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Five Best cleansers 2012

December 15, 2012 Reviewed by Marta 5 Comments

This post has been updated: Five Best Cleansers of 2013

I collect cleansers. I consider them to be essential to getting my beauty regimen off to a good start and love coming across new ones that will suit a range of skin types and satisfy those who favor foam or crave cream. I’ve been collecting some really excellent ones since 2011’s Five Best cleansers were lined up more than a year ago. In fact, it is hard to narrow it down to five. But after some agonizing, here are the 2012 Five Best Cleansers:

Hydropeptide Cleansing Gel ($44). This cleanser doubles as a makeup remover and toner. It is rubbed on to a dry face with wet hands. A small squirt is enough and the six ounces or so are likely to last a really long time. As well as cleansing, Hydropetide says the gel also acts as a toner and removes makeup. Serum-worthy ingredients include peptides, collagen boosters, wheat protein and exfoliating lactic acid. Mercifully, Hydropeptide has chosen mild foaming agents, but the formula isn’t quite squeaky clean. For example, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate should not be used on broken skin. Read the full review.

Creo Super Antioxidant Foaming Facial Wash ($13). A light, moisturizing, makeup-removing cleanser that foams (for all you foam lovers out there). The best thing about Creo’s Facial Wash is its simplicity. The company’s less is more attitude can be truly refreshing for those who have intensely packed skincare routines, and of course for those who have simple routines to start with. Gentle, coconut-derived sudsers are accompanied by soothing calendula, comfrey and nettle with Creo’s signature antioxidants taken from germinating seeds of sunflower, red clover and grape.  Read the full review.

ReLuma Cleanser ($35). This heavy hitter has ReLuma’s key anti-aging active, human conditioned media. This cleanser does foam a little on contact with water and the soapy stuff is provided by quillaja saponin, a Chilean tree that provides a natural surfactant. It is given a hand by coca betaine, another gentle cleansing agent. There’s also a spot of calendula (marigold), an anti-inflammatory. The only controversial ingredient is, inevitably, a preservative: methylisothiazolinone. Men will also like this scent-free formula. Read the full review.

La Vie Celeste Exfoliating Mother of Pearl Cleanser ($40).  This 2011 Five Best winner is hands down my favorite cleanser – and, according to commenter Joe, it is great for shaving as well. I think that is down to the unique (well unusual) use of clays. This doesn’t foam so you need to get into a new mindset and enjoy the pretty color and lovely texture as well as the good things it is imparting. The key ingredient is Mother of pearl a source of the protein conchiolin, which acts like the protein keratin (which is found in skin, bones and hair), and has the ability to hydrate skin cells and facilitate repair of damaged skin cells. Read the full review.

Nutra-Lift Non Soap ($24). Although not as keenly priced as Creo (above) this good value cleanser not only cleanses gently and effectively, but also delivers some great antioxidants. Mostly they come in the form of organic botanical extracts such as rose hips, red clover olive leaf and green tea, plus vitamins.  The non-soap soapy stuff is saponified coconut oil. The only thing to note is that although ethoxydiglycol, a solvent, is considered to have a very low order of toxicity.  Read the full review.

Ingredients in Hydropeptide: Water, Decyl Glucoside, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple Green) Extract, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Tripeptide-1, Tripeptide-10 Citrulline, Lactic Acid, Sebacic Acid, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Calendula Officinalis (Marigold) Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Geranium Maculatum Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Allantoin, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, 10-Hydroxydecanoic Acid, Lecithin, 1,10-Decanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, MethylisothiazolinoneIngredients in Creo: Organic Calendula Flower Water, Organic Comfrey Root Water, Organic Nettle Water, Organic Witch Hazel Water, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Coco-Glucoside, Sodium Lauryl Sarcosinate, Lavender Essential Oil, Orange Essential Oil, Lonicera Japonica Flower Extract, Germinated Sunflower Seed Extract, Germinated Red Clover Seed Extract, Germinated Grape Seed Extract

