7 Types of Facial Cleansers – and General Tips to Follow

Gel, cream or foam? How do you know what facial cleanser is best for you?

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Facial cleansing is the first and most important part of a skincare routine. 

Like most skincare products, cleansers come in various types. Each type is designed for specific skin needs so that your daily routine aligns with your goals.

These are the various types of cleansers and a few general tips for the best results.

1. Gel Cleansers

It looks like gel. It feels like gel. It is gel.

Gel cleansers are typically water-based and have a clear or translucent consistency. Their texture is somewhat slippery and jelly-like.

These cleansers contain hyaluronic acid and glycerin as their main ingredients to hydrate the skin. 

As such, they’re gentle and don’t strip the skin of its oil. They provide a refreshing and cooling sensation.

Gel cleansers are a safe option to start with.

2. Cream Cleansers

Like gel cleansers, cream cleansers are also water-based. 

But unlike gel cleansers, they have a thick and creamy consistency with a moisturizing effect. They are heavier than gel and lighter than oil cleansers.

These are a viable in-between option for those looking for something lightweight and moisturizing.

Cream cleansers are best for cold seasons when the skin needs that extra moisture.

3. Foaming Cleansers

Hydrating cleanser vs. foaming cleanser

Foaming cleansers start off as gel or cream then boom… they burst into a rich, bubbly lather. The lather created helps to lift away oil and impurities.

These cleansers are effective at removing excess oil and sebum. They are an excellent choice for those with frequent acne breakouts.

The ingredients in foaming cleansers, specifically sodium lauryl sulfate, may be too harsh for sensitive skin. Check out for this.

If present, you may want to settle for something gentler.

4. Micellar Water

From the name, micellar water contains micelles to attract and lift away dirt, makeup and impurities.

As for the texture, we’ll place them somewhere in between foam and cream cleansers. They are light but have lots of cleansing power.

They are gentle and non-stripping and suit all skin types. 

Micellar water cleansers are excellent for when you are on the go and don’t have access to your skincare products.

5. Oil Cleansers

Applying deep cleansing oil

As their name probably suggests, oil cleansers are formulated with oil.

Contrary to popular belief, oil cleansers are gentle on the skin and are less likely to produce excess sebum.

They will rid the skin of excess dirt and impurities without drying it. 

While these cleansers are compatible with different skin types, they are best suited for those with dry and sensitive skin.

6. Balm Cleansers  

Balm cleansers are solid and waxy and melt into oil when massaged onto the skin. 

They are perfect for people with dry skin. They dissolve excess impurities and sebum and leave the skin clean and silky.

7. Powder Cleansers

Powder cleanser and a brush

Powder cleansers come in powdered form and you need to create a paste before using them. They are made using natural ingredients like oats, rice bran and baking soda. 

Since they are oil-free, powder cleansers are excellent for those with oily or acne-prone skin. They are also perfect for traveling. 

General Tips When Using Facial Cleansers

Here are some great tips for using cleansers to maintain a healthy and balanced skin.

Everyone’s skin is unique and it may take some time to find a cleanser that works best for you. Consult with your dermatologist if you have specific concerns or conditions. They will provide personalized guidance.


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