Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser

Step up to the sink with confidence. We've got a face wash for the most sensitive skin. It calms and soothes skin, reduces redness and irritation.
Item #: 105
  • Anti-Aging, Eczema, Extra Sensitive Skin, Redness, Rosacea, Wrinkles
  • Dry/Very Dry Skin
  • Great for rosacea

Our new and improved Skin Recovery Cleanser formula is thicker, creamier, and feels more cushiony on sensitive skin while still calming and soothing skin as it cleans.

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Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser

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Customer Ratings:

87 out of 100
(Based on 170 Reviews)
Page of 7 Next »
  1. Scott B.
    Reviewed on Monday, December 15, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    New AND Improved!
    • I was very pleased to find my second favorite cleanser (Resist tops the list; this isn't far behind) has been reformulated into an actual cleansing cream. I have no problem with any supposed residue being left behind—just clean, smooth skin. Smells nice as well. So there!

  2. Jeanie
    Reviewed on Saturday, December 13, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    I like this new formula
    • I like this new formula. The old one was good, but, it really didn't seem much different that some of the others. It cleans my face very well without leaving it dry. I love that it leaves a creamy finish to my face after I wash it.

  3. Lori R.
    Reviewed on Thursday, December 11, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Was in love, now not so sure...
    • I just started using this product in september and really loved it, easily 5 stars. So I then purchased the large bottle and instantly noticed the formulation has changed. I don't mind the creamier texture, I have super dry skin so the creamier the better, but it doesn't remove my makeup very well like the old did, it also leaves my skin tighter/dryer after washing before I can get to my toner and the smell really gets to me, it has a very unpleasant scent since the change.

  4. Rupali W
    Reviewed on Thursday, December 04, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Raww
    • This is my third week of using this product. First two weeks it everything seemed okay, but now in the third week my skin is breaking out. In the second week I used the 2% BHA exfoliant sample. But stopped using the exfoliant because I had started noticing minor breakout. Today I noticed more breakout at a higher degree. I am not sure if its the cleanser or after effects of the exfoliant. My brown skin scars easily so I'm now quite skeptical about this product.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, December 04, 2014

    Hello, and thanks for sharing your experience - we're sorry to hear this didn't work as expected for you! Please contact a member of our Customer Care team for information about a possible exchange or refund.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  5. Brandy
    Reviewed on Wednesday, December 03, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Buyer beware, not the same formula
    • I knew as soon as I squeezed some of out of the bottle that it was not the same formula. The former formula was much more milky. I wasn't deterred, however, as I have no objections to a creamier formula. That being said, my skin was immediately irritated upon application, something that NEVER happened with the old formula. Not to mention, it did a very poor job of removing my eye makeup (something that again, the old formula did rather good job of). WHY mess with a good thing!?

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, December 03, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your experience, and we’re sorry this wasn’t a fit for you. The Skin Recovery Collection is designed for those with dry to very dry skin, and as such, the latest formulation of the Softening Cream Cleanser is truer to this skin type than the past—it is now a genuine cream formula. What makes cream cleansers so beneficial for dry to very dry skin is the moisture they leave behind due to their blends of emollient and reparative ingredients. 

    In extensive panel testing, participants overwhelming preferred the new version to the prior, including for makeup removal.  You may prefer our lighter, lotion-based normal to dry alternatives in the Resist Hydrating Cleanser or Moisture Boost Cleanser formulas.  Please contact our Customer Care Team for assistance with a refund/exchange or with any questions.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  6. R.j N.
    Reviewed on Monday, November 10, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    A luxury cleanser
    • This cleanser is so creamy and delicious to wash my face with. I love it. I find it takes off all my makeup very easy, no sting,and leaves my face soft and looking dewy. Also love the lack of scent...However I do have one complaint,that might prevent me from ordering more and that is the container. If you happen to have arthritics hands, especially in the thumb- joint the container is painful to squeeze the hard plastic. It would be wonderful if there were a pump.

