Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Over & Under: Most Overrated & Underrated Face Cleansers

There are always products that receive endless raves, but they don’t always live up to our expectations or work out as well as they do for others.  Share your picks for most overrated and underrated FACE CLEANSERS.  Don’t forget to share your whats and whys as to your choices!

  • Most Overrated: [answer]
  • Most Underrated: [answer]

My Picks

  • Most Overrated: Philosophy Purity Made Simple (original) – it’s good but not *amazing* – and I like the foaming one a bit more.
  • Most Underrated: Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser – it gets a lot of love, but I think it’s easily forgotten about, too!

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48 thoughts on “Most Overrated & Underrated Face Cleanser

  1. helen

    I’m not sure that i can suggest an overrated cleanser (i think anything over $25.00 would be excessive for me) but the most underrated is my favourite, Checks and Balances from Origins. A little goes a long way. Gentle enough not to strip my skin from all moisture but strong enough to take off all my face makeup and leave my skin squeeky (i’m oily) clean.

  2. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Amy xamyx

    Overrated: I feel there are *many* that are overrated; basically, anything over $10 USD. However, I would have to go with Philosophy Purity Made Simple. I was so excited to receive a (very) large sample a while ago from Sephora, but after using it for nearly a month, I still hated it (I realize it takes time for skin to adjust to a new regime, so I tried for several weeks).

    Underrated: Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash; this is my HG, although, after “discovering” this nearly 10 years ago, I’ve tried others. I keep coming back to this one, though. It’s under $6 USD for an 8 oz bottle that will last at least 3 months, even using it 2X a day. The only down side is the smell (since it contains Tea Tree oil), and that I can’t use it on my eyes (for my eyes, I use plain castile soap or J&J Purpose-or CVS equivalent). It leaves my skin so supple, and really cleans deep down without leaving my skin tight and/or dry, so I’m willing to deal with the scent. Although my skin is more “mature”, and is no longer as oily as it was, I still get the same results after using this cleanser.

  3. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Mariella Mariella

    Over-rated: Fresh Soy Facial Cleanser – didn’t leave my skin feeling clean and it’s expensive and smells weirdly unpleasant. Also, Clinique’s original Facial Soap…I used that when I was in high school and it stripped my face even back then and, as I recall, really stung my eyes if I got any of it into my eyes while rinsing my face

    Under-rated: Good old Dove unscented beauty bar (or whatever they call their bar soap) and also Clarins’s cleansers with shea (for dry skin) or cotton seed (for normal to combo skin). Having read Helen’s answers, I’m now eager to try the Origins cleanser she mentioned.

  4. Most Overrated: I can’t name any although I feel a lot of really expensive cleansers are overpriced.
    Most Underrated: Lush Ultrabrand is soft and moisturizing, I just don’t hear many people about it.

  5. I completly agree
    Most Overrated: Philosophy Purity Made Simple – It made me break out.
    Most Underrated: Cetaphil… I LOVE IT. It’s my HG cleaner.

  6. Overrated: Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser. Don’t get me wrong, I think it works well and is gentle. However, I feel like if you want a thorough cleanse, you have to use it twice. It’s just not strong enough for me.

    Underrated: Ren Mayblossom Cleanser. Works really well for acne, oily prone skin. A little pricey, but super gentle and has a nice, fresh fragrance.

  7. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Malia Malia

    Overrated- totally agree with the Philosophy PMS… just realised those are the initials lol!

    Underrated… well I really love and never hear about Luxe Reve de Miel facial cleanser. It not only cleanses my face and makes it softer but it even removes most eyemakeup, I use it daily in the shower.

  8. Danielle

    Christina, I agree wholeheartedly! I’m not a fan of Purity because I have fair, sensitive skin and it causes me to severely break out after one use. I’ve retried it tons of times over the years, but I just cannot use it. Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser is the cleanser I use everyday. No breakouts and if anything, my skin has gotten much clearer since using it!

