Ultimate guide to cleansing and picking the right cleanser


Cleansing is a fundamental part of any skincare routine, but it’s often not the most popular. Nevertheless, like eating your five-a-day, it’s an important daily ritual that’s essential for your skin. But as with anything, there’s a proper way to do it. Choosing the right cleanser for your skin type and actually going through the process of cleansing properly (20 seconds is not enough!) is crucial. Even more importantly, listening to (or feeling) what your skin needs is number one, and that’s why we believe having more than one type of cleanser is essential.

Why One Cleanser Just Isn’t Enough

During this brief and very important period [cleansing] is when the foundation of your skincare regimen begins, setting your skin up for the rest of what’s to come. Skin gets cranky, it gets thirsty, it has different needs at different times, so one-and-done is never going to cut it. What your skin needs when you wake-up is very different than what it needs after a workout or at night when you have makeup on and a day’s worth of grime on your face! Skin’s dry and tight? You need a hydrating gel, soothing cream or milky cleanser. Skin is oily or rough? A gel or foaming cleanser with AHAs or enzymes will be your best friend. Harsh cleansers on dry skin will only dry it further and thick or mild cleansers on oily or acne-prone skin will only lead to clogged pores. You probably think that sounds doubly expensive, but it just means you always have two cleansers handy and they both last longer.

How to Choose a Cleanser for Your Skin Type:

Gel Cleansers                                            

BEST FOR: Normal/ Combination/ Oily/ Acne-Prone Skin

Gel formulas are clear with a thick gel consistency, and they’re amazing for deep cleansing. They decongest clogged pores, remove excess oils without stripping the skin. Beware of: Strong ingredients that can overly strip your skin. If your face feels tight after using a gel cleanser, it could be too intense for your skin.

Cream Cleansers

BEST FOR: Dry/ Sensitive/ Aging Skin

Cream cleansers are typically a thick, dense formula that is extremely moisturizing (perfect for aging skin). The rich consistency means that they’re often less foaming, and as a result, shouldn’t dry your skin. Some formulas recommend applying on dry skin and wiping away with a cotton ball – in this case, it’s better to use a toner after to make sure no residue is left on your skin. Beware of: Some cream cleansers can be very rich, so look out for labels that say non-comedogenic, which means it won’t block your pores.

Foam Cleansers

BEST FOR: Oily/ Acne-Prone Skin

Foaming cleansers usually come with a pump dispenser and they’re great for cleaning deep into pores. There’s a little controversy around foam cleansers, as some believe they can be too harsh on your skin, but foam cleansers are a great option for oily-prone skin types, just be sure to thoroughly hydrate your skin, post-cleansing, and consider using this just as part of your nighttime routine, instead of twice a day. Beware of: Try to avoid sodium lauryl sulfate (a foaming agent), as this ingredient can irritate sensitive skin.

Milk Cleansers

BEST FOR: Dry/ Normal/ Sensitive/ Aging Skin

These extra-gentle milky formulas are an emulsion of fats and water – the tiny droplets of fat in the water give the formula its milk-like look and silky texture. Cleansing milk doesn’t foam, but instead, it dissolves dirt, makeup, and sebum, with oils and fats; this makes it extremely moisturizing as it won’t strip your skin with chemicals. Beware of: If you wear heavy makeup or have just done a workout, you may want to use a more powerful cleanser first and then follow with your milk cleanser to ensure your thoroughly clean.

Oil Cleansers

BEST FOR: Makeup Removal/ Dry/ Sensitive Skin/ Eczema

The theory behind cleansing oils is that is oil attracts oil. So, when you massage an oil cleanser into your skin, those good oils bind with the sebum and any makeup oil and dirt, which are then rinsed away together. An oil cleanser is a very gentle way of removing dirt from your skin, and it doesn’t clog your pores because it doesn’t sink in, it only removes impurities. Cleansing oils will also balance and maintain your skin’s natural pH, preventing your skin from producing excess oil, like it might do to combat drying ingredients from other cleansers. We love to use a cleansing oil as the first step in our cleansing routine, and then follow with a water-based cleanser that suits our skin type.

Beware of: Parabens, petrolatum, phthalates, and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). If you have oily or acne-prone skin, look for thinner oil formulas or balms that transform into a milk before rinsing away.

Also Read: Lip tips and hacks every woman must know

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