Hydrating Cleanser Purify + Nourish
Follain’s Hydrating Cleanser Purify + Nourish feels nice, but the fragranced formula is an iffy choice for skin.
Dispensed via pump, Hydrating Cleanser has a gelatinous lotion texture, which lightly lathers as it mixes water and rinses cleanly without leaving traces of residue behind. This face wash works adequately to remove most types of makeup, although long-wear or waterproof formulas may present more of a challenge. True to claim, it leaves skin soft—not tight or dry.
Now for the bad news. Follain’s claim that, “the subtle citrus scent just smells like you’re doing something great for your skin—because you are” couldn’t be further from the truth. The fragrant oils and extracts in this cleanser are known irritants, and even though we’re typically less concerned about their contact time with skin in a rinse off formula such as this, all that fragrance can cause stinging if it accidentally gets in your eye (which we experienced multiple times during testing). See More Info for the full, research-backed explanation of what fragrance does to your skin long term.
We must also point out Follain’s claim that the included willow bark extract exfoliates skin doesn’t live up to the hype. Simply put, it doesn’t work that way on skin, especially not in a rinse-off product. However, willow bark can be a soothing ingredient so there’s no harm there.
The bottom line: Considering there are better, fragrance-free facial cleansers out there, there’s really no point in bothering with this one.
- Gelatinous lotion texture feels nice during the cleansing process.
- Leaves skin feeling soft—not tight or dry.
- Contains fragrant oils that put skin at risk of irritation.
- Willow bark extract does not live up to the exfoliating claims.
Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin’s barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin’s surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can’t always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it’s not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don’t need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Toxicology In Vitro, February 2018, pages 237-245
Toxicological Sciences, January 2018, pages 139-148
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
The first step of your routine should leave your face feeling comfortably soft, never dry and tight. Our Hydrating Cleanser does just that…and then some. This nourishing cream formula thoroughly removes makeup, dirt, and impurities without stripping skin. It also provides gentle exfoliation with thanks to pore-purifying Willow Bark Extract. To top it off, the subtle citrus scent just smells like you’re doing something great for your skin—because you are!
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.