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Face washing is essential to daily skin care routines. Many people prefer to use natural face washes to avoid chemicals and other unwanted ingredients.

Face washing helps keep the skin fresh, retain moisture, and remove impurities.

However, many face washes and personal care products are chemical-laden and contain toxins that may pose potential health risks.

This article explores natural face washes, their benefits, some risks, and a list of available natural face washes.

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Face washes are water-based cleansers containing astringents that deeply clean pores and remove oil.

Many people use them interchangeably with facial cleansers. Although both clean the skin, facial cleansers have a creamy, gel-like texture. They contain ingredients that nourish, soothe, and moisturize the skin.

Experts usually recommend that people wash their face twice per day, once in the morning and once in the evening. People should avoid washing the face more frequently than this, as it may dehydrate the skin and encourage oil production, which may cause acne.

Natural skin care products are made of natural ingredients, including mineral, plant-based, or animal-derived products. They do not contain synthetic ingredients.

Learn more about plant-based vs. vegan here.

However, no legal or governing body in the United States oversees or sets guidelines on what “natural” means. This lack of standard regulation allows many U.S. companies to use the term for false advertisement, despite their products containing synthetic ingredients.

Other countries, such as Canada and European countries, have different regulations on what qualifies as a “natural” product.

However, many natural products still contain synthetic ingredients that are not known to be harmful to the body and the environment.

Below are some advantages associated with natural face washes.

Less exposure to harmful chemicals

A 2019 NPD survey found that around 46% of people who purchase facial skin care products choose options without:

  • phthalates
  • sulfates, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
  • parabens
  • formaldehyde

Some chemicals present in cosmetics and skin care products — such as cleansers, shampoos, makeups, lotions, and detergents — are banned in many countries because they are carcinogens and environmental pollutants. Examples include:

  • bisphenols
  • ethanolamines
  • trichlorosilane
  • phthalates
  • parabens

A person who is looking for natural skin care may wish to examine ingredients lists and avoid products that contain these chemicals.

Reduced risk of bioaccumulation

Many face washes also contain microbeads. Every day, U.S. individuals wash around 808 trillion microbeads into the environment. Marine animals can easily mistake these beads for food.

A 2021 review found that these microbeads build up inside fish, disrupting their immune and brain functions. This can lead to pain, an inability to eat, and eventual death.

A 2021 study found that these microbeads might also cause neurotoxicity, metabolic problems, and an increased cancer risk in humans.

More nutrients

Natural face washes contain healthy ingredients that include plant extracts, which are good for the skin. Examples include:

A 2018 study found that tea tree extract has antimicrobial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties. Many natural face washes contain tea tree extracts.

Eco-friendly

Natural ingredients are available in the environment. On the other hand, synthetic products require extraction from the environment, such as through mining. Synthetic chemicals also seep into the ecosystem, which can be harmful to both animals and plants.

Natural fragrances

Natural face washes are either non-scented or mildly scented using natural fragrances. Commonly used fragrances are essential oils. These oils not only smell nice but also come with health benefits.

A 2019 study found that lavender essential oil enhances the effectiveness of common antiseptics.

One 2018 study reported on by the Endocrine Society suggests that lavender oil, tea tree oil, and some other essential oils may disrupt hormones and cause endocrine disorders by increasing estrogen levels and suppressing the pituitary gland.

However, a 2020 review of studies found no link between lavender and tea tree essential oils and pediatric endocrine disorders.

Research into the relationship between essential oils and hormones is ongoing.

Although natural products have many possible benefits, they may also come with some potential downsides.

Possible bacteria growth

Skin care products made of 100% natural ingredients make use of natural preservatives. These may not be strong enough to kill fungi and bacteria, which can cause infections and flare-ups in people with eczema.

Lack of synthetic products that are good for the skin

Many synthetic products are allergens and irritants, such as methylisothiazolinone and SLS. However, some synthetic products may be good for the skin. Vitamins A, C, and E included in most skin care products are synthetic.

Shorter shelf life

Natural ingredients do not last long because they do not have preservatives or employ only natural preservatives.

Inconsistent composition

Unlike the consistent composition in human-made ingredients, all-natural ingredients may vary in their consistency due to factors such as source, batch, and harvesting time.

Unethical sourcing

Some ingredients can be both naturally available or replicated in laboratories. Animal-derived ingredients may be unethically sourced or processed. Examples include honey and lanolin.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products. All information presented here is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Drunk Elephant’s Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser

This jelly cleanser removes pollution, makeup, and excess oil with a non-stripping pH of 5.5. It contains virgin marula oil, antioxidants, and mild cleansing agents, such as coconut-based surfactants, glycerin, and cantaloupe fruit extract.

