Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Enzyme Cleanser comes as a dry powder that you mix with water to cleanse skin. The formula is best for oily/combination skin. It does a great job of removing oil, makeup, and other debris, while leaving skin feeling smooth. There’s just one minor hiccup that we’ll discuss below, and it holds us back from giving this our top rating.
Enzyme Cleanser is packaged in an opaque bottle with removable cap. You’re instructed to “Place a coin-sized amount of powder into the palm of your hand, then add lukewarm water to work it into a gentle foam.”
Mixing powder + warm water creates a light lather with ultra-fine particles that dissolve as they are rubbed into skin. Many of the particles (made up of natural ingredients maltodextrin and cellulose) break down in the palm of your hand while mixing the powder with water, but inevitably some will make their way to your face during the cleansing process, which is where some mild abrasive action comes into play. It’s not nearly as scratchy as something like a gritty walnut scrub, but it’s enough to feel some friction against skin, which is a bit concerning.
To play it safe, we wouldn’t recommending using this if you have sensitive skin, nor would recommend it be used around the delicate eye area.
The upside is that Enzyme Cleanser leaves skin feeling thoroughly clean, refined and smooth. We also appreciate that the waterless formula makes this easy to travel with (no liquidy leaks or TSA restrictions for carry-on luggage).
True to its name, this cleanser contains enzyme-related ingredients. There’s really nothing special about having them in here (they don’t do a superior job of removing impurities and their contact with skin is too brief for them to dissolve dead cells like a leave-on acid-based exfoliant would), but they also don’t hurt the formula, so no harm, no foul there.
As for the talc in this formula, we reached out to the brand to ensure they’re using a safe (non-asbestos containing) form of it. They assured us that their talc is asbestos free, with periodic, consistent testing reviewed by independent laboratories. We appreciate their due diligence in that regard.
The bottom line: The slightly abrasive nature of Enzyme Cleanser holds us back from giving it our top rating, but if mixed thoroughly before applying to your face, this becomes less of an issue. While this still earns our recommendation, know that you don’t have to spend this much to get a great cleanser.
- Works well to whisk away oil, makeup and other debris.
- Leaves skin refined and smooth.
- The waterless formula makes this an easy cleanser to travel with.
- Fragrance free.
- Borderline abrasive texture (not super gritty but enough to feel slight friction).
The ENZYME CLEANSER is a 2-in-1 cleansing foam and exfoliator that deeply but gently cleanses and is ideal for oily and combination skin. When mixed with water, the fine-grained powder transforms into a soft foam. A collection of enzymes works together to remove dry and dead skin, makeup, pollution and other impurities from pores. Your skin will appear revitalized and smooth instantly after cleansing.
As the founder behind her namesake line, Dr. Barbara Sturm has a long history as a physician specializing in aesthetics. As the story goes, Dr. Sturm translated the science from her clinical research on inflammation into what has now evolved into her line of “molecular” skin care products.
The brand is self-described as being “formulated for those who yearn for an uncomplicated, yet highly effective skincare regime that provides hydration, nutrition and regeneration glow.” So, do the products live up to the hype? Yes… and no.
As with most skin care brands, some of Dr. Sturm’s products are well-formulated while others fall short. While many of the formulas are beneficial, we have to point out that they’re not quite as robust in terms of a well-rounded mix of ingredients when compared to the top formulas that we review. That doesn’t make them bad, it’s just less state-of-the-art than we’d anticipate, especially at such a high price point.
One thing that stands out as a positive is that the formulas tend to steer clear of irritating fragrance and other known skin sensitizing ingredients. Dr. Sturm is also known for using beneficial antioxidants, including super antioxidant purslane.
On the downside, a handful of the products come in jar packaging, which compromises their efficacy. As for the cost, we’ll leave it up to you to decide if it’s within your budget.
To learn more about the brand in their own words, visit drsturm.com.
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.