This Is the Only Face Wash Steph Uses When Her Skin Needs a Deep-Clean

It knocks out oil and gunk without stripping my skin.
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Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser, $45, available here.

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser, $45, available here.

I'm generally of the belief that it's not worth shelling out for an expensive face wash because — unlike serums, moisturizers or even masks that are full of actives and remain on the skin for a prolonged period — cleansers can't really accomplish much in the short time they interact with our complexions before being rinsed down the drain. And then I used Sunday Riley's Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser for the first time several years ago, and was forced to re-think this philosophy.

Before I get to the specifics, let me acknowledge: Yes, it's a $45 cleanser, and yes, that's pretty pricey (though it's worth noting, it's marked down right now — along with the full Sunday Riley range — as part of Dermstore's Anniversary sale). But if you're going to drop that much cash on a face wash, this is the only one worth doing it for, as far as I'm concerned.

I've already written about my affinity for Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser, which is a gentle and effective makeup remover for every day, as well as Shu Uemura's Cleansing Oil, which is great for ridding skin of more stuck-on makeup and sunscreen residue. But there are times — like, say, when New York City is at its most humid and swampy — that I want a super-deep-cleansing formula to get all up in my pores and clear out every trace of oil and gunk. Yet with everything I now know about skin's moisture barrier and the way in which foamy cleansers can mess with it, I'd never go back to the intense acne washes that left my skin feeling squeaky-clean and tight (this is a bad thing, people!) throughout my teen years.

Enter Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip, a clay-based face wash that makes my face feel satisfyingly clean and debris-free, but not ravaged or stripped. In addition to the blend of French green and Moroccan Rhassoul clays, the creamy (but not sudsy) formula also contains Neroli to balance skin's oil production and vitamin C, a complexion brightener. Though it never dries out my skin, I typically use it in the summer, when my skin's oil production is in overdrive and the grease-absorbing properties of the clay go a long way. Needless to say, it's been in strong rotation these last few weeks.

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser, $45, available here.

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