About a month ago I started using the Osmotics Hydrating Cleanser, courtesy of a Truth in Aging sample. And while I have no complaints about its performance, I don’t think I’ll buy it for myself.

To begin with, I have a pretty simple (and perhaps unenlightened) philosophy about facial cleansers. They should cleanse, basically - without doing damage in the process. I simply want to remove makeup, dirt, etc., as preparation for the serums and moisturizers to follow. It seems silly to spend a lot of money on a product that will be in contact with my skin for mere moments (how much actual good could they do, anyway?). I’d rather put the dollars into creams and potions that will be sitting there all day or night. So besides the injunction to first do no harm, I am generally skeptical of other benefits a cleanser might claim and, anyway, would rather look for those benefits in other treatments - for example, by using YBF Prep ($80) after cleansing when I want exfoliation, etc.

As a result, I’ve been happy for quite a while using Nutra-lift’s Herbal Non-Soap (which is mild, costs a modest of $24 for 8 ounces and actually contains lots of great stuff, largely organic, starting with aloe gel). My usual routine is to wash and rinse once to clean, followed by another dollop with the Clarisonic brush. (I often wash again with my beloved Japanese charcoal, which is still unbeatable for deep-pore cleansing.) And then on to whatever masque, serum, or moisturizer I’m using.

Still, the Osmotics Hydrating Cleanser was certainly intriguing, and who, especially at 56 and in mid-winter, wouldn’t want more hydration? And the product is very pleasant to use. It is rather thick (more like shampoo), nicely scented, and does feel lubricating; it appears to rinse off easily, without a residue. Osmotics, on its site, highlights the presence of orange oil, vitamins E and A, and aloe gel - all appealing.

Digging in to the ingredients list (my tube was a sample, so these ingredients were taken from the company’s site), aloe is the second listed (after water); orange oil, the 11th; and E and A, the 17thand 18th. It’s a long list and sent me to the TIA ingredients database repeatedly.  So aside from the orange oil (and number ten, algae extract), ingredients three through 15 are apparently commonly used commercial surfactants, emulsifiers, emollients, thickeners, humectants, etc., none of which appear to raise flags in the TIA write-ups, except for a preservative at position 13, which shows up as a “moderate hazard” (as does ingredient 20, the moisturizer propylene glycol). More interesting at position 16 is proline, an amino acid used in anti-aging products, followed by a half-dozen plant extracts.  However, the final three ingredients are preservatives that I’m sure vigilant TIA readers have already noted - diazolidinyl urea and two parabens.

At $28 for 6.8 ounces (200 ml), according to the website, Osmotics Hydrating Cleanser is hardly the most expensive cleanser around, but it’s not a drugstore product either. For me, it’s relatively undistinguished formula doesn’t warrant the price.

Ingredients: Purified Water, Aloe Barbadensis Gel, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Myristic Acid, PEG-8, Octyldodecyl Benzoate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cetyl Alcohol, Algae Extract, Orange (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis) Oil, Methyl Gluceth-20, Sodium Lactate, Sodium PCA, Sorbitol, Proline, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Cholecalciferol, Propylene Glycol, Comfrey (Symphytum Offinale) Extract, Cucumber (Cucumis Sativus) Extract, Sambucus Nigra Extract, Carrageenan (Chondrus Crispus) Extract, Ivy (Hedera Helix) Extract, Dog Rose (Rosa Canina) Extract, Xanthan Gum, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.