Save or Splurge? Fresh Soy Face Cleanser vs. Yes to Cucumbers Gentle Milk Cleanser

Both of these cleansers include cucumber fruit extract and hydrolyzed soy protein. Is Fresh's version worth the splurge, or should you say 'yes to' the drugstore-friendly option?

My love of travel-sized face cleansers knows no bounds. It’s actually what drove me to take the plunge and buy my first PLAY! by Sephora box, even though I heard mixed reviews. Once I saw that the box included a cute bottle of Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, I was pretty much convinced to click “Add to cart.” Over the course of researching this face wash, I found that many people who like the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser (but don’t like the price) have recommended trying out the Yes To Cucumbers Gentle Milk Cleanser as a budget-friendly dupe. Whereas Fresh’s version focuses on soy in the product name, Yes To’s face wash focuses on cucumbers instead. Let’s take a closer look at the main ingredients in each cleanser, and see if Fresh’s face wash is worth splurging on, or if you should say yes to Yes To’s version.

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser Review

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser ingredients

water, coco-glucoside, glycerin, butylene glycol, peg-7 glyceryl cocoate, xanthan gum, glycine soja (soybean) oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, borago officinalis seed oil, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, rosa damascena extract, rosa damascena flower water, centaurea cyanus flower extract, glycine soja (soybean) sterols, panax ginseng root extract, rosa damascena flower oil, malva sylvestris (mallow) flower extract, tocopherol, ascorbyl palmitate, peg-120 methyl glucose dioleate, peg-40 hydrogenated castor oil, caprylyl glycol, polysorbate 20, caprylic/capric triglyceride, silica, benzoic acid, disodium edta, citric acid, behenyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, lecithin, pentylene glycol, hydrolyzed soy protein, caramel, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, phenoxyethanol

Yes to Cucumbers Gentle Milk Cleanser ingredients

water, decyl glucoside, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, cetearyl alcohol, glycerin, lauryl glucoside, stearic acid, ethylhexyl palmitate, sorbitol, polyglyceryl-3 stearate, xanthan gum, tetrasodium glutamate diacetate, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, cetearyl glucoside, citric acid, hydrolyzed soy protein, ethylhexylglycerin, phenoxyethanol, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, fragrance

My Dad the Chemist’s review of Fresh Soy Face Cleanser vs. Yes to Cucumbers Gentle Milk Cleanser

Dear Emily, product 1 should be more expensive formula due to many botanical extracts/oils incorporated. Both formulas will work well as Face Wash, since it’s a rinse-off product, as long as it cleans well and doesn’t irritate , if price difference isn’t much, I probably will choose Product 1, because it may cleans a little better and be more protective from irritation.


My dad guessed correctly that the first product (Fresh Soy Face Cleanser) was the more expensive of the two, due to its inclusion of more botanical extracts and oils, including borago officinalis seed oil (borage seed oil), panax ginseng root extract, rose extract, and mallow extract.

Since Fresh Soy Face Cleanser is about 4X the price of Yes To Cucumbers Gentle Milk Cleanser, I’d feel pretty open to giving the cheaper version a try. However, if they were closer in price, my dad would recommend choosing Fresh’s version over Yes To’s, since it may clean a little more effectively and be less irritating.

One of the ingredients in Fresh Soy Face Cleanser that isn’t in Yes To Cucumbers’s Gentle Milk Cleanser is borage seed oil, which has been shown to provide benefits for people who have atopic dermatitis/eczema. See this study for more details.

However, Yes To Cucumbers’s Gentle Milk Cleanser isn’t going down without a fight—it also contains an antioxidant that is not in Fresh Soy Face Cleanser: green tea extract.

Cucumber fruit extract

Even though Fresh Soy Face Cleanser’s name doesn’t mention cucumber, it seems like maybe it should. Cucumber extract is awesome for your skin! According to this study, a cream that contained 3 percent cucumber extract was successful at decreasing melanin production (dark spots) and moisturizing skin compared to another cream that did not contain any cucumber extract. It also demonstrated benefits for acne-prone skin. But keep in mind that this study was regarding cucumber extract in a cream, not a rinse-off face wash. Plus, I’m not sure about the concentration of cucumber extract included in either Fresh’s Soy Face Cleanser or Yes To Cucumbers Gentle Milk Cleanser—it might be lower than 3 percent in both products. However, I think it might be worth trying out Yes To’s version at some point—especially if I can find it in a nice travel size!

Other skincare products that include this ingredient are:

If anything, this has piqued my interest in cucumber extract-based skincare creams. From this point forward, I will definitely be looking for fragrance-free products that include cucumber fruit extract as a prime ingredient.

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

I used Fresh Soy Face Cleanser over the course of a short trip, and I have to say that it’s a great, gentle cleanser that removes sunscreen quite nicely. A little goes a long way—just squeeze a bit out on your fingertips, work up a mild lather, and massage it into your skin. The smell is not unpleasant and doesn’t smell artificial at all. You’ll notice that “fragrance” is not listed in Fresh’s ingredient list, whereas it does appear in Yes To Cucumbers’s Gentle Milk Cleanser, even though it’s listed as a “gentle” product, and the whole Yes To Cucumbers line is designed for sensitive skin.

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser Review

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser won’t lather as much as some other cleansers—I’d rate it 3 out of 10 on the lather scale. For reference, CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is a 0 out of 10 (it won’t lather at all), while Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash was a 9 out of 10. However, I don’t mind the low lather—I find that the more a cleanser lathers, the more likely it is to strip my skin of its natural oils, so I’m ok with low lather even if it psychologically doesn’t feel as “clean” after I’m done washing my face.

If I didn’t have to consider price as a factor, I would love to use Fresh Soy Face Cleanser every day—it removes tinted sunscreen without drying out my skin, and it doesn’t contain any harsh fragrances or lathering agents. I think it’s a great travel-friendly option since a little goes a long way. But since it’s just going to get rinsed off, and it’s a bit pricey, I would probably be open to trying out Yes To Cucumbers Gentle Milk Cleanser before sticking with this cleanser.

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