Getting skincare advice is often best left to the pros. After all, they’re trained in the proper way to perform a facial, a skin peel and they’re qualified to write acne prescriptions and wield skin-saving lasers.
But when it comes to everyday things, such as foundation and eyeliner, there’s no one armed with better advice than our peers, whether that be a BFF or a co-worker. They’re most likely to tell you about eyeliner that smudges with every blink or the face cream that caused them the most miserable breakout of their life. Plus, they’re (hopefully) not profiting from whichever item they happen to be recommending.
That’s why we had four Observer editors review the latest Glossier product: Milky Jelly Cleanser. Made from a thick, goopy formula, this face wash was made to be used on dry or wet skin. According to the website, it includes five separate skin conditioners plus “the same gentle cleaning agents you’d find in contact lens solution,” so it won’t sting eyes while it magically removes mascara and liquid eyeliner.
It’s billed as a daily face wash that will dissolve away makeup and dirt, all from a pH-balanced formula. The key ingredients include Poloxamer, rose water, comfrey root extract, Aquaxyl, pro-vitamin B5 and Glyceril Cocoate. And while some of those ingredients sound scary, they’re not: this formula is hypoallergenic, sulfate and paraben free, in addition to being devoid of fragrance.
For this particular experiment, each editor was asked to watch this video of Glossier’s founder Emily Weiss using the face wash and then take their bottle of Milky Jelly home. Once there, they were to use the cleanser on both dry and wet skin (at two different times) and report their findings. Each of the four editors has a totally different approach to makeup, whether it’s our media editor’s forgetfulness in terms of swiping on mascara. Or me, who tends to layer on moisturizer and foundation like it’s my job (well, it kind of is).
And so we lathered up, washed our faces with Milky Jelly and did what we do best: report back. Here are our squeaky clean findings.
Level of daily makeup wear: On top of a few layers of moisturizer, SPF and more moisturizer, I wear a full face of makeup on the daily, including liquid foundation, concealer, powder foundation, eyeliner, mascara, eyebrow powder. Occasionally I even throw blush and lipstick into the mix.
What face wash do you usually use and how do you feel about it? Since I was a kid, my mom taught me to wash my face with Cetaphil, because it’s such a gentle cleanser. Recently I’ve found that it doesn’t do a thorough job of actually removing makeup, leaving makeup-colored streaks on my towels. In retaliation, I’ve been been alternating between the Gentle Cleansing Foam from the Korean brand Sulwhasoo and Clé de Peau Beauté Synactif Soap; both leave me with a clean feeling face. Although, the latter is a bar soap, so I’m always worried that guests get confused and wash their hands with it.
What do you usually look for in a face wash? I look for something that won’t irritate my face–since I dab on my prescription Retin-A each evening–but is still effective enough to remove makeup.
What did you think of using the Glossier wash dry? And how did it feel wet? I’ve known about dry washing for a while, but I was always skeptical about how well it worked. With the Glossier formula, I actually loved the experience. It did creep me out to see my eyes turn black as the cleanser washed off my eye makeup, my skin felt very clean after a dry wash. I also liked how the cleanser worked on a wet face, but I think it was more effective when used dry.
Was there any makeup on your towel after you washed your face? There was absolutely no makeup residue.
Would you recommend this wash to your friends? I would. I found it to be an affordable facial cleanser that could be used daily and was actually effective.
How does it compare to the face wash you used previously? It’s much more effective than Cetaphil, so I might even swap it out for that. Although, it was lacking the delightful foamy properties of the Clé de Peau bar soap, that’s something I’m willing to sacrifice.
Final thoughts? As a frequent traveler, I would love a mini size of Milky Jelly to throw in my suitcase!
Name: Lale Arikoglu, managing editor
Level of daily makeup wear: Not much, usually mascara, bit of eyeliner and some blusher.
What face wash do you usually use and how do you feel about it? Caudalie Cleansing Milk and I love it. It gets eye make up off well and feels gentle on skin.
What did you think of using the Glossier wash dry? And how did it feel wet? Using the face wash dry was effective but didn’t get my eye make up off quite as well as the Caudalie one. My skin also felt slightly dry afterwards. Using it wet was much better; it took makeup off easily and my face felt properly clean and refreshed.
