Proper cleansing is fundamental to healthy skin, and in today’s complex world, one cleanser may not be enough. Skin condition varies depending on outdoor conditions, hormones, diet, and other cosmetics. I use different cleansers for stripping oil, retaining moisture, removing makeup, and treating blemishes.
If you only want one cleanser to do it all, then NIOD’s low-viscosity cleaning easter is for you—provided you’re willing to cough up the cash. It ain’t cheap, but it does work to remove makeup and impurities in a single step, and it’s packaged beautifully. The cleanser is solely made of isolated sugar and avocado esters—no oils, detergents, or water here. It can be used with or without water. It does leave a light hydrating film on the skin, so look elsewhere if you want that stripped clean feeling.
A mouthful of a name for a relatively simple product! This is a micro-emulsion of oils, esters, and water-compatible cleaners—basically a high-tech oil cleanser. Exotic oils like Mediterranean Crambe and East Asian Kanuga combine to remove even the thickest makeup in one step. No lengthy massaging nor washcloths required, as the Hylamide High Efficiency Face Cleaner washes off with only water.
This cleanser is more about what it isn’t than what it is—think of it as a reactionary product to faddish sulfate-free cleansers, miceller balms, and oil cleansing rituals. Sanskrit Saponins goes back to the original way of cleansing: soap and water with a natural bent. A pH-balanced mixture of saponins (plant-derived soap-like ingredients) suspended in the antioxdiant arginine create a truly unique product. This slightly pungent balm is designed to moderately strip the skin of oil and impurities, so I use this when I notice blackheads forming. Note that this cleanser is not intended to remove makeup.
AHAs remove dead cells from the uppermost layer of skin and that exfoliation gives you that new baby skin glow. This cleanser uses a mix of glycolic, lactic, and malic acid so that it offers mild exfoliation at varying levels (glycolic exfoliates at the deepest level, then lactic, then malic). The texture of this product isn’t the best—it’s extremely runny and you’ll waste the whole bottle if you aren’t careful. You also need to shake it before each use to prevent the natural ingredients from settling. Use this after removing makeup for a quick exfoliating wash.
If you have blackheads and clogged pores, salicylic is the only acid with a small enough molecule size to actually get into the pore and dissolve the clog. But salicylic acid cleansers are a dime a dozen and most negate salicylic acid with an inappropriate pH balance. The other problem is that salicylic acid is not particularly lipophilic (oil-loving), so sometimes it gets into the pore but can’t dissolve a really hardened oil clog. Enter La Roche Posay Effaclar Cleanser which contains a mix of salicylic acid and lipohydroxy acid. Lipohydroxy acid more lipophilic so it can help salicylic acid get into the pore and then dissolve it completely.
Targeted toward rosacea suffers, this cleanser has lichochalcone A which has anti-inflammatory effects on prostaglandins and leukotrienes implicated in red rosacea skin. Lichochalcone A also has mild antibacterial and anti-parasitic effects. This cleanser does use sulfates, so it cleanses well enough to remove light makeup in one round.