I have never invested heavily in beauty products (yes, it does show). To reassure myself that this is the right decision, I do, though, read lots of articles that purport to tell me whether expensive creams really make a difference.
To date, nothing I have read has persuaded me that I should be spending more on my face. The article that sticks in my kind is by Ben Goldacre (a columnist for the Guardian newspaper in the UK ). His book on Bad Science holds that all face creams essentially do the same thing as vaseline, but some are less greasy.
So, with this reassurance, what I look for in facial products is low toxicity (of course), a smell/texture/feel that suits me and a price that is right.
When it comes to cleansers, I believe I have hit the jackpot. But I should say that unless you like lemon and fresh, citrusy smells, you will not agree with me.
On a daily basis I use Keys Soap Island Rx Foaming Wash. This is a castile-based cleanser that foams right out of the bottle (like those yukky-smelling kids’ hand soaps). It smells great (I must like avocado and clary sage) and leaves your face squeaky clean. But not so squeaky clean that you feel that all your natural, age-defying oils have been removed.
It comes in a pretty large bottle (236ml or 8oz), that lasts a long time, even if you share it with your husband (as I do). Yes, a unisex beauty product!
It also scores 0 (the best score) on the Skindeep cosmetics database. Keys is a company with a deep environmental commitment (that extends to its packaging and manufacturing processes).
Last, but not least, the cleaner is supposed to work well if you have eczema, psoriasis or other difficult skin conditions, but I cannot provide a personal opinion on this.
Keys Soap products can be purchased online or through various US retailers. They are not widely available in Canada, but there are a few dealers. I purchase mine through Hornet Mountain Natural Products in BC which provides good, personalised service. The foaming cleanser costs C$18.95.
My other cleansing winner is a very lemony, slightly gritty facial scrub: Suki exfoliate foaming cleanser (with lemongrass extract and natural sugar).
The smell is fantastic (definitely good enough to eat) and this product has just the right amount of abrasiveness for me. It really does leave your face with a glowing feeling. I don’t use it every day, but I really miss it if I leave home for a while without it (as I did on my recent European trip).
Like the Keys Foaming wash, this scores 0 on the Skindeep database, so perhaps you can actually eat it.
It retails for US$29.95 for a 4oz container (that does not sound like very much product, but you do not use much each time as it foams up quite well). I bought mine at online through Saffron Rouge (in Canada or the US). Otherwise see this page for US, Canadian and International retailers.