Are you having trouble finding the perfect facial cleanser for your skin? Here is a complete skincare guide on how to choose the best facial cleansers for every skin type and need!
Choosing the right face wash product can be very confusing because there are so many different types of cleansers in the market, from soap, cleaning oil, foam cleaner to cleansing milk.
With so many options available in the market, how do you know you are using the right face cleanser for your skin's specific needs? Here is a cheat sheet about all types of facial cleansers and for what skin types.
What is a Foaming Cleanser?
Foaming cleansers are probably the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a face wash. These are generally lightweight cleansing product that start as a cream, liquid, or gel that, when combined with water, bursts into a foamy lather.
They are great for removing excess debris and impurities and sometimes it has a gentle exfoliating function that helps purify the skin by removing dead cells.
If you have sensitive or acne prone skin, make sure your cleansing foam doesn't contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) - an harsh foaming agent. They can strip the skin of its natural oils and dry out your skin, which can cause irritation or allergic reactions.
The reason foaming face washes often get a bad rap is because of this harmful surfactant - sodium lauryl sulfate. In addition to being found in cosmetics, SLS is also widely used in hand soaps, shampoos, detergents and personal care products.
The good news is that you can find many excellent sulfate-free products that will help with dry and damaged skin by gently removing grime without aggravating irritated skin.
What skin type should use foaming cleanser?
In general, foaming cleansers are ideal for oily and acne-prone skin as their deep penetration capabilities allow them to do wonders in deep pore cleansing that helps get rid of the bulk in pores, reduce pimples, and get rid of pesky black and white heads.
Best (Korean) Foaming Facial Cleansers
OLEHENRIKSEN The Clean Truth Foaming Cleanser
Olehenriksen Cleanser is a thick, foaming cleaner that creates a rich lather to gently remove makeup and impurities. It is rich in African red tea extract and vitamin C and makes every application a stimulating spa experience.
Origins Checks and Balances™ Frothy Face Wash
A gentle daily cleanser washes away make-up, impurities and excess oils easily and leaves the skin feeling pleasantly clean. Formulated with broadleaf kelp extract, wheat protein and tourmaline, leaving skin feels clean, refreshed and balanced.
Aromatica Sea Daffodil Cleansing Mousse
This 100% natural cleanser gently removes sunscreen, impurities and dead skin cells with a natural enzyme papain, leaving the skin feeling fresh, soft and hydrated. This skin care product is vegan and cruelty-free.
💘 See more details Aromatica Cleansing Mousse
What is a gel cleanser?
Gel cleansers have a lightweight, clear, gel-like consistency and are usually designed for deep cleansing. They do an excellent job of purifying skin and removing excess oils and acne-causing bacteria from pores.
The cleansing gel is water-based, so they don’t clean as deeply as foam cleansers, but they’re much less likely to dry your skin out and maintain more hydration.
What skin type should use gel cleanser?
Gel cleansers are perfect for normal, combination, oily, and acne-prone skin, and even work well on sensitive skin that is prone to irritation and redness.
Best (Korean) Gel Facial Cleansers
Fresh Soy Fresh Cleanser
A cleansing gel with soy proteins, rich in amino acids, that removes dirt and make-up without removing essential moisture from the skin. It consists of soothing cucumber extract and skin balancing rose water that hydrates and refreshes your skin.
Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
This K-Beauty cleanser is formulated with betaine salicylate (BHA), birch sap and other botanical ingredients to dissolve dead skin cells and clogged impurities, make the skin clean and soft.
This vegan face product effectively balances the optimal pH value and is made without any animal ingredients. It is cruelty-free and dermatologically tested.
💘 See more details Cosrx Low pH Cleanser
Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser
A hypoallergenic daily cleanser will not irritate or tighten your skin while it cleanses your face. Formulated with Allantoin, Pro-Vitamin B5, and Poloxamer, the same gentle cleansing ingredient found in contact lens solutions that makes them safe for the eyes (while removing eye makeup, mascara).
