Best Natural Face Wash for Acne: Oil Based Option and with Foaming Agents Option

Last updated on May 9th, 2020 at 11:24 am

**Turmeric (featured image) is a key ingredient when it comes to acne-prone skin and the two products I’ve chosen do contain this wonderful ingredient**

While writing the post on Essential Oils for Acne Prone Skin I found quite a few cleansers, toners, gels and even moisturisers that can help those with acne-prone skin.

So I decided to write a post on what I found together with a few ideas on how to supercharge your cleanser for acne-prone skin!

There are different types of facial cleansers (oil, bi-face, cream, gel, foaming and micellar waters). Oil cleansers might be scoffed at by those who have oily skin or acne-prone skin but oils can really help with skin conditions. When looking for products online I struggle because there’s always some ingredient that stops an otherwise glorious formula from being natural (even though the definition of natural varies). For example, preservatives usually are the one ingredient in formulas that stop me from choosing particular products.

And even though I myself have formulated with phenoxyethanol and ethylhexylglycerin many times I’ve decided to move away from those preservatives and use Ecocert and COSMOS approved cosmetic preservatives. At Formula Botanica we’re encouraged to use natural and organic ingredients so nowadays I’m really picky about the products I use. This is my little disclaimer I suppose. It makes it difficult for me to find 100% natural products but also this means that only a few brands will make it to my articles!

The Idea Here is to Go 100% Natural

The idea is that you only put on your face products that have been made with beautiful oils, hydrosols and essential oils, with natural preservatives if necessary and additives that are truly good for your skin. I make my formulations with lovely ingredients from Naturally Thinking and other suppliers which I know take good care to buy from ethical sources. Palm free oil ingredients, no animal testing, ethos that looks into sustanaibility, etc etc…

Do you check where your essential oils, for example, are produced? Did you know that the Boswellia Sacra tree (this tree’s resin gives us the beautiful frankinsence essential oil) is sometimes slashed and made to bleed too many times? Neal’s Yard Remedies, for example, makes sure frankinsence is sustainable sourced.

The idea here is that not only you know what you put into your skin, but you also understand that each ingredient is a valuable source that nature has offered you as a gift, and so we can’t take it for granted. Companies need to have awareness and create beautiful blends and formulas that have been ethically produced. Don’t settle for any less!

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the two products that made it to my final list.

Organic Facial Cleanser for Acne Prone, Oily Skin. 100% Natural with Tea Tree Oil & Neem

[amazon box=”B0754Y1J27″]

Ok, so the bottle doesn’t look like a great deal but WHO CARES. The ingredient list is GORGEOUS. Let’s have a look:

Organic Coconut Oil* (Saponified), Demineralized Water, Organic Rice Bran Oil* (Saponified), Virgin Spanish Olive Oil (Saponified), Lemon Juice, Organic Castor Oil* (Saponified), Organic Aloe Vera Juice*, Vegetable Glycerine, Organic Neem Oil* (Saponified), Grapeseed Oil* (Saponified), Organic Dried Orange Peel Extract* (Saponified), Essential Tea Tree Oil*, Essential Holy Basil Oil*, Essential Eucalyptus Oil*, Essential Lavender Oil*, Vitamin E (Sunflower Extract), Essential Chamomile Oil*, Essential Neroli Oil*, Essential Wild Rose Oil*, Turmeric Oil, Clove Oil, Sesame Oil, Lemongrass Oil. (*Certified Organic Ingredients)

The first thing that jumps out at me is the fact that 6 of the ingredients are organic. You might think ‘that’s not the whole list’ but, believe me, it is not that easy for an ingredient to be classified as organic. 6 is a pretty good number within thlis list in my books!

Note that the first ingredient on the list is Organic Coconut Oil (saponified, meaning made into soap), and the second is water. That means there’s more coconut oil than water, which is good in the sense that we know they’re not using water to end up with more product to sell. The rest of the ingredients are a dream. There’s glycerin (a humectant that attracts water thus helping add moisture to the skin, it’s good to have some in your formulations but not too much if the skin is oily), lemon juice and a lovely plethora of essential oils, in fact, no less than ten: tea tree, basil, eucalyptus, lavender, chamomile, neroli, wild rose, turmeric, clove, sesame and lemongrass. A wonderful, wonderful list. I hope that there’s enough of each to actually make a difference (percentages are not disclosed so we don’t really know but facial products shouldn’t have a high percentage of essential oils in general).

