What Is a Facial Cleanser?

What Is a Facial Cleanser?

Cleaning your face should be an integral part of your skin care routine. Cleansing helps remove excess oil, makeup, sweat, dirt and dead skin cells from your skin. It refreshes your skin and gives your complexion a chance to breathe. It also creates a clean foundation for you to apply products like face moisturizer or makeup. Different people have different skin types — and those skin types have varying needs. If you’re not sure what your skin needs when it comes to cleansing, we can provide an overview of the different types of facial cleansers and face wash in the skin care market. Find out how to best clean your face here.


What is a Facial Cleanser?

Simply put, facial cleansers are formulated to clean our skin. “Cleansers are products we use to remove normal accumulation of dirt and oils, makeup, sunscreen, remains of pollution, and dead skin cells,” says Garnier consulting dermatologist Dr. Diane Madfes. “They aid in unclogging pores and exfoliation of the top skin cells. Their main role is to clean our skin without stripping the top layer.”


Facial cleansers come in different forms, and it’s helpful to choose the one that best works for your skin type and your lifestyle. Cleanser can be anything from “micellar waters, foaming gels, creams, balms, oils to wipes” says Dr. Madfes.


How and How Often Should You Wash Your Face?

To get the right type of clean it’s important that you find the right facial cleanser for your skin type. Consistencies and ways to use a cleanser can vary vastly. You can find anything from water-like cleansers to dense creamy cleansers. Some cleansers require rinsing while others can be used with just a cotton pad.


Cleansing should happen twice a day — once in the morning and once in the evening.


Overnight we sweat and our pores expel oil which makes us wake up with shiny or unclean skin. This is why we should start our day with removing excess oil, sebum and sweat from our skin and start fresh. In the evening cleansing can help remove makeup, oil and dirt that have accumulated on our faces throughout the day. Cleanse off any dirt and residue before you go to bed so that your skin can breathe and renew itself over night. Dr. Madfes recommends washing with “lukewarm water in a circular motion, starting in the center of your face and working outward.”


Here’s our guide to the various types of face wash you can incorporate into your routine.


Waterless Facial Cleansers


1. Cleansing Lotion

If you have dry or sensitive skin you may want to opt for a lotion cleanser — they are hydrating, gentle and nourish your skin. With their creamy consistencies cleansing lotions moisturize skin and don’t dry it out. A great example of a lotion cleanser is Garnier SkinActive Clean+ Makeup Removing Lotion Cleanser. Its formula contains plant extracts and cleansing agents that soften skin while removing impurities. The facial cleanser is also free of potentially irritating skin care ingredients such as fragrance, dyes or alcohol. By cleansing with this product your skin will be thoroughly cleansed yet soft and supple to the touch.


2. Micellar Water

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Makeup Remover & Cleanser is a gentle and easy way to cleanse your skin. Use it mornings and at night to cleanse your skin and refresh your complexion without irritating your skin. Why should you use a gentle cleanser? “Gentle cleansers are capable of cleansing our skin from dirt and pollutants while maintaining an intact epidermis,” says Dr. Diane Madfes, Garnier SkinActive’s consulting dermatologist. “The top layer of our skin doesn't get stripped. Micellar waters are an excellent example of gentle cleansing. They trap dirt and dead skin cells without drying.”


Rinseable Facial Cleansers


1. Cleansing Gel

A refreshing gel cleanser is a great way to start and end your day and ensure that your skin is clean. Many gel cleansers have a cooling and refreshing formula which can soothe your skin. Garnier SkinActive Clean+ Gentle Clarifying Cleansing Gel thoroughly lifts any dirt or residue from your skin. Its formula contains plant extract and zinc, which clarifies and smooths skin. Use it with lukewarm water to get clean skin every day.


2. Gentle Cleanser

A gentle cleanser is a great way to start and end your day to ensure that your skin is clean. Many gentle cleansers still have lots of nasty ingredients that can be tough on skin. Garnier SkinActive The Gentle Sulfate Free Cleanser is formulated with no sulfates, no alcohol, no dyes, no fragrance and no parabens and is gentle enough to cleanse with both morning and night. It gently foams to remove oil, impurities and makeup with no harsh chemicals, leaving you with soft, healthy-looking skin.


3. Cleansing Face Mask

If you have oily or combination skin, you may want to look for a clay or charcoal cleansing mask that can purify your pores and remove excess oil from your skin. Garnier SkinActive Clean+ Pore Purifying 2-in-1 Clay Cleanser/Mask has a creamy clay-based formula that multitasks as a facial cleanser or a face mask to deep clean your skin. The formula is infused with charcoal which draws out impurities leaving you with radiant skin.


4. Exfoliating Cleanser

Using an exfoliating cleanser is a great way to shed dead skin cells and get rid of excess oil on your skin. A facial cleanser such as Garnier SkinActive Clean+ Blackhead Eliminating Scrub is great for oily skin with blemishes. Its formula with charcoal draws out blackhead-causing dirt and oil which helps to keep your skin clean and blemish-free. Small gel beads in the cleanser’s formula help to tighten pores, cleanse skin and make your skin complexion appear smoother. Say goodbye to excess oil and bumps on your skin.