Since starting off with a clean slate is important for applying skincare and makeup products, washing your face should be the first step in both your morning and evening routine. Cleansing helps to remove the dirt, grime, dead cells, or other residue that would otherwise clog your pores and leave you with a dull complexion.
While washing your face seems simple enough and you’ve probably been doing it for most of your life, you might not realize how many different types of cleansers are out there and which ones work best for your skin type. Here is a quick guide to the types currently on the market.
Gel cleansers - Good for oily and combination skin
Designed for deeper cleaning, gel cleansers are especially effective at removing excess oil and bacteria as well as unclogging pores. Some offer antiseptic and exfoliating qualities, which makes them good for fighting acne.
Cream cleansers - Good for: dry, sensitive, mature skin
Thick and creamy, these gentle cleansers contain emollients and humectants to help add moisture back into dry or aging skin while they cleanse. They may also come in the form of milk or lotion.
Foam cleansers - Good for: oily, combination, and normal skin
Lightweight in nature, foam cleansers start off as a cream or gel and turn into a rich, foamy lather. They effectively remove all excess oil and makeup, making them ideal for combination and oily skin but overly drying for dry and sensitive skin.
Oil cleanser - Good for: all skin types, especially dry skin
These cleansers gently unclog pores and remove even the toughest of waterproof makeup. And since they’re hydrating in nature, they do so without drying out your skin.
Clay cleanser - Good for: oily and acne-prone skin
Known for its absorbing and purifying qualities, clay draws out toxins and excess oil from your pores, leaving you with a deeper clean.
Micellar cleanser - Good for: all skin types
Containing tiny oil molecules suspended in water, these cleansers are perfect for cleaning sensitive areas of the face, including around the eyes. They are very mild and don’t need to be rinsed off with water, so they’re perfect for taking with you on the go.
Powder cleansers - Good for: all skin types
Just as their namesake suggests, these cleansers start off powdery and once they’re combined with water, they turn into a creamy formula that both gently cleanses and exfoliates.
Exfoliating cleansers - Good for: normal, oily, acne-prone skin
Exfoliating cleansers can come in either the chemical or physical form. Chemical exfoliants count on mild acids such as AHA, BHA, PHA to help remove dead skin cells and unclog pores whereas physical ones rely on small abrasive beads or particles. If you go the physical exfoliant route, be sure to stick to a gentler version.