Think of a beauty industry buzzword that continues to echo a decade later. Mine is the phrase ‘pH balanced.’ Guilty of scrubbing my face clean with St. Ives Apricot Scrub throughout my twenties (spoiler: my face did not fall off) and stepping up my acid game aggressively in my thirties, I am definitely more mindful of my skin’s protective barrier now that I’m about to take the 40th spin around the sun. My key learning? Our skin is slightly alkaline (and becomes even more so as we age). We should not disturb the protective barrier (the acid mantle) with harsh scrubs.
Launched just last week, Holifrog is a new range of four clean and non-toxic face washes that aim to kick off your skincare routine with a proper cleansing experience. The products deliver your desired level of clean without disturbing your skin’s acid mantle. More than face washes really, these formulas are packed with skin perfecting ingredients.
After attending the gorgeous Holifrog event, I couldn’t wait to get home and open the chic water colored boxes — their packaging is truly spectacular. The concept of four face washes may seem like a lot. Since I’m already rotating countless products, I thought I needed a protocol to introduce these guys. As usual, I was overthinking things. A few days in have me convinced that although I may not need all four formulas, there is a time and place for every one of them. Because, ‘situational cleansing.’
What I quickly learned about my Holifrog experience is to take time to enjoy the cleansing process. There isn’t any scent so none of the products offers the aromatherapy experience I often crave. I’m not mad about it though because the skin-loving ingredients make me want to leave the cleanser on for a minute or two before I rinse. I consider these face washes as express face masks. Forgive my bragging but I do know my face masks.
Kissimmee Vitamin F Therapy Balmy Wash
Kissimmee doubles as a makeup remover. It’s a very spreadable balm that you apply to dry skin and massage in to dislodge every trace of makeup, grime, and sunscreen. It’s a textural experience. If your skin feels dry or tight when you wake up, this moisture cushion of a cleanser is a great morning treat. You may not even want to follow it up with a second cleanse. What’s in it? Vitamin F aka Linoleic Acid, the star ingredient, is rich in skin regenerating essential fatty acids. Additionally, a blend of plant oils and butters (Cranberry, Moringa, Papaya, and more) ensures your complexion is clean but never stripped nor dry. Think bouncy and glowing. $42 (2.5 oz.)
Superior Omega Nutritive Gel Wash
This is by far my favorite Holifrog cleanser. The gel texture froths ever so slightly so you get that foam fix without stripping the skin of its essential oils. Each pump is packed with probiotics to balance the skin and prevent it from drying out, a welcomed relief this time of year. If your skin becomes parched and uncomfortable as you spend days toggling between the A/C and indoor heat, you need to try Superior. It makes for an excellent follow-up to Kissimmee for those who prefer double cleansing. Major props for the deep cleansing performance, which also leaves my skin feeling intensely hydrated. $36 (5 oz.)
Tashmoo Water Lily Nourishing Milky Wash
Milk type cleansers are usually my least favorite so it’s amusing to me that I’ve adopted Tashmoo as my morning wash. I do stray from the directions and apply it to dry skin (generously!) and then give myself a facial massage. The lotion-like consistency feels soothing on contact and the dose of moisture instantly plumps and softens the skin. This wash is packed with amino acids and calming plant extracts, making it my favorite treatment cleanser on mornings after I have experimented with a retinoid of the week. Those with dry skin can probably remove it with a cotton round. I follow up with Shasta. $38 (5 oz.)
Shasta AHA Refining Acid Wash
When I first saw the colorful Holifrog line-up, I was immediately drawn to this Alpha Hydroxy laced formula. The blend of Glycolic and Mandelic Acids with Caviar Lime Extract forms the ultimate resurfacing trifecta that sloughs off dead skin cells at a higher-than-usual rate and gives the skin almost glass-like smoothness. While an excellent exfoliating cleanser, I find Shasta to work surprisingly well as a 2-minute mask before I hop in the shower — especially when my skin is looking congested. $38 (5 oz.)
I like that Holifrog isn’t shooting for Holier than Thou in their messaging. Each formula is tailored to a specific skincare need and will deliver desirable results. Do you need all four? You do not. I’m thrilled to have experienced every formula and can confidently zoom in on two personal favorites: Kissimmee and Superior. Were I faced with ‘Sophie’s Choice’, I’d go with Superior. (Fingers crossed that a 30ml sampler set is planned.)