Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash with Organic Tea Tree Oil and Awapuhi


293 reviews

66% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.3

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.3

Price: $$

Not tested on animals


Castile Soap (Water (Aqua), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Tall Oil, Potassium Hydroxide), Glycerin, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil*, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal) Root Extract, Hedychium Coronarium Root Extract (Awapuhi), Fucus Vesiculosus Extract (Bladderwrack), Cymbopogon Martini Oil (Palmarosa), Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Oil, Callitris Intratropica Wood Oil (Blue Cypress) *Eco-HarvestĀ®

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

For about two years I have been struggling with moderate acne. I have tried everything from medication to topical treatments to about every face wash claiming to fight acne. None of them have me the results I wanted until this. SERIOUSLY AMAZING!! I use this face wash with the tea tree ointment because I felt it is a bit dry without it. And let me tell you that ointment is amazing too. It clears up my acne scars like nothing else and moisturizes too. The ointment is obviously going to be kind of like greasy in a way so you should apply it at night. But I defin recommend this and the ointment so it doesn't dry your face out. Overall an amazing product!😄

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 4/19/2015 1:09:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Normal, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Grey

My new go to cleanser. It is a bit drying but I always apply my serum afterwards so that's not a big deal. What is key to this cleanser is that for someone with rosacea and generally very sensitive skin this does not burn at all when I use it. Amazing! It does an excellent job of cleansing too. A keeper for sure. I only removed a lippie because of it being a bit drying. If you have oil/combo skin this would probably not be a problem.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Warm

Hair: Blond, Curly, Coarse

Eyes: Green

HG for me! Definitely drying in full liquid form, but if you buy a foam pump and put it in that it works great and the product lasts so much longer. Gets off ALL of my makeup, even waterproof mascara & liner! Has completely helped me get rid of adult cystic acne and I would be lost without this stuff. Started with TJ's version of this, but they were always out of stock and my local stores started selling the DE brand so I buy this instead. I use twice a day and have for 2 years and it keeps the oil and acne at bay.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 10/9/2014 11:58:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I can't believe I just found this cleanser.. I've never had a facewash that worked for me without drying my skin out or causing breakouts. This face wash is amazing- I've been using it for a month and my skin has never been clearer. Not only that but it feels smoother, my pores are smaller, and it seems like my skin is more alive. No added chemical junk to my skin. It can tend to be drying so I usually use rosewater toner after and a light moisturizer. I've completely switched to all natural and oil based products because of this cleanser and my skin is literally glowing.

on 10/6/2014 12:28:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Very Oily, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

I've been using this cleanser for over a year now. It is the only product I've found that, when used consistently every day, keeps my skin mostly-clear of acne. (My skin has not, since I was a teen, been completely-clear, but mostly-clear beats not-really-clear by a country mile and I'm very happy about this.) I use it in combination with either straight shea butter or Retin-A on my face every night, and my skin is clearer than it's been in decades. I first picked up a small bottle from a health food store, and loved it so much that I re-purchased the large bottle from Amazon. It has lasted me for ages, and is incredibly cheap. And, weird perhaps, but I love the smell of tea tree oil. I see no reason to not keep using this cleanser forever.

on 7/7/2014 7:21:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Olive, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Brown

Years ago when I was very young and a newlywed my lovely husband and I adored this face wash. We stumbled across it one day in the drugstore or perhaps the grocery store. We raved about the scent and we bought a bottle for the shower and sink each.youth can be reckless as we were and this being Castile soap, one needs to take care and use a lot of water...we did not. In fact we washed our faces three or four times a day because we loved the smell so much and the squeaky clean feeling. And naturally it caused really bad breakouts. It caused breakouts because we didn't know how to use it. Castile soap is for the seriously responsible. I was way too lazy to dilute it properly.
I purchased this face wash only a couple of days ago. I was hesitant, the pH is on the alkaline side. There's a lot of strange ingredients like "tall oil" and if you Google it you'll understand my trepidation.
a word of warning: the pump gets clogged very easily. Once, years ago, I went to pump some product in my hand. The liquid bounced off my palm and directly into my eye. My husband wasn't around and I was alone, I spent a 40 minutes crying and rolling around on the floor in agony. Do not get it near your eyes.
Back to just recently. I started using this again because I have been using products for sensitive and dry skin. I'm very confused about what type of skin I have now I'm in my late 30s and a lot of the things that happen to my skin are hormone and allergy based. A lot of gentle cleansers while being devoid of parabens, are full of formaldehyde releasing ingredients/preservatives.
I couldn't understand while my face wasn't full of acne or anything like that, it still didn't seem to feel right, it was dry AND oily, or dry and rubbery... it was didn't feel like my skin. To further add to my confusion I was using products that were considered "gentle" and "sensitive".
So when I cracked this bottle of face wash open inhaled the lovely sent it took me back to years past of youth and love...I felt bolstered. I thought "maybe this is it" and pumped a tiny amount into my hand with lots of water lathered rinsed and waited.
So far I have not experienced dryness, although I've been very careful with dilution and usage; meaning it will use it twice a day. In four weeks time I will post an update to tell you what I think this face wash today, 20 years later.
***UPDATE*** It goes to prove, at least to myself, how much one changes physically. I tried to use this for a week. It was *so drying* the wings of my nostrils were peeing and red-like what happens when you've got a cold and you're blowing your nose too much. My skin began to bust out in big painful pimples, because it's too alkaline. Seems to suit my fella better, so I gave it to him. Men have a slightly higher skin pH than women. Interesting huh?

