Review: Aveeno smart essentials pore purifying facial wash

At some point during my trip, I couldn’t find my bottle of facial wash. Since I had to pack and unpack so many times, I was convinced I had lost it and needed a new one. After looking around in Walgreens, I picked this facial wash up. I’ve had very positive experience with Aveeno, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Besides stating the oil-free, soap-free, hypoallergenic, and noncomedogenic nature on the back of the bottle, this facial wash makes the following claims: To get great, healthy looking skin, make a clean start. Diet, free-radicals, lack of sleep and a hectic lifestyle can rob your skin of essential nourishment, resulting in noticeably stressed skin. Formulated with antioxidant Southernwood extract, SMART ESSENTIALS™ Pore Purifying Facial Wash helps keep what’s good for your skin in and what’s bad out, purifying and renewing your skin with each wash. Smart skincare that knows what your skin needs and what it doesn’t because:

It keeps the good in:
Mild formula supports moisture by cleansing without over-drying skin.
And the bad out:
Cleanses to remove impurities, dirt and makeup.
Removes excess oil to create more balanced skin.
(taken from the Aveeno website)

Once you pump it out, the facial wash is an almost transparent gel. I can’t put my fingers around the smell (it’s a bit flowery and a bit fruity) but I quite like it. Maybe it’s the smell of Southernwood which it claims to be formulated with? I have combination skin, and it’s drier because of the season. This facial wash doesn’t dry it out. After I wash my face with it, my skin feels clean and it’s not tight or anything. However, I do always use a separate makeup remover before washing my face, so I can’t assess the “remove makeup” claim. I would be surprised if it really does that though. Based on its texture I wouldn’t be so sure. What I don’t like about this facial wash is the fact that it almost doesn’t foam at all. The instructions tell you to dispense 2-3 pumps (!!!) each time, but still it wouldn’t foam. It might be my problem to be so foam-obsessed, but any cleaning product that doesn’t foam well is not a good one for me. Compared with my HG L’Occitane Foaming Rice Cleaner, which is also soap-free and I only need half a pump or even less each time, this facial wash is rather disappointing. True, there is a significant difference in price tags (L’Occitane: 20, Aveeno: 6.99 dollars), but since you need 2-3 pumps each time, you’d run out of this one a lot faster, so at the end I’m not sure it makes more economical sense.

Bottom line: it’s not a bad product, but certainly a mediocre one. For someone who has combination skin, it functions as a daily cleanser without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. However, based on the fact that it doesn’t foam and a large quantity is required each use, I wouldn’t repurchase even if I could. I’m sure even among Aveeno facial washes there are ones that perform better.

EDIT 26/01/12: I stand by my original opinion that I’m not the biggest fan of this facial wash. However, in the meantime I have realized a lot of my problems with cleansers that don’t foam too well might be due to the fact that the water in Belgium is extremely hard. You might not have the same problem if you live somewhere the water is relatively soft.

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