Cleansing is a very simple, but very important, step in any skincare routine. It removes all the gunk that has accumulated on our faces during the day (and night) and allows skincare products to penetrate more easily into the skin, thus enhancing their effectiveness. But with all the different types of cleansers on the market, how can we choose the right one for our skin? Here are a few tips to help you:
1. Cream cleansers
Cream cleansers, which come in milk, balm and even mousse forms, contain emollients that help to keep skin moisturized while cleansing it. Because of this, they are most suitable for mature and dry skin. However, while they are gentler on the skin and don’t dry it out, they usually don’t remove stubborn makeup as well as other types of cleansers, especially oil-based ones. One exception is my HG cleanser, Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, which takes off everything while keeping skin soft and bright, and it also comes with a washcloth for a gentle exfoliating action (but it works well on its own too).
2. Foaming cleansers
Foaming cleansers usually come in two forms, gels and lotions. This type of cleanser contains surfactants, such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate (not to be confused with the much harsher Sodium Lauryl Sulfate), and Cocamidopropyl Betaine, which, in addition to helping water mix with oil and dirt so that they can be rinsed off, also produce foam. The foam doesn’t really do anything, yet a lot of people prefer to use cleansers that lather well as they associate it with better cleansing properties. Foaming cleansers tend to leave a pleasant, refreshing feeling behind, but they can also be drying, which is why they aren’t usually recommended to people with dry or very sensitive skin.
3. Oil-based cleansers
If you paid attention in your chemistry class, you’ll know that like attracts like. It’s this principle that oil-based cleansers use. The oils in the cleansers bond with the oils on your face and in your makeup products (yes, most makeup products contain some form of oil), dissolving them. Oil-based cleansers are suitable for all skin types, including oily. While people with oily skin usually prefer to opt for foaming cleansers, these can sometimes be too harsh and drying to the skin, causing it to produce even more oil. Oil-based cleansers, instead, remove all the oils without drying out the skin. This is also the most suitable type of cleanser for those who wear stubborn, heavy makeup as it will take it all off quickly and gently.
4. Exfoliating cleansers
Exfoliating cleansers can be a good option for people who don’t have much time in the morning as they allow you to remove not just the dirt and oils that have accumulated on your skin, but also to shed off all the dead skin cells on its surface. But not all exfoliating cleansers are created equal. Chemical exfoliating cleansers, ie, the ones that contain AHAs and BHA (such as Glycolic Acid and Salicylic Acid for instance) don’t work very well because these active ingredients simply don’t stay on the skin long enough to do their job effectively. Physical exfoliating cleansers instead contain small grains or particles that remove all the dead cells as you massage them on the skin. Just be careful to avoid those with nut shells and fruit pits as they usually have uneven surfaces that can tear up the skin, doing it more harm than good.
What is your favourite type of cleanser?