Today we’re talking cleansers! Best cleansers, worst cleansers, I got you!
Perfect skin starts with a great skincare routine. And every great skincare routine starts with a good cleanser! It’s important to not only find a cleanser that will remove impurities and, well, cleanse your skin, but also one that will suit your skin type.
People often overlook the importance of having a good cleanser. Even though it’s only on your skin for a short amount of time, your cleanser is going to wash off makeup, dirt, and germs at the end of the day and prep your skin for the rest of your skincare and makeup routine in the morning.
Let’s start off with my all-time favourite face cleansers. Over the years, I’ve tried tons of different cleansers but only a select few have impressed me enough to get me to repurchase them. Here are my top five (and a bonus) absolute favourite cleansers!
*this post may contain affiliate links
1. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser
Interestingly enough, I wasn’t looking for a new cleanser when I fell in love with the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. I got a “deluxe sample” of this product with my Sephora Beauty Rewards points about a month ago because I decided it was worth giving it a shot since I was almost out of my current cleanser. Boy, am I glad I did – it’s now my all-time favourite cleanser!
I was absolutely shocked when I realized a tiny amount can remove every last bit of makeup from my face (even waterproof mascara!) without any effort at all. It leaves my face feeling fresh
(pun is a happy coincidence) and clean, and it leaves no residue. While all of this is very impressive in itself, my favourite part about this cleanser is how gentle it is. My skin is currently very sensitive and I have a bit of eczema going on but this cleanser is so gentle that my skin never gets irritated. In fact, I find it to be quite soothing on the skin – something I would have never expected from a product with such heavy-duty cleansing ability.
I especially recommend this cleanser for anyone with normal to oily skin but I have dry-combination skin right now and I’m loving it even on dryer areas. Also, if you’re someone with acne-prone skin but don’t necessarily need drying acne treatment in your cleanser, this is a great choice for you!
2. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser
The La Roche-Posay Toleraine Dermo-Cleanser was recommended to me by my dermatologist while I was struggling with excessive dryness during my Accutane treatment. While I wasn’t used to getting my skincare products from the drugstore, I was desperate for anything that would ease the horrible itchiness and flaking that accompanied my parched skin. I’m so glad my snobby attitude towards budget-friendly skincare didn’t stop me from trying out this cleanser because it was such a game-changer for my skin at that time!
This cleanser is so gentle that you don’t even need to wash it off with water! When my skin was severely dry and sensitive, I would remove my makeup then apply the Toleraine Dermo-Cleanser to my face as with any other cleanser but instead of washing it off, I would use a cotton ball to remove it. This got rid of any dirt or makeup left behind from the makeup remover and left my skin feeling soft and moisturized instead of tight and stripped. I don’t know of any other cleanser on the market that is as gentle as this one.
This is the product that single-handedly changed my mind about all drugstore products and saved me from perma-parched skin. I recommend this cleanser for anyone with dehydrated, dry, and/or very sensitive skin. If you’ve been searching for a cleanser that will keep your skin moisturized and calm, this is the one! Keep in mind: if your skin is combination to oily, this product may not be for you as it did make my face oilier now that I have combination-type skin.
3. Dior Instant Gentle Cleansing Oil
Looking for an efficient all-in-one makeup remover and face cleanser? The Dior Instant Gentle Cleansing Oil might be perfect for you. I love this cleanser for how well it removes every last bit of makeup and doesn’t require double-cleansing.
Oddly enough, this product is called a “cleansing oil” but it doesn’t contain any oil at all! Dior simply named it this way because it behaves as an oil would, removing even waterproof makeup with ease. However, as this Gentle Cleansing Oil doesn’t actually have oil in it, you don’t have to follow up with a separate cleanser after using it. Win-win!
While this cleanser does have a bit of a scent to it, it is very mild and it gives an aura of luxury while using the product. My skin can be pretty sensitive and this cleanser never broke me out or caused irritation but, on days when my skin is being extra sensitive, it has made it feel a tad dry after cleansing so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for sensitive skin types. That said, it’s a fantastic all-in-one makeup remover and cleanser for dry to oily skin without major sensitivity.
Recently, Dior launched its Hydra Life skincare line and the Oil To Milk Makeup Removing Cleanser looks and sounds a lot like my beloved Instant Gentle Cleansing Oil. This makes me wonder if this new product is going to eventually replace the Gentle Cleansing Oil. Only time will tell but, in the meantime, the Instant Gentle Cleansing Oil is still available to purchase on the Sephora website but not in stores.