So far I LOVE this product. I’ll recreate the formula myself (by recreate I mean I’ll be using the same ingredients for my acne-prone skincare line) together with my jojoba, palmarosa, tea tree and lavandin moisture cream for acne-prone skin and a new toner which includes witch hazel, chamomile and lavender hydrosols and thyme and oregano essential oils.

Back to the product, this brand claims the product cleanses, soothes, heals and protects so let’s have a look at each individual ingredient to see how it can achieve the claimed results:

  • Organic Coconut Oil: I use fractionated coconut oil (produced by removing the long-chain fatty acids from coconut oil so it stays in liquid form) in my formulations as a base oil because it is apt for all skin types (with a comedogenic rating of 0), it is very light and there’s no odour. Coconut oil is a fantastic moisturiser and naturally antibacterial (partly thanks to the myristic and lauric acids). Lauric acid is a fatty acid commonly used in cleansers (more on lauric acid here, here and here and on lauric acid against acne here). Myristic acid is a good cleanser agent (more on myristic acid here, here and here). The caprylic acid in coconut oil is a potent antifungal so it can help treat as well as prevent fungal infections. More on caprylic acid against acne here. More on acids and skincare here.
  • Organic Rice Bran Oil: A light weight carrier oil, it is perfect for mature, delicate or sensitive skin. Rice bran oil is a great source of tocotrienols (a form of super Vitamin E). It helps protect your skin from the sun and it’s a well-balanced oil. Great for combination skin.
  • Virgin Spanish Olive Oil: Being Spanish I absolutely adore olive oil. I could actually drink it, and I’m not joking about this. There’s no salad that goes without olive oil at home and I go crazy every time I see a bottle of extra virgin olive oil. It must be in my Spanish blood. In terms of skincare, olive oil penetrates into deeper layers of the skin, making it a great carrier oil that helps other ingredients go in as well. It contains potent antioxidants and squalane, the oil brings down redness and reduces inflammation so a good oil for acne-prone skin, particularly good for those with dry skin.
  • Lemon Juice: Lemon is antioxidant (helps fight free radicals, antiseptic (kills bacteria) and anti-inflammatory (reduces redness and inflammation). More information on lemon juice for acne here but key takeaways would be that it brightens tired skin, cleanses skin impurities and helps flush the excess oil from the skin.
  • Organic Castor Oil: Castor oil is very thick and should be combined with other oils. I’ve literally seen it help my eyebrows get thicker in only 15 days of rubbing one drop of the oil to each of my eyebrows. In terms of acne, it has strong purging properties as well as being a good detox. It increases cell turnover, Tasha from Holistic Health Herbalist says here that it may cause purging of the skin.
  • Organic Aloe Vera Juice: I’m falling in love with aloe vera more and more as time goes by. I even planted more than 20 aloes in my family’s ‘finca’ (terrain) alongside some medicinal herbs. The idea is that I eventually substitute the distilled water I use for my formulations for aloe vera juice. Aloe is a magnificent, magnificent plant with incredible properties. It is a fantastic skin healer, anti-inflammatory and a wonderful skin soother. Aloe promotes new cell growth making it a lovely, regenerative ingredient to this product.
  • Vegetable Glycerin: Glycerin is a sugar alcohol that can be found in natural fats and oils. It acts as a humectant, helping prevent the loss of moisture. There are many different types of humectants you can add to a product (i.e. honey) although I personally use vegetable glycerin also.
  • Organic Neem Oil: Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal. Neem is full of sterols and high fatty acids that protect the skin against toxins and other pollutants. Here’s Neem oil fatty acid composition. Check sterols here – you’ll also get to see a table with the fatty acid composition.
  • Grapeseed Oil: I love this lightweight oil and I sometimes put it on my face on its own, or mixed with Camellia oil, particularly at night time. With a comedogenic rating of 1, grapeseed oil is suitable for all skin types and is high in polyunsaturated fats and protein and rich in Vitamin E (which tightens and moisturises the skin), reduces redness, reduces inflammation and also helps heal acne (accelerating the healing process). With fast absorption, grapeseed oil is very apt for oily and oily sensitive skin.
