What Do You Use to Wash Your Face?

Let’s dive right in. Are you guys not using water? Do you make Alexandra’s DIY honey face wash? Have you also spent a small fortune on your Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser addiction because you keep going places and leaving your bottle in other people’s showers?

About that. I have written many, many times that I adore this cleanser. Maybe it’s the finicky skin I had as a teenager or the promises of beauty companies about the miracles of “pore-cleansing” face wash, but I’ve always been really particular about cleansers. When we were writing the book, I tried many and liked only a few. But when I discovered Tata’s, it was like the clouds parted and God slid down on a rainbow to deliver the most perfect-for-me product imaginable.*

I was hooked. And I still am. But, lo! There’s another contender in town…

When Kahina Giving Beauty mentioned it has reformulated its cleanser—which many of you were talking about in the comments because it’s part of this week’s Friday Deal—I was intrigued. I love her line, and I love argan oil, but when I’d tried the cleanser in the past I found it too harsh for my skin. I know many people who love it, and I was jealous of them. I wanted to love it too, but my skin would get angry at me if I tried.

Then, I left the Tata at my friend’s country house. Then, the Kahina ladies offered to let me try their new cleanser. Then, I fell in love. But since this isn’t boyfriends we’re talking about, I can have two: I adore Tata Harper’s and Kahina’s for different reasons, and my new plan is to alternate between the pair of them.

Now before I turn over the floor to y’all, there’s something else in the mix now, too. Pai has a new product—a kukui and jojoba bead skin brightening exfoliator—and I love that one as a weekly treatment. Stay tuned for more on that though, because it’s part of our Friday Deal on March 9!

K, your turn. What do you use to wash your face? We mean: products, tools, potions, you name it.

*Did I really just write that?

92 Responses to “What Do You Use to Wash Your Face?”
  1. Julie says:

    Article that I penned on cleansing suggestions for acneic skin. :) http://www.iriefromthetub.blogspot.com/2012/02/consult-herbal-chemist-acne-rescue-au.html
    If you have acne prone skin don’t use a soap based facial cleanser. I love the Alkaitis brand but even their cleanser is a liquid soap. Soaps can cause massive PH problems as they are basic PH, which disables your skin’s natural acidic defenses against bacterial accumulation.

  2. Marci says:

    I was in love with the Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser, but it gets pretty pricey! As I was about to re-up on Tata, I decided to try going simple and try using just pure organic coconut oil. Well it has been about two months and my skin is going great! Actually, I think my face likes it better than Tata! What is the most amazing part is that I have a problem with ingrown hairs on my chin and the coconut oil is the first product that has seems to actually reduce the ingrown problem.

    I apply the coconut oil directly to my face, massage it in and wipe it off with a warm cloth. This seems to take off all of my makeup and it is really cheap! Makeup remover and cleaner all in one, I love it!

    Now once a week, I use a the Pangea scrub and their mask. This new routine has really reduced my costs and it WORKS for me.

  3. nicolem says:

    I switched to the oil cleansing method and love it. At night, I just use straight castor oil and use a washcloth, maybe steam things a bit if I have time. I love that it’s amazing with makeup removal and that it leaves my skin feeling great. I still have acne troubles, but I like how my skin feels the next morning so much better. In the morning I just wash my face in the shower with water, or sometimes some of my clean Trader Joes Tea Tree shampoo lather will drift down and I’ll use that. Then it’s just straight virgin coconut oil for a moisturizer. I love it, and it’s so much cheaper than even my older Aubrey Organics stuff.

  4. Amanda says:

    I love Evan Healy’s Blue Lavender Cleansing milk. I also use her pomegranate serum, lavender hydro-sol and the green tea mask.. The only thing I add in is a little sugar to exfoliate in the cleanser once to twice weekly.

  5. Helen says:

    I always use coconut oil to remove makeup, and then I wash with Wellinhand Zero Zitz! http://www.wellinhand.com/collections/our-products/products/zero-zitz It’s made a big difference to my oily skin over the last few months and I can tell my monthly breakouts are far reduced.

