Cleanser is probably the one can’t-do-without product for any beauty arsenal. As it happens, I am a bit of a cleanser obsessive and have tried, tested and (mostly) loved virtually every type of green cleanser available. In this series of posts I will discuss the advantages and drawbacks of different cleanser types and will highlight some of my favorites. For this, the second installment, I keep it simple with my favorite foaming cleansers.

If I were to make a list of skincare products that do far more harm than good to the skin, conventional foaming cleansers would top the list. Filled with harsh surfactants, they strip the skin of its protective oils and can (and usually do) cause dryness and irritation. Still, it’s hard to deny that foaming cleansers are supremely convenient: fast and easy to use they get your face clean and don’t require complicated steps or additional cotton balls, washcloths and other accoutrements of cream, balm and other cleansers. Thankfully, these green beauty cleansers combine the effectiveness and ease of foam with gentle formulas that care for the skin.

One Love Organics Easy Does It Foaming Cleanser is possibly the greatest constant in my beauty cabinet. Although not especially photogenic and thus not in the picture, I actually own an industrial size tub of it and use it on a more or less daily basis. For my skin, it comes pretty close to being the perfect cleanser: supremely gentle, it also cleanses my skin thoroughly without stripping. It deals perfectly with the sunscreen and the very minimal makeup I use on a daily basis, though when I have my full face on, I pre-cleanse with either a balm or an oil cleanser. Easy Does It is the perfect morning cleanser and a second cleanser after a rich balm. Its scent is so light as to be almost non-existent and I love its gentle pink hue. It was one of the very first green beauty products I have ever tried and I am pretty sure I will continue using it for years to come.

I have just reviewed the Grown Alchemist Geranium Leaf, Bergamot and Rose Bud Cleanser and it’s pretty wonderful, though I do have some concerns about its ingredients. This might be a good time to note that while green foaming cleansers are much gentler than their conventional counterparts, they can still be drying for some skins: just because a product works for me, it doesn’t mean it would work for everyone. As with every skincare product, I recommend sampling a cleanser first to make sure that it suits your skin.

The Osmia Organics Facial Soaps are perhaps the most interesting of the bunch. If you asked me for just a single, incontrovertible truth about skincare it’s that grown women should not wash their faces with soap. Soaps are for washing bottoms and, possibly, the unfairly youthful faces of skincare-averse Englishmen. Now, I knew that Sarah Villafranco, Osmia’s founder, is a thoughtful and intelligent formulator, but I still had my doubts and when I received a bar of Osmia Black Clay Facial Soap in a deluxe ANFGB Goodebox, I let it sit in my unopened product drawer for weeks. Eventually, despite visions of angry, parched skin, I decided to give it a try, if only because I didn’t want to be the only beauty blogger in town not to have tried this black beauty.

The first thing that struck me was the smell: rich, soft and warmly coconutty. The foam feels just as soft, rich and lush. The biggest surprise came after I rinsed it off. I kept waiting for the tightness that comes when I use anything, apart from the richest and gentlest of cleansers, but it did not come. My face felt clean, not stripped nor irritated – a particularly impressive feat, especially seeing as the Black Clay Soap is formulated for acne-prone, congested and combination skins. I continued using the soap throughout the summer and it became a daily favorite, doing an excellent job of calming occasional skin irritation. Yet, with the change of the seasons and the NYC air becoming desert-dry I started to find the Black Soap a little bit more drying.

I decided to try the Rose Clay Facial Soap – Osmia’s facial soap created for dry and mature skins to see if a gentler formula would help fight the dryness. The Rose Clay Soap has the same creamy lather as the Black Clay Soap, but the smell is more floral, though still quite delicate and very pretty. Sadly, the difference in the formula did not make much of a difference to my skin. This soap is beautiful, but it’s pretty clear that my frequently dehydrated skin only likes soap in the more humid months. In the future, I think I will stick with the Black Clay Soap, simply because I slightly prefer the smell and because it seems to help calm occasional skin freak-outs.

The right foaming cleanser can help simplify your skincare routine and leave your skin happy. Just make sure to pick the right formula and, as always, listen to your skin.

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