  7. Shannon W.
    Reviewed on Monday, November 10, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    The BEST cleanser!
    • This is hands down the best cleanser ever! I have REALLY sensitive skin and it NEVER breaks it out or bothers it. My Mom has dry/aging skin and she's able to use it too. The new bottle is a little trickier than the old pump style bottle. But I just open the cap ahead of time and it makes it easier when I'm ready to lather up. I also use it 2x weekly with my Olay facial brush cleaner .

  8. Sharon E.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, November 04, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Doesn't clean well, leaves residue
    • I have been using this cleanser and have been very happy with it until they changed the formula. I didn't realize it after I bought it and noticed that it was very thick and creamy. It's like washing your face with lotion. Your face does not feel clean and it also leaves a residue that's difficult to wash off. While cleaning with toner, I can see that the foundation was still on my face. Normally, the cotton pad is clean. I've also noticed some breakout and a whitehead, which I never get.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, November 05, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your experience, and we’re sorry this wasn’t a fit for you. The Skin Recovery Collection is designed for those with dry to very dry skin, and as such, the latest formulation of the Softening Cream Cleanser is truer to this skin type than the past—it is now a genuine cream formula. What makes cream cleansers so beneficial for dry to very dry skin is the moisture they leave behind due to their blends of emollient and reparative ingredients. 

    In extensive panel testing, participants overwhelming preferred the new version to the prior, including for makeup removal.  You may prefer our lighter, lotion-based normal to dry alternatives in the Resist Hydrating Cleanser or Moisture Boost Cleanser formulas.  Please contact our Customer Care Team for assistance with a refund/exchange or with any questions.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  9. CAROLINE S.
    Reviewed on Thursday, October 30, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Not wild about new formula
    • I have used Paula's products with much success over the years; love virtually all I've tried. The reformulation of the skin recovery cleanser is not a hit for me. As another reviewer stated, I have a hard time washing it off; it seems to leave a residue. I will continue to use it, but would have stocked up on the old version if I'd had a chance. Maybe customer service could give us a heads up when re-formulations are on the horizon? I felt the same way when the hair/body shampoo formula changed.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, October 30, 2014

    Thanks for your feedback! We're sorry you're not liking the latest version of this cleanser. Please feel free to contact us if you'd like to exchange this cleanser for another option.

    —Admin
  10. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Monday, October 20, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Excellent makeup remover, yet so gentle.
    • I have acne prone skin (incl. cystic) that has begun to dry out with age and use of Differin. I have always used Moisture Boost in the winters, but my skin started getting dry early this year, and it wasn't cutting it. This cleanser is fabulous - so incredibly gentle (no lather), yet it gets my face substantially cleaner with less product than the Moist. Boost or the Skin Balancing cleansers. No breakouts, and my skin feels noticeably less taut. Highly recommend!

  11. wc
    Reviewed on Sunday, October 19, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    milky consistence
    • I've used Moisture Boost cleanser, however found it drying..so tried Skin Recovery and while it didn't dry out my skin as much as Moisture Boost I found the consistency very milky and seems like I had to use twice as much in order to cleanse my face. The scent is also odd. Will go back to Moisture Boost even though it is drying for my skin.

  12. VALORIE C.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Not a thorough clean
    • I have used PC cleansers in the past with much success. For some reason, this cleanser is not working well for me. After use I am finding residue left on cotton pad with toner--a noticeable uptick in this since I started using the SOFTENING CREAM CLEANSER. Now I have to wash twice to feel really clean and I wear a light coverage makeup (all bases covered)!! Did the formula change?!

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Thanks for your review! Yes, the formula did change for this product. We felt (and our panel testers agreed) that it was a change for the better, including for makeup removal. Please contact us if you'd like to arrange for a refund or exchange.

    —Admin
  13. M J K.
    Reviewed on Sunday, October 12, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Very Sensitive
    • I have extremely sensitive skin. I tried many different cleansers for sensitive skin. However, with prolonged use my face would start turning red after I washed it. It was like my skin was being slightly burned by these products. When I found Paula's Choice website I was impressed that you could order samples of all the products first. I've used this cleanser almost two years and my skin looks great. I haven't experienced any redness, just a healthy complexion. I've even received compliments.

  14. Y. L.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, October 08, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Good cleanser
    • This cleanser is nice. But it's a bit drying. I have an oily skin and even it dries. I'll continue the bottle, but suppose not to re-purchase it. But it works well with Recovery Toner.

