philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser (12 oz)

philosophy — Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser Review

This review concludes my week of facial cleanser reviews!
Here are the links to the other products I talked about:

Rodial Stem Cell Cleansing Cream

DECIEM NIOD Sanskrit Saponins

The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Light Oil

Julep Love Your Bare Face Hydrating Cleansing Oil

philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser

philosophy’s best-selling Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser has been a staple in my bathroom for years. I don’t know exactly when philosophy started selling it, but reviews on MakeupAlley go back to 2001, so it’s been around for at least seventeen years. I’ve probably been using it for eight years or so…possibly longer. But I know I’ve repurchased it several times, usually in the 8 oz standard size that seems to last me about two or three years.

A little does go a long way, and I only use about a pea-sized dab each time, but the main the reason I take so long to go through it is that I often switch things up and use other products. If I were to guess, if I used it twice a day and every day, then the 8 oz bottle might last me around six months.

I only recently finished up a bottle I bought in 2014, so that’s the one I’ll be reviewing today. I assume philosophy haven’t gone and changed up the formula since then! I did repurchase a new, 12 oz bottle a year ago since my previous 8 oz bottle was nearly empty, but I switched cleansers around a lot last year and only finished the last bottle a couple of months ago. The photos I’ve taken are of the newer 12 oz bottle, which I got for CA$15 (reg. CA$36) during Sephora’s 2016 Boxing Day sale and no longer seems to be produced.

Currently, the sizes available are:

Size Price Price / oz
3 oz (Mini) US$11 / CA$15 US$3.67 (CA$5) / oz
8 oz (Standard) US$24 / CA$32 US$3.00 (CA$4) / oz
16 oz US$36 / CA$48 US$2.25 (CA$3) / oz
24 oz US$44 / CA$56 US$1.83 (CA$2.33) / oz
32 oz (with Pump) US$55 US$1.72 / oz

Inexplicably, the largest size—which is also the only one that comes with a pump dispenser—does not appear to be available in Canada:

philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser

our award-winning facial cleanser is loved by all for its multitasking, 3-in-1 approach to cleansing. gently cleanses and melts away face and eye makeup in one simple step, while toning and lightly hydrating. our cleanser leaves skin feeling perfectly clean, comfortable and balanced. find purity made simple facial cleanser, the #1 facial cleanser in America.

Despite being a bestseller, this cleanser seems to get very mixed reviews. Well, here’s my two cents to throw into the cacophonous mix!

My experience with this cleanser has been, obviously, very good. The consistency is sort of like a gel-like custard—the color is a soft eggy yellow—and it is easy to spread. It doesn’t really foam up, even with water, but it does clean off my makeup really well, and very quickly. As I said before, a little goes a long way and I use a pea-sized dab most of the time. Less if I have no makeup on, and more if I have a greasy, makeup-covered face. It does not remove waterproof mascara, but most other makeup is fair game.

The herbal scent is pleasant (to me) and it isn’t especially strong. The formula rinses off easily and doesn’t leave any film on my skin. I have dry skin, and I have never found it to be too harsh. That said, I do tend to use it less in the deep of winter, as my skin gets quite dry and I don’t want to exacerbate the problem.

Have I found gentler cleansers? Of course, but what I have not found is a cleanser that perfectly strikes the same fine balance of being gentle enough for my skin while also removing oil and makeup this effectively.

For this reason, I will probably always have purity in my stash. It is the perfect lazy person’s cleanser—and I am nothing if not lazy at times, or, to put it more generously: sometimes I don’t have the time or the inclination to spend over ten minutes doing a double-cleanse. (I’m pretty sure some of the people reading are thinking, “Ten minutes! How does it take that long to wash your face?” and others are thinking, “Holy cats, how can she get her skin clean in just ten minutes?”)

With Purity, I get my skin clean in about three minutes. Totally worth it.

Now, if you look at the list of ingredients, you can see that it includes a sulfate as the third ingredient (ugggh), some alcohol, parabens, and a multitude of plant extracts that may or may not be irritating to some skin types. Frankly, I get this face wash on and off in a few minutes. I’m not sitting there and massaging it into my skin for a while, so maybe that’s why the sulfates that usually bother my skin are not bothersome here. None of the extracts bother me, either (I have been suspecting that lavender and maybe rosemary oils irritate my skin, but neither is present in Purity). And parabens? I don’t really worry about them.


water, sodium lauroamphoacetate, sodium trideceth sulfate, Limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, coco-glucoside, coconut alcohol, peg-120 methyl glucose dioleate, glycerin, carbomer, isopropyl alcohol, polysorbate 20, citric acid, imidazolidinyl urea, methylparaben, Aniba rosaeodora (rosewood) wood oil, propylparaben, triethanolamine, Amyris balsamifera bark oil, Bulnesia sarmientoi wood oil, Cymbopogon martini oil, Pelargonium graveolens flower oil, Rosa centifolia flower oil, Santalum album (sandalwood) oil, Daucus carota sativa (carrot) seed oil, Mimosa tenuiflora bark extract, Ormenis multicaulis oil, Piper nigrum (pepper) fruit oil, Salvia sclarea (clary) oil, FD&C Yellow No. 5 (CI 19140)

philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser (12 oz), label


philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser comes in several sizes (see the price chart listed earlier in this review).

philosophy was founded in 1996 by Cristina Carlino in Phoenix, AZ, USA. In 2007, the company was acquired by The Carlyle Group, an investment firm; cosmetics giant Coty Inc. acquired philosophy in 2010. The company is currently based in Sanford, NC, USA.

🇺🇸Made in USA
🇺🇸Company based in USA

4 thoughts on “philosophy — Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser Review

  1. I’ve recently started using this ss I had two mini bottles in my stash. I find cleansers the product I’m usually least excited by but I love this one!😊 x


  2. I don’t like this cleanser! I bought it due to all the raves and it was so disappointing to me. I felt like I was rubbing body lotion on my face. And it smells… spicy? But I know it’s HG for so many people…


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