  • Organic Dried Orange Peel Extract: I’m not familiar with this ingredient as I haven’t used it in my formulations. I know orange essential oil is fantastic for oily skin so I’m assuming that the peel extract works in a similar way. Essential oils from citrus fruits are usually taken from the peel so it makes sense that this would have similar properties. I might give the peel a try at some point. According to the brand, orange peel is loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin C which help fight free radicals and renew skin cells. Blackheads as well as pores are cleared up giving the skin a glowing and refreshed look. More info here.
  • Essential Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree is an antiseptic so a really good essential oil for acne prone skin. Basically, it helps control acne as it is used for treating fungal infections and viral bacterial. Antibacterial, antimicrobial, with Terpinen-4-ol to combat acne.
  • Essential Holy Basil Oil: (Tulsi) Antiviral, antioxidant and antibacterial, holy basil has been used in Ayurveda for centuries. It has many different healing powers and can fight the bacteria that causes acne. It cleanses the skin and reduces inflammation. More here. For the difference between holy basil and basil, see here.
  • Essential Eucalyptus Oil: I’m not sure which type of eucalyptus was used for the product – I’m assuming they’ve used eucalyptus globulus. Eucalyptus is antiviral, antiseptic and antifungal. Rich in eucalyptol (also called 1,8 cineole) which has anti-inflammatory properties and can comprise up to 90% of the essential oil (hence the name).
  • Essential Lavender Oil: What can I say about lavender oil? This essential oil is soo good on so many levels. Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, reduces redness, has a calming effect, soothes, regenerates, can help ease acne as well as rosacea and is a great healer of damaged skin. You can’t ask for more, really.
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, is commonly used to stop oils from going rancid. Alpha tocopherol is what I use in my formulations, being the most biologically active form of Vitamin E. Source here.
  • Essential Chamomile Oil: There are many recipes to help with acne that use German chamomile essential oil for acne prone skin. This essential oil is mildly astringent and wonderfully anti-inflammatory and can help repair inflamed skin. High in alpha-bisabolol which is responsible for treating skin inflammation, it also has a strong antifungal effect. This is an expensive essential oil!
  • Essential Neroli Oil: Another expensive and exquisite essential oil, neroli EO is really gentle and versatile. Its linalool constituent helps relieve inflammation and is also antimicrobial. Its alpha-terpineol constituent has strong antibacterial properties, the geraniol component has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties, the beta-pinene constituent has strong antimicrobial properties, the farnesol component helps prevent infections also reducing skin inflammation and its myrcene constituent calms and soothes. And the scent is just pure heaven. More on Neroli here.
  • Essential Wild Rose Oil: Aniba Roseodora, also known as ‘Rosewood’ (this is the only essential oil I’d LOVE to have I’m missing from my wonderful essential oil kit!). Wild rose oil is anti-inflammatory, regenerative, decongestant and calming, making it a good essential oil for acne prone skin. More info here.
  • Turmeric Oil: What a lovely addition to the product. As it happens I do have turmeric essential oil which I bought in a stall at Brick Lane Market in London. I’ll be using this essential oil on the acne-prone face wash I’m formulating. The two products I’m reviewing on this post are using turmeric essential oil so it must be a great addition to acne-prone products, something I didn’t know. I’ve done a bit of research and have found this thread on turmeric for acne, very interesting!
  • Clove Oil: Clove essential oil is antiseptic and analgesic, it calms and treats the skin and is a fantastic addition to acne treatment products. It helps reduce inflammation and redness and can kill the bacteria that causes acne. This essential oil needs to be used well diluted (at 0.5% maximum).
  • Sesame Oil: Suitable for all skin types, this oil has fantastic therapeutic properties. With potent antibacterial properties as well as being astringent, it is good for killing the acne causing bacteria and can also help improve the look of large pores. Contains Vitamin E.
  • Lemongrass Oil: Astringent and antiseptic, lemongrass essential oil is great for oily and acne-prone skin. Relieves acne and has sedative properties.