  6. Rebecca W says:

    I use Pai Camellia & Rose Cleanser for sensitive skin. I had these red dots around my mouth, chin and nose that wouldn’t ever amount to anything (not acne). It reduced the redness about 60% pretty quickly and a year later (possibly with credit to another product, named below) it’s pretty much gone. It flares up with my mensies but…so does my acne, obviously both issues are hormone-driven.
    It’s also helped reduce (aided by Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel Sensitive) the rough, thick texture just above my jaw line towards my ears. If I don’t wash my face before bed even one night, I can tell the difference.

    Love, love, love both those products, and I have REALLY REALLY SENSITIVE skin.

  7. Caryn says:

    I’m thrilled to see the Oil Cleansing Method posted here! For all you breakout prone people out there, I have to cast my vote for OCM. I’m usually more of a fly on the wall and not one to comment, but I feel very strongly about this…
    After 17 years struggling with extremely oily (kids in school asked why I used Vaseline on my face!) and breakout prone skin that just never fully cleared despite all of my best obsessive compulsive cleaning habits, clean clean natural product lines, and very dirty prescription dermatological aids, my skin has since found so much clearing, balancing and relief with OCM. I use 2/3 castor oil with 1/3 organic jojoba. I massage this onto dry skin for about thirty seconds, wet a warm washcloth and use this to gently wipe the oil off. All of my makeup is removed, my face is clean but my acid mantle is intact = happy happy skin! I probably don’t need to moisturize after, but I find that four drops of organic jojoba massaged onto my face helps to balance my skin further and prevent that vaseline looking shine all day long. I used to use essential oils in my OCM mixture, but found those irritated my eyes a little too much when removing my mascara, now I save those for the bit of organic jojoba I use to moisturize the rest of my face afterwards. I use lavender, tea tree, geranium, helychrism, and eucalyptus. It smells and feels divine.
    Please consider ditching your cleansers. I always thought I was genetically cursed with acne prone/oily skin, now I’m learning that sometimes what we consider to be in our genes and beyond our control is actually the result of learned behaviors instilled in us by our parents. I’ve always always washed my face twice a day with a cleanser and a harsh toner because that’s what I was taught, and I’ve always always battled oily angry skin… until this past year when I broke that vicious cycle and realized my Mary Kay toting Mom with angry skin was wrong about the cleanser, was wrong about our family’s genetically caused acne. If you’ve tried all else and nothing’s worked, try OCM.
    p.s. I’ve always found coconut oil to feel very soothing, yet be extremely comedogenic on my face (love it on my legs and hair). If you have problem skin please don’t do the OCM with coconut or you will be disappointed.

  8. Votre Amie says:

    Huge fan of the DIY honey face cleanser! Someone above mentioned the sticky situation in the hairline – I definitely noticed that too at one point, though it wasn’t breaking me out, I had some sticky hair a time or two. I now use honey in the evenings so that I can be sure to get a thorough rinse in, and I use either Tata or Kahina in the morning. I know I know, two times a day face washing girl.


  9. ania says:

    i want to know more about the oil cleansing routine so please please share your experiences

    what kind of oils do you use?
    do you mix them fresh every day or keep them mixed for a longer time?

    do i understand correctly that you just massage a tiny amount of oil/s into dry skin, with make up on and all, and then take it off with washcloth soaked in warm water? would just warm water, without the washcloth, work? (i’m trying to cut down on laundry here:)

    thanks so much!