  9. Melody

    Hmm, Idk that I can pinpoint one overrated cleanser but I will say that I think most of them are overrated, particularly the higher end ones. A good cleanser doesn’t have to cost much. Although cleansers are like mascara: different for everyone. But my favorite cleanser right now which I think is entirely underrated is the one that comes in the AcneFree sensitive skin kit. Actually that whole kit is lovely although I don’t often use the benzoyl peroxide treatment (but it is much gentler than others). The cleanser has quality ingredients and I don’t find it irritating at all. Plus that system is one of the only ones I’ve tried that actually helped my acne. The only other thing that makes a difference is retin-a.

  10. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Jill AnGeLwInGz

    Most Overrated: Clean & Clear Morning Burst. Sure it smells good but all that perfume they put in it gives me a rash.
    Most Underrated: Skyn Iceland Glacial Face Wash. I love this stuff and I can’t figure out why they stopped selling it at Sephora and Beauty.com.

  11. Lauryn

    Over-rated: Purity Made Simple. Hands DOWN! I did a youtube video comparing both PPMS and Neutrogena Naturals. Granted neither of the products were better than the other for different reasons, but I found with BOTH, i had makeup residue after cleansing. So.. yeah, so much for that.

    Under-rated: MAC Green Gel & Biore Gel: I have both and can’t see a difference between either, both get makeup off, both leave my skin clean but not tight. I guess with these, its a price point difference.

  12. Sanguine13

    Overrated: Definitely Purity Made Simple. I got a sample of it at Sephora and while it was fine… it wasn’t as great as its fans make it out to be. Also, pretty much every Clean & Clear cleanser – the ingredients are so harsh and they dry out my skin sooo much.

    Underrated: Spectro Derm makes great cleansers. I think the brand is only sold in Canada so they’re not widely known. I’ve also liked Paula’s Choice’s cleansers.

  13. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Emily 18thCenturyFox

    Overrated: The cleansing oils- there was always an unpleasant residue that my face doesn’t agree with. And ANYthing ProActive- hell to the NO on that stuff. I honestly used to avoid Purity Made Simple because it just didn’t do the job, but either it has changed or my skin has changed and we get along famously!

    Underrated: Dr. Bronners, baby! When I had cystic acne, full strength Peppermint cleared up an impossible mess! On the flipside, I cannot stand the tea tree kind even when it’s diluted. But my skin detests tea tree oil in ANYthing.

    • Elysia

      what is the peppermint stuff you are talking about?

      • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Emily 18thCenturyFox

        Peppermint Dr. Bronners alternated with the baby version of Dr. Bronners cleared up an insanely bad case of cystic acne, I mean the kind I couldn’t even face in the mirror half the time. The baby version also healed every piercing and tattoo I ever had- like a charm…

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Sasha Sasha

      The cleanse off oil I use recommends using your normal cleanser afterward, it’s just meant to be a makeup remover. Perhaps that’s why you had oily residue?

      • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Emily 18thCenturyFox

        I tried Boscia and Shu and they were just no go’s. I just want a one stepper- ya know? Plus I use a Perricone toner and I don’t want it to have to break an oil barrier in order to penetrate the skin. It’s so particular to the kind of skin one has.

  14. Joan

    Love, Love, Love the new Neutrogena Ultra Gentle facial cleanser. It smells good and it feels silky on the face. It is a foaming cleanser and feels really gentle. I have other cleansers, but since I purchased this when it first came out, I’ve been using it exclusively. Also use the Ultra Gentle SPF moisturizing lotion and creme. Definitely recommend this cleanser.

  15. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of rebecca blueraccoon

    Overrated: I’d go with Purity Made Simple, too; it just dried out my skin and I didn’t like it at all.

    Underrated: SkinCeuticals is a great line of products that I don’t hear people talking about very often; it’s a little difficult to get if you’re not near a place that sells the line, but I think it’s really high quality. I use their Gentle Cleanser when my skin is feeling irritated and raw, and it’s really nice. It *is* expensive, however.

    Also, Kate Somerville is excellent. I’m now using the Detox Daily Cleanser and it’s just the right balance between clearing up my skin and gentle enough to use every day.

