Balancing Cleanser: Oil Control
Follain’s Balancing Cleanser is a suitable option for those with combination to oily skin. It has a few minor issues but overall takes good care of oily skin, including oily skin prone to breakouts!
Housed in an opaque, solid-feeling plastic bottle and topped with a pump dispenser (we found one to one and a half pumps sufficient per use), this cleansing gel gets its inky black color from the charcoal powder it contains. Charcoal is non-irritating and works on contact to absorb and hold onto excess oil, allowing it to be washed away. In our experience, we did not find the charcoal stained skin when this cleanser is rinsed thoroughly.
While this does contain sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate, a cleansing agent that can be drying when used as the primary surfactant, in this case it’s secondary and made gentler by the inclusion of lauromidopropyl betaine, a mild-yet-effective cleanser that produces a soft lather and releases glycerin, which helps offset the harshness of the sulfonate.
This combination is great for oily or combination skin but those with dry skin may experience a tight feeling after use. We’re not downgrading it for this due to Balancing Cleanser being clearly marketed to those with oily skin, but in truth Follain could’ve chosen a gentler secondary surfactant.
Balancing Cleanser rinses easily, removes makeup–including most types of eye makeup–and does not leave oily skin or oily areas feeling stripped. Instead, skin looks matte and feels very soft, ready for the next step in your routine.
The only real drawback is that this contains witch hazel and rose waters. Both are used in low amounts (we did not notice a rose scent) and the water form of each poses a notably reduced risk of irritation than the oil or distillate forms do. That’s great news but it also must be said that both ingredients pose a risk if they get in the eyes. So do the cleansing agents, but those are essential ingredients in a product like this; rose water and witch hazel are not.
Going a bit further, rose and witch hazel waters cannot reduce oil or balance skin, and cleanser alone cannot unclog pores as claimed. This is just the first step toward reducing oily skin (by removing the excess from skin’s surface and just inside the pores), not a total solution.
Last, what about using this as a one-minute mask to detox skin? Leaving this on skin for a minute isn’t likely to have a negative effect but charcoal, cleansing agents, and some plant waters cannot pull toxins from skin (see More Info to learn why).
- Absorbs and easily removes excess oil without stripping skin.
- Removes makeup and rinses clean.
- Leaves oil-prone areas smooth and matte.
- Rose and witch hazel waters cannot unclog pores or balance skin, but can irritate eyes.
- Cannot detoxify skin.
Why Beauty Products Cannot Detoxify Your Skin: Despite the claims of many cosmetics companies, you cannot “detox” your skin. Brands that make this claim never really specify exactly what substances or toxins their products are supposed to eliminate, which makes sense, because your skin does not store toxins.
Toxins are classified according to whether they are produced by the body or are introduced into the body, usually through eating or inhaling. Toxins are produced by plants, animals, insects, reptiles (think snake venom and bee stings), and so on. Toxins also can be inorganic, such as heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and others.
When it comes to your skin, toxins cannot leave your body through your skin or sebaceous (oil) glands—it’s physiologically impossible. Other parts of your body, mainly your kidneys and liver, handle the process of “detoxifying” just fine, as long as you have a healthy diet.
There are a handful of studies indicating that sweat acts as a carrier in “detoxifying” by removing trace heavy metals from the body; however, the methodology of those studies is considered questionable when reviewed by third-party experts.
Nonetheless, if you choose to sauna, steam, or exercise to increase sweating, that’s a lifestyle option to discuss with your physician, but it does absolutely nothing as a purifying skincare activity.
Skin care products are not going to “detox” your body or skin. As we always say: Stick to what the research says really works, and ignore the fantasy claims because they aren’t going to help your skin or your budget.
References for this information:
Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, December 2015, pages 675–686
Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2012, pages 1–10
Unclog pores, dissolve excess oil, and remove makeup with our surprisingly gentle, seriously effective solution for congested, blemish-prone skin. Charcoal and Willow Bark Extract thoroughly purify pores, while Rosewater and Witch Hazel Water help reduce shine and balance skin for a more even-toned complexion. Doubles as a quick 1-minute mask for an even deeper detox. Either way, your complexion will be left looking just the way you like it: healthy, even-toned, and shine-free.
Follain began as a retail and e-commerce venture focused on curating what they deemed to be the best “clean” beauty products from various brands. As their popularity grew, they decided to create their own line of products with the philosophy that “non-toxic is non-negotiable” when it comes to skin.
What qualifies as “clean” vs. “dirty” or “toxic” varies depending on you ask (clean beauty is an unregulated term so any company can create their own definition of what that means). Follain’s approach is to formulate their products to be free from ingredients that fall on their restricted list, which in their own words, “plays it safe” when it comes to cosmetic ingredients that could potentially be a red flag.
While some of their ingredient callouts are warranted and backed by research attesting to the problems they can cause for your skin, others on their restricted list get misbranded as bad based on outdated research, fallible studies, or simply anecdotal advice that doesn’t match up to current scientific literature.
That said, there’s no harm in playing it safe if the formulas are still effective and non-irritating. How does Follain fare in that regard? It’s hit-or-miss. Their products feature beneficial ingredients, but some are potently fragranced with essential oils proven to sensitize skin. (Essential oils are a classic example of how natural “clean” ingredients aren’t necessarily better for your skin.)
In the end, Follain’s collection does have some decent products—it’s just a matter of finding the right ones (hint, hint, our reviews do the detective work for you). Learn more about Follain at follain.com/collections/brand-follain.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.