Awash with wonder
With so many different cleanser options, which one is your face’s best fit? We break it down here
Cut through the guff with our simple, effective guide to cleansing your skin
tThe cleansing conundrum used to be easy: cream or gel? But now it’s far more complex. You must “double cleanse”, claims one expert. No, says another: good skin is the result of no washing at all. Wait … what?
We brought these mixed theories to top dermatologists and cosmetic chemists, who agreed on a few rules: always wash before bed (it’s essential for removing oil, makeup, dirt and pollution particles that can inflame), but it’s fine to forgo it in the morning unless you put on treatment products such as retinol or glycolic acid the night before. Double cleansing? Pricey tools? Pretty much unnecessary. As for all the new cleanser types, we’ve decoded the most popular versions so you can find the one that suits you perfectly.
BALM Best for: Combination skin. As well as utilising dirt-busting oils, these humble guys often contain natural exfoliators, which help to slough rough patches and unclog pores. How to use: Warm a 5 cent-piece amount in your palms (it’ll melt into an oil), massage into dry skin and wipe away with a wet cloth. TRY: Darphin Aromatic Cleansing Balm with Rosewood, $62 This cleansing balm offers a full sensory experience, with our tester complimenting its beautiful smell and feel as part of her #selfcaresunday routine. OILBest for: Dry skin or those who wear lots of foundation. The base is made with marine oils – ideal for removing face and eye make-up.How to use: Shake gently, then massage the formula into dry skin to remove make-up and impurities. Wipe off with a soft wet cloth. TRY: La Mer The Cleansing Oil, $112 Our tester says she’s now converted to cleansing oil for life after trying this clever product. After adding water, the oil turned to milk that left her skin feeling luxuriously soft, fresh and healthy. CREAM Best for: Dry or sensitive skin, or if you use moisture-sapping products for acne or wrinkles. Creams mix high levels of emollients (hydrating ingredients) to break up grime with low levels of surfactants (cleansing agents) to knock out muck. How to use: Apply a 5 cent-piece size onto dry skin. Remove with water and feel the softness! TRY: Murad Resurgence Renewing Cleansing Cream, $50 This formula, packed with natural skin-friendly oils, left our tester’s parched skin feeling hydrated and glowing throughout the day. MICELLAR WATER FOAMBest for: Normal or oily types who aren’t using topical acne meds (the combo could be overly drying). The pillowy texture feels especially nice post-workout.How to use: Wet your face first and pump a single serving into your palm, then slather it from the chin right up to the forehead to prevent any falling into eyes. Rinse off with water. You’re done! TRY: Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash, $33 After a five-kilometre run, our tester said her face felt oily – this cleanser helped to leave it refreshed but not dry. Nice! GELBest for: Oily or combination skin. Many gels now boast added hydrators; this one contains B5 panthenol to soothe and calm.How to use: Lather with water and gently massage a dollop of gel onto your face using circular motions. Then rinse off. Easy! Ultraceuticals Ultra Balancing Gel Cleanser, $55 My face felt calm and clean after I washed it but not too dry, said our tester, impressed. WH Best for: Women with normal skin who aim for a low-maintenance routine – you don’t even need to turn on the tap with TRY: this. The tiny oil molecules act like a dirt magnet; then the formula’s H2O and mild surfactants simply sweep it away. How to use: Soak a cotton pad, then blot skin. Repeat until nothing more comes off on the pad. Yep, it’s that easy! TRY: Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, $13.99 After a late night, our tester was surprised that her face felt clean enough to hit the pillow without a full cleanse and rinse.