Although my routine is category based, where I place more emphasis on product function over brand name or type, I realised there are certain products that I always gravitate to. I’ve associated effects I want with the products themselves. In some cases this is fine as they are easy to acquire, in other cases, they are really expensive or difficult to source regularly. Because of that, I need to find dupes for these products.
I should specify that when I say dupe, I don’t mean exact copy, but one that can dupe the same sense of usefulness, excitement and #SKINCARETAINMENT that I had for the original product.
In this post, I’m trying to dupe: Hada Labo Foaming Cleanser and if you’ve read my review of the whole Hada Labo line, you’ll know that I’m a huge, huge fan! It’s actually funny that I have such strong feelings for this cleanser, or that I even embarked on this journey of finding a dupe, because if I’m totally honest, cleansers bore me. That’s right, I said it! Even though I think that cleansers are arguably the most important part of a routine (start with a good foundation and build up), they bore me.
As I test cleansers for a shorter period of time, (seven days) this post encompases all the foaming cleansers that I’ve tried and tested to find a dupe. Other undupeable reviews will be single product reviews as my testing schedule is a lot longer (twenty-eight days) for other products.
When buying a new cleanser, I look for three things.
- pH 5.5 (when mixed with water).
My skin prefers low pH cleansers, so I’m aiming for products that are between pH5 and pH6 when mixed with my water which is pH7. As I can’t test before I buy, I’m going by product claims or self reporting by others.
- SLS Free / Tea Tree Oil Free.
My skin hates both these ingredients with a passion of a thousand burning suns, and these always seem to pop up in cleansers.
- Simple ingredient list.
I don’t need my cleanser to change my life, I just need it to clean well.
There are four metrics by which I will be judging each cleanser, and each evaluation metric is worth five points.
- Effective cleanser.
For me that means clean without making my skin feel tight. I use a foaming cleanser primarily as a second step cleanser, but at times I use it as a standalone so the cleanser has to be effective all on its own.
- Transportable packaging.
Hada Labo is definitely a stay in the bathroom cleanser. Although mine came with a plastic stopper which means you can carry it around without it I’m lost. I’ve gotten around this by decanting, but it would be nice to just grab it and go if needs be.
- Easy to acquire.
While I love Asian Beauty I struggle to believe that there isn’t a single cleanser in Europe that works just as well! Buying Hada Labo means ordering internationally and while I have a reliable seller, that resource isn’t going to be forever. I’d like something that could be a local alternative.
- Reasonable Price.
Hada Labo is really cheap, so I’d like something that’s similarly low priced.
With those purchasing metrics in mind, I bought three cleansers, Cerave Hydrating Cleanser, Boots Simply Sensitive Foaming Cleansing Wash and Avene Cleansing Foam and over the period of a few months, I tested each in isolation twice a day for a minimum of seven days.
Cerave Hydrating Cleanser
Purified Water, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-II, Ceramide 1, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol, Polyoxyl 40 Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Potassium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Disodium EDTA, Phytosphingosine, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum
Price & Size
$3.50 for 3 FL oz / 87ml (full size $8.59 for 12 oz )
The sample is a good size bottle, but the flip lid makes it awkward to pour things out because of the consistency of the product. A pump like the full size would be so much better, but as it’s travel size, I get why it isn’t.
I bought this when I was in the US on vacation a few months ago. Not because I was particularly excited about it, but because it was so widely acclaimed. I I had absolutely zero expectations for this and if I’m honest I expected this to be the worst of the bunch but I’m happy to say that it is a totally acceptable cleanser, I kind of wish i had more. If I lived in the US, I would feel absolutely comfortable buying this on a regular basis, as I don’t and it is expensive on Amazon UK I won’t be repurchasing.
|Easy to acquire||1/5|
Boots Simply Sensitive Foaming Cleansing Wash
There is no picture because I hated it so much I got rid of it before I though to take a picture. Whoops spoilers.
