It’s hard to find a cleanser that works for everybody. There are so many out there to choose from, and we all have different preferences and skin types. It’s no fun using a product that feels too rich or too drying—because clogged pores, tightness and sensitivity are the potential outcomes.
But there is one product I’ve discovered that I do think you’ll like, whether you’re dry, oily or in between. It’s inexpensive, free of the harsh and irritating ingredients that I always caution against, and gentle but oh-so-effective.
Let’s talk about the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser!
What It Is & Who It’s For
The First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser is a gentle, creamy cleanser that removes dirt, oil and makeup while leaving your skin soft and supple.
It’s pH-balanced, which means it’s close to the skin’s natural pH level of 4.5-5.5. So it won’t strip your skin or throw off its natural acidity.
It’s also safe for sensitive skin (like all First Aid Beauty products) and is free of potential irritants (such as fragrance and sulfates). In fact, the brand has over 1,300 ingredients on its “no-no” list that are excluded from its formulas, and every product is dermatologist-tested to ensure that it doesn’t trigger skin irritation, allergies or other side effects.
But that doesn’t mean you need to have sensitive skin in order to use it. The brand specifically claims that all types of skin—even oily skin—can use this. That’s a rare thing for a cleanser!
Here’s the ingredients list for the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser:
aqua/water/eau, sodium cocoyl isethionate, glycerin, stearic acid, hydrogenated coconut acid, sodium isethionate, stearyl alcohol, allantoin, chrysanthemum parthenium (feverfew) extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, tocopherol, hydrogenated palm glycerides citrate, phenoxyethanol, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, sodium pca, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, coco-glucoside, glyceryl oleate, sodium chloride, disodium edta, citric acid, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, maltodextrin, tetrasodium edta
And here’s what you need to know about this formula:
Mild cleansing agents: This cleanser is free of sulfates—always the first thing I check for. We all should avoid them because they’re harsh detergents that can compromise the skin barrier and cause dryness and irritation. In their place are three ultra-mild cleansing agents: sodium cocoyl isethionate, hydrogenated coconut acid and sodium isethionate.
Hydrators: To condition your skin while you cleanse, there are various humectants and emollients. Humectants are ingredients like glycerin and aloe, which draw water into the skin, while emollients are ingredients like stearic acid and fatty alcohol, which smooth and soften. Fortunately, these rinse away without leaving a heavy, occlusive film behind.
Skin soothers: Allantoin and feverfew extract are the brand’s signature ingredients to help soothe sensitive skin.
Fragrance-free: Unlike most cleansers, this one has no synthetic fragrance or essential oils—and for good reason, since they are the number one cause of skin reactions.
Texture & Packaging
Both the tubes and the pump bottles are polyethylene plastic, which is recyclable. If you buy a pump bottle, the only thing you can’t recycle is the pump itself, because of its inner metal springs.
Now, here’s what this cleanser looks like straight out of the tube.
If it reminds you of liquid hand soap, you’re not alone. It has the same pearlescent white colour, but the texture is a little more luxe, thick and whipped. (And unlike most hand soap, it’s fragrance-free, of course.)
Once you massage it over damp skin, you’ll notice that it transforms into a creamy lather.
And the best part? It rinses off completely with just water, and doesn’t leave any film behind on your skin.
How to Use It
You can use the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser as often as twice daily, morning and night:
- Dampen your face.
- Dispense a dime-sized amount of cleanser onto your fingertips. (A little goes a long way, so this will be more than enough!)
- Gently massage the cleanser over all areas of your face.
- Rinse it off with water or gently wipe it off with a soft, damp cloth.
- Finish with your favourite toner to remove any traces of cleanser residue. (I love The Inkey List PHA Toner.)
Before I tried the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser, I always used to steer clear of cream cleansers. They didn’t clean my skin well, and would inevitably leave some residue behind. But that’s not the case with this product. Despite its creamy texture, it both cuts through the grime and then completely rinses away with just water.
I wear light makeup, so I’ve found that I don’t need to use a separate makeup remover before I wash my face with this—it’s that good at getting everything off. So if you’re the same and are looking for a “one and done” type of product, it’ll fit the bill. (For heavy foundation and/or waterproof formulas, I’d still recommend using a separate makeup remover.)
Another thing I like about this cleanser is that it leaves my skin feeling so much more hydrated than your typical gel or foam, which can be drying. Initially, I was nervous about the creaminess because my skin is acne-prone, but it has never clogged my pores or broken me out.
Oh, and you know how with some skincare products, a little goes a long way? Well, it’s very true with this cleanser. Even the smallest 2 oz. bottle has lasted me ages, because you need such a small amount to clean your entire face.
For these reasons, the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser is one of the rare cleansers that I’ve actually repurchased. (And that’s saying something, because in this line of work, I try new cleansers all the time!)
Conclusion: Is It Worth It?
Cleansers come and go, but the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser has stood the test of time. Did you know that it first launched in 2009, and it’s still one of the bestselling cleansers at Sephora to this day?
Scroll to Continue
That’s because it does exactly what it promises—it gently but effectively cleans your skin without making it feel dry, tight or irritated. I love that it’s affordable and made with clean ingredients. This is one of the handful of cleansers that I recommend for all skin types.
That said, no product is perfect for everyone. If you have acne-prone skin and are worried about the creamy texture, I recommend swiping your skin with your favourite toner after cleansing. I do this with all cleansers to ensure that every trace of product and debris is removed. It’s a good habit to get into regardless of which cleanser you are using, and can be a real game-changer for acne-prone skin.
As for sensitive skin, while First Aid Beauty formulates for “minimum irritancy,” there’s always a chance with any product that it could cause a skin reaction. It’s a good idea to patch test on a small area (such as your inner forearm or neck) before introducing anything new to your routine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Any Similar Products?
Yes, there are similar gentle cleansers available that are also suitable for all skin types. These are the closest dupes that I’ve found:
Is This Cleanser Cruelty-Free?
Yes. First Aid Beauty is a 100% cruelty-free company. Neither the brand nor its ingredient suppliers or contract manufacturers conduct, commission or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations or finished products.
Where to Buy
If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. See our Disclosure for more information.