Huxley Cleansing Gel Be Clean Be Moist
A pH-balancing gel cleaner gently removes dirt and clogs impurities from the pores. Enriched with organic prickly pear seed oil, cactus extract, hyaluronic acid, Centella asiatica to hydrate, soothe, protect the skin and reveal a supple and radiant complexion.
💘 See more details Huxley Cleansing Gel
What is a cream cleanser/Cleansing lotion?
Cream cleansers and cleansing lotions usually contain emulsifiers and natural oils that effortlessly remove most types of eye and lip makeup, sunscreen, and excess sebum at the same time without stripping the skin's natural oils.
They have a thicker, creamier texture and are packed with moisturizing properties, making them a great fall / winter facial cleanser, however the heavier consistency has the potential to clog pores.
What skin type should use cream cleanser/cleansing lotion?
Cleansing lotions and cream cleansers are excellent choices for normal, dry, and sensitive skin. Thanks to the moisturizing and hydrating agents in the products, they're also a great option for mature skin and those with eczema and rosacea.
Best (Korean) Cream Cleansers/ Cleansing lotion
Murad Renewing Cleansing Cream
A moisturizing cleansing cream turns into a luxurious foam to remove impurities and exfoliate gently without over-drying the skin. An encapsulated blend of lactic acid, a peptide, and an antioxidant helps brighten and renew the complexion.
La Roche Posay Toleriane Purifying foaming cream cleanser
A French skin care product gently removes impurities and make-up from combination skin to oily sensitive skin without drying out the skin. This cleansing cream is dermatologically tested and formulated without fragrances.
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser
A fragrance-free, gentle cleanser that effectively removes makeup, dirt and grime, leaving skin soft and supple. The whipped texture transforms into a sumptuous cream when blended with water and very gentle on skin.
What is a milky cleanser?
Milk cleansers are naturally light and gentle, made from a natural emulsion of fats and water that dissolve and remove makeup, sweat, oil, and pollutant from your skin without stripping your skin of its natural oils.
Cleansing milk is quite gentle on the skin and helps keeping your skin balanced, hydrated and protected. The consistency of the product is somewhere between a gel and an oil that will make you feel indulgent when you apply it.
What skin type should use cleansing milk?
Cleansing Milk is a super gentle, hydrating cleanser that is perfect for people with dehydrated, dry, sensitive and / or mature skin. If you have dehydrated skin (that needs moisture) this is ideal for you, as cleansing milk formulas hydrates and moisturizes your skin while cleansing it.
Best (Korean) Milk Cleansers
Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk
Thanks to a high proportion of nourishing and soothing active ingredients—jojoba and almond oil, it protects the skin from drying out and ensures immediate and lasting well-being.
Regardless of your skin type, this gentle milk cleanser will work wonders on your skin, even on the most sensitive skin. The aromatic scent mixes notes of lemon tree leaves, bergamot, lavender and sandalwood.
Avene Gentle Milk Cleanser
Formulated with the thermal water, the signature of this French cosmetic brand, this gentle cleanser with its liquid and velvety texture melts quickly on the skin and removes dirt at the end of the day without the risk of irritation.
This non-drying formula is completely hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and is great for dry, sensitive skin.
Aesop Gentle Facial Cleansing Milk
Not only does it smell wonderful, the milky texture makes your face so soft and refreshed. Enriched with grape seeds, panthenol and sandalwood, which are known for their soothing and moisturizing properties, this milk cleanser is exceptionally gentle on your skin.
Sioris Cleanse Me Softly Milk Cleanser
A 100% natural facial cleanser is made with organic green plum water, which is full of nutrients and minerals to invigorate the skin.
Macadamia seed oil, which is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, along with natural plant-based surfactants, effectively cleanses and moisturizes the skin.This low pH product is vegan, cruelty free, and made without parabens, artificial fragrances, additives, or harmful chemicals.
What is a cleansing balm?
Cleansing balms are creamy, rich cleansers that are very effective at dissolving heavy eye and face makeup, as well as any traces of dirt that may have built up throughout the day.
