Sample Stash Quickie: Skinfood Aloe Vera Foaming Cleanser Review

My Sample Stash Quickie Reviews are pretty much just as they say on the tin – reviews where I try out sample(s) of a product and then give my basic, initial thoughts. They obviously won’t be as in-depth as reviews where I’ve been able to use a product for weeks or even months, which I usually prefer, but my hope is that they will still be helpful to people who are looking for any information and thoughts on the reviewed product.

Today’s sample review is about Skinfood’s Aloe Vera Foaming Cleanser.

Skinfood Aloe Vera Foaming Cleanser

Here are the product claims from Skinfood’s English-language website:

This soft, refreshing cleansing foam contains aloe extract that soothes sensitive skin, and cucumber extracts to moisturize skin, while cleansing.

To Use: Foam a desired amount by rubbing in wet hands, and massage gently and thoroughly on the face. Rinse with warm water.

So, as you can see, Skinfood markets this cleanser as being gentle, hydrating, and non-irritating.

I managed to try this for a few days, since I purchased a multiple-sample pack from Ruby Ruby Shop on eBay – 10 sample packets for $3.84 + $2.50 shipping. You can see the precise listing here, if you’re interested.

skinfood aloe sample

Does this match up with my actual experience? Click the read more to find out!

When I first opened one of the sample packets, I actually thought that something was wrong – it looked all hard and dried up in the packet!

cleanser texture

However, upon reading some other reviews, it appears that this is actually normal. This cleanser’s texture is that of a firm cream until you combine it with water, then it foams up into a creamy lather. You can kind of see it when you look at this image from Skinfood’s website:

Skinfood Cleanser Texture

Notice how it’s not runny, but actually looks like a more solid cream? That’s not photoshopping, it really just is that firm and dense!

The foamy lather feels really nice while you’re massaging it onto your face, that’s for sure. It also has a pleasant, light, sliiightly cucumber-y (IMO) scent. My friend though it smelled like pickles, but I think she must just not eat enough raw cucumber so any cucumber scent translates to pickles in her mind, hahaha. I definitely didn’t notice any vinegar/brine scent, just plain cucumber…

aloe cleanser lather

I think it cleaned my face well enough, though it doesn’t do a sufficient job at sunscreen or waterproof makeup (nor does it claim to, as far as I can tell), so I prefaced it with my Skinfood Black Sugar Cleansing Oil at night when using it on my face, since I’m clog-prone and didn’t want to tempt fate with residue!

You can see below that when I tested its makeup-removing ability on my hand, it MOSTLY removed my BB cream and waterproof eyeliner, but not all the way – and to get that much removed, I had to massage for about a minute and my hands felt soooo painfully dry afterwards D: So I wouldn’t really view this as good for removing makeup, personally. Click the thumbnail if you want a bigger version of the image!

Skinfood Aloe Vera Cleanser Makeup Removal Test

On my face, though, it didn’t leave my face feeling quite as stripped/dried out as some other foaming cleansers can, however there was still some mild tightness. Now, I have oily skin, so I’d imagine that people with normal, combination, and dryer skin types would feel the tight/dry effect far more than I did, so that’s really something to keep in mind.

I decided to test the cleanser’s pH to see if the after-cleansing tight feeling was caused by the cleanser being a bit too alkaline (ideal is ~5.5 since your skin is naturally acidic and using too-alkaline cleansers for long-term periods can throw off your skin’s pH and cause a lot of problems) and… I was really depressed to see that the pH was NINE. I was a bit shocked since it didn’t feel as drying to me as the Etude House Milky You Cleanser, which was around 8.5, but I tested it with two different types of pH strips multiple times and yep, it’s a 9. That’s way too alkaline for me to ever consider using this cleanser, personally.

So that alone is enough for me to give this product a pass, but let’s keep talking about it anyway – after all, we should look at the ingredients too, right?

I had some trouble finding the official ingredients list as it doesn’t seem to be present on Skinfood’s English-language website, but thankfully quite a few people have uploaded the ingredients to CosDNA already.

Water, Myristic acid, Stearic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Cocamide DEA, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Lauric Acid, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycol Distearate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Allantoin, Disodium EDTA, Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract, BHT, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, CI42090, CI19140, Parfum

Looking at the ingredients, there’s actually quite a few irritation risks in this product – considering it’s supposed to be soothing, that’s more than a little weird.

Myristic Acid (also called tetradecanoic acid) is a fatty acid that can serve as an emulsifier, fragrance, or cleansing agent. It has a 3 out of 5 for acne/comedogenic risk.

Stearic Acid is another fatty acid with a myriad of uses: from CosDNA, “Emulsifier; Cleaning agent; Emulsion Stabilizer; Surfactant; Refatting; Lipophilic Thickener” are all included in its listing. It has a rating of 2 out of 5 for acne/comedogenic risk, and it’s actually a pretty common ingredient for people to react to negatively – I see a lot of people who avoid it online, though for me personally it doesn’t seem to break me out.

Lauric Acid is yet another fatty acid cleansing agent/emulsifier that’s very common in cosmetics, particularly soap. Unfortunately, it is also a big trigger for a lot of people and its CosDNA ratings reflect that – it gets a 4 out of 5 for acne/comedogenic risk and 1 out of 5 for irritation risk.

Glyceryl Stearate SE is an esterification (reaction of an alcohol with an acid to produce an ester and water) of glycerin + stearic acid. Once again it’s very common in cosmetics, and once again it can also be a negative factor for many people – CosDNA gives it a 3 out of 5 for acne and a 2 out of 5 for irritation.

Nothing else has flags on CosDNA, but I’m aware that many people avoid parabens and BHT, so I guess it’s worth pointing out that both are present here.

The aloe and cucumber extracts seem relatively low on the ingredient list, and obviously I didn’t feel any of the supposed soothing and moisturizing effects that Skinfood promised from these two ingredients.

As for my personal reaction to this product in the limited time that I tried it?

I didn’t experience any breakouts or clogged pores, nor did I see any VISIBLE irritation, however I did definitely feel a tightness/dryness after each use, and that’s not a good sign. Even oily-skinned people like myself should avoid drying out their skin to the point that it feels tight or itchy – for us particularly, it sends the wrong message to our skin and can actually make us produce even more oil as our skin tries to correct that moisture-robbery that we just inflicted upon ourselves.

That combined with the far, far, far too high of a pH and the multiple questionable ingredients make me believe that this cleanser isn’t really that great. It may feel lovely when it’s lathering up, but there are plenty of other cleansers in the same price range with lower pH, better ingredients, and less risk of dried out skin.

So my Skinfood Aloe Vera Foaming Cleanser Review verdict is, sadly, going to be negative. While it didn’t kill my skin or anything, I just can’t see it being a smart choice when I consider the long-term effects on my skin. I can’t really recommend this product, sorry guys!


  • Starting at $3.84 + shipping for 10x samples and $7.99 + shipping for full-sized product @ eBay
  • Starting at $4.65 + shipping @ Amazon
  • $12.07 @ w2beauty

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August 25, 2014
Thank you for this! Your reviews are very useful!
August 27, 2014
Thank you so much :)

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