What to look out for in a gentle cleanser
Our cleansing routine can be one of the most therapeutic activities in the PM—it’s like taking the weight of an entire day off, melting the stress away with a cleanser that you absolutely love. Grime off!
It sounds all lovely to reset our skin back to a blank canvas, ready for all kinds of yummy active ingredients and self-care time. However, we all know the struggle of finding a holy grail cleanser that is gentle, yet possess sufficient cleansing power.
Why you should avoid high pH cleansers
A high pH cleanser can alter our skin’s pH for the short term, but some studies have shown that continual use can have long-term impacts on your skin health. So for those dealing with really angry, sensitive, or dry skin, it's best to use a low pH cleanser!
Certain surfactants also have a tendency to bind to your stratum corneum’s proteins and lipids, leading to protein swelling and barrier function disruption. This causes skin dehydration and can leave that feeling of after-wash tightness which we are all probably familiar with.
Oh wait hang on…is it a crime to not use a low pH gentle cleanser you may ask? Well, as we've mentioned on our Instagram, if using a higher pH cleanser with that sexy luxurious foam is how you roll, you do you!
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): Generally pH friendly, this super common surfactant gives lovely foam. Unfortunately, studies have shown that this surfactant can interact with skin proteins and cause irritation. Despite this, it doesn’t necessarily mean we should rule out all SLS cleansers! With proper formulation, SLS irritation can be minimized and can actually be an effective, budget-friendly option for those not too bothered by it. If you’re wary of potential irritation, we recommend looking for blends with other mild surfactants listed below.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): Often times paired with SLS. SLES is the milder of the two surfactants.
Cocamidopropyl betaine: A common co-surfactant used in low pH cleansers derived from coconut oil. This surfactant is often found in gentle, lower pH formulas which makes it great for pH-sensitive skin. However, it has been linked to some cases of irritation because of insufficient processing leading to trace amounts of amidoamine.
Sodium Lauryl Sarcosinate: An anionic surfactant made from the salts of amino acids. This guy typically sits in the mid pH range of ~7.5, and can provide mild conditioning properties. This is one of the most commonly found mild surfactants used in cleansers like Cetaphil.
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI): One of the mildest surfactants commonly found in gentle cleansers and face bars. We highly recommend this surfactant for those struggling with really dry, irritated skin. Because it’s a more expensive surfactant, expect to see this blended with other surfactants (and also a higher price tag!)
Blank Slate - Low pH Gentle Cleanser
Launched back in September 2019, Blank Slate was formulated to be a minimalistic and gentle gel cleanser that's effective at removing daily sunscreen and makeup for all skin types: including sensitive skin! If you’re looking for a low pH Gentle Cleanser, you should give this a go.
It is SLS, SLES, and coco betaine free. Why "coco betaine free"? Coco betaine is one of the most popular surfactants found in many gentle, low pH cleansers. However, it's also an ingredient with a high potential to cause irritation (an unfortunate winner of 2004 allergen of the year). We wanted to create a coco betaine-free option for those who find this particular ingredient sensitizing.
We are also proud to say that it is a non-stripping formula, perfect even for twice a day use for our dry skin friends (like Gloria!) If you’re concerned that your ultra-gentle cleanser isn’t enough, try boosting the cleansing power with a soft cleansing brush, konjac sponge, or microfiber cloth for some mechanical help.
Good luck on your journey in gentle cleansing!