AHOY, Yet Another Cleanser

Good Or Nah?

Yesterday was a bunch of cleansers (and other stuff) from Cetaphil and CeraVe that made me go “NO THANX” — today we’ve got one that (spoiler!) doesn’t make me go “arrrrrrr[gh].”


It’s something I found when I was poking around on Target and trying to fill up my basket without buying Kettle Chips or a lipstick I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like. Captain Blankenship is a much-loved indie skincare brand with a focus on natural, organic ingredients. They’re cruelty-free and offer a pretty wide variety of stuff, from salt spray for your hair to moisturizers for your face, to bath salts and cream deodorant. TBH, a lot of their descriptive copy is a little more “woo woo” than I prefer — GMOs are fine by me, and give rolly side-eye to anything with “detox” in its name. However, a lot of their products DO sound really nice (I may have to pull the trigger on this Rose & Pomegranate face oil). AND, they recently launched “Sailor,” a more modestly-priced line exclusive to Target. Nifty! Since I’m seemingly always about to run out of cleanser, and the ingredients here sounded pretty okay, I grabbed this for a test-drive. It’s $14.99 for 4oz, which is quite reasonable!


INGREDIENTS : water, Decyl glucoside, glycerin, caprylyl glucoside, carrageenan, coco-glucoside, glyceryl oleate, citrus paradisi peel oil, sodium levulinate, sodium cocoyl glutamate, potassium sorbate, citric acid, glyceryl caprylate, polyglyceryl-6 oleate, citrus aurantium dulcis peel oil, ascophyllum nodosum powder, lupinus albus seed extract, rosa rugosa fruit extract, sea salt extract, phytic acid, glucose, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, sodium surfactin, guaiazulene, juniperus communis berry oil.

Decyl, caprylyl, and coco-glucosides are mild naturally-derived surfactants (generally from coconut oil). Carrageenan is a thickening agent derived from red seaweed (you often see this in foods as well). Glyceryl oleate is a fatty acid emollient that comes from glycerin and oleic acid. Citrus paradisi peel oil = grapefruit peel oil, and Paula’s Choice HATES IT as you probably could’ve guessed. This contains compounds that may be sensitizing or irritating to the skin — so if you have skin that’s sensitive in general or particularly sensitive to fragrance ingredients, keep that in mind. Sodium levulinate and potassium sorbate are preservatives, ditto citric acid. Glyceryl caprylate and the polyglyceryl are emollients, citrus aurantium dulcis is orange peel oil; ascophyllum nodosum is seaweed powder which sounds really nice and has a LOAD of good stuff in it, but I’m not sure about how much good this could do applied topically? Lupinus albus is the White Lupin, a Mediterranean legume, and its extract is a nice emollient and anti-oxidant. Rosa rugosa is rose hip extract (yay), sea salt extract I’m not even going to guess at other than contributing to the “sea” theme. Phytic acid is a good antioxidant, and sodium surfactin I’ll have to get back to you on because I see “gelling agent” but I can’t tell if it’s synonymous with regular “surfactin” which might be kinda bad. Guaiazulene is an antioxidant derived from chamomile, and juniper oil is no doubt what gives the scent a little bit of evergreen. 


Sea Splash Face Cleanser is neither “splashy” nor particularly “sea”-like. It comes in a frosted greeny-glass bottle which is indeed lovely, but also means I can only really use it for face-washing at the sink, as I am strongly opposed to glass bottles on my shower shelves. (One time shattering something on the shower floor is all it takes to hit NOPE NEVER AGAIN.) The bottle feels hefty and nice, and the pump works well, though it’s the type that has a tiiiiiny little hole and doesn’t dispense much product with each press. I have to press about three times to get enough product to wash my bare face, and at least four times if I’m wearing makeup. The pump hasn’t clogged (yet), which IME those tiny ones are more inclined to do, but I’ve also been using it regularly so it hasn’t had time to dry out in there.

The face wash itself is of a slightly thinner and more watery consistency than the norm. It’s got a fair amount of slip against the skin, and it has a really nice fresh scent — grapefruit dominates, but there’s that hint of earthy evergreen. When rubbed into the skin, it barely lathers at all … which I know bothers the hell out of some people, but I don’t mind a lack of foaming action if it does what it’s supposed to do.


It does pretty great! I’ve been using this consistently — at least once a day, usually twice a day — for the last week/ten days or so. Despite its lack of bubbling, this definitely does feel like it’s working as a good cleanser should. It’s moderately slippy against the skin, but also you can kind of … feel it interacting with stuff on your face? And to make sure, a couple of times after I used this (and only this) on a full face of makeup, I subsequently swiped with micellar water on a cotton pad, and yep — clean skin, no traces of makeup or other crud. Yay! I also haven’t experience any sensitivity or unusual irritation from this — and I say “unusual” because my skin is mildly tetchy most of the time, and extra-tetchy right now since I’ve been battering it with Retin-A Micro. This hasn’t resulted in any stinging or increased sensitivity, so far as I can tell. (I believe my skin usually tolerates fragrance and fragrant EOs pretty well — if yours doesn’t, keep that in mind, because this has a fair amount of citrus oils.) And despite the fact that it takes three or four pumps’ worth of product to work properly … as noted, the pump doesn’t dispense a huge amount, so 3-4 pumps really isn’t a ton of product at all.

THE VERDICT : GOOD! Works well, feels gentle, isn’t bothering my skin, smells nice (but not crazy strong or with a lingering perfume), rinses away cleanly and easily, attractive packaging (although not something I’m comfortable with putting in the shower). DO YOU NEED THIS? If you enjoy trying new things, prefer gentle sulfate-free cleansers (as one should), dig or at least tolerate grapefruit scents, and think fifteen bucks for four ounces isn’t madness, sure! HOWEVER : If you’re highly sensitive to EOs/citrus oils, MAYBE NOT FOR YOU. If you want something to travel with, ALSO NO — the glass bottle is rather heavy, the outer clear plastic cap pops off easily, and the pump top does not (afaict) have a turn-to-lock feature, so this wouldn’t be really convenient to throw in a bag for a trip (tho you could always decant some, of course).

I quite like this — it cleans well, feels and smells “refreshing” without being super intense, and it isn’t $$$$. Do I love it enough to repurchase? Maaaaaybe. I’m pleased with it so far, but I’m definitely not going “holy crap this is incredible,” and considering how many other cleansers there are that I haven’t tried yet — so many face washes, so little time/so little face! — yeah, I’ll probably buy something different (again) next time. The Sailor line also includes a moisturizer whose inclusion of comedogenic soybean oil means I’ll probably skip it, but the witch-hazel-based Sea Mist toner sounds promising!

TRIED IT? Love it or nah? Any experience with the Captain Blankenship line? Discuss!