  10. Nicole says:

    I use, or used to use (it seems that they’re not making it anymore???? Eeeek!!!!) Chamomile Cleansing Milk from Just Pure (http://www.justpure.de/pages/en/index.php), and love it so much. I follow this up with Kahina Serum, and Tammy Fender Intensive Repair Balm. I shudder at the thought of finding a new cleanser… :(

  11. Liz says:

    Try keeping a food journal and also charting when you have acne flare ups. For me it’s just before ovulation and menstruation, but ONLY when I’ve been eating wheat! It took me a long time to figure that out, at first I thought it was dairy, but nope, not for me. Some facial products definitely clog my pores, but nothing causes cystic acne like wheat .
    Gotta say that coconut oil is the worst for my skin as well. It clogs pores big time.

  12. Guilly says:

    I am cleanser obsessed. I use a few. I use Kahina, Evan Healy and I have a sample by Tammy Fender.
    I also use a lemony one but I can’t think of the name right now. I really liked Kahina’s first cleanser before they reformulated it. Now you say they are reformulating it again? I can’t wait to try it. I tried Tata and it smelled good but didn’t do anything for me. I love trying new cleansers.

  13. Amanda says:

    I have been using Juice Beauty’s Blemish Clearing Cleanser for a few weeks and it is amazing. It deeply cleans but doesn’t dry out my face! I also use Juice Beauty’s Exfoliating Cleanser three times a week to exfoliate deeper! Since I have been using these two products my skin has never looked out felt better!

  14. M says:

    The Kahina cleanser (old formulations — can’t wait to try the new one!), but since I am expecting, I am trying to avoid essential oils, so it’s good ol’ organic coconut oil and a washcloth, just like Marci mentioned above! Works wonders.

  15. Kiki says:


    I can vouch for the wonders of OCM! I’ve been using oils for the past two years to both cleanse and moisturize my face and body and WOW what a HUGE difference it has made!! Though I was initially skeptic to how it could work, I now can’t imagine doing anything else. Call me converted—I’m OCM for life!!

    I use coconut oil to cleanse—I massage about a teaspoon into my face (or sometimes more if I’m wearing more makeup), and then I use a hot washcloth or muslin to gentle steam it off my face. I happen to think a washcloth really is essential in removing the oil and especially the makeup. Splashing some water around just wouldn’t be enough.

    I custom-blend my own facial oils, which last for about 3-6 months. The key to keeping them “fresh”, as you said, is storing them in a dark glass container and keeping them in a cool and dark place, unexposed to light (i.e. your medicine cabinet).

    As for what oils to use, I’d recommend starting with Jojoba, Sweet Almond Oil, or Grapeseed—all work beautifully on all sorts of different skin types.

    Good luck on your OCM journey!


  16. Rebecca says:

    Love the comments on this post…I may be inspired to try OCM or a DIY cleanser, since my fave Kahina cleanser formula changed. Better than a desperate search for a new cleanser!

  17. Rachel says:

    My favorite cleanser of all time is my Blissoma Rice Cleanser!

    My acne recovery story

    From the age of 14 – 18 I worked in fast food and in restaurants. Over that time period I contributed my acne to exposure of heat and grease. My acne included black heads, white, heads (bad), and the ever painful cystic acne. I thought I was the normal American teen. At 19 I began working for a law firm I thought my acne would fade out ….. but it didn’t. After 6 months I finally called a dermatologist he of course told me that there was nothing that would fix my acne except to see him and basically dish out a lot of money. I am a college student I don’t exactly have that kind of money.

    And then one day my skin miracle happened : ))

    I was watching a YouTube video review late at night. Usually I don’t consider buying products I see in videos. But I had a feeling I should take a look…. so I did. I was amazed by the reviews and after days of debating I contacted the owner. The owner Julie emailed me back and forth for over a week about every product I was curious about. Julie had no way to know if I would even purchase the product and honestly I didn’t even know if I would. About 2 weeks after I saw the video I purchased the rice cleanser.

    It arrived in within two weeks my skin had a significant change. Within two months my skin was clear and staying clear. I am proud of my skin and I adore this product! …. And many other blissoma product I have tried quite a few. The Rice Cleanser is just the one product I will not live without.

    It turned out what my skin needed was natural products and some love!

