If you look up just about any article written about the best facial cleansers, there is one product that is almost guaranteed to be on it – Cetaphil. This gentle cleanser has been a member of that rare pantheon of cult favorite products which have maintained their popularity for decades. The cleanser originally debuted in 1947 but didn’t gain momentum until the 1960s. Today Cetaphil has expanded to include moisturizers, body lotions and cleansing cloths in addition to its original cleanser. Here’s a closer look at the Cetaphil brand, what it sells and is it right for you?
What is Cetaphil?
According to the company, Cetaphil Cleansing Lotion was invented by a pharmacist in 1947. It was formulated to be a gentle but effective product that cleans the skin without stripping it. It was also designed to moisturize the skin without clogging pores. At first the product was available only from pharmacists but its popularity grew as dermatologists, pediatricians and other healthcare professionals recommended it to their patients, especially those with sensitive skin or rosacea. By the 1980s it was widely available in North American drugstores.
Cetaphil certainly has staying power –the formula hasn’t changed at all since 1947. What has changed is that today Cetaphil has over 40 products, including moisturizers, body lotions and a baby line as well as a Pro collection for sensitive skin. The company is owned by Galderma, a division of Nestlé Skin Health.
What Are Some of the Most Popular Cetaphil Products?
Cetaphil sells a wide variety of face and body products. Here’s a breakdown of some of the best-sellers. Keep in mind that “lotion” refers to facial cleansers.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser – This cult favorite product has a gel like texture that moisturizes skin as it cleans it. The cleanser is soap free and can be used with or without water- just use a tissue or a cloth to wipe it off.
Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser – The pump on this cleanser creates a face wash with a rich lather. The formula is fragrance free, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic.
Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream – This jar of creams helps hydrate and soothe dry skin on the body with ingredients such as glycerin, petroleum and sweet almond oil.
Cetaphil Daily Advance Lotion – Cetaphil likes to say this product can be used from the head down to the toes. It is formulated with five key moisturizing ingredients designed to give 24 hour hydration, including macadamia nut oil and shea butter.
Cetaphil PRO Gentle Body Moisturizer – This body cream is endorsed by the National Eczema Association and can be used on babies as young as six months old. It is powered by ceramides and the protein filaggrin.
Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 – Hyaluronic acid, which holds up to 1,000 times it weight in water, is one of the key ingredients in this facial moisturizer. The cream is lightweight and ideal for dry or sensitive skin.
Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Night Cream with Hyaluronic Acid – The price tag may be small but Cetaphil’s night cream is big on hydration thanks to moisture magnet hyaluronic acid.
Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel-Cream – The brand’s first eye cream launched in 2018, and is designed to hydrate the delicate eye area, as well as smooth and brighten the skin.
Cetaphil Bar Soap
Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar – Cetaphil’s bar soap can be used on the face and the body. The non-comedogenic formula is soap free, which means it is ideal for dry and sensitive skin. The bar creates a rich lather to clean the skin without stripping it.
Cetaphil Deep Cleansing Bar – The Deep Cleansing Bar has replaced Cetaphil’s Gentle Cleansing Anti-Bacterial Bar. The new formula has five nourishing ingredients to soothe the skin while also sweeping away dirt and oil.
Although Cetaphil doesn’t have a specific acne line, some of its products are suited for oily skin. The Cetaphil PRO line is also suitable for sensitive skin and works to soothe redness caused by dryness.
Cetaphil PRO Oil Removing Foam Wash – This non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic foaming face wash used to be called Cetaphil DermaControl. One of the key ingredients is zinc to help reduce oil and keep shine at bay.
What Ingredients are in Cetaphil Products?
Cetaphil products have commonly used skincare ingredients such as shea butter, macadamia nut oil, glycerin, petroleum, zinc and hyaluronic acid.
Where is Cetaphil Sold?
Cetaphil is widely available at drugstores such as Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid along with big box retailers like Walmart as well as Target. It is often found in supermarkets.
How Much are Cetaphil Products?
Cetaphil products are priced accordingly with drugstore brands. Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser is $9.99, the Moisturizing Cream is $10.99 and the Hydrating Eye Gel-Cream is $17.99
Is Cetaphil tested on Animals?
Cetaphil’s Canadian and Philippines websites say that the brand does not test on animals.
Does Cetaphil Work?
