Face Off, Part 1: Cleansers and Makeup Removers

I have a confession: for most of my life, I could not give a hoot about taking care of my skin. It seemed like such a hassle to spend so much money on things that would possibly break me out, so why bother? Plus, makeup can hide imperfections, and as sensitive as my skin is, I shy away from the possibility of irritating it.

My outlook changed as I perused good ol’ Reddit on the reg. Once I was home all the time and everything was canceled, there wasn’t much else for me to do besides read about what other people in the world were doing. (Super meta that you’re doing exactly that right now, eh?) I had great fun in the makeup and antiMLM subreddits, but I kept seeing r/skincareaddiction being suggested by users and the website itself. So, I took a tumble.

I am not proud to admit that I was squicked out by some of the photos. If you have not ventured into r/SCA as the kids call it, you will often see posts that ask, “what is this?” followed by a photo of a condition that likely needs to be treated by a doctor. In the desktop version of the site, you have the option to filter out all photo posts which helps big babies like me. After countless hours of reading product lists, reviews, and suggestions, I decided to give some new products a try. With the help of Redditors, Ipsy, and recommendations from trusted friends, I am having fun AND feeling better about how my bare face looks.

Originally, this was going to be a single post, but when I put together all of the products I have tried since I have been homebound, I realized that the sheer information load would be overwhelming! For simplicity, I am breaking this into four parts: cleansers and makeup removers; moisturizers and eye creams; toners, exfoliants and lip care; and face masks, both wash-off and sheet. (Yes, you should also wear a mask when you’re out and about for safety, but those aren’t the masks I’m talking about.)

Disclaimer: As of the writing and publication of this blog post, I am not affiliated with any of these brands or products. I get a 600 point referral bonus for anyone who uses my Ipsy link to sign up, but otherwise, I receive no other compensation or perks.

Aromatica Tea Tree Balancing Foaming Cleanser
Wow. WOW. I cannot stress how much I love this stuff. The Korean brand Aromatica teamed up with Ipsy to send this out to subscribers, and I am obsessed. It foams without stripping my skin of all moisture, and I especially like to use it to get makeup off at night. The tea tree oil scent is noticeable but not overpowering, and it helps keep my skin clear from pesky breakouts. My face reacts horribly to salicylic acid, so this is a welcome alternative. You can buy Aromatica directly from their website (click here!), on Amazon, or on Peach and Lily.

You are my sunshine!

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
I picked this up at Ulta hoping that it would be similar in effect to the Aromatica cleanser. It was very much just…meh. I didn’t hate it, but I wasn’t sad to use it up. I noticed my face was a bit redder the first few days that I used it, but that subsided with regular daily use.

It would have been a fun experiment to buy pH strips and test this, but I forgot. Whoops!

Vanicream Unscented Gentle Facial Cleanser
So, you know how I love my Aromatica? I have similar feelings about this one. This is milder, but it leaves my face feeling soft and clean. I have used it in morning and nighttime routines, and it works well at both times. It’s available at Target (click here!).

Awww yisss. This bad boy is awesome. Buy it. Use it. Revel in its wonderfulness.

Malin+Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser
Meh. I got a sample of this in my Ipsy bag. It wasn’t awful, but I didn’t feel the need to buy a full size. Also, I’m not a fan of grapefruit anything, so that was not a selling point for me.

At least it didn’t break me out!

Makeup Removers
Simple Unscented Micellar Cleansing Water
Do yourself a favor: don’t try this. Don’t. Apparently it was reformulated and it irritates skin now. I tried it twice and looked like a lobster fresh out of the boiler. (Felt like one, too, except less dead.)

You were the chosen one! Simple has never done me wrong!

Ulta Waterproof Eye & Lip Makeup Remover
This feels…greasy? It’s pretty effective at removing waterproof makeup, but you may have to rub your eyes a bit to get everything. It’s inexpensive, too. If it wasn’t obvious, you can find it at Ulta.

When you shake it, the pink turns into bubbles!

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser & Waterproof Makeup Remover
So, I have used this for makeup removal as well as double cleansing. (The latter, I am sad to report, does not appear to be the miracle method of skincare for me, but if it works for you, go nuts.) Unlike Simple, it doesn’t burn or turn my face an angry crimson shade. I can also use it to wipe up accidental spills when I am coloring my hair; in fact, given the choice between micellar water or nail polish remover, I much prefer to use the water on my face, neck, and ears. I will also use it occasionally when I am too tired to properly wash my face and let it air dry, and it gets the muck out. You can find this at Ulta, Target, and any drugstore.

I’ve heard that this stuff combined with a makeup-removing towel is amazing, but I haven’t tried that yet. Maybe it’s something else to consider while I’m stuck at home, right?

I have a special post for next Sunday, and then we will resume skin care on the 21st. Stay safe and healthy, friends!

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3 thoughts on “Face Off, Part 1: Cleansers and Makeup Removers

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