Extra Gentle Cleanser

by Neutrogena  
Price:
$6.49 - 6.7 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:
7/30/2014
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

Extra Gentle Cleanser remains one of Neutrogena’s standout cleansers. It is an excellent option for normal to dry or sensitive skin, including those with eczema or rosacea. The fragrance-free, lotion-textured formula contains mild cleansing agents and some good anti-irritants, but these aren’t as effective in a cleanser as they are when they are left on the skin. It will do a good job removing most types of makeup, owing to the emollients and solvents it contains.

Provides more than just gentle cleansing for even the most sensitive skin. This rich, dermatologist-recommended formula adds back moisture every time you use it. Skin is left more moisturized, so it retains resiliency and suppleness. With anti-irritants Chamomile and Vitamin E, its soap-free formula provides gentle yet effective cleansing, and it won't leave a filmy residue that can clog pores.

Purified Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Ricinoleate, Isohexadecane, Tea-Cocoyl Glutamate, Methylglucose Sesquistearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Bisabolol, Chamomile Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Triethanolamine, BHT, Geranium, Dipropylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Propylparaben, Methylparaben

Johnson & Johnson–owned Neutrogena has been around for over 50 years, and they've come a long way since they launched their first transparent, bronze, detergent-based bar soap (it also contains tallow). The bars are still sold, and while we still don't recommend them (they are too drying for all skin types), the good news is that Neutrogena has come a very long way from where they started. In fact, several of their products represent truly state-of-the-art options.

Strolling the skin-care aisles of any drugstore or mass-market store reveals that Neutrogena vies for shelf space and prominence with only one other brand, Procter & Gamble's Olay. For the most part, both companies offer a similar assortment of products, with Olay being slightly more focused on anti-aging products and Neutrogena going for broader appeal, offering a nearly equal amount of antiwrinkle and anti-acne products. Regrettably the latter category presents few viable options.

Where Neutrogena really excels (and has for years) is with water-soluble cleansers, AHAs, retinol, and sunscreen products. Their Healthy Skin lineup offers some beautifully formulated moisturizers with glycolic acid, and the sunscreens offer something for everyone, including some ingenious options for those with oily skin (or anyone who finds the texture of high-SPF products as unappealing as slathering your skin with Crisco).

A recent self-proclaimed advance in sun protection came with Neutrogena's Helioplex complex. It is not the superior breakthrough Neutrogena makes it out to be. It's a good system to keep avobenzone stable for longer, but Helioplex isn't the only way to get the most out of this important UVA sunscreen. If it were, why didn't Neutrogena scrap all of their other sunscreens that don't use Helioplex technology? And why do they still offer a handful of SPF-rated products that leave skin vulnerable to UVA damage? Although they offer a proportionately greater number of sunscreens that provide excellent UVA protection, it's hard to unequivocally deem them a sun-care leader when they still sell inadequate sunscreens.

It's common to see commercials and magazine ads for Neutrogena's plethora of products designed to combat breakouts and blackheads. It's nothing short of amazing that, after all these years, the majority of these products, while well intentioned, still don't get it right. Far too many of them contain irritating ingredients such as alcohol, witch hazel, and menthol, none of which are the least bit helpful for someone struggling with breakouts. If your dermatologist recommends these products for acne without reservation, definitely consider a second opinion! Even Neutrogena's on-the-spot benzoyl peroxide product contains some potentially problematic thickening agents. Despite this, if you choose carefully, there are some great products (including a BHA lotion) that can make a positive difference.

What's most frustrating and, frankly, surprising, is that Neutrogena's enormous assortment of products represents both the best and the worst the cosmetics industry has to offer. Given their worldwide distribution and research capabilities, they really should be offering a consistent range of effective, irritant-free products to address a variety of skin types and conditions. As things stand now, healthy, protected skin is only assured if you know which Neutrogena products to look for and which ones to never put in your shopping cart.

For more information about Neutrogena, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (800) 582-4048 or visit www.neutrogena.com.

Neutrogena Makeup

Neutrogena's "beautiful and beneficial" pronouncement is a great tag line, but most of their makeup doesn't live up to that assertion. This line was lacking in several key areas when it first hit store shelves in 1999, and although some things have improved, the number of problematic products is a bit startling. (I'm not aware of any cosmetic line that uses menthol or its derivatives as often as Neutrogena.) Each product carries on about the vitamins it contains, yet compared to the leading roles played by cosmetic staples like silicones and thickening agents, the vitamins have mere cameo roles, and as such have little to no impact.

There are a few key items to seek out, especially if you're looking for makeup with excellent sun protection. We also found their lip gloss to be one of the best at any price, and a few of their foundations successfully bridge the gap between skin care and makeup.

