31 Days of Reviews, Day 29: Philosophy The Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash

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Hello everyone and welcome to day 29 of my 31 days of reviews! Again, we have taken another step closer to the end of the month, and the end of this review series. I also just realized that this weekend is a long weekend.. yay!!!

Today’s review is on a cleanser. I don’t actually use this cleanser every day, but a couple times a week. I am always looking for something that is going to help reduce the texture of my skin, as my cheeks are decently textured, and I certainly have acne scarring. This product was suggested to me be a Sephora cast member to help with these issues.

Packaging and First Impressions

This cleanser comes in a simple white bottle with a push cap (not sure what it is called, but it’s one of those caps where you push down one side to open the other). The bottle has the script of a “philosophy” that relates loosely to micro-exfoliation, which is one of the purposes of this face wash. Here is the text on the packaging:

“progress is baby steps, small victories and little bits of momentum. these micro moments make a lasting difference to our well-being. these micro efforts can smooth the bumpy road of time with care and daily attention. in each micro win, we find monumental renewal and added empowerment to be our best self.”

I don’t own any other Philosophy products, however it seems to be their thing to keep the packaging simple, while including a few philosophical sentences on the front. Something that would hugely improve the packaging would be a pump. The consistency of this face wash is quite thick and jelly-like, therefore as you get further and further down the bottle, you have to shake harder and harder to get product to the top to dispense it, which is semi-annoying. The cleanser itself appears like a cloudy white jelly, and I have not noticed an obvious scent to it.



Price and Quantity

This cleanser comes in four different sizes: a travel size ($8 USD for 60 mL or 2 oz), a small size ($28 USD for 240 mL or 8 oz), a medium size ($42 USD for 480 mL or 16 oz) and a large size ($60 USD for 946 mL or 32 oz). For some reason I can’t get this product to show up on the Canadian Sephora, even though I bought mine in a Sephora store, here in Canada. That is why all of the above prices are in USD since I can’t be quite sure what they are in CAD. I did phone in to my local Sephora store and found out that they only carry the 8 oz size (which is what I purchased last time) and it goes for $35 CAD. Additionally, only this 8 oz size is available on the Canadian version of the Philosophy website. Guess we Canadians only get that size! Boo.

Some other popular facial cleansers that we can compare to are: The Fresh Soy Face Cleanser ($47 CAD or $38 USD for 5.1 oz), the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm ($38 CAD or $29.50 USD for 3.8 oz), the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser ($40 CAD or $32 USD for 8 oz), the Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash ($35 CAD or $26 USD for 8.5 oz), the Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel ($37 CAD or $28 USD for 5 oz) and the Drunk Elephant Beste Jelly Cleanser ($42 CAD or $32 USD for 5 oz). As usual, if any of these cleansers came in multiple sizes, I just chose the larger size for the sake of the comparison. I have also included all of the sizes of the Philosophy cleanser so that you can see which size is the best deal. However, today I am doing all of the price comparisons in USD because I was not able to accurately find out how much they all were in CAD, or if there were offered in Canada at all. As always, they are organized from best to worst deal:

Rank Company’s Product Mentioned Above Cost ($ USD) Quantity (oz) Cost-Quantity Ratio for 1 oz of product
1 Philosophy Large $60 32 $1.9/oz
2 Philosophy Medium $42 16 $2.6/oz
3 Origins $26 8.5 $3.1/oz
4 Philosophy Small $28 8 $3.5/oz
5 Philosophy Travel $8 2 $4.0/oz
6 First Aid Beauty $32 8 $4.0/oz
7 Boscia $28 5 $5.6/oz
8 Drunk Elephant $32 5 $6.4/oz
9 Fresh Soy $38 5.1 $7.5/oz
10 Clinique $30 3.8 $7.8/oz

So it turns out that this Philosophy facial cleanser is actually very affordable compared to other medium-high end brands. Of course this is going to be more expensive than drugstore products, however you are hopefully getting a better quality product.


Here are the claims from the Philosophy website:

“the microdelivery micro-massage exfoliating treatment wash is a mild, exfoliating facial cleanser designed to effectively cleanse the skin while providing resurfacing benefits. gentle enough to use daily, this unique formula is sulfate-free and formulated with ingredients designed to replenish and protect the skin with topical antioxidants, as it helps condition the skin and retain its moisture level.”

The Sephora website also states that this cleanser is good for all skin types, including sensitive skin, and is formulated without parabens, sulfates or phthalates.

On the Philosophy website they use the following statement with regards to whether they test on animals or not:

“philosophy is fully committed to using alternatives to animal testing to ensure the safety of our products. please be assured that we do not perform, nor do we ever commission any third parties on our behalf to perform, animal testing on our products or ingredients except when required by law.”

AKA, Philosophy is not a cruelty free company because they sell in China, and China requires animal testing by law. Companies often try to get around saying explicitly that they test on animals, because obviously it puts a negative spin on things. I wish companies would just be straight forward, cause guess what? We are going to find out anyways, and it just makes them look shady and untrustworthy.


First of all I would like to talk about the source of the exfoliant that they use in this cleanser. If you read my Day 26 review of the Body Shop Tea Tree Facial Exfoliator, you will know that it is important to me that the source of the exfoliant is environmentally friendly. I am VERY against the plastic microbeads that are present in facial scrubs and hand soaps that are polluting our oceans. I am a Marine Biology MSc student, the ocean MATTERS to me. And it should matter to everyone else. Luckily, companies are becoming more aware of this problem. The exfoliant used in this facial cleanser is silica. Silica comes from the shells of a type of marine algae (diatoms). While it may sound weird to be using a part of algae to exfoliate your face, it’s not bad for the environment. If those algae had been left in the ocean, their shells would be degrading there anyways. So for us to use them, and then get washed down the drain and back into the ocean is 100% ocean friendly.

The consistency of this face wash is quite jelly like, with very fine grit in it (the silica). When you apply it to your face, you can feel a very fine exfoliation occurring. It’s not very scratchy, just enough that you know that it is working. As per the instructions, you are supposed to rub this cleanser in circular motions on your face for 30-60 seconds. I think this facial cleanser does a good job of cleaning your skin, although I do not know if it would take off 100% of your makeup, since I always double cleanse (oil cleanser, then a facial cleanser). When you have rinsed it off, your skin feels clean and smooth. I think with consistent use, this face wash could really improve the texture of your skin.

Overall, I think that this is a great face wash, because it combines a cleanser and an exfoliator into one. However, after first starting to use it, I quickly stopped using it daily. At first I was using it in both and morning and evening, but I found that that was causing me to break out. As I am beginning to learn more about my skin, I am becoming more aware that I may have sensitive skin. Over exfoliation is known to cause breakouts and over sensitivity because it can really strip the skin, even if you are using a gentle exfoliator like this one. While a gentle daily exfoliation may work for some skin types, like very oily and oily acne-prone, it doesn’t work for mine. However, I really do enjoy using this once or twice a week. For some, you may be able to use it once daily.

Final Thoughts

I think that this is a really affordable facial cleanser. This will especially save you money if you can make this work for you as a daily cleanser and an exfoliator in one. Then you don’t have to buy a separate cleanser, and a separate exfoliator. However, this works great as just an exfoliator too, which is mainly what I use it for. It’s all about what works for your skin.

Have you tried this facial cleanser or any other products by Philosophy? Do you have another cleanser that you can suggest I try?

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2 thoughts on “31 Days of Reviews, Day 29: Philosophy The Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash

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