The $13 Drugstore Cleanser I Refuse to Live Without – Here’s Why

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Garnier Lemongrass Gel Wash Drugstore Cleanser

Okay, I’ll admit I tend to be a bit of a snob when it comes to cleansers, typically shunning away from drugstore options and sticking with tried and true favorites (IS Clinical Cleanser Complex, I’m looking at you). It’s not that I’m not open to trying new products; it’s that I find drugstore versions do a bare-minimum job at taking off the day – seldom removing my entire face of makeup and leave my skin feeling tight and dry. This is the ultimate bad news for someone who’s always on a time crunch and needs products to just flat out get the job done.

So, when I came across Garnier’s Organic Lemongrass Gel Wash, I was a bit skeptical. Could this really change my perspective on drugstore cleansers? Or was I simply going to toss it with my stash of other cleansers that left me feeling disgruntled after a few uses?

Turns out, it was the former.  

Here I was giving these budget-friendly products a lousy rap when truthfully, I’ve struck gold with this one. But before we dive into why this gel wash has become my new ride-or-die, let’s do a brief overview.

Product Info: 

The Purifying Gel Wash ticks off all the major boxes I look for in a high-quality product: it’s certified organic, vegan, contains fair trade ingredients, dermatologically tested, and free from parabens. The list is commendable, and clearly Garnier is pushing to align themselves with the clean beauty movement, opting to deliver products that protect your health, the planet, and its inhabitants. What’s more, the bottle is 100% recyclable; so, it’s one less thing to worry about ending up in your city’s landfill.

Noted Ingredients:

It’s worth mentioning this drugstore cleanser contains a few notable ingredients, like salicylic acid (a BHA that helps combat blemishes and keep skin clear), sucrose (used to lock in moisture), and organic cornflower water (removes makeup and impurities).

Why This Is A Must-Have: 

With a hint of lemongrass, I’m a fan of the refreshing scent, especially in the morning as I find it helps shake off any lingering grogginess. Spa-vibes FTW.

The consistency has a slightly-thick, smooth, lightweight feel, allowing the gel to easily glide across the face. But here’s where the magic happens: within a few moments of massaging the cleanser onto my skin, I begin to notice the makeup dissolving, working hard to deep clean my pores and leaving zero makeup residue behind. The last thing I need is to notice foundation marks printed on my towel. And unlike typical drugstore cleansers, this one doesn’t lather to an extreme extent; it’s mild. What’s left is clear, invigorated skin—no tight sensation. No dryness. No need to double cleanse. I swoon just thinking about it.

If There Is One Piece of Criticism, It’s This: 

Yes, this cleanser knocks it out of the park. But if there is one small (very small) piece of criticism I hold, it is the fact that you’re unable to remove eye makeup. In fact, on the bottle, it recommends to “avoid the eye contour,” essentially meaning that it is not suitable for the eye region. It is a bit of a bummer, but all in all, not a deal-breaker; plenty of cleansers tend to have this disclaimer attached.

And in case you’re thinking, “Well, I’m going to use it anyways to get rid of my eye makeup,” – don’t. I’ve saved you the time and energy and attempted this myself. It’s not effective at taking it off, especially mascara. My suggestion is to simply stick with the traditional eye makeup remover and leave it at that.

Where to Purchase:



London Drugs

Shopper’s Drug Mart

Note: *Price may vary