Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser

by Neutrogena  Neutrogena Naturals
Price:
$7.49 - 6 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:
4/1/2014
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

This is a very good, gentle water-soluble cleanser that's suitable for all skin types except sensitive, because it contains fragrance; without fragrance it would have been perfect for sensitive skin as well. For details on the claims behind Neutrogena Naturals, please see More Info below.

Pros:
  • Gentle, water-soluble formula cleanses without making skin feel dry.
  • Works to remove makeup (waterproof formulas may require a separate remover).
  • Rinses without a trace of residue.
Cons:
  • None of significance.

More info:

The big deal with Neutrogena Naturals is the company's claim that at least 90% of the ingredients are naturally derived. They define "naturally derived" on their Web site as follows: "The majority of our ingredients are derived from a mineral, plant or fruit based source. All ingredients in personal care products are processed to some degree, both for safety and for suitability of use in product formulations. The naturally derived ingredients in Neutrogena® Naturals originate from mineral, plant and fruit sources that are then combined to produce our gentle, clinically proven products."

That sounds impressive, but in reality what they're stating is neither unique nor revolutionary. What they're telling you is true: Lots of cosmetic ingredients have a natural source; after all everything has to come from something in the real world. But the process many natural ingredients go through to make them suitable for use in cosmetics is anything but natural. In that sense, the question comes down to how a company and individual consumers want to define "natural."

There certainly isn't a mutually agreed-on definition in the cosmetics industry, but we applaud Neutrogena for explaining it in a way that's much more straightforward than what many so-called “"natural" brands claim. Interestingly, Neutrogena also mentions that their Naturals products contain synthetic fragrance.

This face wash contains natural salicylic acid found in Willowbark bionutrients to penetrate deep into pores to detoxify and help remove dirt, oil and makeup, while rinsing clean without pore-clogging residue.

Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance

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. Donna L.
    Reviewed on Saturday, September 06, 2014
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    Great makeup remover
    • I am ready to purchase my third bottle. This is a great cleanser to use at night to remove makeup. The price is great too! I read some where not to spend a lot on a cleanser, because you just rinse it off and it goes down the drain!

  2. Mariah M
    Reviewed on Wednesday, July 09, 2014
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      1 / 4
    • Results
      1 / 4
    Dried out my skin
    • I tried this out, because I love natural ingredients. But, this stuff dried out my skin to the point IT took me 2 months to repair the damage. I have oily to dry skin and this didn't work well with me at all.

  3. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Sunday, June 15, 2014
    • Value
      3 / 4
    • Recommend
      2 / 4
    • Results
      3 / 4
    Smells terrible
    • Great cleanser that does the job - but the smell is awful. Reminds me of the chemicals I use to dye my hair. Not something I really enjoy putting on my face.

  4. Mary F.
    Reviewed on Saturday, May 24, 2014
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      3 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    Follow with moisturizer for excellent results
    • This is an excellent cleanser, but it does need to be followed up with a good moisturizer. It left the surface of my skin smoother, brighter, and cleaner looking and feeling than anything else I have tried recently. It also eliminated several small flaky patches on my combination skin with no irritation. I did not mind the scent at all.

  5. A.B.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, March 18, 2014
    • Recommend
      1 / 4
    • Results
      2 / 4
    • Value
      3 / 4
    Irritating
    • I found this to be drying and irritating, and the fragrance is rather strong. I quit using it after a month of putting up with it, the mostly full bottle is still around here somewhere.

  6. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Sunday, November 24, 2013
    • Value
      2 / 4
    • Results
      2 / 4
    • Recommend
      2 / 4
    stingy feel after use
    • I started using this after the good reviews, but it seems to be not for me. I have dry skin and didn't have much problem the first couple of times but it recently started stinging my skin. I also don't really like the fragrance this (willow bark). It does remove makeup well, but I guess this product wasn't for me, or I have both dry and sensitive skin.

  7. Mary C
    Reviewed on Saturday, November 09, 2013
    • Value
      1 / 4
    • Results
      1 / 4
    • Recommend
      1 / 4
    Irritating
    • I have used many products from Neutrogena, but had a terrible allergy to this product. Hives, itching, and swelling on my face!

  8. The Daily Cupcake
    Reviewed on Friday, September 06, 2013
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    Love it!
    • I love this cleanser! I've been using it for years. I have dry skin and suffer from hormonal cystic acne and this has never irritated my skin!

  9. ROBERT F.
    Reviewed on Monday, May 06, 2013
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    Great cleanser
    • This is a semi-light, gel like formula that gently cleanses your skin without leaving it too dry. It has a very nice fresh, clean sent that is pear like in nature. Rinses clean.

  10. Christine
    Reviewed on Thursday, January 24, 2013
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Results
      3 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    nice cleanser for oily skin
    • This is a very nice cleanser for oily, acne-prone skin. It doesn't leave skin feeling dry or tight. You can buy it just about anywhere, and I think it's reasonably priced. The downside is that I don't like the smell of the fragrance. All in all though, it's one of the best cleansers I have ever used.

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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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