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Cleansing is the first step in any skin care routine. Not only does it clear away product build-up, makeup, and environmental impurities including pollutants and free radicals, but a cleanser gives skin a chance to breathe.

There are many cleansers on the market, and depending on what your skin needs on any given day, it is helpful to have a few on hand. Between testing new ones and my go-tos, I have about 10-12 on rotation.

While you can use a cleanser twice a day, you can also get away with a quick water rinse with a washcloth in the morning - but you should NEVER skip your evening application.

Below is a breakdown of cleanser types and what skin conditions they treat:

Makeup Removers

While technically not cleansers, these are great as a first step in a double cleanse if you are wearing heavy or waterproof makeup.

Oil and Balm Cleansers

These are great for troubled acneic skin. They dissolve the excess sebum (oil dissolves oil), and protect the skin without stripping it. These are also great for makeup and sunscreen removal.

One of my very favorite treatments is to use Environ’s Pre-Cleansing Oil, followed by their Hydrating Clay mask. The oil breaks down the impurities and the clay pulls them out of the skin.

Milky & Creamy Cleansers

These are good for dry, dehydrated or sensitive skin. They are hydrating and comforting and gently support the skin barrier. We absolutely love Avène!

Gel Cleansers

These work well for oily skin. They give you that ‘squeaky clean’ feeling without disrupting the acid mantle. These are great for men as well.

Gentle Exfoliating Cleansers

These are great boosters to incorporate into your routine 1-3x per week depending on what other methods of exfoliation you are using. For instance, if you are using a Biologique Lotion P50 Exfoliating Toner, daily, you don’t need to use these more than 1X per week.