  • Product information: free from essential oils, alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrances, dyes, and SLS
  • Best for: all skin types
  • Size: 60 milliliter (ml) and 150 ml
  • Cost: $16 and $32

True Botanicals Nourishing Cleanser

This balancing facial cleanser is anti-aging and evens out skin tone. It works on congested skin to smoothen rough skin and reduce breakouts.

It uses black willow bark to clear our breakouts and helichrysum to soothe the skin. The cleanser uses the natural scents of lavender, carrot seed, and helichrysum.

  • Product information: non-drying, hypoallergenic, and naturally scented
  • Best for: oily and breakout-prone skin
  • Size: 120 ml
  • Cost: $48

Mad Hippie Advanced Skin Care Cream Cleanser

This cleanser is mildly acidic, so it does not strip the skin’s natural oils.

It contains jojoba oil, orchid extract, macadamia oil, and several other natural substances.

  • Product information: cruelty-free, vegan, non-comedogenic, contains safe synthetic ingredients, and free from silicone, paraben, phthalates, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, perfume, and SLS
  • Best for: all skin types
  • Size: 4 ounces (oz)
  • Cost: $15.99

TruSkin Vitamin C Brightening Face Cleanser

This foaming face wash has a blend of 15% vitamin C, antioxidants, naturally occurring methylsulfonylmethane rosehip oil, and aloe vera to deeply cleanse the skin.

It also contains tea tree, orange peels, and other plant extracts to protect the skin.

  • Product information: sulfate-free, paraben-free, alcohol-free, cruelty-free, and vegan
  • Best for: all skin types
  • Size: 4 oz and 5 oz
  • Cost: $15.99 and $16.99

KLUR Gentle Matter

This non-foaming gel gently washes the skin while retaining its moisture. It contains a blend of mild resurfacing agents, antioxidants, and organic botanicals, such as green tea, white tea, and rosemary.

  • Product information: wildcrafted, plant-based, organic, SLS-free, and fragrance-free
  • Best for: all skin types
  • Size: 60 ml and 100 ml
  • Cost: $22 and $40

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

This non-comedogenic and soap-free cleanser targets makeup removal. The formula contains squalane and lipophilic esters.

  • Product information: vegan, cruelty-free, and free from alcohol, oils, silicones, nuts, and gluten
  • Best for: all skin types
  • Size: 50 ml and 150 ml
  • Cost: $6.08 and $15.32

PCA Skin Facial Wash

This gentle cleanser removes dirt, impurities, and makeup while hydrating, exfoliating, and soothing the skin.

It contains lactic acid to moisturize the skin and aloe vera leaf juice, willow bark extract, and allantoin to soothe the skin.

  • Product information: cruelty-free, PETA-certified, vegan, and free from drying alcohols, sulfates, silicones, and synthetic fragrances
  • Best for: all skin types and acne-prone skin
  • Size: 206.5 ml
  • Cost: $33

OSEA Ocean Cleanser

This gentle cleanser removes impurities and dirt and gently exfoliates to minimize the appearance of pores.

  • Product information: vegan, cruelty-free, free from harmful chemicals, Climate Neutral certified, and free from silicone polymers, SLS, gluten, propylene glycol, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, and benzoyl peroxide
  • Best for: normal and combination
  • Size: 0.6 oz and 5 oz
  • Cost: $18 and $48

Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash

This lathering, concentrated face wash removes oil and grime, provides gentle exfoliation, and soothes and hydrates the skin.

It uses aloe, coconut-based surfactants, and sugarcane to brighten and exfoliate.

  • Product information: contains no petrochemicals, sulfates, SLS, parabens, silicones, or glycols
  • Best for: normal, combination, and oily
  • Size: 2 fl oz and 8 fl oz
  • Cost: $14 and $30

Pai Middlemist Seven

This gentle cream cleanser is suitable for sensitive skin. It contains several oils, such as camellia oil, sweet castor oil, and sweet almond oil.

Its gentle formulation soothes, cleanses, and decongests the skin while removing makeup.

  • Product information: vegan, cruelty-free, contains coconut oil, certified organic by the Soil Association, non-natural ingredients do not exceed 2%, and contains no synthetic colors, dyes, or fragrances
  • Best for: sensitive skin
  • Size: 50 ml and 150 ml
  • Cost: €19 and €39

Natural face washes are good alternatives to regular face washes that contain a myriad of chemicals, toxins, and plastics that can be harmful to the person and the environment.

However, there is still no consensus about the definition of “natural.” People should always read the labels and ingredient lists and check the brand’s website to understand the ingredients that products contain to ensure that they are safe.