Kardashain is a known fan of the brand’s eye makeup remover.
So what sets this $40 cleanser apart from your drugstore face wash? Admittedly, it’s pricey. But the investment is well worth it. This Hydra-Restore Cream Cleanser says it all in the title. Just put a little on the back of your hand to test, and immediately you’ll notice how it’s different from other face washes. Its consistency is creamy—it almost looks more like a moisturizer than a cleanser. But, it’s light and gentle on sensitive skin. And I should know, because I’m pretty much a textbook case when it comes to sensitive skin. (Also, if you have sensitive skin it’s always recommended doing a patch test first on the back of your hand before you use any product on your face.)
Now, to the nitty gritty. It’s the clean ingredients that make this cleanser so powerful and hydrating. Olive leaf, rosemary extract and ylang ylang “provide antioxidant protection and reinforces the skin’s natural barrier,” explains Jeremy Muijs, co-founder of Grown Alchemist. “Ingredients like plantago and sandalwood help reduce inflammation and calm irritation, which is especially helpful for dry skin or if you’re prone to rosacea,” he continues. “Natural Niacinamide (a form of vitamin B) regulates oil control, minimizes pores and reduces hyperpigmentation,” he explains. “And the algae extract leaves the skin looking refreshed, toned and hydrated.” All of these ingredients work together to create a powerful punch, but it’s still gentle enough to use on sensitive skin.
This is one of the few face washes I can use twice a day—morning and night—instead of my typical “water rinse” routine in the morning followed by a real cleanse at night. I just gently massage onto my skin and then rinse with warm water. Also, I need to talk about the scent: It is heavenly. It transports me to a luxury hotel spa, when in reality I’m just standing in my tiny bathroom.
Washing our face can seem like one of those necessary—but boring—parts of our day, but Muijs suggests making it more meditative. “Use the time you’re cleansing as a moment of reflection and meditation,” he says. “Plant your feet, unlock your knees and concentrate on the sensation of your fingertips against your skin.” That one meditative moment, plus the calming scent can help center you to take on your day in the morning and ease into sleep at night. I famously struggle with sleep, so anything I can do to promote a better night’s rest? I am fully on board.
Bottom line? If you’re looking to upgrade your drugstore face wash—especially if you are prone to dry skin like I am—invest in a cleanser with clean, hydrating ingredients like this one from Grown Alchemist.
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