    A few brands I tried before that never worked for me. Proactive, Aveeno, Clean & Clear, L’Oreal Neutrogena, Olay, and probably a few that are random and names I can’t remember.

  18. Nikki says:

    I use raw african black soap with jojoba oil, coconut oil, and Shea butter. Once I wash my face with it, I use Shea butter as a moisturizer (spelling)! My face has cleared up so much!

  19. EcoLizzie says:

    I switch around to whatever is on sale at the time. I’m currently using not so perfect Neutrogena Naturals and the Olay cleansing brush (like clarisonic). I also love Weleda cleansing milk and Caudalie cleansing milk.

    I do Yes to Blueberries towelettes to remove makeup before I workout.

  20. Michelle says:

    I love Pai!! the Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser has helped my skin so much. I use it just at night to clean off my makeup and in the morning i use honey. I was using honey only but found it didn’t clean off the makeup well enough in the evening. I have sensitive skin and found a lot of cleansers that didn’t agree with me… Kahina and Evan Healy for example. I’ve recently bought the Acure Organics line for dry to normal skin, since it’s cheaper than Pai and I’m in love with their shampoos & conditioners, we’ll see how the skincare line works out!

  21. NicoleK says:

    I have pretty dry skin and just use plain organic honey to wash my face once a day. It’s the best results of any store-bought face wash I’ve ever used!

  22. Irishgal says:

    I swear by Zoe Organics Gentle Face & Body Wash! My skin has never felt cleaner, fresher and smoother. It lasts forever too which I love! it can be found here: http://www.zoe-organics.com
    My partner and I are expecting a baby next week and have some in the hospital bag ready for baby’s first bath!

  23. Impi says:

    I am currently using Dr. Brommers fragrance free soap for washing my face, After which I use virgin coconut oil to moisturize.

  24. Kerri says:

    I am also cleanser obsessed and have easily tried a gazillion. I love reading about what everyone else uses. My current favorites are Sodashi clay cleanser and Tata Harper refreshing cleanser (the one without the scrubby bits). I also like balm cleansers when my skin is feeling really dry or I have lots of makeup on (rare these days!). I almost always use a muslin cloth to remove my cleanser. I think it adds a gentle bit of exfoliation. I’ve been considering a Clarisonic brush but haven’t made the plunge yet.

  25. Gemma says:

    I’ve used many of the aforementioned in the past (Kahina, Tata, Dr Hauschka, just plain coconut oil)
    and I stumbled upon Pai last year and won’t go back. The Camellia & Rose cleanser is perfection for my rough, pale, and slightly sensitive normal skin. No acne issues, but major texture and pigmentation issues and my skin definitely looks better with the Pai than it ever has. I use their whole line, with some occasional John Masters and Dr Hauschka mixed in. I use the Pai Camellia & Rose cleanser at night with my Clarisonic and in the morning, usually just a spritz of toner (Pai BioAffinity) and wipe off. Don’t work for them or anything, just have major brand loyalty because I feel they’ve totally turned my skin around-much smoother and more even now!

  26. Kate says:

    I really wanted the oil cleansing method to work on my skin for the long term, and it did for a little while, but after a couple of months it backfired and turned into a major case of cystic acne. It has now been almost 2 months of recovering with strictly honey for cleansing and aloe. The aloe has made an enormous difference and has helped the healing process.

    On the plus side, it is a very simple and budget friendly way to nurse my skin back to normalcy.

  27. Nikki says:

    Keys Soap! Island Rx cleanser is amazing, clears my skin, and smells amazing.