Pros & Cons

This is most definitely a 100% natural product. I don’t have any cons other than the look of the brand (if I am to be picky). But the product itself is PACKED WITH GOODIES and I totally love it. It has a lot of essential oils so you have to patch test this (see here) before using it. If you live in a cold area the oils will get hard in the winter so you’ll need to place the bottle in a cup of hot water to turn them back to liquid. So they’re not using chemicals to change the product’s structure. I love these things. We have to make an effort to work alongside our natural products.

This quote is from the company:

We use a traditional process called ‘saponification’ which turns the oils into soap using alkaline salts (aka caustic lye) – the same way they did it by hand in Ancient Roman times. The process takes up to 6 weeks since we don’t use any heat treatments or chemical detergents to speed up the process. It also means all the beneficial properties in the oils reach your skin intact.”

The above quote is like music to my ears. I really, really, really like this product. If you’d like to see how the process of saponification works check out this video.

I Wish this Was My Creation

I have fallen in love with this product. I wish I was the person behind the formula, it ticks all my boxes and more. As mentioned before, I’ll be adding many of the ingredients to my acne-prone line at home just because I like to see results from my own formulations. Kudos to the company. Love love love this product.

[amazon box=”B0754Y1J27″]

Himalaya Botanique Neem & Turmeric Natural Face Wash & Cleanser for Oily and Acne Prone Skin

Here’s my second choice:

[amazon box=”B0028QXB6E”]

The first think I look at when choosing a product is, obviously, the ingredients list. These have to be natural, organic if possible and, most importantly, not include unnecessary enhancers (ingredients that are used to make the product look, feel or smell better). I don’t mind synthetic ingredients that can aid the product be better in some way – for example carbomer, which has been created for cosmetic use and makes gives my formulations a light, watery-like feel which is fantastic for oily skin as well as morning routines – although some people might not agree with me as the ingredient doesn’t really come directly from nature if you see what I mean (a great page on what’s natural/what’s not here).

There are interesting conversations regarding what’s natural/what’s not natural (in the end it really is down to the individual, there’s no ‘law’ or ‘rule’ out there) and I’m sure I’ll change my mind around some ingredients over time. It’s a learning process, you know. Find here, here and here more on what’s/what’s not natural, and here’s a very interesting podcast on the topic by Formula Botanica.

Anyway, back to the product, let’s have a look at the ingredients list:

Water (Aqua), Coco-Glucoside (from coconut oil & sugar), Decyl Glucoside (from coconut oil & sugar), Vegetable Glycerin (from vegetable oils), Xanthum Gum, Citric Acid (found in citrus fruits), Glucose, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance (from essential oils), Origanum Majorana (sweet marjoram) Leaf Oil, Tocopherol, Glucose Oxidase, Lactorperoxidase, Melia Azadirachta (neem) Leaf Extract*, Curcuma Longa (turmeric) Root Oil*. *ORGANIC

