6 Types Of Facial Cleanser Explained
6 Types Of Facial Cleanser Explained

6 Types Of Facial Cleanser Explained

Cleansing is the first step in any skincare routine, but to make the most of it you need the right product for your complexion. Here, SheerLuxe contributor and celebrity facialist Michaella Bolder explains the different cleansers on the market and how best to use each one.
By Rebecca Hull

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A cleansing balm has a waxy, oily base that nourishes and cleanses your skin while melting away make-up. It dissolves everything, but without leaving your complexion feeling stripped or dry. They are better suited to those with dry, dehydrated skin as they can feel quite heavy. I recommend them for more mature skin types too, as mature skin often needs moisture put back into it. That being said, most of us can benefit from using a balm, but I would use one with caution if you’re prone to severe breakouts or oiliness. To get the most out of it, use it as your first step in a two-part cleansing routine. Because they have a little slip to them, they are ideal for facial massage and using with a gua sha or roller. You can also leave them on clean skin as a moisturising mask.


Thinner in consistency, cleansing oils are designed to act like magnets. They draw out excess sebum, dirt and build-up that is trapped in pores so skin feels much cleaner afterwards. Thanks to the nourishing oil, it doesn’t strip skin or leave it feeling too tight either. Anyone with combination, dry or oily skin will benefit from using a cleansing oil. They turn milky when you wash them off with water, so removal is seamless. They’re gentle too, so you can use them both morning and night.


Foams should be used by those with oily or combination skin. They are especially useful for treating breakouts and blackheads because they are a water-based product that usually contain an active ingredient that specifically targets sebum control. When used regularly they can balance the skin’s PH levels, resulting in a fresher, brighter complexion. The only downside is they can leave skin feeling a little dry, so you need to follow up with plenty of moisturiser.


If you suffer with sensitivities or inflammation, try cleansing milks. They are lotion-based which makes for a gentle cleanse. Often, you’ll find they are full of amino acids, which restore your skin’s barrier function and never cause irritation. A great option for daily use, morning and night, they’re a safe bet if you’re not sure where to start.


A cream cleanser is similar to a cleansing milk. The only difference is it has a thicker consistency, so it’s more moisturising. Buttery and smooth, their luxurious formulations suit all skin types and work to soothe irritation while offering a deep and thorough cleanse. As they are quite heavy duty, it’s likely you won’t need to do a double cleanse.


Micellar waters are perfect for make-up removal. If they are fragrance free, they’re a great option for those with extremely dry skin conditions. However, if you’re using micellar water as a standalone product, it’s always worth using a warm flannel afterwards to remove any residue. While they work hard, they don’t always get every last trace of make-up off. Use a micellar water as the first step in your routine, then follow up with a balm or cream cleanser to ensure you’ve done a thorough job.

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