Baxter of California has always been on my list of grooming brands to try out, and I finally got around to it after four long years—quite late, as Baxter of California has been around since 1965. The packaging is simple and timeless, and it's a favorite for the fashion/trendy set (it's sold at boutiques like Freeman's Sporting Club in New York, Barneys New York, Fed Segal, etc), as Baxter is also lifestyle driven (in addition to skin care products, they provide candles, grooming sets, fragrances and such).

I picked up a sample of the face wash last week. I was excited to try it out after a considerable amount of hype and also to satisfy my own sense of fulfillment. After all... four years!

Maybe it was heightened expectations that made it a little underwhelming at first. Looking over the ingredients, the only redemptive numbers are the aloe barbadensis leaf juice (anti-inflammatory, moisturizing) and panax ginseng root extract (great for anti aging). It's mostly made of emollients and ingredients you'll find in products at the drug store. It is almost scentless (if anything, something more on the scientific side of things rather than something grown in a garden) and a little on the drippy/creamy side.

I wanted so much to like the face wash but it's definitely not anything I would put on my face every day. One of the most prominent ingredients is Tea Lauryl Sulfate, which is known to be drying and mildly irritant. I also cringe at the five parabens with no real compromise in the other ingredients to make it worthwhile. When applied, I have to admit the milky-white face wash lathered nicely with a squeaky cleanliness afterward... but I kept wondering how good it would be for my skin in the long run. It actually sort of reminded me of Cetaphil when I used it back in high school. But, ok, maybe like a nicer Cetaphil, thanks to the two ingredients I mentioned above.

The price is only $12.50 for a 300-ml bottle, which indicates it's not a flashy product. I think this shows Baxter is not striving for designer, luxury skin care, so it's appropriate for the price, if you consider it an upgrade from Cetaphil.


Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, TEA-Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Glycerin, Acrylates Copolymer, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Citric Acid, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Propylene Glycol, Stearyl Alcohol, Triethanolamine, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Propylparaben.