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Ad/Anzeige* As somewhat of a second step cleanser connoisseur, I feel it is my duty to thoroughly review any K-beauty cleanser that arrives on my doorstep. Thus, the AXIS-Y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser had to work hard to convince me – read on for the full review!
There are probably few skincare categories that I am more discerning about than cleansers, especially those of the foaming variety. They need to be gentle, yet thorough, gently non-stripping as well as produce a nice amount of foam. I cannot stand a foaming cleanser that doesn’t actually, you know – foam! So, of course I was tough on the AXIS-Y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser when I started using it a few weeks ago, as I am tough on any product I try out for a review.
AXIS-Y is a brand I’ve only just started to get to know better, with their Spot The Difference Blemish Treatment having successfully won me over thanks to some stellar key ingredients and an altogether delightful texture (it has tiny pink ceramide beads!). Definitely read my review of that spot treatment to learn more about the brand. For now, let’s focus on the AXIS-Y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser and the somewhat contentious idea of a “one step” cleansing routine. Because wait a minute: weren’t we all supposed to double cleanse to achieve that flawless K-beauty aesthetic?!
AXIS-Y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser – The Truth about “Double Cleansing” and Thoughts on “One Step Cleansers”
Long before social media was even a thing, when I was still a teenager in the 90s, I was always on the hunt for a cleanser that would not strip my sensitive, easily upset skin barrier. I struggled with acne in my 20s – this was also before social media took off – and went through a whole personal journey of learning about and discovering different skincare solutions. Back then I used an organic, clay-based, non-foaming cleanser and a cleansing milk as a first step when I was wearing makeup. Basically, I did “double cleansing” before it was drummed into us to do just that, simply because it seemed to make sense to me. In many ways, I miss those innocent early days of skincare discoveries, when there wasn’t a big skinfluencer machine running in the background, constantly making people feel like they are “doing it wrong.”
Here is the thing about double cleansing: many people strongly misunderstand what it is about, reducing it to an oversimplified marketing concept meant to sell you as many products as possible. Now, if you read my blog posts regularly, you know I’m not one to preach the need for a stripped down, minimalist routine – if you want to use multiple products in one routine, go for it! I myself love using, say, two serums in one routine, and I also absolutely use cleansing oils and balms regularly to remove heavy makeup or waterproof sunscreens. So, I’m not opposed to double cleansing, or to elaborate multi-step routines. I in fact used to be one of those skincare bloggers who preached the need for a daily double cleansing routine. And, my skin is quite happy with that routine.
But thanks to the pandemic, I kind of stopped putting on makeup every day. Most of the time I go about my day barefaced, just using sunscreen and maybe a little bit of transparent powder at best. And even on days when I use makeup, it is very little, no elaborate foundation layers or intense eye looks. So, it just started to feel tedious to warm up that cleansing balm between my hands or massage that cleansing oil into my face forever. I started to instead often just wipe off any sunscreen or makeup residue with some micellar water as a first step or even, gasp, just use that one foaming cleanser.
What I noticed whenever I opted for a “one step cleansing routine” was that not all foaming cleansers are created equal: some didn’t really make me feel clean after use, they would just kind of sit on the surface of my skin, even when trying to massage them in or make sure they were rinsed off thoroughly. Ah, and the weird film some of them leave – so uncomfortable! Also, of course, some cleansers are just way too aggressive, leaving skin looking and feeling stripped and dehydrated. My cleanser connoisseur persona really came out in force, making me more discerning than ever when it came to choosing the right products to deal with my stressed out pandemic skin.
Enter the AXIS-Y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser. According to the brand, this cleanser was developed as a one step cleansing solution meant to remove makeup and impurities, while still being gentle and respectful of people’s skin barrier. Like all AXIS-Y products, the cleanser was formulated with acne-prone skin in mind that tends to be on the oilier side, but it works for most skin types given the overall formula and key ingredients.
Here is the full list of ingredients for the AXIS-Y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser:
“Water, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate, Betaine, Glycine Soja (Soybean Oil), Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Extract, Chlorphenesin, Hydroxyacetophenone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract, Ocimum Tenuiflorum Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Fruit Extract, Citric Acid, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Allantoin.”
