Fresh's Soy Face Cleanser Calmed My Sensitive, Dry Skin

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Fresh Soy pH-Balanced Hydrating Face Wash

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Karla Ayala

What We Like
  • Delicately removes makeup

  • Effective on all skin types

  • Doesn't strip skin

  • Light cucumber scent

What We Don't Like
  • May not be hydrating enough for dry skin

I tried the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser and understand the buzz around this beloved formula. This cleanser is gentle on my sensitive skin yet effective enough to remove makeup, leaving my skin feeling clean but not dry or stripped. We love how the updated edition builds upon this cult-favorite product while increasing the focus on sustainability.


Fresh Soy pH-Balanced Hydrating Face Wash

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Karla Ayala

We put Fresh's Soy Face Cleanser to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.

Don't have a preferred face wash? A lot of us have been in that position before. It took me repeated tries to find a cleanser that didn't aggravate my sensitive skin—it amazes me how many there are and how difficult it can be to find a decent one. I don't usually feel excited to use face wash but every now and then, a formula comes along that truly impresses me and the most recent example was the upgraded Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. 

With this beloved product's new formulation, Fresh had a goal of enhancing the experience for all skin types, but particularly for those who have dry or sensitive skin. This cleanser is said to be a cult favorite, so I had to give it a go. Keep reading to see why the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser's new formula worked for my skin and joined the selective list of face washes that truly blow me away.

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Best for: All skin types

Uses: A daily face wash that cleanses pores and removes makeup.

Potential allergens: Not likely

Hero ingredients: Aloe vera gel, cucumber extract, soy proteins

Byrdie Clean? Yes

Price: $38

About the brand: Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg, both of whom were living in Boston at the time, founded Fresh with a goal of making natural products that looked, smelled, and felt as nice as they functioned. The brand is currently recognized for its bestselling skincare and lip products, which are available worldwide.

About My Skin: Dry and delicate

I didn't have much acne in the past, but my chin started to break out once COVID struck and I had to wear a mask for eight-hour shifts. It was so difficult to clear up that I had to visit a dermatologist who gave me a prescription for tretinoin, which I still use today.

My skin is already dry and using tretinoin has only increased that, so finding a face cleanser that keeps my complexion hydrated and balanced is challenging. I've been using the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser for the last two years and it's fantastic for my dry, sensitive skin, but I'm looking for something with a little more oomph. I initially used the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser in the morning to test whether it caused any irritation. When I noticed no effects, I began using it twice daily, followed by a moisturizer.

The Feel: A lightweight gel

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser gel formula oozing out of tube

Karla Ayala

The Fresh Soy Face Cleanser has a gel texture that feels quite light in your hands. I love this product because while it starts out as a clear gel, it foams into a pale white lather that's easy to wash off. Being able to see the lather on my face helps me to feel like the product is working, plus I love the cucumber scent, which is fresh but not overwhelming.

The Ingredients: Calming with earth-friendly updates

The original Fresh Soy Face Cleanser contained PEGs, but the brand changed the product's preservative system, and the reformulated version is Byrdie Clean. The soy proteins, always crucial in this formula and helpful for improving elasticity, have gotten an update as well, as the brand now upcycles this ingredient from food sector byproducts.

To ensure the reformulated cleanser was a true upgrade, Fresh studied nearly 200 individuals of different ages, genders, skin types, and skin tones as they tested the product. According to Fresh, the cleanser maintains the skin's pH and increases moisture by 10%.

Beyond these updates, the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser sticks closely to its beloved original formula. A few key ingredients are as follows:

  • Soy Proteins: The titular ingredient, evidence shows that soy proteins can help to increase radiance, decrease redness, and improve skin elasticity.
  • Cucumber Extract: This ingredient's cooling effects can help reduce puffiness, irritation, and redness.
  • Aloe Vera: Widely known as a beauty staple, aloe vera is a favorite for its smoothing and hydrating properties.

The Packaging: Box-free and recyclable

The packaging of Fresh's Soy Face Cleanser has two main updates to note. First, the brand is no longer packing each tube inside a cardboard box, resulting in estimated savings of 11 tons of cardboard over 24 months. Secondly, the tube has a self-contained redesign and now comprises 21% post-consumer recycled materials. As our climate crisis gets more urgent by the day, it's good to see Fresh making a conscious effort to reduce the environmental impact of one of its most popular products.

The Results: Clean, soft skin

Karla Ayala shows off clear, glowing skin after using Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Karla Ayala

I was surprised by how lightweight Fresh's Soy Face Cleanser felt on my skin the first time I tried it. Honestly, I was expecting my skin to feel dry after using this cleanser, but I was pleasantly surprised when it didn't. It gave me the confidence I needed to keep using this product. 

I continued using the cleanser and although my skin didn't feel highly moisturized, it also didn't feel dry, so I can understand how it caters to people with various skin types. Also, I had some redness on my face before using this product, and after a week, I found that it helped quiet it down. I was honestly stunned by how easily it removed my face makeup, and it even washed away some of my mascara. I only had to use a cotton round to remove the excess afterwards, which really impressed me. I was anxious about the potential for irritation from the fragrance, but I've had no problems with it, and it does add to the refreshing experience. Another benefit I've noticed is that my skin has become softer. While this isn't the most hydrating face wash I've tried, I'm happy with the results.

The Value: Worth every penny

The Fresh Soy Face Cleanser costs $38 for a standard 5-oz. tube. A little goes a long way, and you receive enough product to last you a long time. This cleanser works well for all skin types, particularly if you're looking for a product that efficiently cleans, soothes, and softens your skin. If you're particularly dry and sensitive, you might want to start with the mini size (1.6 oz. for $15) to make sure it works for you. Overall, I'm amazed at this cleanser and how nicely it worked on my skin, so I think it's definitely worth the investment.

Similar Products: You have options

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser: Developed in collaboration with dermatologists, CeraVe's Hydrating Facial Cleanser ($16) employs ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid to repair the skin's natural barrier and aid in moisture retention. This option is fragrance-free, designed especially for dry skin, and more affordable compared to the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. Fresh, however, provides a more intense clean and softens the skin, so it's up to you which result you prefer.

Tatcha The Rice Wash Skin-Softening Cleanser: Suitable for normal, dry, and combination skin types, this gentle cream cleanser ($36) removes everyday buildup without stripping skin, all at a similar price point to Fresh. However, if you have oily skin, the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser may perform better since Tatcha's option has numerous hydrating elements.

Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser: This effective yet gentle daily face wash ($36) features superfood antioxidants derived from kale, spinach, and green tea to provide the ultimate cleanse. Suitable for all skin types, it works great on my dry skin and contains a good amount of product. However, it isn't as strong at removing makeup, so it's best to use it as the second step of a double cleanse.

Final Verdict

Fresh's Soy Face Cleanser is a favorite for a reason, and the new, enhanced formula is fantastic. It worked wonderfully on my sensitive skin and removed my makeup swiftly—I was shocked by how easily my foundation washed away with this product. As an added bonus, the cucumber scent makes your daily cleanse feel like a relaxing facial. Suitable for all skin types, this cleanser is definitely worth a try.


  • Product Name Soy pH-Balanced Hydrating Face Wash
  • Product Brand Fresh
  • Price $38.00
  • Weight 5 oz.
  • Full Ingredient List Aqua (Water), Coco-Glucoside, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Propanediol, Xanthan Gum, 1,2-Hexanediol, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Centaurea Cyanus Flower Water, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Rosa Damascena Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Flower Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Tocopherol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Caprylyl Glycol, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Silica, Citric Acid, Pentylene Glycol, Caramel, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate.

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