TURN OFF THE TAP: Waterless Facial Cleansers

By November 13, 2009 4 Comments

TURN OFF THE TAP: Waterless Facial Cleansers

Cold is a relative term. Here in Los Angeles what we consider winter weather would make my friends in Aspen laugh. Yet no matter where you live, when the weather changes so does your skin. And while we change the way we dress throughout the year, sometimes we forget that our skin might need a wardrobe change, too. In the new issue of Allure I read that in winter “skin loses about 25% of its ability to hold moisture.” So when it comes to cleansing, the less you strip your skin, the better. Ideally that means cleansers that require little to no water. It may sound crazy but it works. I love Care by Stella McCartney Gentle Cleansing Milk (which is no longer easy to find). You apply it like a face wash and simply remove with a cotton ball.

As the temps drop, put away anything that foams (foam=dry, dry, dry) and turn to cream and oil-based options. For every skin type there is something that works (trust me, oil and oily/combo/sensitive skin make very good friends) and here are some great choices at every price.


Baby Face Cleanser by LUSH ($9.35) looks like a bar of soap carved to resemble the man in the moon. But the solid bar is actually made with shea, cocoa and avocado butters. It removes makeup, cleanses and softens skin and can be removed with a toner on a cotton pad or damp washcloth. Also great for dry skin, too.

La Roche Posay has created a line specifically for very sensitive skin, including those with eczema and rosacea as part of their skincare collection. Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser Gentle Wipe-Off Formula ($19.95) is designed to cleanse the most allergy-prone skin types gently and safely. The lotion is non-comedogenic, fragrance and preservative free.

L’Occitane’s Shea and Organic Cotton line is formulated for sensitive skin, using minimal ingredients and zero fragrance, dyes, preservatives or alcohol. The Ultra Comfort Cleansing Milk ($22) cleanses and tones without parabens, synthetics or water. Made with cotton, rosemary and shea butter simply massage into skin and wipe away dirt and makeup.


Naked Bee Tissue-Off Facial Cleanser ($8.95) does exactly what the name says. This paraben and sulfate-free cleanser is 70% organic and includes SPF. Infused with antioxidant Vitamin C because it helps build skin elasticity. Perfect for daily use on all skin types.

sukiface® created their moisture-rich cleansing lotion ($26.95) with organic lemon, sage and lavender to cleanse and hydrate while maintaining the skin’s natural moisture. Great for normal, combination, dry and mature skin, apply and massage into skin and gently remove using toner soaked cotton pads. Also available at Whole Foods.

Laura Mercier Purifying Oil ($40) comes in two formulas, Light for normal to oily skin and Rich for dry and dehydrated skin. The cleanser and makeup removers are formulated with deep sea water and a formula that “gently removes impurities and provide a truly deep clean without stripping the skin.” Non-comedogenic, you massage the oil into skin and remove with a warm washcloth.

The shu uemera cleansing oils are truly iconic. Using botanical oils to gently cleanse, shu umera offers six formulas to fit every skin type (and season). Using avocado and jojoba oil the cleansing oils are beloved by makeup artists as much as consumers. The High Performance Balanced Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula is the most popular for all skin types but there are formulas for combo/oily, dry, dull/uneven, mature and sensitive skins. Ranging from $32-$72, check out the combo kit for $35 at Barneys.


Since 1963, the British brand Beauty Without Cruelty has been making skincare products with eco-consciousness. The ($11) is a cleanser and makeup remover, made with organic, aroma-therapeutic oils and herbal extracts including lavender, chamomile, calendula and Vitamin E. Can be rinsed off or removed with a cotton pad.

What’s your secret for battling winter dry skin? Feel free to share in comments. A little beauty banter can teach us all a thing or two. xo alex.

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