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The Ugly Side of Cetaphil and 5 Clean Alternatives

The Ugly Side of Cetaphil and 5 Clean Alternatives

Well and Good recently published an article about the harsh realities of the longtime loved Cetaphil face wash.

To summarize, Cetaphil and many dermatologists have been promoting it for years as the best gentle facial cleanser for sensitive skin. It only has 8 ingredients, but after water they are all manufactured chemicals.

And we wouldn’t exactly call them gentle.

What’s the problem?

The ingredients include 3 different parabens (known to cause endocrine disruption and linked to breast cancer), propylene glycol (increases chemical penetration into your skin and bloodstream) and sodium lauryl sulfate (known to cause skin irritation). Additionally, ethylene oxide is often added to sodium lauryl sulfate in order to make the chemical less irritating to skin and hair. This process creates a byproduct called 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen. Exposure can be toxic to the brain, liver and kidneys.

Read more about the scary effects of these chemicals on your body here.

What now?

We get it, weaning yourself from a product you’ve been using for years and are generally happy with may seem unnecessary. Why fix what’s not broken? Unfortunately, even if you aren’t seeing these potentially scary side effects right now, the long term health effects of these chemicals can be really serious.

Think about it, if you wash your face twice a day, over 10 years you are applying these controversial chemicals to your skin 7,300 times. That’s also just your face wash, think of the other products you use throughout the day. Makeup, shampoo, body wash, moisturizer. It all starts to add up really fast.

To make the separation anxiety a little bit less traumatic we found 5 gentle cleansers with clean ingredients to replace Cetaphil’s spot on your counter. 

1. Live Botanical Aer Complexion Cleanser

This hydrating, oil-free and soap-free milky gel gently cleanses without stripping or disrupting the skin’s delicate acid mantel. Formulated for acne prone and sensitive skin, mild astringents like green tea and aloe balance natural, healthy oil production without drying or stripping.

A customer fave, this is an easy transition to clean beauty, helping you maintaining a fresh, hydrated complexion. 100ml / $30

2. One Love Organics Easy Does It Foaming Cleanser

With a unique combination of organic Chilean soap bark, cold-pressed apple oil and vegetable glycerin, One Love’s Easy Does It lathers into a soothing, non-drying foam that cleans, softens and helps to protect. BONUS: You can use it on your face, body and hair.

Easy Does It Foaming Cleanser was a finalist in the 2012 Natural Health Magazine Beauty Awards in the facial cleanser category. The editors tested literally thousands of products before narrowing it down to the very best. 8.8oz / $29

3. Laurel Whole Plant Organics Facial Cleanser

A brand we can ALWAYS count on for ultra-effect plant-based formulas. There isn’t one product we haven’t fallen in love with from the line. The Facial Cleanser for Normal/Dry skin is no exception.

The non-foaming, non-stripping gentle facial cleanser effectively removes daily pollutants, excess oil, full makeup and sunscreen while deeply hydra ting and supporting a healthy skin barrier. The light, creamy gel-like consistency leaves skin soft, nourished and refreshed. 100ml / $56

4. Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Cleanser

Kahina Giving Beauty is like your friend with the model looks, who’s good at everything, and also happens to be really nice and selfless. The certified natural and  organic formulations are produced using ethically and sustainably sourced raw materials in addition to recycled packaging. In addition to paying fair wages to the indigenous women who harvest and produce the ingredients, founder Katherine has created local initiatives, to provide additional support to these women and their families.

Kahina’s Facial Cleanser washes away impurities without stripping your skin of its natural oils. The high concentrations of vitamin E and fatty acids in argan oil, coupled with organic willow bark and papaya extracts to replace moisture loss, eliminate toxins and impurities, gently tone and exfoliate and brighten skin. It also smells like heaven, naturally scented with neroli essential oils extracted from orange flower blossoms and herbaceous Moroccan blue tansy. 6.7oz / $45

5. Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash

Ursa Major’s Fantastic Face Wash is a foaming gel cleanser with a natural brightening complex. It thoroughly cleanses, brightens and clarifies your complexion , removes oil and grime and dissolves dead surface skin. The best part is that due to the high % of aloe this cleanser soothes irritated skin and leaves ZERO dryness. It feels refreshing and nourishing all in one.

BONUS: It’s guy-friendly and works perfectly for the whole family. 8 oz / $28


If you’re interested in the products above, you may also be interested in some of the products in our Clean Beauty Box. We ship clean and cruelty-free products to our subscribers every other month.


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