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A Foolproof Guide To Finding Your Perfect Cleanser

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Cleansers are a skincare staple and the first step in your routine. From taking off the day to giving pores a deep clean, they have an undeniably crucial role. But does it matter what kind of cleanser you use? Can you use the same formula in the morning and evening? Do cleansing oils really live up to the hype? Here, we answer all of your burning questions and help you find the right one for your skin type…

Can I Use The Same Cleanser In The Morning & At Night?

You can use the same cleanser both morning and night, but they serve slightly different purposes. In the morning, a simple cleanser is enough since you are just rinsing away any product you’ve used overnight and waking up your skin. Opt for a refreshing and calming formula, rather than anything too heavy.

“At night, I always recommend doing a double cleanse to thoroughly remove makeup, SPF, environmental aggressors and other impurities from the day,” says skincare expert and brand founder Kate Somerville. “You can also look for something with acids in to help with gentle exfoliation too.” Salicylic acid is a good ingredient to look out for if you regularly battle with blackheads and congested skin as it helps to loosen blocked pores. 

What Type Of Cleanser Should I Use?

From balms and oils to creams and gels, choosing the right texture can be a small minefield. Generally speaking, it depends on your skin type and whether you’re relying on your cleanser to remove makeup too.

“Cleansing oils are the best and most effortless way to remove makeup and SPF,” says Votary’s co-founder Arabella Preston. “Always combine them with a face cloth as this physical action of ‘lifting’ the oil and makeup from your skin is crucial.”  While the oil nourishes your skin, the cloth helps to gently exfoliate too. Oil cleansers are surprisingly well-suited to all skin types too – particularly as a first cleanse at night. If you’re adamant that you don’t want to use an oil cleanser, we highly recommend Drunk Elephant’s E-Rase Milki Micellar Water.

As skincare guru Caroline Hirons regularly remind us, double cleansing is essential, especially in the evenings. Your second cleanser should be tailored to your skin type for the best results. (If you’re unsure, here’s a handy guide to understanding your skin type)

What Are The Best Cleansers For Dry Skin?

“Those with dry skin will benefit from using a gentle cleanser which will protect the skin’s natural moisture barrier,” says dermatologist and brand founder Dr Murad. You definitely don’t want to be making the dryness any worse, so Dr Barbara Sturm suggests staying clear of aggressive acids. “Cleansing products that use these only dehydrate the skin further,” she says.

Try Augustinus Bader’s NEW The Cream Cleansing Gel for a hydrating cleanse thanks to the soothing formula of cucumber extract, rose flower water and aloe. Another good option is Allies of Skin’s Molecular Silk Amino Hydrating Cleanser, which is packed with moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid to really nourish dehydrated skin.

Which Cleansers Work Best For Oily Skin?

Clarifying cleaners are well-suited to oily complexions as they help to control excess oil production. Tata Harper’s Clarifying Cleanser is a firm favourite as it really helps to balance out your skin’s natural oil levels without a drying effect. The last thing you want to do is dry out your skin as it will go into overdrive and produce more oil to compensate. In fact, you still want to be moisturising your skin, so oil production is regulated. Shiseido’s Clarifying Cleansing Foam is also worth a try.

What Are The Best Cleansers For Acne-Prone & Sensitive Skin?

“If you experience breakouts, you may want to consider a stronger, antibacterial cleanser that contains salicylic acid as this really helps to deep clean your skin and clear clogged pores,” says Dr Murad. Murad’s AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser uses salicylic acid, as well as lactic and glycolic to gently exfoliate and promote cell turnover. Caudalie’s Vinopure Purifying Gel Cleanser also uses salicylic to not only clear but also prevent pesky breakouts.

To calm stressed-out skin, try Kate Somerville’s NEW DeliKate Soothing Cleanser which is great for irritated, red or skin that’s become sensitised from harsh ingredients. You can almost feel the creamy lotion cooling and calming as you massage it in. 


What About Cleansers For Combination Skin?

When you’re stuck between oily and dry skin and different areas have specific concerns, it can be a little trickier to find a cleanser. “Choosing a mild cleanser is best for combination skin since it will clean your pores and balance both dry and oily zones,” says Dr Murad. Oskia’s Renaissance Cleansing Gel will do just that and is great for giving a deep cleanse on both oily and dry skin thanks to the vitamin-rich and gentle formula. 

Should I Change My Cleanser In The Summer?

The weather can have an impact on your skin type, so listening to your skin and switching up your cleanser when necessary is wise. “Many of us like to reach for lighter gel cleansers in the summer that help to boost hydration whereas in the colder months, we may opt for something richer,” says dermatologist and brand founder Dr Murad.

“An increase in oil production in the summer can also be common as can increased dryness in the winter so many of us can benefit from switching things up with the seasons,” adds Kate.

If you don’t notice much change in your skin however, there is no reason why you can’t stick to what works. “If you’re using a gentle or hydrating product that cleanses effectively without disturbing your skin barrier and doesn’t leave your skin feeling dry or tight, there should be no need to switch your cleanser,” confirms Dr Barbara Sturm.

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