Did you prefer using it dry or wet? Definitely wet.
Was there any makeup on your towel after you washed your face? No makeup on the towel, for the most part.
How does it compare to the face wash you used previously? Probably equal to, or slightly better. It felt more refreshing after use than my current one.
Final thoughts? I’m a sucker for nice packaging and it did look really nice in my bathroom cabinet.
Name: Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke, senior editor
Level of daily makeup wear: Very little. I use tinted moisturizer and eyeliner when I remember to put on make up, but I don’t remember that often. (Although whenever I do, I think “hmmm, I should wear makeup more often.”) I usually put on lipstick on when I’m on my way to a party so I feel dressed up.
What face wash do you usually use and how do you feel about it? I use a Super Detox Activated Charcoal Cleanser from a company called Angel Face Botanicals. It’s black, which reminds me of that scene in Annie Hall when the Woody Allen character sees black soap in Annie’s bathroom and asks her if she’s joining a minstrel show. I like it because it has organic ingredients and supposedly unclogs my pores.
What do you usually look for in a face wash? Organic ingredients. Or at least natural ones that I can pronounce.
What did you think of using the Glossier wash dry? And how did it feel wet? It felt like a lotion when it was dry, which was kind of confusing because it is not actually a lotion. Using it on a wet face made it feel more like a regular face wash.
Did you prefer using it dry or wet? I liked using it wet better, because it made more sense. Using it dry made it feel like a weird new product, but I didn’t really get the concept of a dry face wash. Or maybe I just didn’t use it the right way.
Was there any makeup on your towel after you washed your face? It didn’t completely take off my eye makeup, which is weird because I don’t use that much eye makeup and it usually just comes off by the end of the day anyway. But after using it, all of my tinted moisturizer was off. But then, again I am pretty sure it had already worn off by then anyway.
Would you recommend this wash to your friends? Sure! Although I don’t think face wash is something I usually talk about with friends. But if a friend specifically asked for a cleanser recommendation, I guess I would.
How does it compare to the face wash you used previously? It reminds me of Cetaphil, but with a much nicer scent. Also, I feel like it is more effective than Cetaphil, which I always felt was kind of like not using face wash. But maybe that’s because it doesn’t have a scent!
Final thoughts? The best part of getting a new face wash is it reminds me to wash my face! Also, I like the package and the smell, which are both pleasant. Actually, the whole experience was pleasant. I think that’s the best adjective to describe it.
Level of daily makeup wear: I’ve always worn a “full face” of makeup, which means that even with face wash my eye makeup still somehow gets everywhere. I use Almay Gentle Eye Makeup Remover Pads, but sometimes forget and then my white towel looks decidedly dirty. I usually wear Benefit They’re Real! Push-Up Eye Liner Mini which is impossible to take off, and the Glossier did the trick, although there was still a tiny bit of liner left.
What face wash do you usually use? I’ve used Cetaphil for years, which is probably the most basic product in my arsenal. I’d love something a little more chic, but I also have ridiculously sensitive skin so I’m nervous to try anything else.
What do you usually look for in a face wash? I look for something that won’t break me out since I have delicate skin that seems to respond badly to everything, much like a hormonal middle schooler.
What did you think of using the Glossier wash dry? And how did it feel wet? I’ve never used a face wash on a dry face, but it felt fabulous. My face looked and felt much cleaner afterward. It made the mundane process of face washing slightly more exciting, especially since the product was so rich and creamy.
Did you prefer using it dry or wet? I liked using it dry because it felt like it was really taking my eye makeup off.
Was there any makeup on your towel after you washed your face? It did pass the test, but I did have some rogue eyeliner clinging to my lids.
How does it compare to the face wash you used previously? Unfortunately, it did break me out, proving that as basic as Cetaphil is, it does the trick for me.
Any final thoughts?I would definitely use it after events where I was wearing a ton of eye makeup, like Halloween, smokey eye, etc., but otherwise I’m not going to use it, which is a bummer because I really thought my skin could handle it.