Tarte Cosmetics

Knockout Daily Exfoliating Cleanser

4.19 fl. oz. for $ 24.00
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Brand Overview

Tarte’s Knockout Daily Exfoliating Cleanser is supposed to be a power-packed cleanser to refine pores – but using this could lead to more pore problems, not less.

Packaged in an opaque squeeze bottle, this creamy face wash spreads over skin easily, creating a slight foam when it contacts water. It does a good job removing, dirt, oil, and debris and leaves no residue.

That is about where the positives end. The very first thing you’ll notice about this is a potent smell that’s thanks to the inclusion of both eucalyptus and peppermint oils, skin irritants that pose a risk for skin even after they’re rinsed off. In fact, this is so strong that you’ll likely feeling the “cooling” sensation both of these provide after you’ve rinsed this off (we did, and had to wash our face with another cleanser before it went away).

This also includes the fragrance ingredients limonene and linalool, which are irritants as well. (See More Info below for the issues irritation can cause skin.) Adding to this is that this contains sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate, one of the more drying cleansing ingredients in use.

As advertised, this cleanser does include lactic acid, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid. These AHAs and BHA are some of the best-researched exfoliants, but they’re far more effective in a leave-on formula, where they can have time to penetrate skin more effectively. This is also formulated at a pH of 4.80, slightly above the optimal range of 3-4 for these acids to be most effective as exfoliants (though they can still be calming and hydrating).

Because of all the issues involved with the potential for irritation, we recommend giving this one a pass and choosing instead a superior option from our list of best cleansers or, if you’re looking for exfoliation, best exfoliants.

  • Does a good job removing dirt, oil, and debris.
  • Leaves no residue.
  • Eucalyptus, peppermint oils, and fragrance ingredients put skin at risk for irritation.
  • The primary cleansing agent is known to be drying.
  • AHAs and BHA are more effective in a leave-on formula.

More Info:

Irritating Ingredients: We cannot stress this enough: Sensitizing, harsh, abrasive, and/or fragrant ingredients are bad for all skin types. Daily application of skincare products that contain these irritating ingredients is a major way we unwittingly do our skin a disservice.

Irritating ingredients are a problem because they can lead to visible problems, such as redness, rough skin, dull skin, dryness, increased oil production, and clogged pores, and they contribute to making signs of aging worse.

Switching to non-irritating, gentle skincare products can make all the difference in the world. Non-irritating products are those packed with beneficial ingredients that also replenish and soothe skin, without any volatile ingredients, such as those present in fragrance ingredients, whether natural or synthetic.

A surprising fact: Research has demonstrated that you do not need to see or feel the effects of irritants on your skin for it to be suffering, and visible damage may not become apparent for a long time. Don’t get lulled into thinking that if you don’t see or feel signs of irritation, everything is OK.

Generally, it’s best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to ingredients that are known to irritate skin. There are many completely non-irritating products that contain effective ingredients, so there’s no reason to put your skin at risk with products that include ingredients research has shown can be a problem.

References for this information:
Annals of the Brazilian Journal of Dermatology, July-August 2017, pages 521-525
Journal of Dermatological Sciences, January 2015, pages 28–36
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2014, pages 379–385
Clinical Dermatology, May-June 2012, pages 257–262
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

Knock your pores to the floor with this vegan AHA & BHA sulfate-free cleanser to help dissolve dead skin, exfoliate & refine pores while delivering a silky, invigorating lather for skin that feels soft & smooth.

Water/Aqua/Eau, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Glycerin, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Propanediol, Decyl Glucoside, Acrylates Crosspolymer-4, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Polyquaternium-10, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Limonene, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Linalool, Sodium Acetate, Sodium Glycolate, Sodium Formate.

Tarte Cosmetics At-A-Glance

Tarte Cosmetics CEO and founder Maureen Kelly started Tarte in 1999, out of a desire to create a cosmetics line that would prove that glamour can be good for you. This comes in the form of products that highlight naturally-derived ingredients in their marketing campaigns, and occasionally taking swipes at the concept of synthetics in makeup.

This is ironic, as Tarte uses more than a few beneficial synthetically derived ingredients in their formulassilicones, synthetic fragrances, preservatives and on and on. However, well forgive them that as whats ultimately important is whether their products meet your needs, and to that we can say the brand excels in many areas at what they do.

However, a few products are a bit on the pricey side and there are a few iffy shades and textures to consider among their foundationsnoted in their respective reviews. A few caveats aside, most of Tarte's foundations, blush options, eye pencils and an ever-expanding range of innovative products demonstrate that color is what they do best.

For more information about Tarte Cosmetics visit www.tartecosmetics.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.

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