Our Guide To The Different Types Of Cleansers

Our Guide To The Different Types Of Cleansers

The highlight of any long day? Easy. Washing off our makeup as soon as we get home. Yes, we know what you’re thinking, but unstrapping the bra is a close second.

And as cleansing is the first (and therefore arguably most important) step in any skin care routine, it’s crucial to understand the varying benefits of each different formula. 

RELATED: 8 of the best cleansers for acne-prone skin

RELATED: 4 cleansing mistakes you might be making

Whether you love a supermarket steal or are treating yourself to a luxe splurge, you’ll always be faced with the impossible task of selecting from an overwhelming amount of options. 

Image credit: @summerfridays

So, from soothing creams to oil-banishing foams, here’s a breakdown of all the cleansing options on offer and our favourites within each category.

Oil cleansers

Once you’ve made the switch to cleansing oil, you’ll be addicted to the ultra clean-feeling finish. The laws of attraction mean there’s nothing better than oil to draw out excess sebum and surface residue. Just apply it with dry hands to a dry face before washing away with water. Each of these oils suits all skin types but gives shine-prone skin a gorgeously oil-free feel.

Best suited for: Most skin types, particularly dry.

The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil
This silky formula uses a blend of soft, hydrating oils so you can quickly take off your makeup without the leftover greasy residue.

Dermalogica PreCleanse
A gentle blend of plant oils that works to ‘melt’ sunscreen, make-up, skincare residue and excess sebum, emulsifying impurities in water and rinsing them clear away. Fantastic.

Simple Hydrating Cleansing Oil
Enriched with vitamin A and E, this cleansing oil will gently rinse makeup and grease away while helping encourage skin regeneration. Plus, 100 per cent grapeseed oil can help provide a deep cleanse without leaving you feeling slick and greasy.

L’OCCITANE Shea Butter Cleansing Oil
Feels amazing. Is amazing. This cleansing oil eliminates make-up, grime and pore-clogging impurities. Plus, it contains five per cent shea oil to keep your skin extra silky and hydrated.

Foam cleansers

Foaming cleaners get a bad rap for stripping the skin, but if you choose a gentle formula, you can’t beat bubbles for a deep down, zinging clean.

La Roche-Posay Micellar Foaming Cleanser
Not into nasties? Then this lathering formula is for you. It’s free from fragrances, colourants, alcohol, parabens and soaps. The cleanser respects your skin’s natural pH balance while also removing makeup and ridding your skin of impurities. 

Ultraceuticals Ultra Clear Foaming Cleanser

A great everyday way to control excess surface sebum and prevent clogged pores, this soothing, 4.5-star rated formula will keep the complexion calm, clear and refreshed. 

SkinCeuticals Foaming Cleanser

This lightweight foam dissolves makeup, pollution and surface impurities to leave the complexion feeling fresh, dewy and soft. Suited to all skin types (especially those with extra cash to splash). Plus, it features advanced antioxidants for lasting results.

Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser
Models get spots too, you know. Or they would if they didn’t have this little baby on rotation. Cetaphil has been a backstage beauty secret forever and this low-foam formula gets rid of oil, build-up and heavy make-up residue faster than you can say ‘I don’t get out of bed for less than 10 grand, sweetie’.

Gel cleansers

Often formulated with BHA or AHAs, gel cleansers provide an intense clean that is suitable for acne-prone skin. Sitting in between a foam and a cream cleanser, gels offer an ideal formula for normal to oily complexions.

Best suited for: Oily and combination skin 

Panemorfi Skincare Lactic Acid Gel Cleanser

Formulated with lactic acid and aloe vera, this luxurious gel cleanser foams with water to gently free your skin from oil overload, makeup residue, dirt and surface debris.

Ultraceuticals Ultra Balancing Gel Cleanser
A wonder for oily and normal skin types, this revitalising gel features aloe vera, cucumber and oat kernel extracts to soothe skin while also ridding it of daily residue and oils. Not only will it give you a good cleanse, it’ll keep your skin’s natural moisture balance in check.

Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Gel Cleanser
For acne-prone skins, this gel cleanser contains salicylic acid to decongest, ginger root extract to absorb excess oil and cinnamon bark extract for its antibacterial properties. You can blast blemishes away and remove dirt, residue and oil all with this one oil-free, non-drying formula!

Cream cleansers

The most moisturising of all cleansing varieties, cream cleansers offer multi-purpose benefits and leave the skin refreshed and deeply clean. Otherwise labelled as a lotion or a milk, these formulas are typically well tolerated by sensitive, dry and mature skin types. 

Best suited for: Sensitive and dry skin 

Clean & Clear Deep Action Cream Wash
Love that tingle that tells you every pore is spotlessly clean? Love this bargain buy because it reaches right down into the pore, removing blockages and stopping spots in their tracks.

Novellus Fruit Enzyme Cream Cleanser
Goes on like silk and leaves your face feeling like satin. Perfect for dry and delicate types.

Trilogy Cream Cleanser
Dripping with the antioxidant and nourishing benefits of rosehip oil plus carrot, evening primrose, and almond oils, this super creamy number is like a treatment that just happens to leave your skin crystal clear.

Natural Instinct Replenishing Cream Cleanser
Thanks to rosehip oil and Kakadu plum, this rich cleanser provides eight hours of hydration. The natural and sulphate-free formula is suitable for all skin types and will gently draw out impurities while also nourishing the skin.

Cloths & wipes

Quick. Convenient. Effective. Every girl needs an emergency stash of cleansing cloths in her bedside dresser/ bathroom cupboard/ travel bag…

NIVEA Gentle Facial Cleansing Wipes
Wipe on this alcohol-free tissue, wipe off makeup, bacteria and dead skin cells. Too easy. Cleansed, purified and toned all in one step!

Neutrogena Deep Cleansing Wipes
Infused with salicylic acid and chamomile to combat spots and inflammation in a single swipe.

Mary Kay Facial Cleansing Cloths
Cleanse, exfoliate and tone in one travel-friendly step. Just add water.

Main image credit: @summerfridays

Have you tried any of these cleansers? What type of cleanser do you use?

Share your thoughts

Comments 80

  1. I have tried different cleansers over many years and find that simple soap and water seem to give the best results for me. Yes soap can be dehydrating. Using my Manicare fibre cloth does a very good job with just water and does leave my skin feeling much cleaner than when using most cleansers.

  2. I find Micellar Water is all I need to cleanse as I don’t wear foundation. I am open to trying other types of cleanser though, mainly during the warmer weather when I find my face sweats a lot.

  3. I seem to have several cleansers waiting for me to use. I like to get the free bags with purchase from Clinique and Estee Lauder and they always have a cleanser in the free bag. they seem to last quite awhile.

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