I have spent the last decade of my life as an endless tester of face wash products. I have naturally sensitive skin, and in my younger years I tended toward acne—never heavy, but I always thought even one zit was one too many. I’ve bought pretty much every kind they sell at the drugstore, Target, and Wal-Mart. I’ve had expensive, chemical-infused ones prescribed to me by dermatologists. I’ve bought them off TV. I’ve tried home remedies like baking-soda scrubs and all different kinds of oils. But the best face wash I ever used, I stumbled upon by accident: baby shampoo.
I know it seems like a joke. I swear it isn’t. You see, during one of my more crafty periods of college a few years back, I decided to try that Pinterest recipe for making your own eye-makeup remover. The ingredients were water, baby shampoo, and baby oil. It worked pretty well, and I used it for a while until I just got tired of mixing it up (I’m obviously really lazy). But stopping that project left nearly an entire bottle of baby shampoo in my cabinet, and it just sat there for months.
I don’t know how exactly I decided to wash my face with it. I think I was just tired of always worrying about zits, and tired of trying different face washes and spending tons of money on things that didn’t work. I Googled it first, to make sure it wouldn’t make my face fall off or something, and saw enough results saying that other people had tried it that I felt pretty confident it wouldn’t disfigure me. A quarter-sized amount of baby shampoo and a few minutes of face-washing later, my life was changed forever.
It took off every bit of makeup I had on, including my eye makeup. I wear the works, and occasionally have to use a bit more shampoo around my eye area to make sure I don’t have raccoon eyes, but I’ve still found it removes it thoroughly (you can also put a small amount on a cotton ball and remove your makeup that way). It didn’t make my skin burn or turn red, and it didn’t dry it out or leave any oily or sticky residue. Because it’s formulated primarily for use on babies, most baby shampoos are tear-free, so you can rub around your eyes without worrying about burning or irritation. My skin was just… clean.
The kind I use—Target-brand up & up baby shampoo, which is their stand-in for Johnson’s—is hypoallergenic, which is important considering I am allergic to all sorts of weird things (like the adhesive on Band-Aids. Yes, you can be allergic to that.). It is also paraben-free, and since parabens have been linked to causing estrogen disruption, which has been linked to breast cancer, I figure it’s better safe than sorry. It’s also LESS THAN $2 A BOTTLE. At my store they sell it for $1.67 for a 15 oz. bottle. If that’s not broke-girl beauty, I don’t know what is. (If you want to try out washing your makeup off with baby shampoo without committing to all 15 ozs., Target sells a travel-size Johnson & Johnson 1.5 oz. bottle. It’s perfect for testing it out as a face wash and for taking on the road with you.)
- Use it to clean your makeup brushes.
- Replace your shaving cream with it (seriously).
- Wash your pup with it! (Or any other pet that needs to be cleaned.)
- Ditch the Woolite and use it to wash your delicates.
Using baby shampoo every time I wash my face has completely changed my skin: It’s clearer (I hardly ever, ever get even one zit anymore), more evenly toned, and softer. I still follow up with a toner (Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion, and Neutrogena makes a much less-expensive one that works pretty well) and a moisturizer (Clean & Clear makes a great oil-free moisturizer without any drying chemicals). But I’ve been using those things forever—so I know it’s the baby shampoo that’s changed my skin. It’s now a staple in my beauty routine, and it should in yours, too.