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Apothederm Moisturizing Cleanser ($28) is a non-foaming cleanser that promises to “remove make-up, dirt and impurities from your skin without stripping out moisture” while also providing protection against free radical damage through the inclusion of vitamins A, C, E. The consistency of the cleanser reminded me of Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (though the ingredient lists of the two cleansers are really nothing alike). The cleanser did not have any discernible scent.
The directions advise to massage the cleanser into your face and neck for 10 to 15 seconds, to keep out of your eyes, and then to rinse well with warm water. I found that using about a nickel-to-quarter-sized blob for my entire face was sufficient for cleansing. I have a very oily t-zone and often wear a lot of base products during the day. I typically find that non-foaming or low-foaming cleansers are not powerful enough for me and that they often leave a weird filmy feeling on my face. Happily, I did not experience that at all with the Apothederm Moisturizing Cleanser. During my trial period, there were several days that I wore primer, tinted BB cream, concealer, a medium to full coverage liquid foundation, a light dusting of powder foundation to set the liquid foundation, blush, and then a makeup setting spray. I also use a wax-based eyebrow pencil. The Apothederm Moisturizing Cleanser easily removed all of these with one pass. After rinsing my face, my skin felt and looked clean and it was soft and lightly hydrated without any weird, filmy feeling.
Although the instructions said not to let the cleanser get in the eye, I did test the cleanser’s ability to remove a few different non-waterproof mascaras. It broke down the mascara nicely, but the liquid consistency of the cleanser made it a challenge to keep out of my eyes. Thus, in a pinch, this cleanser will do double-duty in removing non-waterproof eye makeup and cleansing the face, but I would not recommend this for both purposes on a daily basis.
Apothederm Moisturizing Cleanser includes several ingredients that contribute to the inclusion of vitamins A, C, E. Retinyl palmitate and beta carotene also provide vitamin A. Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, ascorbyl palmitate, and ascorbic acid provide additional forms of vitamin C. Glycine soja (soybean) oil, tocopheryl linoleate, tocopherol, and tocopheryl acetate provide vitamin E.
Several ingredients contribute to the moisturizing properties of this cleanser: evening primrose oil, tocopherol, tocopheryl linoleate, carrot seed oil, and glycerin along with several emollients such as C12-15 alkyl benzoate, tridecyl stearate, neopentyl glycol dicaprylate, tridecyl trimellitate.
Apothederm Moisturizing Cleanser uses mild surfactants derived from coconut oil, such as disodium cocoamphodiacetate and lauramidopropylbetaine. Disodium cocoamphodiacetate is known for cleansing skin without stripping natural oils. Retinyl palmitate and citric acid provide mild exfoliation.
There are a few ingredients that may be of concern to those looking for a 100% impeccable formulation. For example, tocopheryl acetate, phenoxyethanol and linalool are considered moderate hazards by the Environmental Working Group. PEG and PEG derivatives are generally considered safe to use, but should not be applied to damaged skin (source).
Overall, I found the Apothederm Moisturizing Cleanser to be a gentle yet effective non-foaming cleanser that easily removed a full face of base makeup at the end of the day. The cleanser worked best massaged into dry skin, so I ended up using a different cleanser in my morning shower. After an average use of once a day for a month, I had half of a full-sized 6 oz. bottle left over. Therein lies my main issue with the Apothederm Moisturizing Cleanser — the price per month that I would need to spend to continue using it. I don’t mind investing in skincare, but I prefer to be more economical with my cleanser budget. I have enjoyed using the Apothederm Moisturizing Cleanser and will continue to use the bottle until it is empty, but will likely use other gentle cleansers that are friendlier to my budget.