UltaDual Action Polishing Cleanser
6 fl. oz. for $9
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Brand Overview
Expert Reviews

This is a basic cleansing scrub for oily skin. It does what it claims to, which is to remove dull surface cells and leave skin feeling smooth. The exfoliating beads are composed of polyethylene (ground-up plastic), which are rounded and gentler than alternatives like walnut shells that can scratch delicate skin.

Dual Action Polishing Cleanser contains fragrance, but just a small amount, and fragrance is less of a concern in a rinse-off product like this, because, of course, it is rinsed off and not left on skin. It's an OK option for when extra cleansing or smoothing is desired, but for top-notch exfoliation with breakout-clearing and anti-aging benefits, you really should be using an AHA or BHA exfoliant instead. You can learn more about these and see our top picks on our list of Best Exfoliants.

  • Leaves skin feeling smooth.
  • A good way to get extra cleansing and remove superficial dead skin cells.
  • The blend of cleansing agents limits this scrub's use to those with oily skin; those with dry skin will find it too harsh.
  • The benefits of a simple scrub like this are easily replaced by a well-formulated leave-on exfoliant that contains AHA or BHA ingredients.

More Info:

Plastic Microbeads in Cosmetics: This product contains polyethylene beads, which is an ingredient that has come under controversy in the recent past. In December of 2013, research published in the peer-reviewed journal, Marine Pollution Bulletin demonstrated that although polyethylene beads are non-toxic to humans, they are not filtered during sewage treatment and are accumulating in waterways. This means the beads have the potential to negatively affect marine wildlife who mistakenly consume them (Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2013).

Additional research published in December of 2013 demonstrated that polyethylene beads have the potential to absorb pollutants while in waterways. This research was conducted to establish the potential of absorption, however, and was not conducted using samples from actual waterways (Cell, 2013).

Beautypedia does not take an ideological stance in reviewing skincare products; rather, our reviews are based upon each product's potential harm or benefit to skin contingent upon what independent peer-reviewed scientific research has demonstrated. On issues like polyethylene beads in cosmetics or animal testing, we present the facts without judgment so that you may make your own decision whether or not this product is right for you.

Last Updated:03.31.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Community Reviews

Removes all dull surface debris and smoothes skin.


Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Oxidized Polyethylene, Acrylates Copolymer, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Benzotriazolyl Butylphenyl Sulfonate, Buteth-3, Tributyl Citrate, C12-15 Alkyl Lactate, Benzophenone-4, Fragrance, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, BHT, DMDM Hydantoin.

Brand Overview

Since Ulta was founded in 1990, the company has continued to carve out a unique position as a specialty beauty store by offering a large selection of upscale and drugstore cosmetics in all price ranges, all under one roof. There are currently over 675 Ulta locations across the United States, and, like Sephora, Ulta sells its own product line right alongside more familiar brands such as Revlon, Murad, and philosophy.

The Ulta Collection offers a variety of basic makeup products, from foundation to eye shadow to lip gloss. Nearly all items in the Ulta Collection are inexpensive, and its lower price point is a major draw.

As with most cosmetics lines, Ulta has its share of good and bad products; however, it seems for every good to great makeup product the line has two average-to-poor options. Testers may or may not be available, so choose wisely.

Among the safer categories of Ulta makeup are the eyeshadows, many of the mascaras, brow products, and most of the foundations, particularly the cream-to-powder and powder formulas.

Despite our enthusiasm for Ulta's large selection of eyeshadow, the quality is inconsistent, especially when it comes to texture and how they apply, even among different shades in the same category. The best way to shop this line is to pay attention to which products we've reviewed favorably and to take extra time to play with the products in-store (assuming the Ulta you frequent keeps testers available).

In recent years, Ulta has branched out from makeup to skin care. Their namesake skin care has the same affordable price point as the makeup, and some of the products are actually quite good. Skip the cleansers, ignore the moisturizers in jar packaging, and forget about the pore-tightening products...the rest is worth exploring, but again, this is not a brand to shop without some knowledge of what you're buying and how it performs.

For more information about Ulta Beauty, visit www.ulta.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.

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