Skin Care Blogs

Is Face Wash the Most Important Step in Your Routine? (This Buzzy New Brand Says Yes)

Holifrog face washes

Your cleanser may be the first step in your skin care routine, but it’s probably the last one you think about. While serums, masks and moisturizers get all the credit, face wash tends to be forgotten as soon as it’s washed down the drain.

HoliFrog wants to change that. The new brand, founded by two beauty industry veterans, has just launched with a collection of face washes designed to make the most of your regimen’s most underrated step. According to co-founder Emily Parr, face wash is actually more important than most of us realize. “When you’re washing your face, your pores are open and at their most permeable,” Parr says. Washing your face, she explains, is “an opportunity to not only cleanse and detoxify the skin, but to flood it with vital nutrients, antioxidants, oils and enzymes.”

As far as those treatment products that get all the glory? “All of the expensive serums and creams can’t give you the glowing skin they promise if you’re not working on a properly cleansed, fresh canvas,” Parr points out. “Cleanser counts, big time!”

Read on for all you need to know about this buzzy new brand.

What’s with the name?

The “holi” in HoliFrog comes from “holistic”—a nod to the idea that every part of day-to-day life, from sleep to stress to screen time, affects the look of our skin. And the frog? It’s part mascot, part metaphor. A frog’s skin is semi-permeable, which means it absorbs water and oxygen from its environment. When our skin is wet (i.e. when it’s being cleansed), our pores are better able to absorb moisture and nutrients—similar to the way frogs soak up their surroundings.

Why focus on face wash?

“Cleansers felt like the ‘forgotten’ category,” Parr says, even though most of us wash our faces multiple times a day. “Cleanser is a truly non-negotiable step, so we are looking at that as an opportunity to prove how a quality cleanser can actually simplify the rest of your routine.” Formulas with antioxidants, vitamins, non-fragrant plant oils and extracts, and cell-communicating ingredients make cleansing a step toward healthier skin, not just a chore.

Which products should you try?

HoliFrog offers formulas that speak to a range of skin’s moods, from dry and sensitized, to oily and acne-prone, to somewhere in between. Parr swears by using a different wash as skin’s needs change throughout the day (a gentle wash first thing in the morning, for example; or an exfoliating wash after a sweaty workout). No matter which wash you choose, she recommends spending one to two minutes cleansing your face in order to let the ingredients sink in: “It takes 60 seconds to emulsify and whisk off surface grime and makeup, 30 seconds to dislodge dirt and break up sebum, then another 30 seconds for the ingredients to penetrate.” Here’s a guide to the brand’s all-star lineup of face washes:

  1. New! Sunapee Sacred-C Brightening Powder Wash
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    New! Sunapee Sacred-C Brightening Powder Wash

    This water-activated powder wash lets you customize your cleansing routine: Mix with more water to create a light, foamy lather or with less water for an exfoliating scrub. Vitamin C helps brighten skin, while papaya- and pineapple-derived enzymes help remove dead skin cells. Sodium hyaluronate, a cousin of hyaluronic acid, keeps skin hydrated.

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  2. Kissimmee Vitamin F Therapy Balmy Wash
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    Kissimmee Vitamin F Therapy Balmy Wash

    This natural, oil-based, non-foaming balm dissolves makeup and grime while helping to restore skin’s barrier—making it perfect for dry skin, or as the first step in a double cleanse. Linoleic acid (a.k.a. vitamin F), an essential fatty acid, helps promote cell turnover and regeneration. A blend of natural oils and butters ensures skin stays dewy throughout the day.

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  3. Tashmoo Water Lily Nourishing Milky Wash
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    Tashmoo Water Lily Nourishing Milky Wash

    Skin feeling stressed? Start here. The gentlest wash of the bunch, this “comfort blanket” for your complexion calms irritation with a blend of 14 amino acids that give skin the building blocks it needs to repair itself from damage. Soothing, non-fragrant aquatic plant extracts cleanse and lock in moisture without leaving a residue.

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  4. Shasta AHA Refining Acid Wash
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    Shasta AHA Refining Acid Wash

    When skin needs a reset from dullness and clogged pores, turn to this wash made with a blend of five alpha hydroxy acids to exfoliate away dead skin and reveal a brighter complexion. Because it helps reduce breakouts without stripping skin’s moisture, this formula is ideal for adult acne sufferers. Alternate this wash with the Tashmoo formula to help maintain skin’s barrier between exfoliating sessions.

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  5. Super Omega Nutritive Gel Wash
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    Super Omega Nutritive Gel Wash

    An all-purpose foaming wash for all skin types that need a deeper clean, this probiotic-enriched gel has natural antibacterial properties that help prevent breakouts. Omega fatty acids and antioxidants nourish skin and keep it from drying out, while the formula’s slightly acidic pH of 5.5 means you can skip toner and still maintain skin’s balance.

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Dermstore Content Manager

Wendy Rodewald-Sulz

Wendy Rodewald-Sulz is Dermstore's Content Manager and a lifelong skin care and beauty devotee. She graduated from cruising the drugstore aisles for Lip Smackers as a teen to a career as a beauty editor, where she learned her antioxidants from her AHAs by interviewing top dermatologists. Her skin care must-haves include hyaluronic acid and sleep.