4. Lancome Mousse Radiance
The Lancome Mousse Radiance Clarifying Self-Foaming Cleanser was my go-to cleanser for years. It was so great to me during my oily skin days. Lancome’s skincare in general was incredible for my oily skin and I still hold it near and dear to my heart.
This foaming cleanser is great because it doesn’t leave a residue and it cleanses quickly so very minimal work is required to get the skin clean. It also never caused breakouts on my oily teenage skin so that was a huge plus for me. I will say, though, that it can be quite drying if you don’t have oily skin. As my skin grew closer to combination-type, I found this product to make any dry areas feel parched and itchy which is why I had to break off my love affair with it.
If you have oily skin, this is a great product to cleanse the skin thoroughly, getting rid of clogged pores and blackheads with ease.
5. Murad Clarifying Cleanser
Back when I was struggling with horrible acne, I needed everything in my skincare routine working to stop those pesky pimples right in their tracks. I tried what felt like a million different cleansers and nothing ever worked. The Murad Clarifying Cleanser was one of the last left on my wish list of acne-clearing cleansers when I tried it. At this point, I had given up hope on anything working for me.
To my surprise, this cleanser was everything I was looking for and more. It contains 1.5% salicylic acid, which is not the most of any cleanser I’ve tried – but it worked! Results were noticeable almost immediately after I switched to this cleanser and it was not drying or irritating like most other ones I tried. I actually adored the whole Murad acne line and repurchased it for years.
I 100% recommend this cleanser for anyone with active acne breakouts – you will love it!
Bonus: Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser
Since I realize not everyone wants to spend a fortune on their skin, I’ve included my favourite cleanser under C$10. I tried the Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser when I was at my boyfriend’s place and had forgotten to bring my usual cleanser from home.
At first, I was skeptical but when I was done, I realized it had done a marvellous job cleansing my skin of any dirt and excess oil – my pores looked better than ever! I love how refreshing this cleanser is and it leaves your skin baby-smooth. The only complaint I have is that it can be quite drying, so anyone with dry skin or dry patches should steer clear of this one.
As someone who loves to try new products, I’ve had my fair share of negative experiences. These four cleansers went straight into the garbage or back to the store (bless Sephora’s return policy). I actually bought all four of these cleansers because they were recommended to me and/or had great reviews so it’s not to say that you won’t love them; but they’re on this list because my experience with them was exceptionally bad.
Let me start off by saying I love Aveeno and the Daily Moisturizing Lotion is my favourite body lotion in the world. Because I love their lotion so much, I thought their face products would be just as fabulous… Boy, was I wrong.
The Clear Complexion Cream Cleanser felt greasy from the moment I put it on my skin and it got worse from there. It left a gross film on my skin no matter how little I used and clogged my pores like no other cleanser I’ve ever tried. Needless to say, this cleanser went straight to the trash.
Everywhere I look, I see rave reviews for the Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser. While tons of people adore this product, I was underwhelmed at what it did to my skin.
This cleanser managed to dry out my then-oily skin to the point where it was flaking off and each time I washed my face with it, my skin would become extremely red. This leads me to believe that the ingredients in this product are quite harsh and may be harmful to the skin’s natural moisture barrier. It is my belief that, while it may give great results in the moment, the harsh ingredients will do more harm than good in the long run.
I had such high hopes for this one. The Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash is supposed to be ideal for combination skin, claiming to balance dry and oily skin. As someone with dry cheeks and an oily T-zone, this sounded perfect for me. Unfortunately, the results were less than ideal, to say the least.
This cleanser left a very noticeable film on the surface of my skin no matter how much I tried to rinse it off. I found this odd for a product that claimed to be formulated for both dry AND oily skin but I figured it would be fine and continued to use it.
After about a day and a half (three washes), I realized my skin had broken out in patches of horrible cystic acne. Since this product was the only change I had made to my skincare routine, I stopped using it to see if my face would continue to break out without it. I didn’t get any major breakouts for the next few weeks while I was taking a break from this cleanser so I figured it must’ve been the culprit. I decided to try using it again to confirm if my suspicions were correct. As I predicted, after only one use, I broke out with more cystic acne. In fact, the acne that this cleanser caused was bad enough that I would never recommend this product to anyone, acne-prone or not.
What’s your favourite cleanser? Have you ever had a bad experience with a face wash? I’d love to hear your hits and misses in the comments below!
That’s it for today but I’ll be back soon to talk about toners. Ta-ta for now!