This water-soluble cleanser’s mission is to clear your skin, but like with so many anti-acne cleansers, the intentions are good, but the execution is poor. This version differs little from lots of others: It contains 2% salicylic acid as the active ingredient and a menthol derivative to make skin tingle as it’s cleansed. The tingling isn’t helpful—it’s the type of irritation that can trigger oil production at the base of your pores—and the salicylic acid’s brief contact with skin means your acne isn’t likely to improve. There are other problematic ingredients in this cleanser, too, making it one to leave at the drugstore.
This cleanser deep cleans to gently remove dirt and make-up and helps maintain skin’s moisture balance.
Active: Salicylic Acid (2%) Other Ingredients: Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Propylene Glycol, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Ascophyllum Nodosum (Brown Algae) Extract, Alteromonas Ferment Extract, Epilobium Angustifolium (Canadian Willowherb) Extract, Yeast (Faex) Extract, Menthyl Lactate, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, PEG-150 Distearate, Phenethyl Alcohol, Methylisothiazolinone, Sodium Hydroxide, PPG- 2 Methyl Ether, EDTA, Green 5, Yellow 5 Lake, Red 4, Red 33, Blue 1 Lake
St. Ives At-A-Glance
Strengths: A couple of water-soluble cleansers, a gentle microdermabrasion alternative; some good, inexpensive body lotions; excellent hand cream.
Weaknesses: Overly abrasive scrubs; ineffective anti-acne products; dated moisturizer; overall, the facial-care products are substandard, even if they are inexpensive.
Two things set this line apart in the minds of consumers familiar with the brand: the Swiss angle and their apricot face scrubs. This notoriety didn't translate to thoughtfully formulated products, though. Instead, most of the scrubs are too abrasive, and the apricot is simply there as an extract, never mind that in a scrub it doesn't have any significant benefit for skin. The same can be said of the selection of supposedly Swiss-based herbs. Most of them have soothing properties, but it doesn't matter to skin if the ingredients came from Switzerland or South Dakota. If anything, the whole Swiss angle is getting a bit tired. You can bet that there are no scientists working high in the Swiss alps to formulate these products. St. Ives is a line with very little worth considering, so feel free to breeze right by as you shop for skin-care products at your local drugstore.
For more information about St. Ives, owned by Unilever, call (800) 333-0005 or visit www.stives.com.
The Beautypedia 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 Begoun herself.
I had really not good skin in highschool and a year or so afterwards. Tried everything including that god awful proactive.
Then I found this!!! Ohemgee my skin cleared up within 2 weeks. I ALWAYS moisturize with (clean and clear advantage acne control moisturizer) after washing my face. I have been using that combo for 3 years now.
I literally picked up this product the same day I picked up a prescription for Differin. After a month my skin remains clear, whereas my 40+ skin had been behaving like a teenager for more than a year in spite of using another product containing 2% salicylic acid and BP. I don't know what it is about THIS product but I have had no breakouts — without the Differin! This comment is coming from someone who was on Accutane in my 20s only to see the problem return in my late 30s. Unfair review, PB!
Hi there -- I just called St. Ives to inquire if this product was being discontinued and Karen stated that it was not. I do see that it is unavailable online at most retailers, however.
I was using this product and I understood that the warnings said skin may get dry, but that was if you used it twice a day. I only used it once a day and I used the product for lest then a few weeks. My skin got dry, specially in the areas of mt chin, the tip sides of my lips and the loop sides area of my nose. It got so dry and irritating that my skin was peeling off and the areas were red.
This product suited my skin very well, it cleansed my oily skin beautifully. There were no issues with irritation and it has kept my blemish-prone skin clear and fresh. Overall, a good cleanser with good value, too.
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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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