While most skincare brands are churning out products faster than our face (and wallets) can keep up, there’s a new brand dedicated to just cleansers, and really cute cleansers too. Say hello to Holifrog cleansers!
Aesthetic packaging aside, here’s what initially drew me to this brand and their cleansers:
🧪 Low pH to match our skin’s natural pH levels
I can’t stress the importance of this enough, but messing with our skin’s pH level with high pH cleansers will damage your skin’s moisture barrier in the long run. Which then leads to issues likes dryness, acne, and all sorts of unpleasant side effects.
🧼 No harsh surfactants
There’s really no reason we need to be stripping our skin dry with SLES or SLS. If you’re wearing makeup or waterproof sunscreen or just super grimy, double cleanse with an oil and balm first, followed by a gentle cleanser, it’s much better for your skin overall.
🎨 No extras like fragrance or dyes
As much as I enjoy scented products, I also admit they add no value to our skin health and can even cause irritations. Those with sensitive skin will definitely appreciate Holifrog’s gesture.
🌱 A ton of skin-friendly ingredients
You can argue that these ingredients won’t do much since they don’t stay on the skin for long, and I agree. However emollients like plant oils can help restore some moisture to the skin and prevent that dry/tight feeling after cleansing, so I’m still happy to see them.
👪A cleanser for every situation and skin type
Or what Holifrog calls “Situational Cleansing“. It makes sense when you think about it, our skin’s needs can change depending on our lifestyle, the environment, and so many other factors, so likewise our routine needs to adapt too.
Currently they have 6 different cleansers available, and after trying all of them for the past few months, here are my thoughts.
Are Holifrog cleansers worth it?
While I thoroughly enjoyed most of these cleansers and do think they’re wonderfully formulated, I also think there are great alternatives to some of these, namely the Cerave cleansers which are dirt cheap and work ridiculously well if you can get over their blandness.
My rule has always been that serums are where you should be spending your $$$. Other products, especially cleansers, do not need to be expensive to be effective.
Also I’ve noticed an issue with the Holifrog cleansers’ pump packaging: if you don’t use them regularly (eg. the Shasta only once a week), they do clog a little bit which results in the product going everywhere when you pump it. Not a deal breaker, but when you’re paying a premium for a cleanser, details like these do matter.
Another factor is the sensory experience. For some of us, myself included, part of paying a premium is for the luxurious texture and spa-like scent, which often means essential oils. Holifrog isn’t wrong to eliminate fragrance as potential irritants, but it also makes their cleansers feel and smell a bit like regular cleansers.
Of the 6 cleansers I tried, I would probably repurchase Holifrog Como because I like the idea of being able to use it alone or with other cleansers. Holifrog Shasta is a maybe because while I do think it’s unique, I still prefer the usage experience (scent) of the Oskia or Kate Somerville.
More affordable Holifrog Dupes
Ah yes we love a good dupe, especially since Holifrog cleansers aren’t cheap either. Here are what I recommend instead if budget is a concern:
Holifrog Kissimmee ➡️ Paula’s Choice Omega+ Cleansing Balm
I absolutely love the PC cleansing balm, and at $28/104ml, you’re getting more for your money too. The PC one has the same lush texture, similar nourishing emollients, and the best part is it doesn’t leave a film on the skin!
Holifrog Tashmoo ➡️ Cerave Hydrating Cleanser
I’m a big fan of Cerave and their Hydrating Cleanser will always be a classic non-foaming cream cleanser for me. As much as I enjoyed Tashmoo I just don’t think it’s worth it when you have Cerave at a fraction of the price and delivers very similar results!
Holifrog Shasta ➡️ Cerave Renewing Salicylic Acid Cleanser
Not an exact dupe, but if you’re looking for a cleanser to help clear your pores and acne, this Cerave one contains salicylic acid that will help with just that. But if you want my opinion, use an exfoliating toner or serum instead to get better results!
Holifrog Superior ➡️ Cerave Foaming Cleanser or YTTP Superfood Cleanser or AXIS-Y Cleansing Foam
The least unique of the Holifrog cleansers, I can think of 3 other cleansers I’ve tried that deliver similar results and are more affordable. Both the Cerave and YTTP were less drying too!
Holifrog Sunapee ➡️ Good Molecules Pineapple Exfoliating Powder
I will admit Holifrog has better ingredients, but if you’re just looking for an enzyme-based powder cleanser that doesn’t feel abrasive, Good Molecules is an excellent choice. Or if you want a more luxurious experience and potent results, I really like the Kanebo Suisai Powder Wash and the Amorepacific Treatment Enzyme Powder.
Overall I still think most of these are lovely cleansers and I applaud Holifrog's dedication to educating consumers on how to cleanse properly and what ingredients to look for. Cleansing truly is an important step of our skincare routine, and if you have the budget, Holifrog cleansers make a great option. However if you're already using a well-formulated cleanser (low pH and gentle), stick to what you have, you're not missing out!