In my search for the holy grail of cleansers, I’ve found a few noteworthy products that are special, though not quite perfect for my skin type or picky needs.  Not everyone is dry/mature like me, or has the same criteria for judging a cleanser, so these are definitely worth a mention.  They are all quality products that are clean, vegan, and gluten free.  Hope you see one you love.

One Love Organics Chia Whip: This fragrance free foaming cleanser, with a wonderfully simple formula, is a combination of soap and detergent.  It is SO close to perfect, I just don’t think any soap in the formula is the best choice for me.  It foams like mad (because of the foaming pump) and washes off all makeup in one step.  For my skin, it sometimes left me with just a smidge of that soapy tightness.  If I used the tiniest bit – one full pump or so – I didn’t feel tight, and those of you looking for a very mild soap cleanser may adore this. ($28/5 oz)

Sevani Ageless Radiance Refining AHA Cleanser: Designed for all skin types, this gorgeous soap free formula includes exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids along with anti-inflammatory botanicals to suit even sensitive skin.  It doubles as a mask, which is actually my favorite use for this product.  It’s another that came SO close for me, but the strongish orangey scent is not quite what I want for every day, plus it’s not something one can use to take off eye makeup. ($39/4 oz)

Skinnyskinny The Cleanser Organic Face Wash: This is another simple, soap-based formula that washes off all makeup in one step.  The lavender and chamomile EOs give nice antimicrobial and healing properties to the mix.  And, don’t ask me how, because the ingredients don’t suggest it, but it smells like ginger ale.  Lightly sweet, and really yummy, but nothing overpowering. ($22/4 oz)

Bubble & Bee Facial Cleansers: Try the sample pack to see what might fit your needs.  Cool Cucumber is for oily or acneic skin, and includes tea tree oil and peppermint for a refreshing cleanse.  Pineapple Enzyme is for normal skin, smells delicious, and includes enzymes for a little exfoliation.  The formula that comes close for me is Honey & Rosehip for dry, sensitive or aging skin.  It does have a soap base, but so much oil that it never made me feel tight.  It definitely behaves more like an oil cleanse than most cleansers.  It was the smell that made it a no for me.  It’s fragrance free, so just smells like the ingredients, but I didn’t care for it.  I did enjoy using up the bottle for leg shaving, though.  ($14.99/3.5 oz)

Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Cleanser: This is the current formula that replaced my old favorite.  No one, NO ONE, beats Kahina’s packaging.  The violet glass is the best kind for product preservation (save it for your DIYs!) and is simply gorgeous.  If you don’t mind a multiple-step process for makeup removal, this could be your thing.  The scent is herbal, not too strong.  There will never be any soapy tightness with this product, and it’s soothing on my skin.  I occasionally still use it in the morning (no makeup to get off) when I’m in too much of a rush for a honey cleanse.  I love that they now sell it in a travel/sample size. ($56 for 200 ml, nearly 7 oz)

Let’s try a virtual give-away party.  What products do you think are great, even if they aren’t quite the thing for you?

P.S. When we were searching for the right image for this post, we came across this face wash ad from the 1950s. Radioactive dirt, just to make sure the cleansing cream is working! You can’t make this stuff up.

Ever since my most beloved face cleanser underwent a formula change, I’ve been searching. See, I was one of those who practically cried when Kahina changed. Yeah, I know. Not a world-shattering problem, right?  But when you rely on a product to do an important function for you every day, and you love every single thing about it, it’s a serious bummer when you can’t get it anymore. I don’t mean to dis the updated Kahina cleanser formula, it’s nice­—but it’s not perfect for me. I want my cleanser to wash off all my makeup at the end of the day, including eye makeup, in one step. It needs to leave my skin feeling soft and hydrated, not squeaky or tight. It has to be unscented, or only have the mildest scent, which I love, and that does not stick around. It must suit my sensitive countenance, and of course be super clean, vegan, and gluten free. Dang, I am demanding.

I looked high and low, in brick-and-mortars and online boutiques, studying reviews and the recommendations of natural beauty bloggers. I bought lots of things, and thought I came close a couple of times.

I tried both soap-based and detergent-based cleansers. I became determined to hone my DIY skills and create a complicated brew, but in the time I had to spend on this, was unable to find success. I ended up revisiting the oil cleansing method, and was quite pleased with using coconut oil all through the winter. But the weather change made me yearn for a nice, light cleanser.

And then, as if by magical convergence of all things clean and gluten free, Julie Longyear posted some brilliant comments on this blog, with links. Who is this free-spirited chemistry goddess, I wondered? I followed the links to some very helpful information on her blog, and discovered she is the founder of Blissoma Solutions. The brand name rang a bell, and I located several very favorable reviews on Fig + Sage, which I recalled reading. I hadn’t tried the brand at the time, because I thought the essential oils would be too much for my skin. Recently, though, Julie created a new group of products for ultra sensitive/reactive skin. I immediately ordered the set, and (cue the rising music) found the Holy Grail.

Free – Rejuvenating Herbal Gel Cleanser and Makeup Remover: In short, it meets all my demands. While the instructions say to moisten skin first, I prefer to just put it right on my skin and massage it in, as with oil cleansing, then wipe it off. It takes off all makeup with ease and gentleness. If I don’t have any makeup to take off, I follow the instructions and use it like you’d typically use a cleanser, splashing it off with water. The scent is unusual, and I really love it. It just smells like its ingredients, not like it’s trying to smell like anything. My skin feels wonderful afterward, ready for the rest of my routine of hydrosol, serum and oil.  If you have oily or combo skin, you might not even need to do any other moisturizing at night, but I’m the dry/mature sort. I wouldn’t call it a gel exactly, maybe something between a gel and a cream cleanser. I love the pump container, not a typical pump but basically a giant serum bottle. I’d call the price mid-range, at $26.99 for 4 oz.

I’m also loving the Amend serum, and I’ll do a thorough review after I’ve used it a bit longer to really see the effects—and I have a few honorable-mention face cleansers that are great enough to post about soon. But for now…

Have you tried Blissoma?  What do you love?