They have a sorbet-like texture that melts into a silky cleansing oil when massaged on dry skin and then turns into a milky emulsion with water that is easy to clean your skin.
Balm cleansers are usually formulated with moisturizing ingredients, like butter, oils that help moisturize your skin during or after cleansing. The cleansing balm has a solid texture that is perfect for on the go (travel) and for the first step in the Korean double cleansing routine.
What skin type should use cleansing balm?
Cleansing balms can be used for all skin types, but at most normal, very dry skin and sensitive skin can be beneficial. However, some balm cleansers can be too heavy for oily or breakout-prone skin, so choose the right formula for your skin type.
Best (Korean) Cleansing Balms
Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Pure Luxury Cleansing Butter
Enriched with pure 24 carat gold in a solid-to-oily texture, this luxurious cleansing butter gently melts away makeup, sun protection cream and impurities and gives an opulent glow. Chamomile butter and honey provide intense moisture as Kasturi turmeric helps soothe the appearance of dry, sensitive skin.
Heimish All Clean Balm
A gentle oil-based cleanser / make-up remover effectively removes waterproof mascara, debris and excess sebum without drying out the skin. Enriched with natural essential oils such as coconut oil and shea butter that helps nourish and soften skin.
💘 See more details Heimish All Clean Balm
Banila Co Clean It Zero Original
The best-selling Korean cleanser has a gel-cream texture that melts into your skin, even removing waterproof makeup and any impurities that clog your pores in the process.
Formulated with acerola extract and spring water, which is rich in vitamins and minerals that help hydrate and brighten the skin.
💘 See more details Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleanser
What is a cleansing oil?
Many people are afraid adding cleansing oil to their face care regimen, but the oil cleansing method functions very similarly to cleansing balms.
Cleansing oil use lighter oils and surfactants that gentle on the skin but effectively remove dirt, sebum, most stubborn makeup from your skin while nourishing and hydrating your skin leaving your skin feeling silky smooth.
What skin type should use cleansing oil?
All skin types - and yes, even those with oily skin and acne-prone skin. Using an oil-based product can sound counterintuitive if your skin has problems with oiliness or is prone to acne.
However, it is actually one of the most effective ways to balance oil production and can help alleviate acne breakouts with healing properties.
Best (Korean) Cleansing Oils
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
A Japanese cleanser melts makeup and loosens impurities, leaving your skin clean, soft and glowing. Its botanical formulation features organic olive oil that softens and protects the skin against free radical damage and rosemary oil that invigorates and refreshes the skin.
Urang Natural Cleansing Oil
A 99.9% natural cleaner is only made with EWG-verified natural and organic ingredients. Formulated with nourishing seed oils—organic jojoba oil, organic sunflower oil and other natural essential oils to gently remove makeup, waste and dead skin cells while soothing redness and irritation.
💘 See more details Urang Natural Cleansing Oil
Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil
This 2-in-1 makeup remover and face cleanser made from camellia oil gently dissolve impurities, even waterproof makeup, leaving your skin clear and silky smooth. Enriched with Japanese camellia oil, green tea, rice and algae to restore a healthy looking, youthful radiance.
What is a micellar water / cleansing water
Cleansing water is purified H2O that is generally fortified with cleaning properties, and micellar water is made up a low concentration of oily micelles, which are tiny oil molecules and surfactants that act as dirt magnets.
Both are usually made up of hydrating ingredients like humectants that are effective in removing dirt, toxins, SPF moisturizer, and eye makeup from your skin without drying it out, leaving you with fresh, clean skin.
These water-based and surfactant-based makeup removers are quite easy to use as they don't have to lather or rinse the product off your skin.
*** Insider tip: Cleansing waters can be useful for mid-day cleanses between sunscreen reapplication – just carry a small bottle in your bag with some cotton pads! This help prevent the pores from clogging.
What skin type should use cleansing water/micellar water?
When it comes to skin types, micellar water and cleansing water are universally friendly products that are suitable for all skin types.
