Is Dr Sam’s Flawless Cleanser the Perfect All-Round Cleanser?
Main Image – Live That Glow
Ah face cleansers: the jewel of my skincare collection…
As something of a cleanser addict (and the proud owner of roughly 35,000 of them), I’m always up for trying out anything with the promise of healthy, glowing skin. And as someone whose own skin type can run from anything from super sensitive one day to breakout-prone the next, my own particular preference is for versatile, thorough (yet gentle) formulas.
So when I came across dermatologist-created Dr Sam’s Flawless Cleanser, I was most definitely intrigued…
Created by Harley Street dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting, Dr Sam’s comprises a line of seven products, all with fuss-free, fragrance-free and results-driven formulas in mind.
Healthline states that heavily fragranced products shouldn’t be used on the skin, saying that “some ingredients like synthetic or highly concentrated fragrances or chemicals in personal care products can trigger skin sensitivity, irritation, or a more intense allergy.”
With a skincare philosophy that skin needs fragrance-free, gentle care alongside scientifically proven active ingredients, Dr Sam Bunting has gathered an impressive online following thanks to her in-depth skincare tutorials via her blog and YouTube channel.
For her (really rather impressive) knowledge on everything from hyperpigmentation to getting started with retinols, I really recommend taking a look at her channel if you ever get the chance.
Dr Sam’s Flawless Cleanser
Described by Dr Sam as a ‘truly uncomplicated, effective and elegant jelly cleanser that does exactly what a cleanser should do’, Flawless Cleanser is pretty much just that; a fuss-free, gel balm.
Free from silicones, sulphates and artificial colourants, it is also non-comedogenic.
“Comedones (the plural of comedo) can develop into bumps called whiteheads and blackheads. Products that may trigger comedones are called ‘comedogenic,'” says WebMD, so it’s best to look for non-comedogenic products in your skincare.
This product is also fragrance-free, making it suitable for everyone from even the most sensitive skin to acne types.
And containing aloe leaf juice powder and vitamin E- and with a skin barrier-friendly PH of 5.0- it is designed to be gentle enough to be used alongside a skincare routine full of any actives like AHAs or retinol etc.
As with the rest of Dr Sam’s line-up, Flawless Cleanser is available for Auto-Replenish; the brand’s obligation-free subscription service that sees your products automatically delivered to your door according to a schedule you pick yourself (great for making sure you never run out of your favourites).
The Full List of Ingredients
Aqua (Water), PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Poloxamer 188, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Polysorbate 20, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Disodium EDTA, BHT.
How to Use it
Dr Sam recommends applying one pump to damp skin in the mornings (or two in the evenings), before massaging in with fingertips for around a minute. Remove by rinsing thoroughly with water before patting skin dry. She also recommends using a separate eye makeup remover first when using at night.
In my own experience, one pump is enough for removing light makeup in the evening, while one and a half is probably all I use even for heavy makeup.
On the Skin
Non-foaming and artificial fragrance-free (although still with a very slight scent, which I can only accurately describe as ‘clean’ smelling), this is a cleanser aimed very much at the getting-the-job-done market, rather than for the at-home spa vibes.
With a thick, clear, jelly texture, it also has the fuss-free look and feel of something your dermatologist might prescribe you (which I suppose makes sense here). But despite its lack of glamour, happily, Flawless Cleanser also has the effectiveness of something your dermatologist might offer… Because the results are pretty impressive.
Capable of removing a full day of makeup/dirt/SPF in just one cleanse, it leaves my skin clean but not stripped, and with no feeling of residue or need for a second go.
Having said that, because this is aimed at all types- including acne and oily ones- while not overly drying, it can leave my skin slightly tight feeling if I’m particularly sensitive. On the other hand, this cleanser offers the perfect balance when my skin is oilier or breakout-prone.
Oh, and one last thing: whenever I’ve managed to get this in my eyes it has stung like a *****. And while I’m not sure exactly which ingredient(s) is causing this (and other people may not find the same issue), I do recommend taking Dr Sam’s advice to use a separate eye makeup remover.
This is a slight bummer since it means using yet another product rather than simply taking my cleanser across my whole face (thus reducing the whole makeup removal process to a mere 30 seconds- my kind of lazy girl routine).
Who is it for?
Since it’s fragrance-free, Flawless Cleanser is suitable even for sensitive, dry or rosacea types. But in my own experience, it can leave my skin ever so slightly tight-feeling when my skin is already on the drier side.
When my skin is oilier, however, this is just perfect- balancing it out without stripping or drying. And since it’s non-comedogenic, acne types can also use it without fear of blocking pores (although this does lack some of the breakout-fighting active ingredients acne types may want from an everyday cleanser, like AHAs, BHA, niacinamide etc).
Meanwhile, anyone who does pack a lot of actives into the rest of their skincare routine is likely to enjoy giving their skin a bit of a break during cleansing with this product (which should help to reduce the risk of irritation when used alongside retinols etc).
Finally, combination skin types who find foaming cleansers too drying on some parts of their face and gentler cleansers too oily on other parts are likely to be happy to find a product capable of balancing out both the oilier and drier parts of their skin.
I really enjoy Dr Sam’s Flawless Cleanser, but for an extremely similar (and cheaper) dupe, both in its texture, as well as its fragrance-free and non-foaming qualities, I’m also a big fan of Cerave’s exceptionally good value Hydrating Cleanser.
Thorough yet gentle on the skin, even when I’m on the drier side, this leaves my skin clean and makeup-free with the minimum of fuss.
Alternatively, (and at the more designer end of the skincare scale), a gentle, fragrance-free, foaming gel alternative that works particularly well on oilier skin is Drunk Elephant’s Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser. For a (much) fuller review, take a look at this article.
Or for an oil/balm option which can be used even on eye makeup, I’m also a huge fan of The Inkey List’s Oat Cleansing Balm for sensitive skin, or for more combination skin, Ren’s Perfect Canvas Clean Jelly Oil Cleanser, a gel/milk formula which removes every trace of the day without any fuss.
Despite it being slightly better suited to when my skin is on the oilier side, I’m still a big fan of Dr Sam’s Flawless Cleanser. Thorough, effective, and generally hassle-free it does its job well and is surprisingly versatile; working well for my skin type pretty much whatever it’s doing on any particular day.
Anyone used to drying, stinging or sensitising cleansers which leave skin feeling tight or red will be pleasantly surprised to find a genuinely skin-kind alternative, while those who like their skincare routines on the actives-heavy side (hello, retinol lovers!) will enjoy a minimalist cleanser to keep skin irritation-free.
Great for: Pretty much all skin types, but especially combination and oily ones. Also, sensitive skin which is used to irritation from fragrance-heavy products will likely be amazed to find how well this non-irritating cleanser can clean without adding to redness or dryness.
Not-so-great for: Very dry skin types and removing eye makeup (which I think is pretty much this cleanser’s only slight flaw). Having said that, anyone used to using a separate eye product already is unlikely to mind. Also, although Dr Sam’s ships worldwide, international shipping costs can get pricey (although she does offer occasional free shipping offers I recommend signing up to her newsletter to stay in the loop when she does).
Dr Sam’s Flawless Cleanser is £16/$21.25 for 200 ml, Dr Sam Bunting