e.l.f.’s Superclarify Cleanser is billed as a gentle, does-it-all face wash, and while it works well in some respects, it falls woefully short in others.
Housed in a bright orange squeeze tube, this face wash has a milky-gel texture that melts into a light lather as you move it across your face. It does a good job removing dirt and oil, though we found it wasn’t as effective at whisking away makeup (even regular, non-waterproof formulas) – to the point where we had to use a separate makeup remover afterwards.
It rinses cleanly without leaving skin feeling tight or parched, though it doesn’t really leave skin feeling noticeably smoother.
So far, the attributes are pretty good, but what isn’t good is e.l.f.’s inclusion of lavender oil. It’s so apparent that you can smell it as soon as the cleanser is dispensed from the tube. e.l.f. claims lavender is included to “help soothe the skin”, but this oil can cause irritation for your skin and eyes, and even though it’s rinsed off, it’s still not something that should be included in a product labeled “gentle” (see More Info below for details).
Because of this, we recommend giving this one a pass, and instead using one of the far gentler options you’ll find on our list of best cleansers.
- Does a good job removing dirt and oil.
- Rinses cleanly without leaving skin feeling dry or tight.
- Isn’t the most effective at removing makeup, even non-waterproof formulas.
- Surprisingly, this doesn’t leave the complexion feeling smooth as claimed.
- Includes skin- and eye-irritating lavender oil.
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 your skin 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:
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
Makeup, dirt, and oil don’t stand a chance against this gentle yet effective clarifying cleanser. This gel cleanser creates a gentle foam that lifts impurities from the skin, revealing a clean, smooth complexion. Niacinamide infusion helps prevent clogged pores and helps to strengthen the skin. Lavender helps soothe the skin.
e.l.f. (it stands for which stands for Eyes, Lips, Face) was founded by Scott Vincent Borba and Joseph Shamah. The story goes that one day Borba was shopping in a dollar store and noticed women dressed in designer clothing and sporting designer handbags loading up their baskets with inexpensive nail polish, eye pencils, and lip balm. He took note of the products being sold in such stores and quickly decided he could offer products of even higher quality at the same competitive price. His idea paid off, as e.l.f. has enjoyed continued success and increased distribution online and in retail stores.
For a line offering many products for just a dollar (OK, there are plenty that cost $3 and $5, too), there are a surprising number of hits in the mix (especially the makeup brushes). True, not everything is going to be as luxurious or innovative as some higher-end brands, but overall you're likely to be impressed with what they developed for so little money, and you may just find some beauty bargains!
For more information about e.l.f., call (800) 231-4732 or visit www.eyeslipsface.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.