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 proper cleansing 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 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.

Biologique Recherche Eau Micellaire Biosensible | Biologique Recherche Solution Demaquillante Pour Les Yeux

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.

Environ Dual Action Pre-Cleansing Oil  | Environ Hydrating Clay Mask | Cle de Peau Cream Cleansing Cream Oil  | Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm


Milky Cleansers: These are good for dry, dehydrated or sensitive skin. They are hydrating and comforting and gently support the skin barrier.

Biologique Recherche Lait E.V. Revitalizing Milk Cleanser | Tammy Fender Cleansing Milk

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.

Meder Gel Net-Apax Cleanser | Environ Low Foam Cleansing Gel

 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.

Reflekt MBR Enzyme Cleansing Booster