Radical Skincare Hydrating Cleanser 4.0 fl oz
There is a blizzard passing over New York City as I write this and I have the heating on at full blast. I recently started using a retinoid and the side effects combined with the dry, arid climate in my apartment would normally rob every ounce of moisture from my skin (aka trans-epidermal water loss or TEWL). But since I added Radical Skincare’s Hydrating Cleanser ($45) to my regimen, my skin has been super soft and hydrated this winter. Two weeks of use supposedly increases skin hydration by 30%, but I only needed two days to notice a difference. I then started to use this creamy cleanser as a mask and I haven’t had any flakes from retinoid use all winter.

Radical Skincare is a high-tech line that uses proprietary TrylacelTM technology to harness the power of antioxidants, enabling skin delivery in maximum active concentrations. While I love that antioxidants are the star ingredients (and finally getting the attention they deserve), I’m not overly concerned about them in my cleanser. Thus this review will focus on the product and not the technology.

I love multi-tasking products and the Radical cleanser is a three-in-one product that works to cleanse, tone and hydrate skin in one step. The richness and lasting hydration of this cream is due to several excellent emollients and humectants. Sunflower seed oil has occlusive properties that prevent TEWL, and naturally derived tangerine peel and soybean oils are known for their softening and moisturizing properties. Glycerin not only makes skin feel softer, it also has protective benefits. A 2008 double-blind study on the effect of glycerin on atopic dermatitis revealed significant improvement in skin hydration as well as restoration of its protective barrier. The second ingredient is isodecane, an emollient that leaves a weightless feeling on skin and evaporates easily. Sodium PCA, a naturally occurring humectant derived from amino acids, has the ability to not only absorb moisture from the air but also bind moisture to cells.

Unlike many hydrating cleansers, Radical’s doesn’t leave a heavy residue and is actually effective at cleansing. Potassium palmitoyl hydrolyzed wheat protein is a synthetic surfactant (detergent) made from naturally derived almond milk, which helps to remove excess oils and residue from skin without stripping the surface. It’s also used as a natural emulsifier and possesses hydrating and soothing properties, thus, will not irritate skin.

Radical’s cleanser also claims to promote cell turnover and renewal. It turns out that studies have shown glycerin helps with skin’s desquamation (shedding of the outer layer of skin) process, ultimately leading to smoother-looking skin. There is also squalane which Marta has declared to be magical due to its ability to completely and rapidly penetrate skin and promote cell growth once absorbed. Allantoin is highly regarded for its skin-soothing, healing and keratolytic (ability to remove excess skin) properties while promoting healthy tissue formation. It also softens the skin and enables it to absorb more moisture.

However, this unique cleanser does take some getting used to. It has the look and feel of a light cream with only a hint of scent and does not foam; something we’ve been (falsely) programmed to believe will make skin clean. While it is a toner and cleanser in one, I should caution that it doesn’t leave skin with that feeling of tightness like many toners. Further, Radical’s Hydrating Cleanser can be tissued off or removed with water. If you wear makeup, you’ll likely need to wash with water to completely remove all traces of makeup. Lastly, while there are several naturally derived ingredients and the line is paraben free, Radical’s founders base their formulations on science, thus, it’s not for purists. There are the usual preservatives such as phenoxyethanol and some may not like the inclusion of linalool, although in low concentrations as it’s the very last ingredient.

Overall, it’s amazing how well this product effectively hydrates skin without any stickiness or feeling of heavy moisturization. This cleanser delivers on its promise and has radically increased the hydration levels of my skin.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Isododecane, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Potassium Palmitoyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Niacinamide, Camellia Sinensis Leaf, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Cetyl Alcohol, Squalane, Triethanolamine, Allantoin, Propylene Glycol, Carbomer, Disodium Edta, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Pca, Sodium Benzoate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Limonene, Linalool