Finding the right beauty products and skincare regimen always involves some trial and error, as one person’s miracle product may do nothing for someone else. It’s also helpful to look at product reviews and customer feedback.
Cetaphil has been a beloved beauty brand for decades, which is largely thanks to its original product, the Gentle Skin Cleanser. This product has racked up over 40 awards, and was given an Allure Best of Beauty award seven times, along with a Reader’s Choice Award four times. It has been named one of the best drugstore cleansers by Byrdie and InStyle magazine has named it to their Beauty Hall of Fame. Good Housekeeping included it in a 2018 piece about “ 7 Best Face Washes for Dry Skin Will Keep You Hydrated All Day Long.”
The brand has its fair share of celebrity followers. Victoria Beckham’s dermatologist recommends it, and Kim Kardashian and Sofia Vergara are fans. Dermatologists continue to recommend it for anyone with sensitive skin, dry skin or rosacea.
Cetaphil’s other products have also generated plenty of positive editorial coverage in Allure, Vogue, Real Simple and Marie Claire.
Customer reviews are also largely positive. The Gentle Skin Cleanser has over 1,500 Amazon reviews and gets a 4.2 out of 5 star rating. Fans say “No other product cleaned my oily skin without drying it horribly, and it took care of my acne and later it helps with rosacea” and call it the “Only cleanser I will use on my sensitive skin!” Customers who gave it a lower rating said they didn’t like the consistency, or complained that it didn’t really clean their skin. This was also noted in the Allure review. The writer said “The only downside to this beauty staple is that because it’s so gentle it doesn’t always cut through heavy makeup.”
One much buzzed about piece in Well + Good criticized Cetaphil’s Gentle Cleanser for containing parabens and cetyl alcohol, an emollient that is essentially a wax. A writer for SokoGlam also criticized it in 2018 saying, “Nothing in this cleanser is actually really good for the skin.”
Cetaphil’s Gentle Foaming Cleanser gets over 500 reviews on Walgreens.com, along with a 4.8 out of 5 star rating. Satisfied customers write “I have been using Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser for about a month now and I would not use any other brand after trying it. I love the way it makes my face feels.” Most complaints have to do with the pump applicator not working, and one reviewer called it “Nothing extraordinary.”
The Cetaphil Pro Oil Absorbing Moisturizer With SPF 30 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen has plenty of Amazon reviews; over 1,300 customers gave it an average 3.8 out of 5 stars. Fans say that the product does what it says it does, at a good price. “For the price you can’t beat this product. There are super pricey professional grade products that don’t control oil as well as this lotion.” Negative reviewers wrote that the product stung their eyes, or they had a bad reaction to it.
What Are Some Alternatives to the Cetaphil?
Cetaphil may not be the right choice for everyone. It may not react well with your skin, or perhaps you’re looking for something a bit more special. If you’re looking for a well-rounded skincare line, there are a few other brands to consider.
Formulyst’s philosophy is long-term and effective skincare. The brand wants to help its customers achieve their best looking skin, rather than covering it up with makeup. The comprehensive line of products focuses on everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin. Formulyst Clarifying AHA Cleanser is designed to give a skin a gentle but effective cleanse. The formula contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) derived from citrus and botanical extracts. These acids work by dissolving dead skin cells and drawing out impurities from the pores to reveal smooth, refreshed skin.
If you want smoother looking skin, skip the harsh exfoliators which can do more harm than good. Formulyst Retexturing and Perfecting Serum is powered by gentle but effective alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) which works to dissolve dead skin cells. Packed with plant based acids, it whisks away old skin cells, leaving behind fresher, smoother looking skin. The serum also works to on unevenness and blotchiness. Want to get rid of a blemish? Don’t pop it- dry it. Apply a dab of Formulyst’s Blemish Clearing Complex. It contains a whole cocktail of bacteria fighting, pimple drying products including zinc oxide, salicylic acid, and camphor. It also helps to unclog pores.
If you like the simplicity of a skincare kit, consider Advanced Dermatology. This no nonsense brand offers a pared down approach to skincare. The packaging is simple and streamlined, and the products bring skincare back to the basics. The kit contains just six essential items including a daily cleanser; serum; anti-wrinkle firming treatment; night cream; day cream and an eye cream. In other words, everything you need to achieve your best possible looking skin.