Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Product Review: Olay Total Effects Cleansing Cloths

For years, my cleanser of choice was Cetaphil, a godsend for anyone with sensitive skin. Along with my trusty washcloth, I used it twice a day with good results, it didn't exacerbate my acne or dryness (the bane of combination skin) and it was gentle enough to cleanse without irritating my allergies or causing any weird skin reactions. Compared to the harsh, irritating cleansers I'd been using before, I thought Cetaphil was like the second coming for my skin.

As time has gone on, my skin switched from combination to dry (with occasional breakouts) and I found I needed a cleanser that moisturized better than the Cetaphil. I was also sick of having to lug the bottle and a washcloth whenever I traveled and was curious to check out the cleansing cloths I'd seen on the shelves of CVS. After browsing the long aisle of beauty products, I settled on a box of Olay Total Effects Cleansing Cloths, since I'd had such great luck with the Total Effects 7x Moisturizer in keeping my dry skin in check.

The product promised to remove makeup, so I decided to skip my makeup remover that night and test the cloths on a fully made-up face. Following the instructions, I got the cloth (which looks more like a soft piece of construction paper when dry) a little wet and rubbed it together to let it foam up before applying it to my face. One side of the cloth is textured and did a nice job exfoliating, while the smooth side was great for removing my eye makeup. When I finished washing, I inspected my face and was happy to see that my makeup was totally gone and my skin looked and felt soft, clean and hydrated. Instead of having to hang up and dry my washcloth (which I tried to switch every few days to prevent bacteria growth), it felt great to just throw out the cloth and be done with it.

To put the moisturizing promise to the test, I waited a half hour before applying lotion and checked to see if my skin was getting tight, dry or cracked (as it often does if I don't slather on moisturizer within 5 minutes of washing). My skin still felt normal after waiting, and I noticed that my skin felt softer and more moisturized all day long, without having to reapply lotion later in the day as I often did.

The cloths are pretty large and after realizing that I didn't need the whole thing to clean my face, I began cutting them all in half to get twice the use out of each cloth. Half a cloth is more than enough and it's great to get a full month of use out of each $7.99 pack.

One thing I love is the ease of traveling with the cloths, as opposed to a regular liquid cleanser. I throw a few in a Ziploc bag and I'm good to go for a weekend, no worrying about spilling or taking up extra weight in my suitcase.

I would recommend this product for just about any skin type. I've found that since I began using them, along with heavier moisturizers, my acne has basically gone away. This could be in part because I'm growing older, but I think that I was overdrying my skin before, which only exacerbated my oil glands and made my acne worse. It's difficult to find a product that's truly moisturizing but not comedogenic, but this fits the bill.

Has anyone else had good experiences with cleansing cloths? What's your favorite cleanser?


Pat said...

I used and loved these cloths for years. But recently, as my skin is getting dryer and more sensitive (i.e. OLDER), I find I need an even gentler cleanser. My current favorite is Burt's Bee's Wild Lettuce complexion soap. Very kind to sensitive skin, and never leaves my face dry or tight.

Cate said...

meg, this is so interesting, and perfect timing. cetaphil works wonders for me in the summer when my sweat glands are in overdrive, but i was just thinking this morning after using it in the shower that my face really gets too dry in the winter for this cleanser. can i ask how long you've been using it? only because my skin is really, really sensitive and something can work okay for a day or two and then the rashes/zits come out to play. GREAT review!

Meg said...

Cate- I have the same problem, but I've been using this for a couple months now and haven't had any issues.

Anonymous said...

Baby wipes! I'm telling you, the sensitive skin baby wipes are fantastic, comparable to the "beauty" cloths on the market. I have dry, dry skin with the occasional pimple, wear foundation and everything else including waterproof mascara and baby wipes take it all off for so much less than the cloths. I find the baby wipes gentler than the cloths you have to wet and foam up. This is a trick I've picked up from drag queens and have not looked back since.

Cate said...

thanks, meg, i will definitely give that a go!
anonymous, do you find that the alcohol in the baby wipes is drying? i'm assuming that even the ones for sensitive skin have it, because let's face it--they're for wiping poopy bottoms--and they should always be followed up with a heavy cream like desitin. do they really work? what moisturizer do you use?

