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Face Cleansers: Gel or Cream?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Written by Marijo Cuerrier
Brand Manager, Ste. Anne's Skin Nourishment

Most of us have a preference when it comes to what we clean our face with. That preference can be based on what you were brought up using, what you saw your mother or your favourite aunt using, or it can be based on a sales pitch from a retail sales person.

When we were developing Ste. Anne's Skin Nourishment, we learned a lot about what goes into a product and why. One of the first products we formulated was our Cleansing Cream. Many of the people on the formulation team were in their late 30's to early 50's - me being one of them. So we developed a cleanser that worked for us. But when we broadened the testing to our therapists, we found that the younger therapists preferred a gel cleanser to a cream cleanser. In the end, we formulated a Cleansing Cream and a Gel Cleanser and we are glad we did. For those of you unfamiliar with the general differences between gel and cream cleaners, I will review them below:

Cream Cleansers


Cream Cleansers are designed to add moisture to the skin, which is especially helpful for dry, aging or problematic skin. When cleansing the face with a cleansing cream your skin should feel moisturized and relaxed. If you are accustomed to using a gel-based cleanser, it takes some getting used to, but the benefits far outweigh the temporary adjustment.
One of the key ingredients we used in Ste. Anne's Skin Nourishment Cleansing Cream to achieve a relaxed, moisturized feel to the skin is 'Rose Wax'. The essential wax of Rose flowers is primarily used in the treatment of skin that has been irritated or damaged because of stress, wind, cold or pollution. Rose Wax is protective and softening in its action on the skin, it has free radical-quenching and antioxidant activity as well as being a powerful moisturizer. Rose Wax is used in formulations for dry, damaged and sensitive skin. Rose Wax is also an excellent choice for purifying, detoxifying, combating aging and wrinkles; for skin or body care.

Gel Cleansers


Gel Cleansers are designed to remove excess surface oils on the skin. This can be helpful for overly oily or acneic skin, as long as it is not stripping your skin of natural oil, but rather cleansing the skin of excess oil. Along with a lovely mix of essential oils, such as Pink Grapefruit, Cypress and Rosemary - designed to detoxify, tone and decongest the skin, our gel cleanser uses some of the mildest emulsifiers and surfactants on the market and they are all naturally derived and synthetic-free - so they won't strip your skin of natural oils. Emulsifiers and surfactants are used in many products to allow for the oil and water components to interact with each other.


When cleansing your face, always follow up with a ph balancing toner and an appropriate moisturizer. There is a misconception out there that if you remove oil from your skin you will have fewer breakouts. But what actually happens when you remove natural oil from your skin is you trigger your skin to produce more oil - exactly what you were trying to stop in the first place.
Finally - research the ingredients in your products. When choosing a cleansing product for your skin, look for and avoid harsh chemicals in the ingredients list. A good site to research ingredients in a product is (Environmental Working Group). Another great resource is Adria Vasil's books 'Ecoholic', 'Ecoholic Home' and 'Ecoholic Body'. She is passionate about green living and label reading. Check out her site here.