Basis Cleaner Clean Face Wash, a Drugstore Gem

Published in: Product Reviews


This morning I went digging through one of my bathroom drawers to find a brush. Instead of the brush I found buried drugstore treasure — not one, but *two* tubes of Basis Cleaner Clean Face Wash (about $5 each).


Two years ago, back when my skin was mad crazy oily, Basis Cleaner was my go-to face wash. I figure that since it was good enough to stockpile (I wouldn’t be surprised to find a few more tubes stowed away in other drawers) back before I started blogging, it deserves a second look now. I vividly remember this cleanser saving my skin back in the day.

Throughout my 20s I had skin problems. Even as recently as two years ago I suffered from really oily, acne-prone skin, and Basis Cleaner Clean was the only face wash able to remove all of my makeup without making my skin feel tight and dry.

Seriously, seeing the tubes sitting there at the bottom of a drawer brought back beauty product memories. Can you close your eyes and imagine how your favorite perfume smells? I can kinda do that with Basis Cleaner. I remember its citrusty fragrance, light and invigorating like a basket of oranges and lemons. I remember how it made my skin feel soft, smooth and just really clean and fresh. And at $5 for a huge 6 oz. tube, it’s a bargain, too.

Only for normal-to-oily skin, Basis Cleaner Clean contains botanicals like aloe vera, rosemary and spearmint extracts and did a top-shelf job back in the day — downright incredible considering its price. It’s oil- and soap-free but does contain sodium laureth sulfate (SLS)… one of the ingredients in garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and car-wash soaps.


But don’t let that scare you. Basis Cleaner Clean is not a harsh cleanser, or at least it wasn’t two years ago. It was so mild on me, in fact, that during terrible bouts of adult acne, Basis Cleaner Clean was one of the only products I could use. Your results may differ from mine, though, so be sure to test it on a small section of skin before you dive right in for the whole shebang.

Product: Basis Cleaner Clean Face Wash
Price: about $5 for a 6 fl oz tube
Use: To remove makeup and clean skin
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: A+

My skin has changed a lot over the past two years; it’s now more on the dry side, and I can no longer use Basis Cleaner Clean (it would be too drying). But when I suffered from oily skin problems, Basis Cleaner Clean really was a miracle product. It helped me get through my 20s. If you have normal-to-oily skin and want an affordable, gentle cleanser, give it a look.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 18 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Marie says:

    Wow…this brings back some memories. When I first started washing my face when I was preteen, Basis was the stuff I used. Do they still sell it? I remember it was very good stuff. I loved the scent of it. I stopped using it for some reason-can’t remember why! So this post brought back some fun memories-thanks! 🙂

  2. Dao says:

    I’ve never used this brand but I remember seeing it at Walmart. It has the bar soap version too. Back in the day when I was a teenager, I used to have Johnson and Johnson facial wash in a bar thingy that has lots of glycerin. That was my earliest memory of something face wash.

  3. Mariah says:

    Once, when I had skin problems (which is rare for me) my doctor specifically told me to go out and get Basis! She said it is THE most gentle cleanser ever! And it’s nice stuff! I used the bar, but I bet the liquid is even more awesome!

    Mariah’s last blog post..Taken from the lovely buttfacemakani!

  4. Shefali says:

    OMG Karen I used to use this too!! I really liked it. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  5. Karen says:

    Hi Marie,

    Yup, you can still buy it at several different stores. I’ve seen it at Longs, Walgreens and! 🙂

  6. Karen says:

    Hi Dao,

    I think you’re thinking of Purpose? I used to use that too when I was a teenager. I remember it smelling really good!

  7. Karen says:

    Hi Mariah,

    Funny, I’ve never tried the bar version… I bet it’s great. The liquid version is the shizz, girl! It never dried me out and yet still took everything off.

  8. Karen says:

    Hi Shefali,

    You’re welcome! I think this is one of those drugstore cult products that so many people love but never quite talk about because it’s not flashy. It works great though, yeah?

  9. Dao says:

    yup, that’s the brand. Can’t believe I didn’t remember the name at all since I practically see it everytime I’m at WM.

  10. Karen says:

    Yah! I loved Purpose when I was a teenager. I used the liquid version a ton, too.

  11. msnotty says:

    Now it’s definitely on my “to try” list. 🙂

  12. eye4style says:

    I love Basis, it is a great, refreshing cleanser and SO cheap!

  13. Karen says:

    Hi MsNotty,

    Great! Can’t wait to hear what you think about it.

  14. Karen says:

    Hi Eye4style,

    I know! Isn’t the smell fantastic? Gotta love how affordable it is, too.

  15. Martha says:

    I turned 20 7 months ago and am having the exact same problem?! Can you tell me if you remember what other skin products you used at the time?

  16. Kristine says:

    Hi Karen 🙂
    Would I need a separate makeup remover, or can I just rely on this to take everything off? At the moment I’m using MAC’s Cleanse Off Oil and Neutrogena’s Acne Wash Cream Cleanser. I decided to buy this today because I’m running low on the Neutrogena, it seemed like a great fit since I’m extremely oily & acne prone. Crossing my fingers 🙂

  17. Marilyn says:

    I absolutely love Basis! It smells great, works great, and is dirt cheap! Unfortunately it isn’t available for sale here in Canada, so I can only buy it whenever I go cross-border shopping, in which case I stock up buy buying 2 or 3 tubes. I’ve also noticed that it seems to be getting harder and harder to find too: I’m no longer able to find it at WalMart, Target, or KMart, and have only been able to find it at Wegman’s Niagara Falls NY. I really wish it was available here!

  18. Kim Johnston says:

    Bare Faced & Fabulous Facial Cleanser is the best face I have ever tried. As a 46 yr old my skin is so much drier now and some face washes leave me feeling like I am wearing a cement mask. As a heavy eye make up wearer, I don’t think I have ever bought the same make up remover twice – but LOVE this one. Doesn’t sting eyes – you can actually open them to find the towel……and just splashes off. I love this stuff – and awesomely cool label. This just puts everything else on the market on the back shelf. And Love their face cream too.

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