Do foaming cleansers deserve the bad rep?

If we ask you to name the very first skincare ritual or product that you were introduced to as a kid, you’re most likely to name face cleansing or a face wash almost instantaneously. Cleansing the facial skin becomes a part of our daily grooming routine, even before we get acclimatised to the concept of “skincare routines.” And thus, the market is flooded with a plethora of cleansers—across textures, ingredient blends, diverse packaging and formulations—to successfully tick the first step of the classic C-T-M routine off the checklist and give you squeaky clean skin. However, amongst a clan (read: types) of face cleansers like gel-based, oil-based, exfoliating and other cleansers, exist foaming cleansers—a category that has been subjected to endless scrutiny for aeons now. But, is it really that damaging to your skin? Scroll down to find out. 

Are foaming cleansers worthy of the bad light they’re seen in?

Though foaming cleansers are famous for rendering the aforementioned squeaky-clean skin, the feeling often comes with a side effect of dry and taut skin. And that is possibly the biggest cause of concern as well as the reason behind the product’s bad rep. “Traditionally, sulphate-types of cleansers give the best foam, but they are harsh,” Ginger King, a cosmetic chemist told Well + Good. But whether the foam has to be blamed or the ingredients that go into the cleanser is something one needs to understand. 

“Foam is more of a sensation, and makes you feel cleaner, but it doesn’t necessarily increase cleanliness. If the formulation is not correct and skin-friendly, foaming cleansers can, in fact, make the skin drier than it needs to be, thereby disrupting the barrier,” says Delhi-based celebrity dermatologist Dr Kiran Sethi, highlighting when and why can foaming cleansers get problematic. In concurrence, beauty expert Jane Scrivner told Glamour Magazine, “Foaming products require foaming agents, all of which can be higher in alkaline than the skin (4.5 to 5.5 on the pH). Most foams are approx. 6, making them harsh and very stripping/drying.”

Not at all foaming cleansers are the same…

Having said that, “If using gentle surfactants, then they are not perilous,” claims Sethi who advises keeping away from formulations where anionic surfactants are used in abundance, causing irritation and dryness. Jane furthered, “There are developments in science which have improved the formulas, such as coconut-derived or plant-derived foaming agents which are more gentle and pH-appropriate for the skin,” indicating the evolution of foaming cleansers and how they’ve grown to be more barrier-friendly and less damaging. Our Gentle Foam Cleanser, for instance, contains only naturally-derived surfactants like Lauryl Glucoside, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside and Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate that don’t strip off moisture from the skin. Additionally, the pH level of our cleanser is 4.6, making it all the more skin-friendly. 

Below are a few other reasons why Gunam Beauty’s Gentle Foam Cleanser deserves a spot on your vanity:

- The foaming cleanser gently cleanses the skin to remove dead skin, debris and dirt without hampering the skin’s natural moisture levels
- The product’s formulation contains panthenol, a moisturising compound, urea, a humectant and emollient, chamomile, an anti-inflammatory ingredient and AHA, a gentle, skin-resurfacing exfoliant.
- To keep the skin soothed and hydrated, the cleanser also comprises Centella Asiatica and aloe vera.
- The mild cleanser suits all skin types.
- We also put our foaming cleanser through a test—results of which revealed that 100 per cent of the subjects claimed that the cleanser didn’t strip any moisture off their skin. They also shared that their skin felt soft, purified, relaxed and calm.
- Renowned beauty editor Komal Basith also gave the cleanser her stamp of approval. In her words: “I’m excited about a new brand called Gunam - you know I love my luxury beauty brands, and it’s always extra exciting when one comes out of India (with products that perform well). I’ve been liking the cleanser. It foams without sulphates, smells mildly herbal and is non-stripping. It’s expensive – 1,800 bucks – which is in keeping with its luxury positioning, but this feels like the perfect summertime cleanser.”