on 4/7/2014 4:52:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Acne-prone, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I recently had huge breakouts on my face, some cystic acne even, and decided to give this a try. After 3-4 days, I noticed that my pimples had become smaller. My skin is still in recovery mode, but I'm happy that this cleanser removes all of my makeup, doesn't leave a residue and doesn't cause breakouts.

I would not recommend this to anyone with very sensitive skin (or nose) however, because the tea tree oil odor is very strong. Once you've rinsed the cleanser off, the smell is gone, but for the most sensitive, I would avoid this product.

It contains many different types of oils, but doesn't feel oily on the skin. It creates a light lather and I just need one pump to clean my face at night. I thought that this would be very stripping, but so far it hasn't dried me out any more than a traditional gel cleanser.

on 3/10/2014 8:50:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Green

I have mixed thoughts on this product. I used to suffer from oily, acne-prone skin. This is the product that cleared up my skin! It made my face feel so clean, it removed my FACE makeup (don't use this near your eyes. There is tea tree oil inside!), and it was cheap! I used this product religiously for 3 years.

I have always had oily skin but this past year, my skin just seemed to dry up! I hadn't changed anything in my skincare routine, I eat healthy and I drink a lot of water. Maybe I'm just growing up and changing, but I think this product over time stripped my face dry. Now I have normal/dry skin. Dry flakes everywhere, tight feeling skin. No break outs, but yeah! This product, while it is awesome for oily acne prone skin, is just not the best for long term use.

on 1/23/2014 4:46:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

** UPDATE **

So this stuff ended up ruining my skin after using it way too much. Turns out you can develop an allergy to tea tree oil if you use it too much! So, beware. This is no longer my face wash because it began to burn my face after using it for about a year.

HOWEVER it is superb for cleaning your brushes! I use my left over in the bottle to clean them and holy moly it works well.


So, I tried this a while ago and actually had a review on it. I didn't like it back then, assuming it was giving me cystic acne, but I've recently revisited it.

I've come to realize that THIS STUFF IS THE NECTAR OF THE GODS. It is, however, very strong, so you have to make sure you use it with care. If you do, you won't regret it.

I've been struggling with acne for a good part of my life now. I'm in my late 20s, and it seems to have only gotten worse in the past 5 years. I've tried it all: BP, supplements, sulfur, salicylic acid, alpha and beta hydroxy, birth control - everything short of accutane. Some have worked a little, others have wreaked havoc on my body and just made things worse.

So, since this bottle is often sold in a VERY large size, I realized recently that I still had some left, and gave it another shot. It took a little while to clear up the rash of acne on my chin and cheeks, but it eventually worked. It also started to help clear some of the scars I had too.

The only issue I was having was that it was drying out my skin a lot, and it started to peel. I had this issue with Benzoyl Peroxide as well - my skin is very sensitive.

I backed off on the amount of scrubbing I was doing and the amount of product I was using (I suggest getting a foaming pump bottle) and made sure that at night I slapped on a good moisturizer. My choice was, oddly enough, Bag Balm. I haven't had any issues since! In fact, my skin has been much smoother and softer as a result of extended use of this face wash.

I've found that dabbing this stuff right out of the bottle onto active acne will help clear them super fast with minimal scarring. It's seriously amazing, and ridiculously affordable.

If you have had acne problems for a while, I would definitely give this a shot. Just be prepared for how strong it really is, and use it sparingly and wisely with plenty of moisturizer!

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

on 11/24/2013 10:04:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Oily, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Blue

Cleansed my skin very well BUT!!!! It makes my face feel really tight uncomfortable and almost rubber like! It foams up nicely but this is WAY too strong for everyday use I keep it around and use it from time to time if for some reason my face is extra oily or dirty, it does clean very well but it's too intense for me to use everyday.

Back to Top