  16. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of KaseyCannuck KaseyCannuck

    Most Overrated: Any acne cleanser. I have yet to try one that doesn’t feel like acid eating away at my eyeballs!!

    Most Underrated: Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser in the morning on a clean face. I find it doesn’t take of the water-resistant makeup at all. At the end of the day I use regular baby wash, either Johnson & Johnson or a store brand. It takes care of the eye makeup without stinging.

  17. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Chelsea Chelsea

    Overrated: I’m wil you on Purity Made Simple! Broke me out in hives that lasted for days. I also think Cetaphil is overrated though, I find it extremely drying and not at all gentle.

    Underrated: CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. This stuff is what Cetaphil tries to be. No detergents, very gentle, removes all my makeup (though I still use an eye makeup remover). Also, very inexpensive.

  18. Michele

    Overrated- without a doubt Purity Made Simple
    Underrated- Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash

  19. Im with you on Philosophy’s purity cleanser. It was nice but over priced for how simple the product was. I found the the Biore Combination balancing skin cleanser performed the same at an affordable price.

    As far as underrated goes, I think the Biore cleanser I mentioned or the purpose gentle cleansing one is very underrated but works great.

    • JoElla

      I agree!

      PMS totally ruined my skin and I really like my Biore cleanser for combo skin. It really cleans well, and doesn’t leave a film and hasn’t freaked my skin out. I really think I will repurcase this once gone.

  20. Donna

    I agree with all that say Purity Made Simple is the most overrated. I’m now using it to clean my brushes just to get rid of it! :)

    Underrated, I have to say Mac Creme Cleanser. It feels so good and luxuriousness, it cleans all of the makeup off and rinses easily. Love it!

  21. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Susan Susan Nevling

    Most overrated: Philosophy Made Simple, Peter Thomas Roth cleansers and Dr Perricone cleansers. all burn my skin.

    Underrated: Cetaphil ans CereVe non sudsing facial cleanser (not exact name) Exuviance Creme facial cleanser, Neutrogena’s new line of Natural cleansers w/ and w/o makeup remover (These are the only sudsing cleansers I can use so far) and Sephora’s cleansing oil.

    My skin is super sensitive to cleansers so my opinion may not really reflect on the product.

  22. Tiffany

    Most overrated: Cetaphil. I know many love it, but I agree with Penelope – it just doesn’t clean well enough on the first go-around.

    Most underrated: Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash. It cleans my dry, sensitive skin without drying it and it doesn’t sting my eyes. I love it.

  23. Maureen

    overrated: purity made simple

    underrated: korres milk proteins foaming cream cleanser. it’s gentle, yet effective. My skin has more of a “glow” when I use it – I guess because of the milk proteins? There is a noticeable difference in the condition of my skin. the smell is clean and comforting.

  24. Tyler

    overrated: maybe cetaphil. I have used it and it did nothing for me. Didn’t make my normal-combo skin feel clean at all.

    underrated/overpriced: cle de peau refreshing cleansing foam. Bliss’s Fabulous foaming was okay. Haven’t used it in forever!

  25. Kellie

    Overrated: Cetaphil. Sorry, guys. I’m over the hype.
    Underrated: Simple facial cleanser. It is one of the few cleansers that I can use eyes wide open. I don’t like feeling vulnerable, even washing my face. If someone attacks, I am still able to put up a good fight.

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Emily 18thCenturyFox

      Ugh- I get that way in the shower when I’m shampooing especially, I feel super vulnerable.

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Jess Jessica

      I have that feeling in the shower too! Every time I close my eyes my mind just goes “Oh hey, you know what we haven’t thought about in a while? Serial killers.”

  26. Winni

    Most overrated: Purity Made Simple. It was ok, but nothing great.
    Most underrated: Paulas Choice cleanser for combo skin.
    While I don’t always agree with Paula’s opinions; she makes some fantastic products.

  27. reesa

    I’m not sure that I really have an ‘overrated’ pick for a cleanser. I use Philosophy Purity on a daily basis, and have for years. And although it has served me well for years, lately I have been searching for alternatives.

