12.30.2014
3
65
Physiological Cleansing Gel
Rating
6.76 fl. oz. for $20.95
Category:Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:12.30.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Don’t let the medical-themed name fool you: This is a very standard, but good, water-soluble cleanser for all skin types. The claim about this product respecting skin’s “physiological balance” applies to any well-formulated cleanser—and if it’s so special, why doesn’t La Roche-Posay formulate their other cleansers this way? They didn’t really need another cleanser, so perhaps that’s why this one’s claims are too far-reaching. Still, as mentioned, this is a good cleanser, though you don’t need to spend this much for equivalent results.

Claims

Cleanses, purifies and refreshes skin, while respecting its physiological balance.

Ingredients

Water, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Poloxamer 184, Poloxamer 124, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Isohexadecane, Sodium Hydroxide, Ammonium Polyacryldiemthyltauramide/Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Isopropyl Myristate, Polysorbate 80, Caprylyl Glycol, Myrtrimonium Bromide, Benzoic Acid, Fragrance

Brand Overview

La Roche-Posay At-A-Glance

Strengths: A few good cleansers; anti-aging formulas tend to be stably packaged to get the most out of the air/light-sensitive ingredients; many fragrance-free options; a unique lip moisturizer; some praiseworthy specialty products.

Weaknesses: Some problematic, overly irritating exfoliants; several ho-hum moisturizers and sunscreens; ineffective skin-lighteners; disappointing toner.

L'Oreal-owned La Roche-Posay has a pharmaceutical lineage based in France, and the company speaks of their thermal spring water as the cornerstone of their commitment to dermatological skin care. Sound familiar? L'Oreal-owned Biotherm makes similar claims for the water in their products, yet their marketing niche is spas, while La Roche-Posay caters to doctors and consumers interested in effective, no-frills skin care. Regardless of the source of their water, or how many minerals there may be in it, or the other benefits they assert it has, water is water and skin can't tell the difference. Even if the water were somehow "special," it takes a lot more than water to create and maintain healthy skin. This is something La Roche-Posay is aware of, because they do offer a fairly broad range of products to address the various needs of skin.

Their thermal spring water is said to be a rich source of selenium. Selenium is a nonmetallic element that has potent antioxidant ability. However, almost all of the research surrounding its benefits pertains to dietary or supplemental consumption, not to topical application. According to the research, selenium is absorbed into skin and helpful when applied topically only when applied as l-selenomethionine (Source: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, July 2004, pages 149–155). It is unknown whether the water La Roche-Posay uses contains this form of selenium, but we wouldn't bank on it for a unique benefit.

For a dermatologist-oriented line like La Roche-Posay, most of the products are surprisingly devoid of state-of-the-art or other interesting ingredients. There are some standout products, such as those with retinol and stabilized vitamin C; however, most of them are one-note options that offer the help of their promoted ingredient but don't commingle it with anything else of value to skin. It's ironic that although there's not a jar package to be found in this line, most of the moisturizers lack light- or air-sensitive ingredients, so jar packaging actually wouldn't be a problem. In fact, most of the moisturizers are downright monotonous. For the money, these products will leave your skin wanting more.

If you steer your way to the well-formulated products La Roche-Posay offers, you will find some first-rate options. They're not as varied as what many other lines offer, but for a pragmatic, no-frills approach to serious skin care, they'll do just fine. In fact, among all of the L'Oreal-owned skin-care lines, La Roche-Posay comes closest to successfully competing with the best of the best. It's up to you to decide if "close" is good enough. However, if you need to avoid fragrance and a range of potentially irritating plant extracts prevalent in the products of many brands, this line may suit your skin to a T.

Note: La Roche-Posay is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although La Roche-Posay does not conduct animal testing for its products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law.” Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Paula’s Choice Research Team.

For more information about La Roche-Posay, owned by L'Oreal, call (888) 577-5226 or visit www.laroche-posay.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment that Paula Begoun, founder of Beautypedia and Paula's Choice Skincare made over 30 years ago-to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!


The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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03.02.2015
Worth the money for oily, acne-prone sensitive skin

I've tried all kinds of cleansers for my sensitive, acne-prone skin, including several of the best of the bests. This is the only face wash the balances my skin so that it isn't oily. I haven't been able to find a cheaper alternative. I do have to use a make-up remover on my eyes, but there are lots of great sensitive skin options on the market. I would highly recommend this product.

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Caroline R
01.06.2015
Best for acne prone skin

This was the only cleanser that didn't dry my skin combination skin out. I had some acne and post treatment everything seemed to dry my skin out and this was the only cleanser I could use without feeling dry as paper. However it doesn't remove make up so if I had makeup on I used to wipe it off with a milk cleanser on cotton pads and then wash it off with this as a second cleanser.

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Reviewed by
L
01.08.2014
Doesn't clean entirely

I've used this a few times now. My skin that is usually oily as well as dehydrated stays that way. I washed my face thrice with this in one go just now and it still left a small amount of black mascara that's not even waterproof below my eyes. I used a makeup remover after this and I saw some makeup and dirt on the cotton. On the plus side I don't think this causes my skin to break out, which my last cleanser did (L'oreal's Sublime Soft Calming gel-cream Wash for dry and sensitive skin).

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Reviewed by
Bornita Q.
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