best cleansers

Brilliant cleansers for every skin type

02 Jul 2024 | |By Zoe Gunn

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

All products are chosen independently by our editors. Luxury London may earn commission on items purchased.

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 cleansers 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 cleansing oil: Institut Esthederm Osmoclean Miscellar cleansing oil

The term cleansing oil may seem like an oxymoron to many – oil, is after all, usually deemed to be the culprit of breakouts and blemishes. Institut Esthederm’s blend of rapeseed, jojoba, meadowfoam and sunflower seed oils, however, is enriched with amino acids to effectively remove make up and impurities leaving skin radiant and hydrated without a hint of grease.

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Best toning cleanser: 111Skin Cryo Pre-Activated toning 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 minimise their appearance and firming skin. One of the best comes from Harley Street-based brand 111Skin, whose Cryo Pre-Activated Toning Cleanser blends exfoliating fruit extracts to smooth fine lines and pores with a unique anti-dehydration shield which promises to naturally lock moisture into the skin and prevent dryness and flaking

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Best anti-aging cleanser: Sarah Chapman Skinesis Ultimate Cleanse

If your prime concern when it comes to skincare is fighting fine lines, pigmentations and other signs of aging, don’t overlook the importance of your cleanser. Sarah Chapman’s Ultimate Cleanse offers a balm-like texture formulated with anti-inflammatory baobab and borage oils, as well as collagen-boosting Dermaxyl and Q10, to simultaneously clarify and rejuvenate skin.

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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 by 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.

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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.

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Best vegan cleanser: Aesop In Two Minds Facial Cleanser

Aesop takes its commitment to being entirely vegan and cruelty-free seriously – but that doesn’t mean it’s willing to let standards slip when it comes to the effectiveness of its products. It spent three years formulating its In Two Minds collection, which is designed specifically for the complexities of combination skin, and the results speak for themselves. This facial cleanser contains salicylic acid and witch hazel to unclog pores, sage leaf to soothe and hydrate and rosemary and lavender to revive and energise.

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Best anti-pollution cleanser: 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 aging 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.

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Best cleanser for breakouts: Medik8 Blemish Control Pads

Most of us thought we’d left our blemish-prone years behind us. Then along came face masks and suddenly breakouts were a very real (and apparently lingering) problem again. But you needn’t resort to the luminous Clearasil concoctions your teen self relied on thanks to a host of much chicer (and more effective) options on the market. Take, for example, Medik8’s Blemish Control Pads. Designed to cater to both oily and combination skins, they contain 2% salicylic acid to exfoliate, clean pores, remove dead skin cells and reduce excess sebum to tackle the classic causes of spots, as well as allatoin and glycerin to prevent dryness. Offered as a handy stack of 60 pads, they can also be used on the back, neck, upper arms or wherever else breakouts may appear.

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Best cleanser 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.

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