To date, I have only spotted this new cleanser from Neutrogena at the bottom of a new-product end-cap at one Rite Aid in my area. I've looked for it at Target, CVS and Walgreens but have yet to locate it, so if you don't see it in your area right now, give it a few weeks and hopefully it will start to pop up soon. If you're looking to buy it online, I've only seen it on Amazon as of the time of this post.
I'm always in the market for new facial cleansers, especially ones that claim to be gentle and non-drying yet can still remover oil, grime and of course makeup. In the past, I've had good luck (Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Cleanser) and bad luck with Neutrogena cleansers (Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser dried out my skin), so I was very interested to see how this new formula would work for me. I've been putting this one to the test for a few weeks now and I'm finally ready to give you my verdict!
New Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser
(retail: $8.99, 12 oz)
I purchased this product at Rite Aid for $8.99. You get 12 whopping ounces here, compared to the usual 6-8 oz that you tend to get from other drugstore cleansers. So you're basically getting twice the amount for roughly the same price as many other drugstore facial cleansers.
I love the ingredients list. No parabens, no sulfates, and glycerin is the second ingredient (helps to lock moisture into the skin, and it's something my skin in particular seems to love). I also love that, unlike MANY drugstore facial cleansers on the market, this one does not contain menthol (skincare products with menthol break me out). In fact, looking for new skincare products to test and review on this blog, you have no idea how difficult it is to find cleansers and moisturizers that do not contain parabens OR menthol. So many drugstore cleansers contain either one or the other (or both), so again, I'm very happy that this one contains neither.
I suspect that this cleanser is replacing Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser, which contains two forms of parabens, so if you're on paraben-watch, this should make you happy.
Texture and consistency: As you can see, this is a clear cleanser, but I want to note here that it's not thin or watery. It's on the thick side, and it feels rich and luxurious on the skin. When I apply it to damp skin, it takes a minute or two to get a lather going, but once I do, it's a thick, rich lather and I really feel like this cleanser works well to cover my entire face, penetrating every little nook and cranny. Sometimes with a thinner, more watery cleanser, it feels like you're not really able to spread it effectively onto your face, but that's not the case with this one. To me, this feels like a higher-end cleanser in that it's thicker, more subtantial, and just feels luxurious on the skin.
Efficacy and performance: This cleanser does exactly what it claims to do. I've been using it every night and morning for the past few weeks, and I could not be happier with its ability to thoroughly cleanse my skin without ever leaving it feeling dry or tight. I have very oily skin and, combined with the hot weather, it's no small feat to make my skin feel clean, yet not over-stripped. THIS product does just that. It removes every trace of my primer, foundation, concealer and eye makeup (no problems with washable mascara, but you'll need to use a separate eye makeup remover if you use waterproof mascara). Let me explain how I can personally tell that this product is not over-stripping my skin. My little test that seems to be a great indicator (for me personally) is that, when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is touch my nose and my T-zone. If that area of my face feels super greasy or oily, then I know that the cleanser I used the night before stripped my skin of its natural oils to the point where my skin then felt the need to over-compensate and produce even MORE oil. When I touch my t-zone in the morning after using this cleanser the night before, my face just feels...clean. Normal. Not excessively oily. And the same thing happens during the daytime when I use this cleanser in the morning. My T-zone isn't ridiculously oily--I just see the normal amount of oil that's usually there. I wouldn't call this product an oil-CONTROL product, but it's not ADDING to the oils on my face either, which is a good thing. Also, I have not experienced any breakouts or irritation since using this product.
Fragrance: There is added fragrance to this product, which is the only thing that I would warn you of in case you're sensitive to fragrance in your skincare products. The fragrance might be considered strong by some, but I find it moderate (although I've never been one to be irritated by fragrance, so your opinion may differ). To me, it smells like a light floral fragrance, combined with the scent of baby shampoo. Not offensive or strange, but not something that makes me say, "Oooh, YUMMY!" every time I use it. It's a pretty standard fragrance.
FINAL VERDICT: Neutrogena knocked it out of the park with this one. This new cleanser is a home-run for me, and I haven't been reaching for any of my other cleansers since the day I first started using this one. The value (around $8.99) and size (did I mention that this bottle is huge?), combined with the fact that it's paraben- and sulfate-free make this a product that looks good on paper, but the results I've been able to achieve also make this a good product in reality. It effectively and gently cleanses my skin, it doesn't strip my skin of its natural oils, and it leaves my face feeling clean and lightly hydrated without feeling sticky or greasy (please note though that I have very oily skin, so I cannot vouch for how this product will work for normal or dry skin--I'm HOPING you will have similar results even if your skin is very dry, but again it's difficult for me to gauge that). I haven't had any breakouts since I've been using this product and it removes my makeup quite well. You'll need a separate eye makeup remover if you use waterproof mascara, but I haven't had any issues with removing washable mascaras. I also think this cleanser would work well for Clarisonic users. For me, this one's a win-win. Hopefully it becomes more widely available SOON so you can give it a try for yourself. The only people I wouldn't recommend this to are those who are extra sensitive to fragrance--this definitely has added fragrance that might be considered strong by some, but for me it's moderate.