  • Water: So this product is water based, as opposed to the product discussed above which is oil based. Water being the first ingredient on the list will also be the highest in percentage/amount on the product.
  • Coco-Glucoside: This ingredient will add the foam to the product. A non-ionic surfactant which also conditions and cleanses. I make lovely body wash/shower gel with this product (see the foam in action on the featured image of the blog post). Coco glucoside is derived from coconut oil and sugars. More info here.
  • Decyl Glucoside: I also use this product on my shower gel formulation. Decyl Glucoside is a gentle surfactant which also ads foam to the product. It doesn’t dry the skin and is obtained from a combination of plant based fatty alcohols and sugar/starch. More info on this product here and here.
  • Vegetable Glycerin: See above. By the way, here’s a link on all natural cosmetic ingredients which includes vegetable glycerin. Helpful if you’re interested in making cosmetics or learning about natural ingredients.
  • Xantham Gum: A non-gelling thickener as well as a viscosity enhancer. Enhances foam in surfactant systems also providing volume. Although this particular product is not an emulsion (creams and lotions are emulsions) it is worth mentioning that xantham gum helps emulsions’ stability. It can also act as a suspending agent (I use it in my exfoliator formula as it helps the pumice not sink to the bottom of the product) and it has lubricant properties. A great all-rounder although its texture needs some getting used to (gooey). More info here.
  • Citric Acid: Adjusts PH of the product.
  • Glucose: A sugar.
  • Potassium Sorbate: A natural, mild preservative, potassium sorbate protects the product from yeast, fungi and mold. It is less active when it comes to killing bacteria so potassium sorbate is not considered to be a broad spectrum preservative. It would need to be used in conjunction with other preservatives to ensure the product is totally protected. More info here.
  • Fragrance (from essential oils): Why didn’t the brand list the essential oils here? It would have been nice and we would have also seen straight away if they are/aren’t using anything else to add fragrance to the product. Unless they mean the oils mentioned below?
  • Origanum Majorana (Sweet Marjoram): Has strong antibacterial properties and can also help calm the nervous system. A great addition to nighttime skincare products because of its sedative properties. I wrote about it here.
  • Tocopherol: Vitamin E (see product above).
  • Glucose Oxidase: A synthetic enzyme, glucose oxidase functions as a skin conditioning agent and I believe it can also act as a stabilizer and preservative although I have to do some further reasearch on this. More on glucose oxidase here.
  • Lactorperoxidase: Enzyme found in milk (‘lacto’ – lating for ‘milk’) with antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. It seems that its antibacterial properties can eliminate the bacteria that causes acne. It also seems to work as a preservative when mixed with LPO, glucose, glucose oxidase (mentioned above), iodide and thiocyanate in order to prevent viruses, yeasts, fungi and bacteria from growing in cosmetics. Although I’ve never heard of it til now, it does certainly sound like an interesting addition to skincare aimed at acne-prone skin. I’ll be checking it out for my future formulations! Source here.
  • Melia Azadirachta (Neem Oil): See product above.

Turmeric Oil: See product above.

Pros & Cons

A lovely face wash with which means if oil products ‘scare you’ then you’ll feel safe with this. I personally prefer the oil based product from the ingredients list, just because they really haven’t spared on wonderful ingredients. This product feels a little less ‘packed’ with goodies (I’d point out the sweet marjoram, neem and turmeric oils/essential oils) but it is lacking the plethora of aromaceutical and foundational ingredients the first product has.

I like that this is a facial wash, it will create a foam and that will feel good in terms of that ‘clean feel’, not everyone is ready to clean their face with oil. This is really a personal choice. Both products are quite inexpensive so I would personally try both (one month each) and see which one my skin loves most.

Here’s a quote from the company:

At Himalaya, we use only the highest grade of cold-pressed oils in our products derived by cold extraction. Through a process called malaxation, we slowly churn milled seeds/fruits/nuts in a specially designed mixture for 20 to 40 minutes. This churning allows the smaller droplets of oil released by the milling process to aggregate and separate more easily. Although this manual process is time consuming, its outcome is an excellent product.

I like the sound of this. Both companies use ‘time’ as an important factor for creating the products, understanding that processes that take time results in excellence, higher quality and reaping more beneficial properties from the ingredients. This, to me, is massively important as they’re thinking of the end consumer by making sure the product is of the highest quality.

[amazon box=”B0028QXB6E”]

Great Products, Which One to Choose?

This is a difficult one. Those who dislike the feel of oil against their skin will prefer the facial wash, while those who understand the incredible benefits of oils will want to give the first product a try.

I personally would try both, 30 days each and then make my decision. I usually do this with everything I buy. I end up saving money in the end.

Here’s a link to both products again:

[amazon box=”B0754Y1J27″]

[amazon box=”B0028QXB6E”]

Other Acne-Prone Skin Related Articles

I keep adding acne-prone related articles to my arsenal of informative articles. Check them below (I update as I write more entries):

Best Organic Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin: Impressive Products

The A to Z of Essential Oils for Acne Prone Skin

More In the Face Wash Series [Product Reviews]:

Which Natural Face Wash for Sensitive Skin?

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