12.03.2014
16
1041
Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser Foaming Formula
Rating
12 fl. oz. for $8.99
Category:Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:12.03.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Although the name of this water-soluble cleanser is a bit misleading (a truly ultra-gentle formula would be fragrance-free, and this contains a small amount of fragrance) on balance it’s a good, gentle formula for normal to dry skin. The primary cleansing agents are quite mild, yet the fragrance doesn’t make this a slam-dunk for sensitive or rosacea-affected skin. It’s also not cleansing enough for oily skin but may be OK for combination skin that’s not too oily. Otherwise, this wins high marks for its silky feel, ability to remove most types of makeup, and clean-rinsing formula that doesn’t leave skin feeling dry or tight.

Note: The ingredients in the Canadian version of this cleanser are the same as the U.S. version.

Claims

Neutrogena® Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser combines the superior cleansing of Neutrogena® technology with the maximum gentleness of a sensitive skin cleanser.

Ingredients

Water, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Lauryl Glucoside, Potassium Acrylates Copolymer, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate, Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance

Brand Overview

Neutrogena At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive; several recommended cleansers; retinol options, in stable packaging; vast selection of sunscreens, most of which offer excellent UVA protection; several fragrance-free options; many of the Healthy Skin products are state-of-the-art; the foundations with sunscreen provide sufficient UVA protection; some praiseworthy makeup items.

Weaknesses: An overabundance of overlapping anti-aging products that is perennially confusing for consumers; irritating bar soaps; lackluster to downright bad toners; a handful of bland moisturizers and eye creams; some sunscreens too much alcohol or problematic preservatives; most of the Deep Clean products are terrible; mostly disappointing concealers; the lip balms with sunscreen provide inadequate UVA protection.

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. (We are 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.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment 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.

Member Comments
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04.24.2015
Love this!

I have combinatio/oily skin and this cleanser works wonders! I never believed a cleanser could help control my oily skin, but this one seems to do so! It really helps controlling oiliness and I had this result since after the first time I used it. I was on the fence about it when I read Paula's review, but Im soooo glad I gave it a chance!

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Reviewed by
Rafaella S.
04.24.2015
Love this!

I have combinatio/oily skin and this cleanser works wonders! I never believed a cleanser could help control my oily skin, but this one seems to do so! It really helps controlling oiliness and I had this result since after the first time I used it. I was on the fence about it when I read Paula's review, but Im soooo glad I gave it a chance!

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Rafaella S.
04.08.2015
not for me

Found this drying even though I have normal skin.

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Reviewed by
Anonymous
02.26.2015
Great for my sensitive, oily skin!

Love this product because it is really good for my sensitive skin. I am acne prone and have found that this doesn't over dry my skin while keeping the oil in control. The only reason I wouldn't recommend is because the fragrance, but if it doesn't bother you, definitely get this product!!

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Reviewed by
Allison H.
02.25.2015
My Daily Cleanser

I love this cleanser. It is a gentle cleanser that I use every day. My skin feels smooth and refreshed, it rinses cleanly and leaves my skin looking healthy. I actually prefer this cleanser a bit more than the creamy formula.

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Reviewed by
Jenn
02.08.2015
Extremely Gentle? Who are they kidding?

I bought this in a double pack at Costco. I found the fragrance level much higher than indicated Paula's review and it was very drying as well. My husband has oily skin and he found it drying, too. It was relegated to hand washing PDQ. Would not recommend.

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Reviewed by
Cathi C
12.12.2014
effective

One pump of product will wash and effectively remove all of my makeup. It is not drying for my 50 year old face. I love this product....I have used MANY. This is at the top of my list!!!

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Reviewed by
KIM M.
08.10.2014
Really like this.. however

I really like this cleanser and it reminded me a lot of my Clinique liquid soap that I used forever, without all the nasty ingredients. Except the fact that it does have fragrance in it.. even though I have sensitive skin it doesn't irritate me but I'm afraid it is under the surface. I read somewhere on this site that fragrance can do damage under the skin so I'm unsure why this is an exception? Even if the amount is small, can't it still do damage?

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Reviewed by
Elizabeth
08.11.2014
Beautypedia Team Response

Hello,

We understand your concern with the fragrance in this product, however since this product is a rinse-off cleanser, there is no need to worry! The small amount of fragrance would not be on your face long enough and is not creamy enough to leave any residue to create any irritation for you.