  28. Danya D. says:

    For about six months now, I’ve been alternating between a couple of cleansing methods. Sometimes I use Pangea Organics Australian Wild Plum & Willow cleanser. It’s for combination to oily skin, which is definitely my category. I’ve been happy with it, but I’d really like to try ones from Pai and Acure before I consider Pangea my go-to. I also use raw organic coconut oil as my eye makeup remover (works great, I’ll never buy a conventional again!) and I use the oil as part of a \double cleanse\ as described in The Book. That just means first using the coconut oil to remove makeup, then following with the Pangea cleanser. And, on occasion, I use the coconut oil-only method as some of your have described. I love the way it makes my skin feel, but using it alone does seem to trigger breakouts for me. [I actually like the OCM method, but I wonder if other oils would cause the same problem. Any thoughts? Some have mentioned jojoba oil. Anyone had success with olive oil or others?] Lastly, I bought a Clarisonic Mia over the summer and I initially used it twice a day. But after reading a post on over-exfoliation from Spirit Demerson, I’ve cut way back on the Mia. I just break it out 3 or 4 times a week, total.

  29. Emma says:

    I am loving Karen’s Botanicals Gentle Cleansing Lotion for my dry, sensitive skin.

  30. sara says:

    @Sarah – I second what @a says about eliminating dairy. It was a huge step toward clearing up my acne. Ditto for limiting my sugars and simple carbs. I dilute Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap with water (about 1:1) and dispense it in a clean foam soap pump thing (that used to have Dial foaming soap in it). I use this at night to wash off my makeup, and it works fantastically. I use it to clean my makeup brushes too. In the mornings, I either do not wash my face or I use a scrub made from organic raw honey and baking soda. Both are pretty inexpensive and keep my skin happy.

  31. cecelia says:

    I only use water and the Jane Iredale cleansing mitt. The mitt is incredible in removing mascara and eyeliner and all other makeup.

  32. Kim says:

    As I am British I am a big fan of Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish which has been a bestseller in the UK for many years. It’s a natural cream which you use with a hot muslin cloth to wipe off. It’s suitable for all skin types & ages & leaves skin sooooooo soft. For a change I sometimes use Nuxe Honey wash-off cleansing gel & for a weekly ‘scrub’ I like Dr hauscka’s Cleansing Cream.

  33. Lauren says:

    I’m so glad to find your site. I recently switched to all naturals, and use the Intelligent Nutrients Anti-Aging cleanser. At first it felt strange that it didn’t foam but I read about how foaming agents can cause irritation so I made my peace with it.

  34. Barbara says:

    My skin is normal to dry and extra sensitive right now because I’m pregnant. I’ve tried lots of cleansers and love the most Jurlique’s Replenishing Foaming Cleanser (John Masters LInden Blossom is also soothing) for removing makeup at the end of the day. After reading your comments I really want to try coconut oil and a wash cloth though. I like raw organic honey in the am or just a splash of water.

  35. eva says:

    Right now I use raw Manuka honey, and it’s great – not drying at all but so far it keeps breakouts at bay. I have yet to find a non-stripping, acne-acerbating cleanser that doesn’t leave my skin either dry or clogged. Has anyone else had good experiences with the One Love Organic Skin Savior Balm? It’s awesome for me (but too expensive to use as a cleanser I think!)

    Any tips, people? I don’t wear skin make up anyways, so that’s not an issue. I suspect the OCM won’t be for me, a bit too involved as a new mom in a few months – but I will need something for the dirty, sweaty, sunscreen-y New York summer..

  36. Rebecca says:

    @eva, I just started trying a new thing that might work well for you. I didn’t like the full on OCM, so I’m mixing a few drops of an oil with several drops of a simple soap. I just mix in my palm and massage on damp skin, rinse with water. Pai Bioregenerate is my favorite oil so far for this purpose but it could be anything, and my soap is NutriBiotic Coconut oil soap (similar to Dr Bronner but even fewer ingredients). It gets off sunscreen and my mineral makeup and leaves my skin soft. You can change the proportions of oil and soap to suit the need.

  37. wildflower says:

    I use rhassoul clay (powder) mixed with water, lemon juice or tea as a face wash or a mask. It’s the best daily wash for my combination skin.

