Cetaphil Cleanser: I Still Don't Get It

If one more beauty editor crowns this stuff "Best" anything, I'm gonna- I don't know - blog about it. Or something. For years now, people have been pushing this goop as the low-cost alternative to... what? Cleanliness? Everyone, from Paula Begoun to Glamour Magazine, continues to tout Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser as good option for people with average skin. Best P.R. job ever.

The ingredients are - let's see now: Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben. None of those things are horrible. But which of them is good? The product description on Drugstore.com reads, "This unique, low lathering formula..." Can we stop the tape there? Rewind? OK, zoom in. Is someone out there getting this stuff to actually "lather"?

Look, I'm not an unreasonable person. I love that mod, the-doctor-gave-me-this packaging and I would love to sit it on my counter. I'll buy that it doesn't strip the skin of moisture (that's supposedly the big selling point). But that's only because, in my experience, it doesn't get rid of anything at all. I can conceivably see someone with ultra-sensitive-and-dry, immune-to-acne, or newborn skin skirting by with using Cetaphil - although I have a sneaky suspicion they would still need to "clarify" at some point. Heck, it might even work as a morning cleanser, as long as you use something else at night. So I'm not saying it's rubbish or has no practical use. I just don't understand the rave reviews. But, could someone please explain to me what is really so great about this stuff so I can hop aboard the bandwagon.


ltbrwnhare said...

I, too, wondered about Cetaphil when I first tried it--how could it work without lather, etc.?
After using it for a short time, however, and getting fab results, I was hooked. Doesn't need to lather; removes all makeup (except waterproof mascara, for which I use a remover) and stopped my oily, blemish-prone skin from breaking out.

I picked up on the product from Paula Begoun/Cosmetics Cop and use it as a mechanical scrub with baking soda, too. I never purchase the pricier brand name, either--most stores have their own brand. I also love Cerave cleanser (another Paula recommendation).

Cetaphil-type cleansers may not work for everyone, but they've revolutionized my life/skin for the past 10 years!

Bianca C said...

I use something similar by Olay that is not lathering. I have found my skin to be 100% better since I stopped using lathering cleaners.I think they are probably too stripping, and therefore caused further breakouts.

As for Cetaphil, it has made such a huge difference in my daughter's skin, I didn't find it was the best option for me, but my daughters skin looks wonderful when she uses it regularly.

Veronica Marché said...

I never used the cleanser, but I will say I LOVE the moisture lotion. It's light, but it does the job. A drop keeps my oily face happy, and I can slather more onto my dry knees and elbows.

sj said...

I really want to love Cetaphil... it's cheap, able to be found at absolutely any grocery store or drug store in varying sized containers.

But it's crap. There. I said it.

I have very sensitive acne prone (and I'm over 30. sigh.) skin - I find the best stuff that works for me is soy cleanser by Fresh. I find it at Sephora. It's a pricey $38 a bottle, but it's awesome.

Anonymous said...

I like using Cetaphil as a make-up remover or when I need something really really gentle. Like when I decide to BURN MY FACE OFF RAFTING. Argh! Damn you non-water proof sunscreen!

Though, to be honest, it's never done anything for my acne. So, I'm thinking it's pretty much like what's been said, great for if you're not prone to break outs; bad if you're trying to get blemishes under control.

Brickhouse said...

So happy to see these comments! Like some of you, I can absolutely see this cleanser being useful when my skin is acting really sensitive or when I've overdone the sun/hydroxy/vitamin C. Thanks for the makeup removal tips, too.

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