Beauty Lessons: Cleanser


FaceWashNow that we've taught you a lot about cosmetics in Makeup Lessons, it's time to take care of what's underneath and teach you how to keep your skin healthy and youthful. Choosing a cleanser can be difficult because you have to tailor it to your exact skin type so that you thoroughly clean and cleanse your face without leaving it tight or dry. When in doubt, choose a simple cleanser with as few additives as possible. Don't choose a cleanser because of a fad or a celebrity trend; choose something that will work for your skin. Here are the most common formulations and their strengths.


Even though they’ve been on the market for years, and are some of the most popular, cleansing oils still tend to scare those who haven’t tried them (especially women with oily skin). The benefits of cleansing oils and oil-based balms are many. When applied, the oil bonds to other oils and dirt on your face, fully cleansing the skin of impurities and makeup without the drying effects of detergent based cleansers. If used correctly, and washed off thoroughly, cleansing oil is the best way to remove heavier makeup and cleanse your face of dirt and grime. Try Clinique's Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm  $27.50 or   Bobbi Brown's Cleansing Oil $39  


Powder-based cleansers are still relatively unknown to drugstore brands but they can be a great alternative for women with acne-prone skin. You use them by applying a small amount of powder to wet hands and working it into a lather with your fingers. You can control the texture of your cleanser this way and the powder particles also act as a gentle exfoliant.Try Bare Escentuals Exfoliating Treatment Cleanser $26. 


I once used a drugstore brand cleanser that was specifically formulated for acne. After just a few days, I noticed that the blue face cloth I had been using to wipe my face off after washing had become bleached in parts and was slowly losing its color. This shocked me because no matter how much I hated my blemishes, I didn't want to put anything on my face that had the power to bleach fabric. Acne cleansers can be very drying and harmful to the rest of your skin if not used correctly so choose a variety that only has a small amount of acid, if any at all, and use a concentrated spot treatment only on the affected areas. Try Murad's Time Release Acne Cleanser $30.


Cleansing milks are by far the gentlest cleansers on the market. They’re light and usually formulated to be soothing but thoroughly cleansing for sensitive skin. Milks are usually lotion textured and don’t work up much of a lather but are a great option for everyday washing if your skin is delicate or prone to rashes. Try Bliss Clog Dissolving Cleansing Milk $28


Many women with oily skin choose gel based cleansers – they’re also a teenage favorite – but they can be drying and result in desperate, tight skin. Gel cleansers usually have oil absorbing properties that help clear the skin but even if you have oily, acne-prone skin you should always use a moisturizer afterwards. Creams are also a common choice, especially amongst drugstore shoppers, so look for a cleanser that is formulated to be gentle on the skin. Try Murad's Soothing Gel Cleanser $25.


The main appeal of foaming cleansers is their lightweight formulation. A lot of women like foaming cleansers because not only can you see where they are on your skin but they’re easy to wash off and are reminiscent of other cleaning processes. They’re usually delicate and can be great for women with sensitive skin. Try Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser $20


A lot of women rely on makeup wipes to remove their makeup and cleanse their face. While convenient, makeup wipes actually do a terrible job of throroughly cleansing the skin and can spread grime around your face rather than completely remove it. The only time I would suggest using makeup wipes is if it’s your only option. Using a wipe is better than not taking your makeup off at all but shouldn’t be your only cleansing option.