  15. Stephanie H.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, September 30, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Good product; awful smell
    • This cleanser DID NOT make the cut for me, mostly due to the smell. It reminds me of slightly watered down Elmer's glue. Gross. I understand Paula's commitment to not adding fragrance, but this cleanser seriously needs it. It did help repair my damaged acid mantle, so it's not all bad. But since I don't have this issue anymore I won't use again & will probably return.

  16. Bobbie J
    Reviewed on Sunday, September 28, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Leaves skin smooth and not tight
    • I gave it 4 stars, as it left my nose pretty dry but not the rest of my face. That left me a little perplexed! I order a sample, to make sure that this would be the cleanser for me before I bought the large size. I have african american skin, very acne-prone with dark scars from past acne. My skin suffers from eczema in both summer and winter & i have very allergic eyes. So what I wash my face with is very important, as most cleansers sting. This one didn't.

  17. WZ
    Reviewed on Sunday, September 14, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Odd Scent
    • I ordered the cleanser about 2 months ago and just started using it today. When I received the product the bottle was very warm to the touch, since here in Texas the temps are usually 100 degrees or over, I was not sure the cleanser was safe to use after opening the bottle and noticing a odd odor. I'm not sure if I should continue using it or not? The product does not dry out my face, so that is good. Please comment customer service. Thank you.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, September 15, 2014

    This cleanser should be fine to use, as all of our products go through extensive stability testing that includes long-term exposure to high heat. If you remain concerned, please contact us.

    —Admin
  18. Christina E.
    Reviewed on Monday, August 25, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great cleanser!
    • LOVE both this & the Moisture Boost cleanser so much! Both are creamy, but the Moisture Boost works into a rich, low-suds lather compared to this one. After years of trying bad OTC cream cleansers, I was convinced they weren't for me. They never removed all my makeup, & left a film on my skin. Now that I've used these, I'll never go back to foaming cleansers! Both leave the skin soft & clean & remove makeup well. I prefer the MB solely bcuz of the rich lather. Otherwise, it's a draw!

  19. OIivia H.
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 21, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Perfect for Dry/Sensitive Skin!
    • I was really impressed by this product from the very first use. Never had I ever used a cleanser that didn't make my skin feel at least a little tight. After cleansing my face with this product my face felt quite soft, I was really surprised. However, this is not a product that will remove all your makeup. I highly suggest using a cleansing oil or makeup removing wipe to remove makeup before washing your face with this at night.

  20. Kristina B.
    Reviewed on Sunday, August 17, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Excellent cleanser
    • After getting frustrated with drugstore sensitive skin cleansers that either dried out my skin, left a residue, or simply failed to remove makeup, I gave in and ordered this. It doesn't lather or foam, but it still rinses clean without residue. It doesn't dry me out. When I dry my face with a white towel, there are no little telltale mascara marks. It seems to completely remove my mineral sunscreen and makeup as well. Worth the expense, even for something that you rinse right off.

  21. HEATHER E.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, August 12, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great for Sensitive/Irritated Skin
    • I've used (and loved several PC cleansers over the years, but this and Earth Sourced are my favorites. This one is essential when my skin is irritated from treatment products, allergies, rosacea, or environmental factors. It removes every bit of my makeup and leaves my skin soft and soothed. I like the consistency and only need a little each day, making the large bottle a very economical choice.

  22. Jane
    Reviewed on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Fantastic for Rosacea!
    • Great cleanser for those of us suffering from Rosacea. It is ultra gentle, mild and non-irritating. Absolutely happy with my purchases, as I am on bottle number 3 having just received the 16 oz version.

  23. ItsAllGood
    Reviewed on Sunday, July 27, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    LOVE IT!
    • I LOVE this Cleanser. I know, really? It's a cleanser. Well, it's so gentle but so effective at cleaning extra sensitive rosacea affected skin like "I" have! Honestly, I am not sure which is better, Paula's Choice products or her amazing customer service representatives. Bravo Paula and Bravo Customer Service representatives. This cleanser cleans your skin but it's like getting a facial in a bottle. My skin feels so good, I actually look forward to cleansing my skin! Seriously!