The most frustrating aspect of this line is that almost all of it is packaged so you cannot see the color. Even worse, the color swatch on the box is a poor representation, not only of how the color looks in the compact, but also how it looks on your skin. What would truly be beneficial is for Neutrogena to offer more revealing packaging or provide testers or offer trial sizes. Their overall collection and in-store displays aren't nearly as tempting as most other drugstore makeup lines, so in most cases they're relying on their constant magazine and television ads to drive shoppers to explore the world of Neutrogena makeup, or they're relying solely on those who don't mind guessing what color they are really buying. It's obviously working, because despite the problematic elements, this is a line that has survived and is very well distributed.

Member Comments

Summary of Member Comments

  1. How would you rate the results? (4 = Best)

    2 / 4 Average
  2. Was this product a good value? (4 = Best)

    3 / 4 Good
  3. Would you recommend this product? (4 = Best)

    2 / 4 Average
Page of 1
  1. Christina M.
    Reviewed on Sunday, September 07, 2014
    • Results
      2 / 4
    • Recommend
      1 / 4
    • Value
      2 / 4
    Leaves a Film on Skin
    • I decided to try this product because of its BEST Beautypedia rating. I was very disappointed. I have sensitive combination skin. This cleanser leaves my skin feeling tight and dry. The cleanser definitely leaves a film on the skin that seems impossible to rinse off. I couldn't get it off even after following up with my other facial cleanser. I really prefer my other cleanser (Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub) even though it has known irritants (menthol, fragrance).

  2. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Friday, June 20, 2014
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    Doesn't claim to remove makeup... wonderful gentle cleanser
    • This doesn't remove makeup, BUT IT DOESN'T CLAIM TO, so IDK, lol. I have combo skin and this works wonderfully on it. IMO it certainly never leaves a film - it's just a different type of cleanser than some people are apparently used to, or maybe people have just seen too many commercials that promote skin having a squeaky clean type feeling. I listen to skin care experts, and as a result I've continued to have beautiful skin into my 30's. Treat your skin like the organ it is, you'll see results.

  3. JenK
    Reviewed on Friday, March 21, 2014
    • Value
      2 / 4
    • Results
      2 / 4
    • Recommend
      2 / 4
    Not a fan; does NOT remove makeup or rinse well
    • I have combo/sensitive skin and was pleased that this did not irritate my skin. However... I am surprised this cleanser received a BEST rating from Paula since it's hardly a cleanser. It does not remove makeup well at all. It is also difficult to rinse off and leaves a light film. If you don't mind that film-y feeling, then this might work well in a morning shower where it's a bit easier to rinse off.

  4. Kara
    Reviewed on Friday, December 13, 2013
    • Results
      3 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    Gentle cleanser, doesn't remove makeup that well
    • I have combination, acne prone skin, which gets really dry in winter (especially with the topical prescription acne cream I need to use). This the only (budget priced) cleanser I could find that didn't dry out my skin, and I have been using it for years. I find that it doesn't completely remove makeup however, so I recommend using a different cleanser at night if you wear makeup.

  5. SHEKINAH R S.
    Reviewed on Sunday, December 08, 2013
    • Recommend
      2 / 4
    • Results
      2 / 4
    • Value
      3 / 4
    Strangely Irritating Cleanser
    • I've used Neutrogena's Fresh Foaming Cleanser for years but decided to try the Extra Gentle Cleanser since I moved to a very cold, dry climate and my oily but aging skin has been dry and flaky. The first time I used it my skin was burning! The second time it was less irritating but gave my skin an uncomfortable feeling. This is odd (for a gentle product) b/c my skin isn't sensitive and has only reacted to one other product like this ever. Seems to work for lots of people but I returned it today.

  6. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Tuesday, September 24, 2013
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    Good morning cleanser
    • Neither my daughter (and she has very sensitive skin) nor I have had any problems whatsoever with this cleanser. However, I use it as a morning cleanser only, as I find the Fresh Foaming Cleanser is a better option for removing makeup in the evening.

  7. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Saturday, August 17, 2013
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    Extra Gentle Cleanser
    • Love this cleanser. I have both eczema and rosacea and have never had a problem with it! I think it does a superb job of cleansing the day's grime and makeup!

  8. MK
    Reviewed on Monday, June 24, 2013
    • Recommend
      1 / 4
    • Results
      1 / 4
    • Value
      3 / 4
    Turned me bright red!
    • I was shocked when this face wash turned my entire face bright red and inflamed immediately upon use. It's labelled extra gentle and I don't even have sensitive skin. I use tons of different skincare products every day (total junkie) and I've never had a reaction like to anything I've ever used. I don't know what's in this stuff that caused such a reaction but it definitely was NOT extra gentle. My husband had a similar reaction so it was the face wash, not just me. So weird!

  9. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Friday, January 11, 2013
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    Great product
    • Great product. Leaves skin smooth and soft. Rinses well, but facial washcloth is advised.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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