As a skincare editor, I'm often asked how classic drugstore brands Noxzema and Cetaphil compare in terms of facial cleansing. While both effectively remove dirt, oil, and makeup, there are some notable differences in their formulas and suitability for various skin types.
One similarity is that both Noxzema and Cetaphil cleansers are formulated without common irritants like fragrances and soaps that can dry out skin. However, Noxzema contains medicinal ingredients like menthol and eucalyptus while Cetaphil relies on gentle chemical emulsifiers to cleanse skin.
For example, Noxzema Anti-Blemish Deep Cleansing Cream contains salicylic acid to penetrate and clear clogged pores while also exfoliating with menthol. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser is soap-free and non-medicated for sensitive skin needing a gentle cleanse without exfoliation.
Noxzema Original Deep Cleansing Cream leaves skin feeling refreshed from the tingle of menthol and eucalyptus. Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser has a rich lather to wash away dirt and oil but no medicated ingredients.
Noxzema also makes a lighter, non-medicated cleanser called Noxzema Triple Clean for normal to oily skin. But even their mildest formula contains some menthol. All Cetaphil cleansers are non-medicated so better for sensitive skin.
In terms of texture, Noxzema cleansers have a thicker, creamier lather compared to Cetaphil's lightweight gel and foaming formulas. Those who dislike the greasy feel of thick creams may prefer Cetaphil's lighter textures.
Based on reviews, fans of Noxzema love the refreshing, tingly feel and deep cleansing properties from medicinal ingredients like menthol. Cetaphil users prefer the affordability and gentleness of their non-medicated formulas suitable for dry, sensitive skin.
Pricewise, Noxzema cleansers cost $1-2 more on average than Cetaphil for the same bottle sizes. However, the Noxzema formulas offer more specialized cleansing benefits like exfoliation for oily, acne-prone skin from added ingredients. So the extra cost may be justified.
In summary, those with oily, acne-prone skin will benefit most from Noxzema's medicated formulas with menthol and salicylic acid. People with sensitive skin are better suited to Cetaphil's ultra-gentle, non-medicated cleansers. Both provide quality cleansing at drugstore prices.
Tom is the founder and editor of TheDermDetective.com where he applies his decades of personal experience with skincare problems like acne and acne scarring to provide readers with practical advice and product recommendations.