Your Facial Cleanser Should Not Contain These Four Skin Care Ingredients

Whenever I am asked, “Renée, what is your BEST skin tip? If I did nothing else except for this one thing, what would it be?” Of course, my answer will always be “Wear sunscreen!” However, that seems like an obvious answer (because hopefully everyone already does it…wishful thinking!) so here is my other BEST skin tip: WASH YOUR FACE WITH A NON-DRYING, SULFATE-FREE CLEANSER. I repeat…WASH YOUR FACE WITH A NON-DRYING, SULFATE-FREE CLEANSER.

While you always want to invest in high-performance, quality skin care products, you don’t want to cut corners and skimp on a well-formulated cleanser.I have found that some people really don’t pay that much attention to what they use to wash their skin because they are more focused on using a good moisturizer, eye cream or acne treatment.

FACT: Using the right (or wrong) cleanser can truly make or break your entire skin care routine. If you wash with a cleanser that is too strong, has a high pH balance and high lather content, you will instantly strip the surface skin cells. When this happens, every product you apply afterwards (such as serum and moisturizer) has to do repair work to put back in the hydration that was stripped out from cleansing. Makes no sense, right?

As someone with oily, acne-prone skin, I love using a deep pore cleansing gel like Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel. When selecting a cleanser, you must keep in mind that there are four ingredients commonly found in foaming face washes and cleansing gels that should NEVER be found in your cleanser and, therefore, never touch your skin.


Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate

Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Ammonium Laureth Sulfate

Sulfates are surfactants that are used as cleansing agents to cut oil from the skin, but they are too strong and will cause surface dehydration. However, there are other ingredients that can be used that will still effectively deep clean the skin, but will be not be harmful. These ingredients include cocamide betaine, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, or Sodium Lauroyl Oat Amino Acids.

Which cleanser if right for your skin? Take our Skin Type Quiz.

See my collection of sulfate-free cleansers here.
Always choose cleansers listed as ‘sulfate-free’ because this means that the cleanser will be gentle and non-damaging to your skin. You’ll find that sulfate-free cleansing gels will not foam up as much (the larger the bubbles in the lather, the more drying the cleanser will be on the skin) and this may take getting used to if you’ve used a very sudsy cleanser in the past, but do know that your skin is still getting effectively cleaned.

Skin cells are like fish and they need water to live so it’s very important to keep hydration levels intact. Choose your cleanser wisely and your skin will be healthier, clearer and happier. I promise!


Which skin care products are best for you? See our nine skin types or take the Skin Type Quiz and get products recommended.

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