    I remove heavy makeup (incl, mascara) with grapeseed oil: a few drops on a cotton ball and spray on some rosewater (buy a big bottle and pour some in a spray bottle- very practical) or squeeze out some herbal or green tea from a used teabag. Works like a charm.

    Raw Gaia has Rhassoul Clay but I have also used Urtekram, I’m sure any brand will do as long as it’s just one ingredient in the product: http://www.rawgaia.com/organic-skin-care/face-packs/sun-dried-rhassoul-clay.html

    I also like Dr Hauschka cleansing creme when I need a more moisturising face wash. (will not remove makeup) It smells like almonds and roses and is all natural.

    Once a month I will use REN’s Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask for a proper peel.

    For a moisturizer I usually have 2-3 drops of an oil (Akamuti’s Replenishing Rose Facial Oil, Weleda’s Almond Oil, Dr H. Normalizing oil, or pure grapeseed oil— all these work for my skin type) mixed with a pea-sized drop of aloe vera gel (I prefer Jason’s).

    This is all very basic, simple and natural and even though some of the ‘fancy’ oils can be expensive. they truly last a long time.

    Now I only wish I knew this when I was a teen covered in pimples using harsh cleanser which caused many acne scars. :( Well, at least I hope this advice helps someone.

  38. Tori says:

    I have made the ultimate discovery for my skin. Weleda Almond Cleansing Milk. It has changed my skin, no joke. Here’s what I do: wet my face, apply a nickel-quarter sized amount, rub all over face for about a minute, maybe less, then use a dry cotton pad to wipe it all off. then i splash my face with water, pat dry and head to bed. THE BEST! my skin glows….

  39. Tori says:


    I figured I should add a few more details. I only splash with water in the AM then use jojoba oil. i just bought Burt’s Bee’s Radiance Day Cream with spy 15 and so far so good, so I mix that with the oil or wear alone.

    I also supplement with REN Glycolactic Peel (AMAZING) Evan Healy Rose Clay masks and honey masks as needed. And just bought some Lancer Gel (brand Epicuren) that I’m liking. You may notice, I love products but I’ve actually really edited what I use. Daily is just jojoba in the AM, Weleda in the PM, masks are 1-2x a week.

    I’ve tried so, so many cleansers and techniques. Including coconut oil, Pai cleanser, acure organics, many others, including “dirty” brands when I was younger. But the above regimen has really cleared my face up, it’s simple, and not too pricey. Yay!

  40. Nikki says:

    I’ve been struggling with acne since I was a pre-teen…now I’m 38 and still fighting with it! It’s been worse than ever here lately so I’m on the hunt for something new. I really want to try the castor oil and jojoba oil mix…I’m just nervous anytime I see the work “oil” and the thought of putting it on my oily acne prone skin! I’m plan to try something new though besides a cleanser, which is what I’ve always used.

  41. Mandy says:

    I just discovered this site today and I’m very interested in trying some of these methods out, but I don’t really know where to begin with what to try first for the best results. I’ve had acne since I hit puberty and still struggle with it to this day…and I’m 24 years old now. My skin is super oily and i have blemishes pretty much everywhere that come and go depending on the day. I’ve never been one for natural or “clean” methods since it’s not how I was raised, so color me clueless. :-)

    I’m most intrigued by cleansing with honey and moisturizing with aloe vera (force of habit to have a cleanser and moisturizer). But the oil cleansing thing has me interested too but I am REALLY worried about it making my skin too oily as a result of using it. Aaand to top things off, I need to get my skin under control asap since my husband is coming home in a few weeks from a year long deployment and I want to look/feel as pretty, for once in my life, as he says i am. Ha. Sooo, yeah. I’m going to try the honey and aloe at the very least for now, unless there is another method/suggestion that anyone has that has made a difference.


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  1. […] having a weekly affair with her Mia brush right now—but Siobhan has officially added it to her favorite cleanser list. (Alexandra is planning to put down the Mia to try it soon.) Anyhoo…. Deal numero uno: Order […]

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