Keep the Peace Calming Cream Cleanser
Versed’s Keep the Peace Calming Cream Cleanser certainly seems like a soothing product for breakouts – but stumbles in its attempts to really comfort acne-prone skin.
Packaged in an opaque squeeze bottle, this cleanser’s creamy texture becomes a luxurious foam when it contacts water. It does a good job removing dirt, oil, and impurities, while rinsing cleanly without making skin feel dried out or stripped. This is in part because of a mix of gentle cleansing agents and hydrating ingredients (including glycerin and coconut acid) that help replenish skin.
Versed advertises that this contains gold-standard acne-fighting ingredient salicylic acid at a 1.5% concentration, and while it does – it’s a rinse-off product and the pH is 5.63. For salicylic acid to truly work its acne-fighting magic, it should be in a leave-on formula with a pH between 3-4, both of which are considered optimal for exfoliation.
While that’s one issue, what’s more problematic is that this contains multiple ingredients that can sensitize skin, including fragrant rose flower water and blue tansy oil, as well as menthoxypropanediol, a menthol derivative which is considered twice as sensitizing as menthol itself. Though these are rinsed from skin, the potential for irritation they pose to skin, eyes, and even the nostrils is still cause for concern – especially considering that this is marketed as a gentle, soothing cleanser for acne-prone skin (see More Info below for irritation’s connection to breakouts).
Skip this, and instead consider any of a number of better options you’ll find on our list of best cleansers (which include many for combination, oily, and acne-prone skin).
- Creamy formula ably removes dirt, oil, and impurities without stripping skin.
- Contains gentle cleansers and hydrating ingredients.
- Salicylic acid is more effective in a leave-on product.
- Includes fragrant rose flower water.
- Contains a menthol derivative that’s twice as sensitizing as menthol itself.
- Includes fragrant and irritating blue tansy oil.
Not being gentle to skin can increase oily skin & breakouts: Using harsh, irritating ingredients or cleansing brushes with stiff bristles is a serious problem for all skin types, especially for those with oily, combination, and acne-prone skin.
Research has clearly established that when skin is irritated, the oil gland at the base of each pore is stimulated to make more oil, creating a perfect environment for breakouts, white bumps, and clogged pores to get worse.
Using a product that is gentle and completely non-irritating is without question the only approach to taking the best care of your skin; doing otherwise hurts your skin—this is true even if you cannot see or feel the damage taking place.
It is also vitally important to use products that research has shown are beneficial for oily skin, clogged pores, and breakouts. The gold standard over-the-counter ingredients for these concerns are salicylic acid (BHA) and benzoyl peroxide.
References for this information:
Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology, January 2016, pages 25–30
Journal of European Dermatology and Venerology, May 2014, pages 527–532
Journal of Dermatology, May 2012, pages 433–438
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, April 2011, pages 41–53
Dermato-Endocrinology, January-March 2011, pages 41–49
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Journal of the American Medical Association, August 2004, page 764
Dermatology, January 2003, pages 17–23
European Journal of Dermatology, September-October 2002, pages 422–427
BHA Ingredients in a Cleanser Making Anti-Acne Claims:
This cleanser contains salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acid, or BHA), that when included in a well-formulated leave-on product work beautifully to gently exfoliate skin. However, in a cleanser or scrub, BHA ingredients are far less effective, if effective at all, because they are rinsed off before they can begin to work.
So, if you’re hoping this cleanser will provide exfoliating benefits, think again. On the other hand, salicylic acid can provide hydrating benefits during its brief contact with skin.
Some companies recommend leaving these types of cleansers on skin for a longer period of time so the BHA can absorb, but that means the cleansing agents also are left on longer, which can cause dryness and irritation.
Because Versed makes acne-fighting claims that are not likely to occur, its rating is not as good as it would have been. We don’t want you spending money on a product whose exfoliating ingredients probably can’t perform as claimed. Instead, look for leave-on BHA exfoliants.
You’ve grown up. Has your acne face wash? Keep the Peace is different. It’s a gentle, non-drying, foaming cream cleanser with 1.5% salicylic acid that shuts down breakouts without stripping the skin of its natural oils. In fact, its sudsy lather feels quite luxurious; it smells just as luxe (never medicinal). The apple fruit extract acts as a gentle exfoliant (removing buildup that can contribute to breakouts) all while calming and moisturizing the skin. And that dreamy blue hue? That’s all thanks to blue tansy, a natural antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that cool and soothe irritated and inflamed skin. If you experience breakouts and understand the words ‘fine lines,’ this cleanser is made for you.
Versed Skincare is the creation of Katherine Power, former West Coast fashion editor of Elle magazine and co-founder of the LA-based fashion company Clique Brands. Versed is positioned as the sister brand of the company’s Who What Wear clothing line sold at Target, and so Versed is sold there as well as other retailers.
Versed’s philosophy is straightforward: offer affordable, effective skin care products that are both vegan and, in the brand’s words, clean. “Clean” is an ambiguous phrase in the beauty industry that lacks a standard, regulated definition (it varies from company to company), but in this instance it means that there are no so-called “toxic” and “questionable” ingredients in Versed’s products.
While some of these ingredients – such as formaldehyde and artificial fragrance – are certainly best avoided, others are labeled as bad based on outdated research, poorly designed or inconclusive studies, or simply anecdotal evidence, and not on the conditions (or concentrations) in which these ingredients are actually used in real-world skin care applications.
That aside, Versed has an attractive aesthetic that goes along with this clean philosophy: pastel-colored packaging with plain type that explains what each product’s purpose is and calls out key ingredients in each. For the most part, Versed products are packaged to protect their light- and air-sensitive ingredients; however, there are a few instances of clear and jar packaging, which compromise the benefits of some ingredients, particularly antioxidants.
The formulas from Versed are a mixed bag. Some contain a host of beneficial ingredients while totally avoiding irritants, others are good but basic, and some others include fragrant plant extracts and oils that pose a risk of sensitizing skin (and we should be clear – fragrance, both synthetic and natural, can irritate skin). It really is a situation where the products are best judged on a case-by-case basis, as the hit-or-miss nature of the line requires more scrutiny than simply choosing based on product claims and skin type.
Despite the extra effort needed, Versed does have some good products to offer, and the convenience of being available both online and in a major retailer like Target, will have a lot of appeal to a good number of people. You can learn more about Versed at https://versedskin.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.