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Cleansers - Cetaphil - Gentle Skin Cleanser



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rated 3.5(4866 reviews)

  • Average Rating: 3.5
  • 63% would buy again
  • Package Quality: 3.5
  • Price: $$

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 2/21/2008 3:58:00 AM More reviews by skincareman

Age: 36-43 Skin: Other, Tan, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Straight, Medium Eyes: Blue

I've been using this for a month now and am finding it to be a good cleanser.


It cleanses well, rinses off perfectly and isn't irritating. It does slightly (very slightly) dry my skin out but not that tight dry feeling you get with some other cleansers. I have also not developed any clogged pores or breakouts while using this, and I'm *very* prone to clogged pores!


Would I buy it again - yes. Will I keep using it - I'm not sure as I'd like to find a good cleanser that also removes my sunscreen so I can skip that extra step. Even if I don't continue to use it as my main cleanser, it will always remain as a backup or for those occasions when I need very gentle cleansing.


On the whole though I do recommend this cleanser.


-- update March 6, 2008 --


Having tried a couple of other cleansers which made my dry skin incredibly oily over the past week, I've upgraded my opinion of this cleanser to Holy Grail. It really does cleanse my skin thoroughly, but gently and will remain a staple in my bathroom.


-- update March 31, 2008 --


Still using and loving Cetaphil. I was recently admitted to hospital for a week and it was the one product I took with me so I could still cleanse my face twice daily. It saved my skin and while I would normally end up with really horrible looking skin after such an ordeal this time my skin looked just as good as before I was admitted.


-- update January 5, 2009 --


I had thought that Cetaphil was causing me clogged pores but after much experimentation have found that it wasn't and it is indeed the best cleanser for my skin.


-- side note --


To the people voting this down because it doesn't foam or doesn't remove your makeup, it's not supposed to! It is a mild lotion cleanser and you should be removing your makeup (or indeed waterproof sunscreen) with an appropriate makeup solvent/remover (I'm a guy and even I know that!). It may remove some light, non-waterproof makeup (particularly if you used a wash cloth), but that is all. Please, please stop ruining the ratings system by voting products down because you've misused them!

88 out of 91 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 5 of 5 on 9/18/2004 4:59:00 AM More reviews by lillamars

Age: 25-29 Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure Hair: Other, Other, Other Eyes: Other

ok after hearing rave reviews and trying it & hating it & then trying it later with a different method, i love it. First the wrong way. Do not wet your face to use this. It does not work.
The correct way:
Start with a dirty face(Makeup wearing)First do your whole eyemakeup remover routine-I personally spread that old school Jergens face cream around my eyes(I use waterproof mascara) & tissue off, leaving the eye area clean but moisturized. The rest of your face should still have makeup on it.
Then squirt some cetaphil in your hands and then rub it all over your dry face. You will see the cleanser lifting the makeup and dirt away in the lotion. Next, take a clean washcloth, get it wet with warm water and wring it out till its just damp. Now go over your face with the washcloth & you will see that the makeup and dirt has transfered to your washcloth with the Cetaphil that you are wiping off your face. Then you can use a separate cleanser if you want to deep clean or not. And I just started doing this two days ago & my skin looks amazing(I've been getting compliments) In the morning, I have been spreading Cetaphil on my dry face like a thick moisturizer and then softly wiping it off with a Kleenex so that there is still some left on my skin. Makeup goes on smoother, and the actual texture of my skin is more even. It looks pampered. By the way I have acne-prone skin, and this doesn't aggravate it. I hope that this helps some of you girls out.

37 out of 38 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 3 of 5 top reviewer on 9/25/2006 11:46:00 AM More reviews by Marguerite

Age: 44-55 Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Blond, Other, Other Eyes: Blue

I have used Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser as a morning cleanser for many years until I discovered Spectro Jel. I tried using Cetaphil in the evening but without success; it does not remove makeup effectively. The reason I switched my morning cleanser to Spectro Jel is threefold: 1- Spectro Jel does not contain Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Cetaphil does; 2- Spectro Jel smells better to me than Cetaphil although both are fragrance-free; and 3- Spectro Jel is more economical than Cetaphil. Reason # 1 was the most swaying for me: SLS is a known irritant, but because it is a very effective and inexpensive detergent allowing for better distribution of the product while washing hair or skin, it is found in countless personal care products like shampoos, toothpaste and soaps. Some experts deem it relatively safe in certain products due to short contact time, but research suggests that prolonged exposure to this irritant is likely to cause skin damage. Knowing this, I don’t want to take any chances with skin care products containing this potentially harmful ingredient if they are going to remain on my skin longer than shampoo on my hair. Why then does Cetaphil, which contains SLS, recommend its usage with or without water? Doesn’t using it without water mean that some of it will remain on the skin? Cetaphil is also recommended "to clean sensitive baby rash areas", but according to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, products containing SLS can affect those prone to eczema and other irritants by taking moisture away from the top layers of skin, and people with sensitive skin (prone to dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and chemical sensitivity) by causing flare-ups of skin conditions or possibly worsening existing conditions. Regardless of its concentration or its place in the list of ingredients, should such a potentially harmful ingredient be found in a cleanser which claims to be "as gentle as it gets" ?Ingredients: purified water, cetyl alcohol, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, stearyl alcohol, methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben continued >>

17 out of 24 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 5 of 5 on 3/9/2013 10:50:00 PM More reviews by cosmeticated

Age: 36-43 Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Other, Other Eyes: Green

Kind of like washing your face with jizz but what can I say this is great stuff

15 out of 20 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 5 of 5 on 1/29/2011 2:13:00 AM More reviews by pinkinthecity

Age: 19-24 Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium Eyes: Blue

I cannot sing the praises of this product enough. Let me give you a little bit of background history about my skin...

