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The EV guide to Facial Cleansers

We decode face wash offerings, making it easier for you to find the perfect cleanser for your skin type and concerns

There are so many cleansers to choose from, with an array of buzzword ingredients. So, it comes as no surprise that you may be at a loss when it comes to what the best cleanser for your skin type and concerns actually is.

The right cleanser will help rid the skin of excess oil, dirt, make-up, pollution and a host of other impurities that can lead to acne, congestion, dehydration and even premature skin ageing.

This makes a good cleansing regime the cornerstone of a successful skincare routine, and understanding what’s on offer is well worth the effort.

But note that, according to experts, water alone won’t cut it and when it comes to traditional soaps – the kind you’d use on your hands – or face wipes, don’t even think about it, as these can do more harm than good. Luckily, that still leaves a number of options all detailed below…


Best For - normal, combination, oily, acne prone skin
As the name suggests, this type of cleanser has a gel-like consistency, and is generally formulated to provide deep cleansing in order to remove dirt and oil all without stripping the skin. However, normal and combination skin types should be wary of formulas containing a high dose of exfoliating acids as these suit oily and acne-prone skin best, and may leave skin feeling dry.


Best For - dry, sensitive, mature skin
Cream cleansers are typically a thick, dense formula that is extremely moisturising. The rich consistency means that they’re often less foaming, and as a result, shouldn’t dry your skin. Some formulas recommend applying on dry skin and wiping away with a cotton pad – in this case, it’s better to use a toner after to make sure no residue is left on your skin.


Best For – oily, acne-prone skin
Foaming cleansers usually come with a pump dispenser and they’re great for cleaning deep into pores. Some beauty camps believe foam cleansers can be too harsh on your skin, but they make a great option for oily-prone skin types – just be sure to thoroughly hydrate your skin post-cleansing, and avoid formulas with foaming agent sodium lauryl sulfate, as this ingredient can irritate sensitive skin.


Best For – dry, normal, sensitive, mature skin
Milks are generally extra-gentle non foaming cleansers that dissolve dirt, makeup and sebum, thanks to oils and fats in the formula; this makes them extremely moisturising and non-stripping. If you’re removing makeup, it’s best to double cleanse or use an oil cleanser first, followed by a milk.


Best For – dry, sensitive skin
Like a magnet oil attracts oil, so oil-based cleansers are said to bind with the skin’s natural sebum and any makeup, oil and dirt. They are gentle on skin, don’t clog pores,  and won’t strip the skin either.

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