  24. Lucy
    Reviewed on Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Made me break out
    • I have normal/dry skin and Rosacea. Unfortunately this made my skin break out within a day or so. I contacted Paula's Choice and they gave me a refund right away. So, the product gets 1 star but customer service gets 5 stars.

  25. Cynthia T.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, July 09, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    So awesome it should be illegal!
    • A cleanser that cannot clean makeup is not a cleanser. I wore heavy duty MAC primer, foundation, concealer, blush etc.. etc. This took off ALL of it. I've checked a few times with a makeup wipe to make sure it was all off and yup! No remaining makeup! I also love the larger size. I could not BELIEVE how big it was when it came in the mail! For a few seconds I thought they had sent me a shampoo, its HUGE! I wish I had more than 500 characters to rave about this product! You won't regret it!

Page of 7 Next »

What makes this product unique?
Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser is a rich, intensely hydrating cleanser that rinses easily with water. Designed for dry to very dry skin, the creamy lotion texture glides over skin while it cleanses and removes makeup. Works throughout the cleansing process to keep dry skin supple while actually improving skin's softness and adding moisture. This cleanser is also an excellent option for truly sensitive skin, including those with rosacea.

This cleanser is 100% fragrance- and colorant-free.

Who is this product for?
Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser is formulated for those with normal to very dry or sensitive skin.

Sources to support the claims made for Skin Recovery SOFTENING CREAM Cleanser

Cutis, March 2005, pages 17-21; March 2004, pages 183–187; and December 2001, Supplemental, pages 12–19; Skin Research and Technology, February 2005, pages 53–60; Dermatologic Therapy, 2004; 17 Supplemental 1, pages 26-34;  Dermatologic Therapy, January 2004, pages 16–25; Skin Research and Technology, July 2001, pages 49–55; and Contact Dermatitis, June 1999, pages 310–315.

Key Ingredients: oat beta-glucan, Chamomilla recutita flower extract, Glycine soja oil, cocamidopropyl betaine

Product Ingredients:

Water, Hydrogentated Polydecene, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Polysorbate 80, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Chamomile Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Oat Beta Glucan, Mineral Oil, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Butylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Laureth-4, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Hexylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol.

DIRECTIONS: Splash the face and eyes generously with tepid to slightly warm water. Apply a small amount of cleanser to your face and eye area with vigorous yet gentle circular motions. Rinse well. Repeat or use with a clean washcloth to remove heavy makeup. Follow with the appropriate Paula’s Choice toner to give your skin a generous amount of potent antioxidants and skin-renewing ingredients. Next, apply your Paula's Choice exfoliant, serum and/or moisturizer.

Detailed instructions on how/when to apply your Paula's Choice products can be found in our How to Put Together Your Own Skincare Routine article.

Do I still need to use an eye or face makeup remover?

It depends on how much eye or face makeup you are using or if you are wearing waterproof mascara, waterproof makeup, or other hard-to-remove makeup. Otherwise, this cleanser effectively removes most types of makeup. If you feel you need an a separate makeup remover, Paula's Choice Gentle Touch Makeup Remover is ideal.

How does Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser differ from the other Paula's Choice Cleansers - how do I know which one is best for me?

Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser is slightly more emollient than Moisture Boost One Step Face Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin, which makes it preferred for someone with dry to very dry skin. It is also more emollient than Resist Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser, though both the Resist and Skin Recovery Cleanser are great for dry skin of any age.

I have normal to dry skin on my cheeks but my T-zone is oily - would Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser work for me?

While it is an option, your best bet would be to try Moisture Boost One Step Face Cleansers for Normal to Dry Skin first. If you prefer a gel cleanser, consider Hydralight One Step Cleanser for Normal to Oily/Combination Skin.

I have normal to dry skin that gets noticeably drier in the winter - would Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser be a good seasonal choice?

Yes! This would be a very good choice for normal to dry skin during the winter months.

Will this cleanser make me break out?

This cleanser is extremely unlikely to cause blemishes. However, normal to oily and blemish-prone skins will likely find this cleanser too emollient for their skin type.

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