They're generally alcohol-free, which means dry skin and sensitive skin can benefit from them, but some of the products can leave oily residue on your skin. If you have oily or clogged skin that is prone to breakouts, we recommend washing again with a water-based face cleanser, like cleansing milk or foam.
Best (Korean) Cleansing Waters/Micellar Water
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1
This all-in-1 cleaner is surprisingly powerful and yet gentle on the skin. Designed to effectively cleanse, remove makeup and refresh the skin effectively.
Like a magnet, micelles trap and remove dirt, oil and makeup, leaving the skin perfectly clean and refreshed without drying it out.
Klavuu Pure Pearlsation Marine Collagen Micro Cleansing Water
A micro-cleansing water that contains microparticles to thoroughly cleanse pore-clogging impurities, makeup and dead skin cells without drying out the skin. Enriched with pearl extract, marine collagen and fermented yeast to brighten, soften and moisturize the skin.
💘 See more details Klavuu Mirco Cleansing Water
Bioderma Sensibio H20
This facial cleanser contains micelles, which are molecules with fatty acid esters that trap impurities while respecting the balance of your skin and its phospholipids.
In contrast to similar products, the micellar water from Bioderma contains neither alcohol nor parabens and soothes the skin with a cucumber extract..
Benton Tea Tree Cleansing Water
A vegan cleanser contains only 10 natural ingredients to gently remove makeup, impurities and excess sebum.
Enriched with 70% tea tree water and oil to soothe, irritated, blemished, reddened skin with its antibacterial ingredients and leaves the skin refreshed and relaxed.
💘 See more details Benton Tea Tree Cleansing Water
What is a clay cleanser?
Clay facial cleansers are formulated with clay to help clear out clogged pores and absorb excess oil and toxins to keep the skin smooth and clean.
Kaolin clay is known for its healing and detoxifying properties and has a powerful absorbent capacity to remove waste and dead skin cells without irritating or damaging the epidermis.
What skin type should use clay facial cleanser?
Clay cleansers are suitable for all skin types, but especially perfect for oily or combination, and acne-prone skin, a clay cleanser can be a holy grail in clearing breakouts, relieving redness, and preventing blackheads and whiteheads.
Clay-based skin care products are also great for sensitive skin as they usually do not contain harsh acids or scrubs, which are gentle enough for everyday use, but have similar benefits to exfoliating from salicylic acid (BHA).
Best (Korean) Clay Facial Cleansers
Dermalogica Dermal Clay Cleanser
A skin-perfecting formula provides deep cleansing for oily, congested skin. Water-soluble kaolin and green clays combine with cleansing extracts to remove excess oils and refine the complexion.
Anti-inflammatory cucumber and healing sage soothe irritation, while refreshing menthol revitalizes even the most tired skin.
Heimish All Clean White Clay Foam
This clay cleaner is formulated with Amazon's white clay kaolin, which has its sebum-absorbing properties that remove all waste, excess sebum and impurities from your pores.
This Korean product helps control oil production, detoxifies and rebalances the skin, leaving your skin moisturized and refreshed.
💘 See more details Heimish All Clean Whtie Clay Foam
L'Oréal Pure Clay Detox & Brighten Cleanser
A daily clay-to-mousse cleaner is powered by 3 different clays in their pure form and enriched with an ingredient from nature to remove everyday blemishes without drying them out. After regular use of the product, dull skin appears more radiant and radiant.
What is a cleansing bar (Soap) ?
Bar soap are a handy option for those who prefer a cleansing product that can be used on the face and body at the same time while shower.
Cleansing bar typically contain cold-pressed oils and binders to keep the soap in bar form, and lathers into a velvety foam that gently cleanses your skin and your pores.
Traditional cleansing soaps have a bad reputation for drying out or flaking the skin. However, today's soaps are made with mild moisturizing ingredients that nourish the skin and maintain a healthy skin pH balance.
Nowadays, cleansing bars are made with gentle cleansing agents and active ingredients to cater to every skin type and are great eco-friendly beauty products as they are largely sold in plastic-free packaging.
What skin type should use bar soap cleanser?