Ingredients in Creo: Organic Calendula Flower Water, Organic Comfrey Root Water, Organic Nettle Water, Organic Witch Hazel Water, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Coco-Glucoside, Sodium Lauryl Sarcosinate, Lavender Essential Oil, Orange Essential Oil, Lonicera Japonica Flower Extract, Germinated Sunflower Seed Extract, Germinated Red Clover Seed Extract, Germinated Grape Seed Extract

Ingredients in ReLuma: Human adipose derived stem cell conditioned media, decyl glucoside, cocamidepropyl betaine, sodium PCA, quillaja saponin, calendula extract, methylisothazolinone, caprylyl glycol, distilled water

Ingredients in La Vie Celeste: Aqua (Purified Water), Sclerotium Gum, Mother of Pearl (Pteria Margaritifera), White Clay (Kaolin), Kaolinite (Pink Clay), Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis), Marshmallow (Althea Officinalis) Extract*, Apple (Pyrus Malus) Extract*, Gingko Biloba Extract*, Ginseng (Panax Ginseng)*  Chamomile (Anthemis Nobillis) Flower Extract*, Cosmocil CQ (Polyaminopropyl Biguanide), Grapefruit Seed (Citrus Paradisi) Extract*.

Ingredients in Nutra-Lift: Certified organic aloe vera* gel, cocamide betaine, potassium coconate, wheat germate, sodium coco-sulfate, anti-oxidant complex 14 (rosemary*, rose hips*, oregano*, sage*, olive leaf*, green tea*) HEC, vegetable glycerin, ascorbyl glucosamine (vitamin C), vegetable sodium pca, hyaluronic acid, xantium gum, grapefruit seed extract, natural mixed tocopheryls (vitamin E), ethoxydiglycol, coltsfoot extract, calcium pantothenate, birch sap extract, horsetail* extract, nettle* extract, red clover*, extract, sage* extract, peppermint* extract, orange flower* extract, yarrow* extract, inositol, colloidal sulphur, rosemary* extract, witch hazel, wheat germ extract, retinyl palmiitate (vitamin A), niacinamide, thiamine, hcl, collodial minerals *Certified Organically Grown Ingredient


  • March 7, 2012

    by Ana

    I've been using the Creo for about 4 months (foam lover here!) and I absolutely love it! The foam is fluffy but not dense and a little squirt is all that is needed. It does not dry out my skin and it removes my makeup easily (i don't use waterproof anything though). I frequently use it with my Clarisonic brush (another amazing find on TIA... I can't thank Marta enough for introducing my to my Clarisonic Mia, it was love at first sight!).

    I have to say I especially love the price tag! Gives me more budget "wiggle room" to continue experimenting with Marta's recommendations for hair & face!

    I may try Hydropeptide or Nutra-Lift next because I love their other products. But then again I might just re-purchase my Creo, I love it that much! And I still have about half a bottle left, so this little cleanser goes a long way.

    Thanks again Marta for the great recommendations!

  • March 7, 2012

    by Ann R

    I'd glad to see the Hydropeptide on the list. It's one of the first products I bought from TIA. I still have it six months later and have about 1/2 left. I love the results so I recommend it wholeheartedly despite the higher price point.

  • March 5, 2012

    by Marta

    Glad you like it Lisa and next time I hope you buy from the TIA shop - we like to think we have great customer service too.

  • March 5, 2012

    by Lisa

    Dennis - you should try the Creo. I've been using it for the last few months and I really like it! Plus, it's very budget friendly. I personally found the company to have great customer service as well.

  • March 5, 2012

    by Dennis

    It has to be impossible to pick a top 5, with so many good face washes out there. Thanks for sorting them out! I've been wanting to try the Creo forever. I love simply formulated face washes. I'm currently using Abra Therapeutics Detox Complexion Wash. I like it, but it leaves me a little dry sometimes.

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