    I’ve been using ‘Fresh Farmacy’ by LUSH and I really like it! I would consider this as my choice for ‘underrated’ :-)

  28. Lauren

    Overrated: the cetaphil and the purity
    Underrated: alpha hydrox foaming face wash

  29. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Ellen Ellen

    Overated: Cetaphil, not such a good cleanser, and I got allergic to it after years of use!! Keep going back to it every few years, and still allergic to it!! So much for gentle.

    Underated: Clinique Comfort Cream Cleanser. Exactly the same as their redness relief cleanser but without the green dye and a lower price tag. This fragrance free, gentle cream takes off all makeup, including waterproof eye make up and mascare, so you only need one product at night for washing off your make up. I rinse with water, a wet washcloth or a wet cotton ball afterwards, apply Cliniuqe Mild Clarifying lotion and to bed!

  30. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of aak3 aak3

    Most overated is Philosophy, did awful job with makeup & skin, same with Cetaphil.
    Most underated is Kiehls Blue Herbal, brings blood to surface, doesn’t change PH, cleans completely (including makeup) & using same reg. size bottle for 1 1/2 years, need very little. When skin is acting up (sensitive, burns from allergic cosmetics) I use Lamer gel or fluid cleanser. Just started & cleans very well without causing further irritation & need very little. Heard good things about CERAVE but haven’t tried it. For 30 years haven’t found better facial scrub than Cliniques 7 Day Scrub.

  31. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Kate Kate

    Not sure about an overrated one…
    But underrated: Vichy Normaderm gel cleanser. I’ve been using it for years and it takes off make up, oil and dirt without making my skin feel dry and tight like many other acne targeting cleansers.

  32. Nikki

    Overrated: Any Clean & Clear product. I’ve used a couple specifically for treating acne back when I suffered from breakouts, and they didn’t do much to help. Plus they dried out my skin something terrible. I also didn’t have much luck with St. Ives Apricot Scrub. I bought it for deep cleansing but it obvious didn’t clean that well because I always seem to get pimples immediately after use. =/

    Underrated: I wouldn’t say it’s really underrated, but I love Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. It’s the best cleanser I’ve ever used. It cleanses very well, doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin, is frangrance-free, and never causes me to have dry skin. I can say that my skin is the softest it’s ever been, and I believe it is due to this cleanser. I have tried others after using this product, and I always come back to Cetaphil. I think it’s great!

  33. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of E eRiN

    Most Overrated: Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish
    Most Underrated: One Hand Washes The Other – Black Magic Cream Cleanser

  34. JEN

    Most Overrated Cleanser: Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser – very drying for my already dry skin. I didn’t feel clean after using this.

    Most Underrated Cleanser: Purity Organic Conditioning Cleansing lotion. I’ve heard Lisa Eldridge, a make up artist here on youtube rave about this. It’s wonderful and takes your makeup off so well! I love that it’s organic and so gentle on the skin. It’s a British brand but I would purchase again because I love it so much. Also, it’s so affordable!

  35. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Marianne Mar

    Most overrated cleanser: Clearasil
    It’s so agressive on acne prone skin… Doesn’t do anything but harm.

    Most underrated cleanser: Nivea Cleansing Wipes with argan oil
    I use them to take off my facial makeup and it leaves my skin soft, smooth and clean without leaving greasy residue.

  36. Tuna Lala

    Overrated: Cetaphil. I know it’s endorsed by dermatologists all over the world and is mild and all but I think this is a good cleanser only if you have normal skin and do no wear makeup.

    Underrated: Eucerin Gentle Hydrating Cleanser. I feel that it removes impurities a little better than Cetaphil without any harsh chemicals. If I need industrial strength cleaning I think Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile soap takes the cake! Very underrated for its many uses.

  37. sudeki

    Most overated is Philosophy purity, fresh soy cleanser
    Most underated is all the cleansers from the balm

  38. Adeline

    Most underrated:
    Chanel Mousse Douceur
    Origins Checks & Balances
    Vichy Normaderm cleansing gel (comes in a pump bottle)