Anonymous said...

Once the cold weather comes - keeping my skin moisturized becomes a huge problem for me as well. I have pretty sensitive skin and do use baby wipes a lot to remove makeup but I dont always feel 100% clean afterwards. So I found these one day in the drug store: http://www.johnsonsbaby.com/product.do?id=2
I find they work really well to wash my face. I also do the cutting in half thing. They also have a nightime one, which is supposed to be calming. I don't notice the calming effects its supposed to have but it is very soft and works well on washing my face, or can even be taken into the shower for an all over wash. http://www.johnsonsbaby.com/product.do?id=61&productID=61&filterID=0

Brava97 said...

I am an Olay girl all the way. However, I buy their basics (read: cheap) line and not the Total Effects or Regenerist lines. I have been using the less expensive Olay Daily Facials cleansing cloths (dry skin formula) for several years. You can find double packs of 60 for around $10. They're fantastic at removing makeup, even eye makup without stinging. I only use them at night because I don't need a deep cleansing in the morning. (Really, who does? Unless you sleep in your makeup.) For morning I keep a tube of Olay cream cleanser ($5) in the shower, which lasts for several months. For moisturizer I use Olay Complete with spf 15 ($6 for a jar that lasts at least a month) for day and Night of Olay (also $6) at night. My skincare routine is super cheap, but my skin looks and feels great.

Subspace said...

I use Target brand baby wipes, and they don't have alcohol in them, they have vitamin E and aloe. In fact, I'd be sort of surprised if any baby wipes did have alcohol - alcohol is harsh and a potential allergen. I find that baby wipes are the answer to far, far more problems than one might think.

When I travel I take the Boots #7 4-in-1 wipes. I have moderately sensitive skin (I'm prone to break-outs) and I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only did they really remove even a thick coat of waterproof mascara, but my skin felt fantastic afterwards. I used them for a full two weeks while visiting family, and I didn't have a negative reaction.

Liv said...

I'm also a fan of the regular Olay line. I've used the Foaming Face Wash for Sensitive Skin and the sensitive skin cloths last winter and it was wonderful for my poor combination skin. Flakiness and pimples...not cool! The Olay Sensitive skin stuff seems to have a lot of aloe in it, which helps with the flakiness but isn't too heavy. Then I just use a little bit of moisturizer on the dry bits and I'm good to go.

Great review, thanks!

Laura V said...

I am also a fan of the baby wipes. I use Huggies Natural Care Fragrance Free as my makeup remover/general cleanser, and have had no problems with drying-- they also have vitamin e & aloe. I do use a separate moisturizer, though.

But they're cheap, get my face clean, don't make me break out, and I can also use them to quickly wipe down a gross sink. :)

Anonymous said...

I like Basis brand "So Refreshing" cleansing cloths, which are individually wrapped. I'd prefer not to be generating trash from the wrappers, but with the other brands, no matter how tightly I closed the box/pkg, the cloths would get dried out and be useless. These cloths can sometimes be hard to find at Walgreens/Rite Aid, so I often buy a bunch on drugstore.com.

Wintermute said...

I have the world's most sensitive, break-out prone skin and the only thing that truly works for me is Fresh Farmacy from Lush:


It leaves my skin soft and clear. And it smells wonderful!

christine said...

I love Olay Cloths too!

Also, this is just a DIY suggestion for those with oily skin, but rinsing your face with rice water helps get rid of the oil and makes your skin soft. Basically, you wash some rice and save the water in a basin, and when you go wash your face, instead of using soap/facial wash you use the rice water as soap instead, and rinse as usual. Using an exfoliating washcloth helps too :)

I'd recommend this only for people with really oily skin, because for those with combo/sensitive skin may find this too drying. Anyways, hope that helped!

Anonymous said...

hmmm, in general any disposable cleansing cloths get a big no in my book for being environmentally unfriendly. If you have a garden, try burying these things in your soil everytime you use one and see what happens in a few months.