Struggling with acne can truly feel like a never-ending battle—especially when it comes to finding a routine that works. Sometimes it involves trying product after product, hoping for something that works only to be disappointed once again. On occasion, products can make a breakout multiply or up the ante in both redness and irritation. The co-founders of Kinship, Alison Haljun and Christin Powell know this struggle, which is why they decided to launch the latest addition: the Naked Apple Oil-Free Blemish Control Gel Cleanser ($23).
"The more people we talked with, the more we heard this same complaint—people who struggle with breakouts and acne-prone skin, trying cleanser after cleanser in constant search for one that specifically helped with oily, blemish-prone, and combination skin that reduced breakouts, but that wouldn't irritate and strip their skin," explains Haljun. So, they created precisely what they (and so many of us) were looking for. Keep reading for all the exclusive details on the newest launch directly from the brand founders themselves.
No strangers to dealing with acne, Haljun and Powell wanted to create the acne cleanser that consumers (and they themselves) were searching for. "Growing up, Christin and I struggled with acne," says Haljun. Their acne journeys began in their teen years, progressed in college, and continued as adults. "We shared the pain point that so many people have: The cleansers designed to treat and help acne-prone skin left our skin feeling dry, red, itchy, and irritated," explains Haljun.
As of right now, most foaming and gel cleansers on the market use surfactants that strip the skin barrier of its natural oils or acne-fighting ingredients that can irritate sensitive skin. "We were inspired to create a gel-based cleanser that deeply cleanses pores, balances oil, and prevents blemishes—while boosting hydration," says Powell. "We love a challenge, and this issue, in particular, was such a personal struggle for the two of us."
The brand focused on high-performance, biodegradable, plant-based surfactants (ingredients that help the product foam) that would deeply cleanse oil, dirt, and bacteria from the pores without stripping the skin of its natural oils. "Texture is really important to us, so we used ingredients that give the formula a silky-gel feel that cools upon contact with the skin, then warms once it is rubbed in and meets the skin's native temperature of around 91 degrees Fahrenheit," explains Powell. "This warming effect helps the ingredients penetrate deeper into the skin and loosen the dirt and debris from the pores."
But, the formula doesn't just feel great. It's also packed with a whole slew of skin-healing ingredients, too, like niacinamide, lactic acid, and the brand's signature Kinbiome. "We use clinical levels of Botanimoist AMS—an apple polysaccharide humectant (attracts water)—that is clinically proven to boost hydrated of the skin," explains Powell. "In addition, we also used niacinamide, which is well known for balancing oil and reducing the appearance of pores, and 3% vegan lactic acid to exfoliate and clear pores to prevent future breakouts," says Powell.
How To Use
According to Haljun and Powell, the cleanser can be used on its own or worked into your current routine. "If you have oily or blemish-prone skin, we recommend using it in combination with our gentle exfoliating Insta Swipe Lemon Honey AHA Pads ($24), followed by our Pimple Potion Acne Treatment ($19) that combines retinal and 2% salicylic acid to prevent and treat acne," advises Powell.
For drier or combination skin types like Haljun's skin, she recommends applying the Supermello Hydrating Gel Cream Moisturizer ($26) immediately after washing your face, while it's still a little bit damp. "And most importantly, for all skin types, it's imperative to use SPF," she says.
The duo also says to use one-to-two pumps on damp skin both in the morning and at night, which will lather into a gentle foam. Finish the process by rinsing with lukewarm water. "My favorite tip with this product is that you can leave it on for a few minutes in the shower to let the steam activate the ingredients for a deeper cleanse," says Powell.
As someone who experiences stubborn breakouts from time to time, it's always nice to have a few go-to acne-fighting products in my arsenal. While I love my regular gentle skincare routine, dealing with breakouts requires a tougher set of products on my ultra-sensitive skin. Truth be told, I was a bit skeptical (and worried) ahead of trying this product as, in the past, many supposed acne-fighting cleansers either left me super dry, red, or irritated.
Thankfully, this cleanser not only helped clear my breakouts quicker but was also gentle enough to use on my skin without leaving any annoying side effects in its wake. Overall, it's a major win for us all.