Thursday, February 28, 2008

Old Fashioned Washing- Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash

Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash has what might be the most schizophrenic ingredient list I've seen in a while:

Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Rosa Canina Leaf Extract (rose hips), Silybum Marianum Seed Extract (milk thistle), Passiflora Incarnata Extract (passion flower), Chamomilla Recutita Leaf Extract (matricaria), Acetyl Hexapeptide 3, PEG 12 Glyceryl Distearate, Cocamide DEA, Glucosamine, Pentylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Acrylates C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Polyethylene, Blue 1, Fragrance, Triethanolamine, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Methylisothiazolinone

I'm definitely not one who is scared of old fashioned soap, and I'm well aware that the much-maligned SLS suffers from a bad rap mostly because of an urban legend, but it is still considered a skin irritant and many brands have developed more gentle products. The paraben issue is another controversy. Personally, while I'm not convinced it's going to kill me, I still prefer paraben-free products whenever possible. So, it is surprising that such an iconic product from a company that markets itself as modern and revolutionary could have just as easily be made in the 80s.

Crunchy vs. chemical debate aside, this face wash, while far less foaming than you'd expect from the name and the level of SLS it contains. Still, it cleans well, dissolving every trace of makeup and city grime while surprisingly not drying me out too badly. In two weeks of testing, I had no problem with skin irritation or extra sensitivity and have no complaints about this product, other than that those tiny exfoliating beads are quite useless. Not that it's a bad thing. I prefer to exfoliate using a warm damp washcloth rather than anything grainy.

Bottom line: it's a face soap. It cleans. Is the $22 price tag justified? Probably not. I'm pretty sure you can find more innovative cleansers at your local drugstore.

Bliss products are available from the company's web site,, Sephora and most department stores.
The travel size bottle I've been using for this review came as a gift with a recent order.



  1. the myth around SLS is definitely true. a while back i was using a crest toothpaste with glitter (ahahah) and suave shampoo/conditioner. as you could tell, i knew nothing about products back then. anyways, soon i developed a huge red rash around my mouth. it looked like a mustache! my doctor recommended using burt's bee's toothpaste (fyi, it's very badly flavored :P) and j/a/s/o/n hair products, which are both SLS-free, and slowly the rash went away. i had tried different creams and lotions over the course of a year or so, and nothing worked until i tried the SLS-free products.

    sorry i went off on a tangent there, i just wanted to warn others. maybe i just have sensitive skin....

  2. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear: SLS is most definitely an irritant. It's not a myth and is backed with enough reputable evidence. The urban legend part is that SLS causes cancer. The story made the rounds to such an effect that the American Cancer Society had to step in and try to stop it:
    see this

  3. the only bliss product i've tried is their liver spot serum, which has a very clever name. but it didn't work at all. no irritation, but no fading of sun damage, either. it was expensive, too. - minette

    p.s. i love aveeno's scrub - it is gentle and effective and non-drying.

  4. Maybe Cetaphil? The oily skin version is reasonably priced and foaming, without SLS or even SLES, but there is some methylparaben. And there's the classic Johnson's Head-to-Toe, supercheap, no parabens, and just SLES.

    I have found Skin Deep an invaluable cosmetics resource. It seems to have a comprehensive and reliable database for cosmetics ingredients. They link to clinical studies, so you can see where the info comes from.

    Myself, I'm crunchy all the day, by default. Chemicals burn my skin. =P

  5. Minette- I looked at ingredient list of the liver spot serum and wasn't impressed. So far, I see nice results from the Remede C serum, which I think cost about the same as Bliss. On the insanely expensive front, Revive have some incredible products. I loved everything I sampled, but have promised myself not to go there until I turn 40.

  6. Dain- Cetaphil is a very decent option. I can't call myself crunchy, but I'm an avid label-reader, and some things should really be kept out of our products.


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