We’ve done a cleanser round-up before. But recently, we did some deep cleaning around the DC office and found ourselves in a facial cleanser roll-call. Here are some of the updated cleansers we have in our skincare vault that we love. And if you’re a skincare beginner looking to diversify your cleanser game, I hope this gives you that push to go through with it!
1. Gel Cleansers
Ideal for: All skin types
Gel cleansers are a skincare textbook. They’re essentially the first cleanser variant everyone thinks about when being thrown the word. There might be little to the imagination when it comes to these gentle gels, but trust me, they’re an underdog.
I personally opt for gel cleansers because it is great for all skin types. Typically, they are clear, lightweight and buoyant. I always feel like I’m in a dramatic skincare commercial when using a gel cleanser, because once it froths, it emulsifies comfortably into your skin. So splash away, and feel refreshed! These formulas unclog deep into your pores without irritating your skin. Undoubtedly, it’s the most approachable cleanser and even though it’s textbook, I’m sure you have used it at least once in your life!
If you like coconut-anything, Skin Film’s Pure & Simple Gel Cleanser Natural Gentle Wash is your step closer to a tiki dance. This cleanser is a light, coconut-derived formulation optimised to whisk away the day’s impurities and oil. Additionally, it taps on precious frankincense extract that hides ageing, combats bacteria and reduces inflammation. And can I just add points for that dispensing pump!? A hygiene-essential.
2. Oil Cleansers
- Those who wear heavier makeup and prefer to double cleanse!
- All skin types, including oily and problematic skin.
- Those who want a thinner, easier-to-use version of a cleansing balm.
Oil cleansers — they’re probably the most misunderstood. Kind of like your growing up years, but without the temperament and bad decisions. What makes oil cleansers so efficacious is because they work as solvents that dissolve your makeup and sebum. Inherently, they are lipophilic and are naturally attracted to other oils. As such, it diffuses the makeup and grime, all whilst softening your skin.
Cleansing oils, unlike its name, do not lead to greasy skin. Instead, it replenishes your skin from drying out, especially after that ‘squeaky clean’ feeling you get from overwashing your face. When it comes to removing your makeup, oil cleansers can even break down the most stubborn makeup formulas. So leave your doubts out of the kitchen — oil cleansers are far from amateurs.
Accurately named, Bobbi Brown’s soothing face cleansing oil just soothes like a lullaby. One look at its ingredient arsenal, and you would be comforted. Infused with Kukui Nut, White Water Lily and Goji Berry Extract, it’s an effective combination towards instantly calmed skin. For extra nourishment, jasmine flowers also decorate the formula to provide a plush skin aftermath. If you’re feeling iffy about cleansing oils stripping away your natural ones, don’t worry about this one! It’s a gentle and effective cleanse that dissolves your skin’s debris with a strong blend of botanical oils that can remove even the longest-wearing eye makeup.
3. Micellar Water Cleansers
Ideal for: All skin types, but a traditional cleanser is needed afterwards to ensure you remove all makeup traces.
I’m sure you’ve heard of them. Chances are, it’s already on your bathroom shelf. Anyhoo — did you know that Micellar water was invented because tap water was too harsh on the skin? Lo and behold, it has become a complete game-changer. An on-the-go cleanser that can wash off your makeup — without you having to rinse it off!
Scientifically, the micelles present in micellar waters are tiny balls of oil that get attracted to your skin debris. As such, it acts like tiny magnets that detect the impurities on the skin’s surface. It’s basically a total gunk removal without throwing off your skin’s natural balance. Furthermore, micellar is a combination of purified water, glycerin and low concentrations of mild surfactants. So, that would explain why the formulations are light, moisturising and almost toner-like. For best results, infuse a cotton pad with micellar water to cleanse the skin.
Drunk Elephant’s E-Rase™ Milki Micellar Water cleanser removes makeup, bacteria and environmental pollutants that dull our skin — all with a formula that is nothing short of nourishing. This cleanser is enriched with ultra-mild micelles that replenish fatty acids and deliver rich antioxidants. Moreover, it keeps the face from sensitisation and prevents a damaged acid mantle. It's a more milky than watery, and probably why it posits a more luxurious cleanse. Not only that, it's loaded with vitamin E and plant oils such as marula, baobab, passion fruit and wild melon seed. It’s alike to a fresh cocktail that leaves your skin clean and loaded with great vibes!