I was the girl who had ZERO breakouts during high school. I could go to bed with a full face of makeup, and never have to worry about getting even the occasional zit. Then, when I began college, my skin changed drastically. Suddenly, I was getting HORRIBLE cystic acne all over my chin and forehead. My skin was so painful that I would literally cry in front of the mirror.

I tried everything. I went on birth control, antibiotics, proactive, every drugstore brand meant for acne in the entire skincare section at Target. I tried Gel de la Mer and Kiehl's. Clinique's 3 Step System. EVERYTHING. And, nothing would get rid of those stubborn cysts! I even used prescription strength cleansers and they STILL would pop up.

My dermatologist was considering accutane, but I KNEW I didn't want to go down that route!

For Christmas a few years ago, I received the Clarisonic as a gift. It did not clear up my skin completely, although it did help some. It wasn't until I started using Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser in coalition with my Clarisonic that I noticed a DRASTIC improvement.

My skin is very unusual. I have very sensitive skin, and it is also pretty dry. But, I am extremely acne prone and will react to products that my skin does not like through large inflamed cysts.

Finally, as a last resort... I purchased Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. I really never thought it would work for me. I thought it was too gentle to make a difference in my skin. BOY WAS I WRONG! This product has literally changed my life. I have been cyst free for over 6 months and breakout free for about 3 months. If I use this product religiously, I never have to worry about breaking out. My skin has improved so much that I can go weeks at a time without foundation.

I am still working on my acne scarring-- and hoping to find my miracle product that will get rid of the hyperpigmentation that I have!

*UPDATE*
Stopped using the cetaphil and tried a different cleanser/moisturizer. BAM! Cysts came back. It took another month of using the cetaphil to get my skin under control again. I will never cheat on cetaphil again.

15 out of 15 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 4/6/2008 1:46:00 PM More reviews by rogsweetie03

Age: 19-24 Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Warm Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine Eyes: Brown

the last thing this product needs is another review, but i love this cleanser so much that i have to write one. i first used this when i started breaking out in college. my dermatologist recommended it to me, but i really didn't like using it at first. i was used to foaming cleansers which left my face tight and shiny after washing. i thought the tight feeling meant the cleanser was doing its job. wrong! no matter how clean i felt my skin was, my face was still red, irritated, and bumpy. so i forced myself to use cetaphil everyday. it took months for my skin to clear up, but it did so beautifully. my skin is soft, subtle, even toned and beautiful when i use cetaphil as my cleanser. i have strayed because i thought there must be something better, but for me, there isn't. no other cleanser leaves my skin soft, clear, and unirritated.

the trick to using cetaphil is to use it on dry skin and then rinse off.

cetaphil is not good for removing makeup or sunscreen. a separate remover is necessary. what i do is massage jojoba oil into my skin, wipe off, then massage cetaphil into my skin, wipe off again, add water and massage gently. i then rinse off. if i'm feeling particularly dirty, i do another wash with cetaphil.

in the morning, i use cetaphil only.

if you have acne-prone, sensitive skin, give this a try.

14 out of 14 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 4 of 5 top reviewer on 12/16/2007 9:43:00 AM More reviews by musicalhouses

Age: 19-24 Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Cool Hair: Black, Straight, Fine Eyes: Brown

Cetaphil is a gentle cleanser. Very, very gentle! And very very basic! So if you are looking for anything more than that, don't get this. It doesn't remove makeup or anything, it's just a gentle cleanser more suited for people with irritated skin - which is why I use it. The product itself comes in a clear plastic bottle with a blue label and a pump (smaller sizes just have a flip kind of top), and the product is a whitish, fragrance-less jelly-like liquid.

My experience: I use this because I have very bad acne, and my skin is both acne-prone and sensitive, so anything too harsh is out of the question. It does a good job as a gentle cleanser, and does not leave my face too dry and does not irritate my skin at all, although I don't think it helps to keep the pimples away either since its so mild. I use this every morning and I alternate it with my harsher acne-treatment wash. I love this product, and one big bottle lasts me for a year. Would definitely repurchase. However, that being said, I would ONLY recommend this as a gentle cleanser. It does NOT remove makeup or sunscreen or anything else, and it does not have any special anti-aging properties or anything else like that, so most people looking for something stronger might want to give this a pass.


Ingredients: Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben.