Here is the pH test at least!
Aqua (Water), Cocamidopropyl betaine, Sodium chloride, Sodium cocoamphoacetate, Glycerin, Sodium citrate, PEG-120 methyl glucose dioleate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Sodium benzoate, Citric acid, Propylene glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Aloe barbadensis leaf extract, Tocopherol
Price & Size
£1.79 for 100ml (full price £2.69)
I hate this cleanser, I hate it with a burning of a thousand suns. The 2/5 I gave for being an effective cleanser was out of pity as I guess, sure it made sure my skin wasn’t dirty, but at what cost? I actually had the highest of hopes for this one as it was so highly recommended, but using it was an awful experience from start to finish and I couldn’t wait for the seven days to be over. The foam was really weak and when it made contact with my skin made it feel tight and itchy. My overall skin texture just plummeted the week I used this and only recovered when I stopped. BOO!
Because I’m a genius, I only tested it after I stopped using it (bah!) with my water it tested at around pH 7, which may be the reason why I don’t like it. Oh well! It’s only redeeming qualities were the price and availability. Unfortunately at the time of writing Boots has discontinued this cleanser, which is a shame because although I hated it with all that I am, it was amazing for others and I know they’re struggling with replacements.
|Easy to acquire||0/5|
Avene Cleansing Foam
Avene Thermal Spring Water (Avene Aqua). Water (Aqua). Sodium Cocoamphoacetate. Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate. Lactic Acid. Citric Acid. Disodium Edta. Fragrance (Parfum). Glutamic Acid. Propylene Glycol. Sodium Benzoate. Sodium Chloride
Price & Size
£12.50 for 100ml
I’m a big fan of Avene’s Thermal Water Spray. When I was working as a waitress, it was the best thing for cooling down my skin and keeping it hydrated during my busy shifts. I had initially scoffed at the idea of ‘special water’, but as someone who lives in a hard water area, I can’t deny the impact water hardness can have on skin.
I love this cleanser. I love it so much! I’m actually a little overwhelmed by how much I enjoy using it! I actually had never heard of this cleanser, there are only ever one or two on the shelf at a time in my local Boots, hidden away. It was recommended to me by Avene_UK&IE’s Instagram account when talking about a totally unrelated product. Whoever mans that account should be given a raise because they were on the money!
Like the Hada Labo, the foam is a little firm and doesn’t melt right away, it cleans well, contains no trigger ingredients and has a perfect pH 5.5 (with my pH 7 water). Unfortunately, while it is much easier to acquire (yay Boots, yay points!), it is more expensive than the Hada Labo. Still, for a cleanser off the shelf, it is OK priced. I’ve given full marks to the packaging, but during this experiment I realised that I much prefer the Hada Labo packaging! The flat pump makes it much easier to dispense the product with one hand, as it means less cleansing oil gets everywhere when I’m double cleansing. Still, I’m a big fan of this tube packaging and I feel more comfortable transporting this from A to B.
|Easy to acquire||4/5|
Avene Cleansing Foam!
With the Cerave right behind and the Boots’ sobbing somewhere at the starting line with nothing but a participation sticker to show for this experience, the Avene Foaming Cleanser is the winner!
If the Avene was a little bit cheaper, and/or had refill pouches I would switch to it full time, it was an absolute joy to use. Something I haven’t mentioned, (but is awesome) is that the Hada Labo Foaming Cleanser has refill pouches that are a little smaller and slightly cheaper so you’re not constantly buying bottles. That makes it shipping friendly, which brings the costs down even lower.
For now, I will stick with Hada Labo Foaming Cleanser purely for financial reasons. Still, this was a good exercise because now I know that although I like it, it isn’t the only one that works well. The Avene works for me in almost exactly the same way, which is actually a little comforting! I think I’m going to use the two interchangeably based on what is most convenient for me, wahey! I duped my undupeable, huzzah!