The first thing I always look for in a good cleanser is what surfactants it uses. I am not a chemist or product formulator, so all my research is pretty basic, and I would always advise you to refer to experts such as Michelle/Labmuffin to get a more in-depth understanding of surfactants. But for me personally, my skin tends to do better with cleansers that do not use sodium laureth sulfate, which isn’t necessarily the devil it is often made out to be, but yes, it can be stripping and drying. The AXIS-Y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser uses a number of very gentle surfactants, among them decyl glucoside, used in baby shampoos, sodium cocoyl glutamate, a cleansing agent derived from coconut, and sodium lauroyl glutamate, which is used specifically for products aimed at sensitive skin, thanks to its extra gentle cleansing action.
The AXIS-Y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser also contains a number of hydrating and soothing ingredients, e.g. humectant glycerin and betaine, clarifying tea tree and holy basil extract, calming green tea, calendula and centella asiatica extract, plus quinoa seed extract, which is rich in antioxidants and may potentially help stimulate collagen production. This cleanser is free from alcohol, but does contain fragrant geranium oil, so double-check if you are sensitive to that.
AXIS-Y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser – My Thoughts and Impressions while Using It
The AXIS-Y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser comes with a pump dispenser, and I usually need around two pumps per use. As I already mentioned, this has some added fragrance, the scent a mix of faintly floral and warmly herbal. It’s not very strong or off-putting, I usually don’t notice it too much when foaming up the cleansing gel.
When it comes to the texture, I’d say this is a classical gel-based cleanser, though it has a bit more richness to it than other gel formulas I’ve tried. It’s kind of hard to describe, but there is just more “body” to the gel, it doesn’t feel as watery. I’m guessing it’s the added oils of soy and almond in the formula!
The AXIS-Y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser foams up nicely and richly, with a good amount of lather. The foam feels soft and comfortable on my skin, and I often grabbed this cleanser when I just wanted to feel a bit pampered. There is just something about it that gives me a happy feeling.
After cleansing, my skin feels soft, smooth and relaxed. The cleansing action is good, though if I am honest I would say you better do a pre-cleanse with an oil or micellar water in the evening if you wear a full face of makeup. The AXIS-Y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser does manage to remove simple face powder and also the sunscreens I’ve been using throughout late summer and autumn, but I just don’t think any cleanser can remove full-on foundation and co. with just one step of cleansing.
This is a gentle cleanser that doesn’t dry out skin, respecting the skin barrier thanks to its low pH formula. I love using this both in the evening and morning, but especially at night it’s my current go-to cleanser choice. Since this doesn’t feel stripping at all, I would say it can work for pretty much all skin types. And, since it contains a number of anti-inflammatory ingredients that are great for blemish-prone skin, those of you with oilier, troubled skin may find the AXIS-Y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser particularly appealing.
If you aren’t wearing heavy makeup or stubbornly waterproof sunscreen, then using only the AXIS-Y Quinoa One-Step Cleanser will be just fine. If you feel unsure, you can always wipe your face with a micellar/cleansing water as a first step, but you often do not actually need an oil-based first step cleanser at night. And of course, there is no need to double cleanse in the mornings – who even has the time for that, am I right?
So, where can you purchase the AXIS-Y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser? The 180ml bottle is available at the AXIS-Y online shop for 18$ – they ship globally to 32 countries. Alternatively, Yesstyle* sells this cleanser for currently around 23$, and you can also find it at Stylevana* for roughly 18$. Oh, and Stylekorean* also has the Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser available for currently 20$.
Let me know in the comments: What does a good cleanser need to have and do in your opinion? Have you tried this gel cleanser yet?
Take care guys, and stay safe – don’t forget to check out my review of the AXIS-Y Spot Correcting Treatment Ampoule and make sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for all the latest K-Beauty and skincare news!
*Ad/Anzeige, in collaboration with AXIS-Y – all views in this review are entirely my own! Links marked with an * are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission when you use them, and a tracking cookie is placed. This does not increase the amount you pay when you purchase via these links.