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.

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.

We get it though, it can be really hard to wean yourself off of a product you’ve been using for years and are generally happy with. 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 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. The chemicals start 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. We’ve got you covered at all price points.

Cetaphil Ingredient Alternatives - Facial Cleansers

1. Acure Facial Cleansing Creme

Acure is a great brand to explore when you are starting to convert to a cleaner beauty regime. Their products are the real deal and sold at very accessible price points. Anyone who has said that natural skin care is just too expensive hasn’t tried Acure. BONUS: It’s sold at Target! Also, their Instagram feed is hilarious and we highly recommend you follow for a daily giggle.

Their extra-gentle, creamy facial cleanser features the moisturizing benefits of Fair Trade Certied™ organic olive oil, moroccan argan oil, and cocoa butter, the antioxidant power of blackberry and rosehips and the mild cleansing of mint. It removes makeup, dirt and impurities without stripping the skin’s natural acid mantle. Great choice for even the most sensitive skin. 4oz. $14.99

Shop Acure Facial Cleansing Creme

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 (2.25oz $9)

Shop One Love Organics Easy Does It Foaming Cleanser

3. S.W. Basics Cleanser

Another amazing brand found at Target. Next to rinsing with water, S.W. Basics Cleanser is about as simple as you can get. It’s perfect for problem and sensitive skin. It’s gentle, non-drying, and contains no alcohol. Plus it smells awesome. Made simply with a traditional organic rosewater-and-glycerin base and a tiny bit of organic tea tree oil.

This fluid cleanser is applied almost like a toner. Instead of sudsing up with water, you can apply it directly to the skin with an organic cotton pad or soft facial cleansing cloth then rinse gently with warm water. 4oz for $24.

Shop SW Basics Cleanser

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 incorporate organic materials whenever possible and 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 willowbark 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 $56

Shop Kahina’s Facial Cleanser

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 for $28

Shop Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash


If you’re interested in the products above, you may also be interested in some of the products in our beauty box. We ship luxury organic, natural, non-toxic, and cruelty-free products to our subscribers monthly.

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  • Warriah

    lol this article is bullshit, nice fearmongering here