Everything You Need to Know About the Types of Cleansers (and How to Find the Best One for You)

Everything You Need to Know About the Types of Cleansers (and How to Find the Best One for You)Everything You Need to Know About the Types of Cleansers (and How to Find the Best One for You)

Finding the perfect cleanser for your skin can be nothing short of *life-changing*.

If you think we’re being dramatic, hear us out…

An excellent cleanser efficiently washes away makeup and other impurities, prepping your complexion so the rest of your skincare can work its best.

Some cleansers offer additional benefits such as exfoliating, hydrating, and brightening.

Have we got your attention? Well, if you’re wondering how to know what face wash is right for you, you’ve come to the right place.

You can also learn more about the different types of cleansers for each skin type in the YouTube video below...


What Type of Cleanser Should I Use?

To find the best face wash for you, considering your skin type is key.

So let's go through the different skin types and the type of cleanser that will work best for each skin type...

Normal Skin

If you have normal skin, the cleanser aisle is your oyster. Most formulas will work for you, so let your choice be guided by your cleansing needs. For example, if you wear makeup, choose a cleanser designed to remove it.

Sensitive Skin

Buying cleansers for sensitive skin can be tricky. But if you steer clear of harsh ingredients and artificial fragrances, you’ll minimise the chances of flare-ups. Look for gentle, nourishing formulas like lotions or milks. And choose an alcohol-free cleanser.

Dry or Dehydrated Skin

Just as you’d choose alcohol free cleansers for sensitive skin, the same rule applies here. Go for cleansers with added hydrators. Oil cleansers, lotions, and milks will be your best bets.

Combination Skin

Combo skin has normal, oily, and dry parts. Accordingly, the best type of cleanser for combination skin is a non-stripping foam or gel specifically designed to target a variety of needs.

Oily Skin

Foam and gel cleansers are excellent for oily skin, but don’t be tempted to choose a harsh, drying formula. Overcleansing can send your skin’s oil production into overdrive, making the problem worse.

Breakout-Prone Skin

For congested skin, look for products with ingredients to sweep away dead surface cells and treat bacteria. Exfoliating cleansers and foam cleansers are great options for breakout-prone skin.


Types of Cleansers

From cleansing oils to foam washes and creamy milks, the choices available may seem overwhelming.

But once you’ve got a handle on what to look for, you’ll find making a decision much easier.

Now, let’s get into all the types of cleansers out there.

Cleansing Oils

What it is: Cleansing oils are rich formulas made with—you guessed it—oils.

  • An oil cleanser quickly removes makeup and is the perfect opener for a two-step cleansing regimen.

  • Oils are suitable for all skin types, but if you have oily or breakout-prone skin, opt for a lighter formula.

Product to try: Dermalogica PreCleanse

Thanks to its almost magical ability to instantly sweep away even the heaviest of makeup, this one has reached cult status in the beauty world.

It’s lightweight and works for all skin types. But if your skin is on the drier side, try the heavier Dermalogica PreCleanse Balm instead.


Cleansing Balms

What it is: Oil cleansers in solid form make the perfect travel companion: they won’t leak all over your bag if the lid comes loose.

  • These thick balms take on a thinner consistency when applied, and they’re great for all skin types.

  • Makeup-wearers will especially love them.

Product to try: Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm 

As one of the O.G. products in the solid oil category, this gentle cleanser changes into a silky, emollient-rich lotion.

It feels positively luxurious, making the cleansing process feel less like a chore and more like an indulgence.


Exfoliating Cleansers

What it is: Chemical exfoliants are one of the gentlest and most efficient ways to refresh your complexion.

  • Drawing on the power of chemical exfoliants (AHAs, BHAs, or PHAs), these cleansers wash away the day while loosening dead cells and assisting the skin’s renewal process.

  • For sensitive skin, try one with Lactic Acid, a gentler AHA.

  • For breakouts, go for Salicylic Acid, a BHA, to reduce congestion.

Product to try: Skinstitut L-Lactic Cleanser

If you’re new to the world of chemical exfoliants, it may be tempting to go all in and grab the most potent product you can find.

But for the health of your skin barrier, please don’t! With Lactic Acid plus soothing Vitamins B and E, this Skinstitut goodie is an excellent intro for chemical exfoliant newbies.


Foam Cleansers

What it is: Foam types of cleansers take on a sudsy texture once they meet water.

  • The result is a complexion that feels very fresh and clean.

  • If you’re looking for the best type of cleanser for oily skin or combination skin, a foam cleanser is your guy.

Product to try: innisfree Green Tea Foam Cleanser

For normal, combination, or oily skin, this foaming cleanser from innisfree works a treat. It’s made with Green Tea Extract to leave you feeling refreshed plus Vitamin C to brighten.

The formula also contains innisfree’s Dual Moisture-Rising Technology to stop moisture loss from the skin.


Gel Cleansers

What it is: Gel cleansers have a jelly-like texture.

  • They’re normally gentle but deep-cleaning, and suitable for all skin types.

  • But if you have a dry or sensitive complexion, look for a gel cleanser specifically designed for this skin type.

Product to try: Pixi Glow Tonic Cleansing Gel

Pixi is all about delivering maximum results with minimal fuss—and this multitasking cleanser does just that.

It has Aloe Vera to hydrate and soothe, Glycolic Acid to gently exfoliate, and Ginseng Extract to brighten. It’s cruelty-free and suitable for all skin types.


Cream or Milk Cleansers

What it is: These types of cleansers have a creamy or milky texture and are normally designed to be used with a facial cloth or cotton pad.

  • Loaded with hydrating ingredients, they’re the best type of cleanser for dry skin that experiences sensitivity.

Product to try: Alpha-H Balancing Cleanser

This vegan-friendly, pH-balanced option by Alpha-H contains ingredients like Vitamin E and Aloe Vera to nurture the skin throughout the cleansing process.

It’s an oil-free, alcohol-free cleanser suitable for all skin types and includes no mineral oils or parabens.


Now you’re armed with all the knowledge on the different types of facial cleansers, we hope you’ll find your perfect cleansing match.

Just remember, your quest to find the best face wash for you may also require a little trial and error.

To check out more of the best cleansers, head to our cleanser category or have a read through the guides below...




Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.






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