There are so many cleansers out there to choose from that how do you know you are buying the right one for you!? Never mind the brands, there are so many different types; cream cleanser, a gel, foaming cleanser, cleansing oils, wipes, wipes with benefits, micellar water and balms. I feel like a brand is bringing out a new product daily and so it’s hard to keep up with which cleanser you should be using. So I wanted to put together a simple guide, not so much as what particular brand to use but more what type. I think once you have established the type of cleanser that would benefit your skin you can then have a bit of trial and error with the brand that suits you.
Here is a quick a guide to what to look out for and how I got on testing some of the best out there.
A cream cleanser is a good choice for you if you have skin that is on the drier side. The reason being the creamier product works to benefit the skin and nourish and moisturise, rather than stripping it of any oil that it has. This being said it doesn’t mean that if you have oiler skin a cream wouldn’t work for you but as a guide it is more suited to a drier skin type. This is definitely the category I fall into and I have been loving using a cream cleanser. Some of my favourites are SK:N Clinics Vitamin Rich Cleanser £14.75, this is suited to dry and sensitive skin (they also do a normal to combination version) and the reason I liked it was you rub it on and then wipe off with a cotton-pad, there is no need to rinse it off. I liked this as I find water can be drying on my face.
This cleanser is nice and rich and definitely good if you have very dry skin or it’s prone to being sensitive. It kind of gives you an ‘aah’ moment and made my skin very soft. Another favourite I tried was the Bee Good Honey and Propolis 2 in 1 cleanser £11.50, this cream cleanser is a great price, I thought it had a lovely smell, removed make-up really easily and left my face very soft afterwards. It also is for all skin types, so I would say you could use this one even if you don’t have dry skin.
Other favourites that ranked highly for me in this category were Elemis Pro-Radiance Cleanser £29 and Time Bomb Take Off Time Cleansing Cream £15. The Elemis comes with a handy towel glove which is great to use with it and is packed with those all important antioxidants. The Time Bomb has slightly grainy granules in it to softly exfoliate. I liked this one but would only use a couple of times a week as I don’t want to over exfoliate and prefer a cleanser that is just for cleansing.
LOOK OUT FOR – Cream cleansers with antioxidants and/or vitamin enriched, these are great for dry skin.
BEST SUITED FOR – Dry/Sensitive Skin
A gel cleanser has the same properties that a cream one does, yet a slightly lighter consistency. So I would say these are good for most skin types and go for more of a foaming one if you are oily. One of my favourites if you can tell from the near empty bottle is La Roche Posay’s Rosaliac Gel £12.50. This is designed to get rid of redness, which I do suffer from round my nose and it really does work. The gel formula feels lovely on, it doesn’t quite leave my skin as soft as a cream does but is a nice alternative. This one has the same routine as the SK:N and doesn’t require being rinsed off, just use a cotton pad.
If you prefer to wash your face afterwards then try a gel cleanser like Simple Moisturising Facial Wash £3.49 or Beauty At Tesco Pro Formula Brightening Face Wash £2.99, these are gels but foam slightly, which I’m not a fan of foam cleansers but these are more creamy and the Tesco one has an amazing fruity smell. Plus you may have seen my review of the Herbalife range recently. I can’t rate this Herbalife Aloe Cleanser £19.25 highly enough, it really gets rid of make-up and dirt.
LOOK OUT FOR – Gel’s that turn into a more creamy formula on application, great for removing make-up. If you are spot prone look out for a gel with glycolic acid.
BEST SUITED FOR – All skin types, but really good if you have sensitive skin or suffer from rosacea.
I reviewed a few cleansing oils a while back when I picked up a Garnier one in America, which sadly still isn’t available in the UK. However on my search for alternatives I have been trying out a few now and again. Cleansing oil is really good to help nourish the skin and it’s a bit of a myth that you can’t use it if you have oily skin as it works really well on that too.
The best part is they last forever. I have used quite a bit of the Argan + one but it looks like I haven’t even touched it! Favourites in this category were Antonia Burrell Natural Glow Cleansing Oil £29.50, Argan + Skin Awakening Cleansing Oil £10.99 and also Jojoba 100% Natural Remover £19.99 (although I did end up following up after this one so not the best for make-up removal). What I liked was the natural properties of these oils and they just seemed to work lovely on the skin.
LOOK OUT FOR – Cleansing oils with natural ingredients.
BEST SUITED FOR – All skin types.
Micellar water has always had a place on my bathroom shelf. I think you either love it or hate it and I love it! I have tried out many a cleansing water from very expensive to cheap as chips and to be honest, sometimes the cheaper ones were better. Micellar water has the impression of the more grown up face wipe, but I don’t think that’s true. They are packed with lots of great benefits and so easy to use. In winter I have been using more of a cream but in summer cleansing water is my go to. I love Rodial’s Dragon Blood cleansing water £29 as it contains rose-water and is also packed with vitamins such as vitamin B3 which is great for refreshing the skin and taking away redness. Beauty at Tesco’s Pro Formula Radiance Micellar Water £3.00 is also packed with vitamins and green tea and smells divine.
LOOK OUT FOR – Micellar waters with vitamins and/or ingredients for your skin concern.
BEST SUITED FOR – All skin types.
I bet you are thinking another type of cleanser as you read this. But yes the balm is big news in beauty land. One of the most famous has to be the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm £39.50. This one includes almond oil, rose and elderberry, so all very natural based ingredients, which explains the very spa-like strong herbal smell. It doesn’t contain any parabens which is great for the skin. I found this really easy to use and removed my make-up extremely well. The only reason I wouldn’t buy this again was the smell as I much prefer a slightly unfragranced product.
Whereas the Rodial Glamtox Balm £50 is completely different. To me they both had completely different textures. The Rodial one felt not as putty like if that makes sense, more smooth. It also acts as a toner after washing it off, which is pretty damn neat. This one is fantastic for dehydrated skin.
LOOK OUT FOR – Balms with almond oil.
BEST SUITED FOR – Dry/Dehydrated – Normal skin
The cleansing wipes was my go-to for numerous years before I discovered a proper cleansing routine. I say proper as I think cleansing wipes back in the day never really had much benefits. Now however they are a game changer. I still think I would use them the least over other types of skincare but I thought I’d cover them as there are some really great options out there I have tried. Simple have a spot range and the wipes, the Simple Spotless Skin Fix £4.25 are great for a quick fix and those nights you really can’t be bothered with taking your make-up off. Not only do they remove it quick and fast, they benefit the skin with zinc and chamomile for spot prevention. I’m thinking drunken nights home. Nip & Fab Dragon’s Blood cleansing pads £9.95 are another favourite alongside also Rodial Super Acid X-Treme pore pads £38, these I would use more as they are great for reducing pores and very gentle with the inclusion of olive oil and the biotilys® probiotic boots hydration.
LOOK OUT FOR – Ingredients like zinc and chamomile for spotty skin and hyaluronic acid for hydration.
BEST SUITED FOR – All skin types.
I hope this helps break-down the different types of cleanser available and maybe make your decision a little easier. I think it’s key to narrow down the type you want, then do a bit of research into the ingredients and benefits and make sure they are going to address your skin concerns. I have tried out so many cleansers recently, just trying to find my type that I think works best for me and came to the conclusion I suit a cream/gel and a micellar water for summer or when I’m feeling lazy. My skin is more on the dry side so these work well. I also think that yes more expensive cleansers sometimes have benefits but those less expensive can do also, so do check the ingredients. If there are any types I’ve missed, do let me know!
I’d love to hear what cleanser type and brand you use and why?