Brilliant cleansers for every skin type

Zoe Gunn

24 June 2021

Take the day off with our guide to the best refreshing face washes on the market

24 June 2021 | Zoe Gunn

When it comes to skincare routines there is perhaps no stage quite so crucial as cleansing. You can use all the cutting-edge moisturisers and specialised serums in the world but, if you haven't properly prepared your skin to receive them, you’re never going to see the full benefits.

But choosing the best cleanser for your specific needs is easier said than done. While all good cleansers should remove make-up and excess oils, those with dry skin will need a cleanser optimised for hydration, while those prone to blemishes or adult acne will want to steer well clear of oil-based formulas. Here’s our essential guide to choosing the best cleanser for your skin type.

Best toning cleanser: Cosymdor Botanical Toning Face Cleanser

Ideally you’ll be following your cleanser with a good toner anyway but, if you struggle with large pores and could do with a little extra help in the toning department, there are plenty of products on the market aimed at helping minimise their appearance and help firm skin. One of the best comes from French brand Cosmydor, whose Botanical Toning Face Cleanser blends cardamom with argan and olive oils to improve skin tone, remove impurities and leave you looking radiant.

Botanical Toning Face Cleanser, £39,

Best hydrating cleanser: Kat Burki Vitamin C Nourishing Cleansing Balm

Just like repeatedly washing your hands (something we all know a little too much about right now), repeated cleansing can leave skin dry, especially if you’re a little lax when it comes to the moisturising stage of your skincare routine. Happily American skin health expert Kat Burki has infused her signature cleansing balm with cold-pressed coconut, sunflower, jojoba, rose hip seed, olive, avocado and cranberry seed oils to leave skin utterly nourished and dewy. Better yet, she’s also popped a healthy dose of Vitamin C in there to plump and brighten as well.

Vitamin C Nourishing Cleansing Balm, £56.80,

Best make-up remover: Drunk Elephant Slaai Make-Up Melting Butter

For most, the main function of a good cleanser is to remove every trace of make-up. Well we’re pleased to say the Make-up Melting Butter from cult skincare brand Drunk Elephant does exactly what it says on the tin. Transforming from a balm to a smooth milk when applied with water, it promises to make even stubborn mascaras and oil-based products disappear, while antioxidant fruit extracts and mongongo, baobab and marula oils help soothe and calm the skin.

Drunk Elephant Slaai Make-Up Melting Butter, £29,

Best for city dwellers: Chanel L’Huile Anti-Pollution Cleansing Oil

If your day-to-day includes running around the city between meetings, commuting on the tube or spending your evenings hopping between London’s bars and restaurants, you’re going to need skincare products that tackle the ageing effects of pollution. Tested by ophthalmologists and dermatologists to ensure it is gentle enough for use on the eye area while catering for all skin types, Chanel’s L’Huile Anti-Pollution Cleansing Oil is infused with sunflower seed oil, algae extract and sea water to relieve skin of the stresses of pollution and other environmental stressors.

Chanel L’Huile Anti-Pollution Cleansing Oil, £32,

Best for blemish control: Lancer The Method: Cleanse

Most of us thought we’d left our blemish-prone years behind us. Then along came face masks and suddenly break outs are a very real problem again. But you needn’t resort to the luminous Clearasil concoctions your teen self relied on because there are some much chicer (and more effective) options on the market now. Take, for example, Lancer’s The Method: Cleanse. Designed to cater for both oily and combination skins, this gel cleanser cleans pores, removes dead skin cells and surface debris and reduces excess sebum to tackle the classic causes of spots. It also leaves skin perfectly primed for serums and moisturisers.

Lancer The Method: Cleanse, £52,

Best for sensitive skin: Grown Alchemist Gentle Gel Facial Cleanser

If you suffer from skin conditions, such as rosacea or eczema, or are susceptible to reactions to ingredients commonly found in cleansers, investing in a formula specifically designed for sensitive skin could be a game changer. The Grown Alchemist grounds all of its products in the science of cellular renewal and nutrient metabolism. Its delicate gel cleanser contains chamomile, bergamot, willow bark and cold-pressed rose petals to soothe skin without stripping it of its natural oils while effectively removing dirt and reducing pore size.

Grown Alchemist Gentle Gel Facial Cleanser, £31,

Read more: The best SPF moisturisers for summer