If you have oily skin, you can reap the biggest benefits from soap cleansers, especially those made with clay or charcoal. Normal and combination skin are also suitable, depending on the ingredients, but make sure you find a product without synthetic chemicals and fragrances.
Best (Korean) Bar Soap Cleansers
Herbivore Botanicals Pink Clay
French Pink Clay, a gentle clay known for removing impurities, cleanses without drying out your skin. A silky smooth foam helps to soften both face and body skin with a light citrus and floral scent. Each bar is unique and handcrafted with love.
Some By Mi AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Bar
A chemical peeling soap provides a gentle yet effective exfoliation that removes dead skin cells and impurities from the surface of the skin and pores.
Enriched with exfoliating acids, niacinamide, and 10,000 ppm tea tree extract to soothe redness, inflammation, and refine and brighten your skin.
The nourishing natural oils, Ecocert-certified organic olive oil and argan oil, help to soften the skin and provide it with moisture.
💘 See more details Some By Mi 30 Days Miracle Bar
Shea Moisture African Black Soap Bar with Shea Butter
A bar of natural soap is made from palm and plantain peel ash and a combination of different oils that have been used in Africa for centuries to balance oily skin.
Shea Moisture's African Black Soap combines Cocoa Pod Potash, Coconut Oil and Shea Butter and should be used daily to help even out dry skin.
What is a powder cleanser (enzyme cleanser)?
Powder cleaners pack highly potent enzymes that come in the form of a paste or foam, basically a concentrated and dehydrated version of liquid cleaners, and get a little creamy or foamy when mixed with water.
This innovative face washing method has long been used by Japanese and Korean women with milled powers from oats, rice bran and now, this ‘powder-to-foam’ face cleanser is the new “It” product in the Korean beauty industry.
This innovative cleansing method has long been used by Japanese and Korean women with milled powers from oats, rice bran and now this unique facial cleanser is the new "it" product in the Korean beauty industry.
Depending on how much water you mix in, the cleansing power can be individually adapted to your skin type. Add a little water, it will be a thicker and stronger scrub for a deeper exfoliation that is good for oily skin. On the other hand, using more water makes it softer and gentler that is great for sensitive skin.
The enzymes in powder cleansers act as an exfoliator that helps reduce dead skin cells, pore size, clogging impurities, and excess sebum, and improves the tone and texture of the skin while maintaining the skin's moisture balance. What's more, it's a travel-friendly formula that fits in both hand luggage and gym bags.
How to use enzyme powder cleanser?
Moisten your hand and pour the powder into the palm of your hand, then add water and mix until you have your ideal texture and lather.
Massage the product onto face, neck and décolleté in circular motions and wash off thoroughly. The Enzyme Powder Cleaner should be used in the morning or as the second step in a double cleanse skincare routine.
What skin type should use powder cleanser?
Powder cleansers are likely to be suitable for most skin types, depending on the ingredients. However, anyone with sensitive skin type would benefit from this foam of exfoliating product as it is likely to be gentler than other abrasive exfoliants.
Best (Korean) Powder Cleansers
Cosrx Low pH Centella Cleansing Powder
A mild peeling power cleaner made from two water-activated enzymes (protease and lipase) that gently remove excess sebum, dead skin cells and debris from pores.
Formulated with Centella asiatica to soothe irritated, blemished, and redden skin. This Cosrx facial cleaner is vegan and cruelty free.
💘 See more details Cosrx Low pH Cleansing Powder
Clinique Fresh Pressed Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C
Ultra-fine powder is activated with water and provides an intoxicating cleansing experience with visible benefits with fresh vitamin C for brightening and retexturing.
Immediately the skin is awakened, cleansed, with a refined texture and a more radiant appearance. The non-drying, non-stripping formula is gentle enough to use every morning.
Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub
This original Japanese scrub gently exfoliates your skin and then naturally dissolve all of unwanted waste from your face so you don't have to scrub too much.
This innovative powder activates with water to thoroughly cleanse the pores and make your skin visibly smoother in just one week.