How to Choose a Cleanser

How to Choose a Cleanser

Cleansing is the first and most important step of any skincare routine (outside of SPF). Looking for a new cleanser? This is your guide to choosing the right one for you.


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Cleansing is the first and most important step of any skincare routine (outside of SPF). Looking for a new cleanser? This is your guide to choosing the right one for you.

Cleansing removes makeup, sweat and grime, helping to prevent congestion and breakouts, and prepare your skin for the rest of your routine. Regardless of the type of cleanser you use, your skin should never feel tight or dry after cleansing, nor should a greasy film or residue be left behind. That ‘squeaky clean’ feeling that many strive for is actually a sign that you’ve stripped your barrier, which can lead to issues such as sensitivity, redness and dehydration.

Your skin should feel comfortable, fresh and balanced after cleansing. If it feels otherwise, it may be a sign that you’re either using too much product or need to change the cleanser you are using.

Types of cleansers

There are a variety of textures to choose from, and the type of cleanser you use typically comes down to personal preference. However, using the wrong one for your skin can throw it out of balance, so here’s our lowdown on the various types available:

Cleansing cream 

Comforting, cream formulas that can be used by all skin types. Cleansing creams are excellent at removing sweat, grime and impurities, as well as makeup and SPF, making them the perfect choice for your AM and PM routine. 

The Cream Cleanser by Skin Rocks

Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cleanser

Cleansing balm 

Jar-packaged, indulgent balm textures that are great for makeup removal. Cleansing balms are ideal for your first cleanse at night, especially if you have dry skin or wear heavy makeup. While some formulas may be too rich for acne-prone skin, there are plenty of options available for all skin types.

Muihood Good Chi Cleanser

Byoma Melting Balm Cleanser

Cleansing oil

Silky, oil formulas that are typically formulated with a blend of plant-based oils, such as jojoba or olive, to nourish the skin as they melt away makeup, grime and SPF. Fantastic as a first cleanse for makeup wearers.

Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil

Medik8 Lipid-Balance Cleansing Oil

Cleansing milk 

Brilliant for sensitive skin, cleansing milks are ultra-lightweight and gentle, with a milky, fluid texture that’s usually wiped or rinsed off. A lovely choice for your morning cleanse or a second cleanse at night. 

Susanne Kaufmann Soothing Cleansing Milk

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser

Cleansing gel 

A popular choice for combination/oily skin types, cleansing gels are a solid choice for your morning routine or second cleanse at night. Some formulas are boosted with exfoliating acids to offer a superficial, resurfacing effect.

Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel

Pai Phaze PHA Cleanser

Foam cleanser

In the past, traditional cleansing foams were notorious for their drying effects on the skin. Fortunately, formulations have significantly improved over time, with many optimised to respect the skin barrier as they get to work. While most cleansing foams cater to those on the oilier side, there are exceptions to this rule.

Curél Foaming Facial Wash

Zelens Glacier Foam

Micellar water 

Also known as cleansing water, micellar water is best reserved for removing eye makeup or as a first cleanse if you have no access to water (such as at a festival). Use sparingly and always follow with a wash-off cleanser.

Bioderma Sensibio

Garnier Micellar Water


Words by Katie - Team Skin Rocks
Qualifications - BTEC, Beauty Therapy Applied Sciences

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