13 out of 13 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 2 of 5 top reviewer on 5/7/2008 2:19:00 PM More reviews by keahi

Age: 25-29 Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

I have to add my 2 cents to the review bucket here. Over the past 15 years I have given Cetaphil cleanser more than a fair chance. I buy it, hate it, toss it. Then several years down the line I STILL see raves for this everywhere--magazines, MUA, other skin care websites, etc. and I willfully forget whatever it was I didn't like about it. Buy it again, hate it, (*remember* why I hate it), and toss it. I've gone through this cycle at least 4 times now. I guess you can say I really, really want this to work as well for me as it seems to have for so many other people.

I don't mind the texture, scent, or the fact that it doesn't foam. I don't care that it doesn't remove makeup well because I always use an oil cleanser or Albolene to remove makeup first. I hate Cetaphil cleanser because I don't find it gentle in the least. In fact, this makes my face feel ravaged like almost nothing else. Immediately dry, tight, and hot--all the hallmarks of serious irritation. I can use paint-thinning stregth Clearasil or any number of cleansers with SLS or fragrance high up on the list and have my skin feel better than it does after using Cetaphil. I don't know *what* the offending ingredient is exactly. My best guess would be the Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, but it's so far down on the list of Ing. that I wouldn't think it could have much of an adverse affect.

I use and LOVE Aquanil, which is basically the same thing/ same idea minus whatever evil ingredient Cetaphil has that causes me problems. I will try my hardest to remember that I like Aquanil and not Cetaphil and quit giving Cetaphil another chance. I only wish Aquanil were available everywhere Cetaphil is--it's a royla PITA to have to order it.

Two lippies only because it is somewhat of a personal thing--obviously not everybody is having this problem with Cetaphil. I love every moisturizer Cetaphil makes, but I'm finally putting my foot down on the cleanser. A big thumbs down from yours truly.

12 out of 14 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 5 of 5 on 1/31/2006 7:47:00 PM More reviews by Tipperty

Age: 30-35 Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure Hair: Other, Other, Other Eyes: Other

I love Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser--this time around. My first experience was not so good, however. I used this at a dermatologist's recommendation while in college. It never cleaned my grease-pit face and just sort of slid around on top of the oil. Hated it then. Love it now. I dug out an old bottle of Cetaphil cleanser after using an acne treatment kit that burned my face. My skin was so tender that even water hurt. But Cetaphil felt soothing. I applied it and used a cotton cosmetic round to gently remove the residue. Within a couple of weeks my skin looked so much better. I'd say back to normal, but that isn't true--it was better than normal. My acne was dramatically improved. When I use this product I apply 8-10 pumps to my hand and then massage onto my dry face. I rinse with warm water after about 2 minutes when the makeup and oils on my face have dissolved and my face feels clean. If I wet my face first, the product does not seem to clean well--this was the problem the first time I used it. To add a gentle exfoliation, I will remove the Cetaphil with a dry, soft washcloth a few times a week, then follow with a warm rinse. I use primarily Bare Escentuals products and Cetaphil removes these without any problems. Heavier liquid foundations will take 2 cleanings. I will continue to use this product and at the minimal cost, I will use it generously.

10 out of 10 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 1 of 5 top reviewer on 8/26/2012 5:10:00 AM More reviews by franzvonstuck

Age: 36-43 Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine Eyes: Hazel

I had to rewrite my review, although the last thing the Cetaphil cleanser needs is another review.
I just wanted to share the info.
For nearly 6 years, I used this cleanser and it was the only cleanser my skin tolerated. I was aware of the fact, that it contained SLS, but kept on using it, because I didnīt find something else. I basically tested tons of cleansers, but all failed miserably and some even ruined my skin.
I grew sceptical recently, because my skin got drier and drier and so dehydrated, I felt like I could put tons of hydration serums, hydration boosters and oils on my skin and still there was no getting better. It felt like my skin was dying of thirst and no matter what moisturizer or treatment I used, it didnīt help.
I searched fot the best hydrating mask, a richer moisturizer to soothe my skin, but nothing helped.
In the end, I realized, that it was the Cetaphil or rather the SLS in it, that transformed my skin like that. Sad, but true, as I always thought of Cetaphil as my HG cleanser and refused to believe that it was the source of all this problems.
After a long search, I finally found cleanses, that work for my skin and are SLS-free. Eucerin re-balance cleanser and Korres 3-in-1 milk proteins cleansing emulsion are tolerated by my skin and they literally re-transformed my skin.
My skin was a combination skin originally, but years of Cetaphil pushed my skin into a dry and very dehydrated skin.
Using these new cleansers, my skin goes back to being a combination skin again. I was actually surprised that after a few uses of the Eucerin cleanser, I donīt need that many masks, serums and oils anymore. Itīs amazing and I totally underestimated the influence and importance of the right cleanser for my skin.
Iīm glad, I could stop using Cetaphil, although I initially really liked it and used it for a long time.
I just wanted to let you know without condemning the Cetaphil cleanser, but I canīt recommend it anymore because of my personal experience.


9 out of 11 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No