4. Cream Cleansers
- Normal to dry skin
- Sensitive or redness-prone skin
Enter: Cream cleansers. They feel like lotions but are suffused with gentle cleansing agents to clean your face. Void of sulphates and enriched with hydrating ingredients, it maintains the skin’s protective barrier and moisture levels. In terms of lather, cream cleansers are mild to ensure there’s no stripping of your natural oils. Moreover, they are prime in replenishing lost lipids during cleansing. It feels somewhat nostalgic when using cream cleansers. Perhaps, it’s the association to the old lotions we used to slab on when we didn’t know better. Nostalgia aside, we are calling all sensitive and dry skin owners to rejoice! This might be the cleanser for you.
We love a good creamy formula, and Peter Thomas Roth’s Water Drench Cloud Cream Cleanser ticks the boxes. Indulge in a nourishment boost with its Marshmallow Root Extract and Coconut Oils that altogether help soften and soothe your skin. Best part? It’s fragrance-free. This creamy cleanser is powerful enough to remove your makeup, excess oil and debris. Not only that, it is enriched with Hyaluronic Acids that retains water from moisture in the atmosphere, up to 1,000 times its weight. We love a good science-linked product, don’t we?
6. Milk Cleansers
- Dry skin because they cleanse without removing your skin’s natural oils
- Normal and combination skin types
It’s your dairy-free option. Milk cleansers are created from an emulsion of water and fat that is ultra-hydrating and effective in cleansing the skin. The ingredients work together to dissolve and break down your skin’s surface dirt and grime. To those who like to steer away from foamy lathers, milk cleansers are foam-free and do not strip the skin of crucial oils whilst providing a natural hydration. However, do take note: For sensitive-prone skin, milk cleansers do not target specific concerns like clogged pores or excess oil. It’s just a very gentle cleanser that does the bare minimum; a good standby, fail-safe pick.
Encased in a trendy, calming lavender, the packaging is secondary to the prime formula. The real star: Kate Somerville’s Goat Milk Moisturising Cleanser. When I was growing up, I used to always go for anything goat-milk. Soaps, lotions, you name it. It just feels homey and inviting, like as though I am brought back to simpler times. It’s ingredients are also trustworthy — Manuka honey (nourishing), Goat Milk (soothing) and of course, a sulfate-free formulation (Yay!).
7. Foam Cleansers
Ideal for: Combination to oily and breakout-prone skin.
When it comes to marshmallow, lightly whipped formulas, foam cleansers are your bet. Previously, it was the most dull option to cop because of its bad rep. Such as the aftermath of taut skin caused by its harsh foaming agents e.g Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). However, bubbly foam cleansers are now SLS-free. So, if you love to indulge in cloud-like textures and pumps of frothy whipped cream, you can do it guilt-free. Now, many foam cleansers are formulated with skin nourishing surfactants. They also come with formulas that have pH level 6 to give off that clean feeling without shocking your skin.
It’s a remedy from our urban jungle and aggressors that cling on to our skin. D Program’s Urban Damage Care Foam Wash is the quick fix for skin dullness and redness. Value added with H-Stabilising B and Allerclear Cleansing Base formulation, notice a strengthened skin barrier that can absorb your skincare layering more effectively. Did we also mention, a spa-like dense foam that gracefully dispenses? We do now!
8. Jelly Cleansers
- All skin types
- Sensitive skin
I’ll admit my scepticism towards these Instagram favourites. After all, they were just aesthetic…right? Not quite. Jelly cleansers may be an eccentric formula, but when it came out during the old-school slime craze, it garnered interest from all age groups. A formulation hailing from South Korea, best believe that cleansing just got a lot more exciting.
Made with polymers to mimic a refreshing jelly texture, jelly cleansers are bouncy with its first touch. It is also steeped with skin-boosting ingredients like hyaluronic acid and botanical extracts that gives the jelly texture more hold. It’s chameleon-like and can switch from jelly to milky, all with a splash of water. An instagram favourite for a reason. However, make that excuse to double cleanse! Jelly cleansers are very mild (and fun) but for heavy makeup-wearers, this should not be your cleanser endgame.
It’s a fun name to boot! Sigiskin’s cleverly named Kaleanser Face Wash contains kale extracts to detoxify, clean and brighten your complexion. For an oomph of hydration, it also contains soy extracts that bestows smooth and supple skin. This jelly cleanser will make your complexion feel healthy as it recenters your skin’s pH levels without tightening your skin. If that doesn’t make you swoon, this face wash is also vegan!
Ahh, the wonderful world of cleansers! Cleansing might be the most boring part of your skincare regime, but without a clean base, your skincare layering won’t work. We’ve all been guilty of glossing over our cleansing (Myself, included), but the new year is ringing in, so I hope this guide is a good place to start for a better skincare journey!