As far as having “good skin” goes, my complexion is pretty well-behaved. I rarely get breakouts save for some teeny bouts of congestion here and there, and thanks to religious SPF application and genetics, I don’t yet have deep-set wrinkles. However, introducing my skin to new products usually poses a challenge (which, as a beauty editor whose job it is to test the latest and greatest, makes things complicated). Anything that could be considered “rich” or “thick” by way of product jargon is deemed a point of no-entry in my routine. And oils? Forget it. My skin is basically a rude bouncer at an exclusive nightclub.
As such, I’m an avid label-reader and stay away from anything that feels superficial or particularly heavy. The skincare space is incredibly saturated, and I tend to wade through the waters rather quickly, immediately passing on anything that I know won’t serve me or my skin. When it comes down to it, I want efficiency, gentle ingredients, and zero fluff. So when COVERGIRL approached me about trying its Clean Fresh Skincare line, you can rest assured I had my waders on, ready to wave my hand at it and keep trudging on—until I investigated a bit closer.
Within the line are three moisturizers for varying skin types, all derived from 90% naturally-derived ingredients as well as a refreshing vitamin C mist and cream cleanser. All five SKUs contain the hero ingredient cactus water sourced from Mexican prickly pear cacti, which boasts calming, hydrating properties. Board-certified dermatologist Lily Talakoub, MD says cactus water is rich in antioxidants and electrolytes to both quench thirsty skin and protect it against free radicals. The line is also vegan and cruelty-free (like all COVERGIRL products) and, to boot, costs $15 or less per item. Needless to say, I was more than willing to give each a try.
Hydrating Cream Cleanser
I require two things from my cleanser: it must be gentle and it must remove every last stitch of makeup (I’m too impatient to double cleanse). Thankfully, this creamy, cushiony cleanser does both while also providing a gorgeous sensorial experience with its light, citrusy scent. I found it to be especially invigorating in the morning, a time that I typically reserve only for a quick swipe of a cotton round and some toner, but I actually found myself gravitating toward the energizing smell on sleepy mornings. Perhaps my favorite part is that it’s infused with meadowfoam seed oil, an ingredient I’d typically steer clear of, but this lightweight, non-comedogenic oil works to melt off makeup in a way that a typical water-based cleanser can’t. (Hey, people can change!)
Weightless Water Cream
Perhaps my favorite of the three, the Weightless Water Cream, looks like sorbet in the tub and glides effortlessly onto the skin while leaving a bouncy dewiness behind. I especially love the way it interacts with my foundation for a fresh, hydrated base. And unlike many water creams that tend to evaporate almost instantly, this blend has dimethicone, a smoothing agent that sits on top of the skin to help lock in the moisture.
Mattifying Oil-Free Moisturizer
My skin is virtually shine-free in the cooler months, but come summertime, I can use all the mattifying prowess I can find. This gel-cream blend will come in the clutch when the oil starts to kick in, as it leaves behind a soft matte finish that could practically replace your setting powder. And unlike most “mattifying” products, it still delivers ample hydration thanks to, you guessed it, cactus water, as well as glycerin.
Dry Skin Corrector Cream
A quick lesson: Anything marketed as a “cream” is typically oil-based where “moisturizers” are water-based. Hence I usually stay away from creams as they tend to be too heavy for my skin, so I was a bit nervous to try this variation. But thankfully, I didn’t have any negative interactions and actually marveled at how soft and glisten-y my skin was the morning after application. It’s got jojoba oil, another lightweight, non-comedogenic oil, as well as shea butter to help combat dryness without feeling like an oil slick. I love using it on particularly chilly evenings when I’ve got the heat turned up in my apartment.
Priming Glow Mist
Face mists are an instant mood-boost, and this iteration is no exception. Formulated with soothing rose water and brightening vitamin C, you’re not only hydrating your skin or refreshing your makeup each time you spritz, you’re also helping to treat discoloration in the process. I love spritizing my skin just before applying makeup and throughout the day for a caffeine-free jolt.
If you ever questioned whether skincare positioned at a drugstore price could actually deliver, I can attest to the fact that COVERGIRL’s Clean Fresh line is not only skin-conscious but also skin-saving. After trialing the products for several days, I noticed softer, smoother, more hydrated skin free of adverse reactions. I feel great about recommending it to family and friends, not just for the super accessible price point, but for its gentle formulas and thoughtful packaging as well. Overall, the line is a win-win-win.