—Admin
03.12.2014
Great!

Love love love this face wash! I have sensitive to combo skin and I find that most products cause breakouts. Not this! I finally found a great cleanser that doesn't make my skin tight and dry, leaves my face clean, removes makeup and the scent IS NOT overpowering or bothersome. Yay! I do believe they have also come out with a non-foaming version as well.

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Reviewed by
Joanne M.
08.25.2013
just ok

Gets off makeup, didn't irritate my sensitive skin, but the fragrance was overpowering and a definite turn-off. I've been a fan of Paula's for years and have stayed away from anything with fragrance added. As such, I'm unable to tolerate anything perfum-y, which this is. Not a bad cleanser for the price, provided you're able to stomach the smell. I like stuff with NO scent whatsoever, so I won't be repurchasing.

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Reviewed by
Jill G
08.05.2013
FRAGRANCE LIKE PERFUME

The amount of fragrance on this product is NOT small. It smells like someone dumped perfume in it. None of the ingredients are pore clogging, which is great, but as soon as I begin massaging in to my skin the cleanser burns my face and gives me tons of tiny little bumps and stingy redness. Fragrance in a sensitive skin wash? FAIL. I'm starting to wonder about Paula's reviews as the amount of fragrance should not leave this product with a "Best" rating. Bad judgement call. A waste of money.

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Reviewed by
Keith C
05.02.2013
Disappointed!

I was actually shocked when my face turned bright red after using this cleanser, especially considering I don't even have sensitive skin. Maybe I got a bad bottle somehow but my husband and I both had reactions to this cleanser immediately. I use tons of products on my skin, including intensive peels and exfoliants each week with no problems. This does have a nice silky feel and takes off makeup...okay there isn't nearly enough room to write a proper review and it's totally frustrating. C'mon!

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Reviewed by
MK
04.06.2013
Pretty great! Very minor complaints.

I bought this after ditching my irritating daily cleanser from Origins. This is gentle and is a pretty great cleanser, but it does take awhile to rinse clean from your face and seems to leave my face a little tight. I have "normal" skin but sensitive cheeks due to keratosis pilaris rubra faceii. I'm just not totally sold on it yet for me. Hrm. I would recommend someone looking to try another daily cleanser, for sure.

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Reviewed by
Lauren C.
03.30.2013
Not bad, but I expected more given the product name...

Not a bad product for a drugstore line. I have normal to dry sensitive skin, and although it is more gentle than most cleansers out there, I still find my skin a little taut after cleansing with it, unless the weather is hot and humid. Definitely need a moisturizing toner and serum after you finish.

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Reviewed by
Howard D.
03.10.2013
Sensitive Skin and Ultra Gentle Cleanser by Neutogena

I highly recommend this product! I have both rosacea and eczema and have absolutely no problem with this product. It is very gentle. I use it both morning and night.

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Reviewed by
Sandy
02.07.2013
Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser

This cleanser is awesome! I have what I consider to be combination to oily skin. Additionally, I wear long-wear makeup every day. This cleanser takes it all off and makes my skin feel exactly perfect when I am done. Refreshed and clean, not tight and dry like most other cleansers I have tried. This cleanser takes off eye make up too (I do usually have to go over my mascara twice to get every ounce.) What I really love is that this cleanser is great for the eye area because if you get it in your eyes, no sting at all! I always get my cleansers in my eyes and this does not irritate. If it doesn't sting my eyes, then it must be gentle, right?! Previously, I have had to use oil based cleansers for eye makeup removal, which impedes the effectiveness and absorption of the Latisse I use every night. So this is a perfect match! Lastly, like I mentioned, I have oily-ish skin. Before this cleanser came into my life, I would wake up in the morning with an oil slick on my face and I would have to wash my face again in the morning, which in turn would only make my face oilier. Now just a VERY slight amount of oil in the morning... I splash cold water on my face and I am good to go. I am probably one of those people who over cleansed my skin before with too abrasive of cleansers. As a result I was constantly breaking out and suffering from super oily and irritated skin... now my skin is under control. Zero break outs- seriously- zero! No more oil, redness or irritation! I am one happy camper. I highly recommend this product!

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Reviewed by
Mary
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