Woman is having cosmetic treatment at beauty salon.

Here’s all you need to know about the different types of cleanser, how they should be used as part of your daily routine and the skin types they’re most suitable for. So whether you have dry, oily, sensitive or combination skin, we’ve got your skincare routine covered.

Woman is having cosmetic treatment at beauty salon.

The secret of perfectly cleansed skin

It’s called double cleansing and is considered to be the gentlest way of effectively removing makeup and the day’s dirt and grime. It’s especially important if you’re wearing an SPF or makeup with an SPF.


It requires using two different types of cleanser at night before bed. Start with an oil-based or balm cleanser (see below), depending on your skin type, which will work to dissolve makeup. Ideally it’ll be something that’s gentle enough to remove eye make-up, too. Follow with something water-based – a lotion or a gel – for a deeper cleanse. Finish with a hot cloth to remove the cleanser, then pat your face dry before applying your usual serum and moisturiser.

Foaming cleansers

This type of cleanser can be quite drying, so it’s good for those with oily skin types – and best avoided if you have dry or sensitive skin. Applied to damp skin, a foaming cleanser will last longer than other cleansers because you need only a small amount to lather up enough to cleanse the entire face. Rinse using running water from the tap – don’t put the plug in the sink and splash the same water over your face time and again.

foam cleanser

Gel and lotion cleansers

These are milder than most cleansers, so are best for sensitive skin types. They tend not to give a deep cleanse, so use an oil-based cleanser first and follow with a gel or lotion, to make sure you remove all dirt and makeup. Alternatively, apply a gel or lotion cleanser to a dry face, add a splash of water to loosen the formula, then use a hot flannel to remove completely.


Cream cleansers

These are the most popular cleansers probably because they are simple to use and suitable for most skin types, including combination skin. They’re also gentle but will remove makeup effectively. Apply to dry skin, massage in, then use a clean, hot flannel to remove.

Oil cleansers

Apply to dry skin, so the oil cleanser melts your makeup, and massage in for a couple of minutes. Then use warm water to emulsify the formula and remove with a hot flannel. If you have dry skin, you may find an oil cleanser can make your skin even drier over time, so don’t use them daily. However, oily skin types will benefit from using these cleansers as they work like a magnet and attract excess oil, then remove it.

Beauty portrait of a woman cleaning her face


Balm cleansers

Balm cleansers are like regular cleansers but in solid form and are most suited to those who have drier skin. They feel luxurious to use, but they can add extra time to your routine. They should be applied to dry skin and massaged in for a couple of minutes. Some balms will emulsify when water is added. Always remove with a hot, clean flannel.

Micellar water

This not only gives skin a thorough cleanse but adds moisture, too. It is also very gentle, which makes it suitable for all skin types as part of a simple skin care routine. We recommend using a cotton pad drenched in micellar water. You can get micellar water wipes, too, which are great for when you’re on the go.


Electronic cleansing brush

Electronic cleansing brushes should be used alongside your usual cleanser, brushes normally come with a variety of different bristles to suit your skin type. Electronic cleansing brushes work by dislodging make-up and impurities from the skin more effectively than using your hand alone.

Use the brush twice a week at night using small circular motions, this will leave your skin looking polished with a healthy glow.

Top Tip

As the brush draws out impurities from deep within the skin it may lead to some initial break outs – don’t worry as these will soon disappear and you will be left with refined pores and supple skin.

Attractive woman cleaning her face with a face wipe isolated on a white background


Cleansing wipes

Cleansing wipes have a reputation for not removing makeup properly, and although we wouldn’t recommend them for daily use, they are handy if you’re in a rush. For best results, choose really wet, soft wipes and place them over your eyes for a few minutes, before gently rubbing backwards and forwards across your face.