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Finding your perfect skin regimen can mirror the hunt for the perfect relationship. An excruciating, fruitless exercise 99 percent of the time–but worth all the effort when you finally find the one for you.
How to Find your Perfect Cleanser
Know your skin type and condition
Skin isn’t constant and skin type can change with age. Conditions such as climate, weather, pollution, lifestyle, and diet can also have an impact. These and other variables can make skin irritable and sensitive.
Know what your skin needs and cannot tolerate
Patch testing and keeping to a consistent routine will help reduce the likelihood of irritation–and the amount of time you’ll need to figure out what’s bothering you, should things go wrong.
Patch test before you commit
Opt for a sample when you can. Either way, test on a small area before you dive into a product fully.
It should leave you clean, but not squeaky clean
That satisfying squeak might be the type of clean marketers want you to have, but it’s not great for you. Completely stripping your skin of oils may lead to irritation and sensitivity–either immediately or down the line.
Types of Cleansers
A great makeup remover and first cleanse contender. It’s a deeply moisturizing cleansing option.
Great for: winter, dry skin, mature skin, normal skin, makeup removal.
Check out our picks for the best organic balm cleansers.
A thorough cleanser to demolish (waterproof) makeup and/or sunscreen. Contrary to popular thinking, oil cleanser can also be used by oily and acne-prone skin types. Just choose a light, non-comedogenic oil–regardless of your skin type.
Great for: winter, makeup removal, all skin types.
See a list of our favorite organic cleansing oils.
A lightly moisturizing cleanser that will gently cleanse. May not remove makeup or sunscreen.
Great for: combination skin, normal, sensitive skin.
A stronger cleanser than the ones previously touched on. Typically milder than a foam cleanser.
Great for: combination skin, normal skin, oily skin, acne-prone skin.
The typical “squeaky clean” cleanser. Eliminates oil and can be quite stripping, depending on your skin type.
Great for: tropical climates, summer, oily skin.
A gentle, no-rinse (though you probably should) cleanser. Suitable for light makeup wearers and can take off sunscreen. With a few passes, that is.
Great for: all skin types.
Conditions for Each Cleanser
Switching out your cleanser is a personal thing. Use your discretion when–or if–you switch out your cleanser.
There are a few common situations where you might feel you need to change your cleanser.
Seasonally: A good rule of thumb to follow is to adjust your cleanser for your climate. Opt for a more moisturizing option in the colder months and a lighter option–milk, gel or foam–for warmer months.
As you age: Steer yourself away from foam or gel cleansers and look for more moisturizing cleansers such as a milk, oil or balm cleanser depending on what your skin would need.
Skin sensitivities and skin eruptions: Evaluate your skincare regimen when you have breakouts, irritation or redness. Consider changing your cleanser to a gentler, less stripping option when your skin is fussy.
A great cleanser is one that will melt your day off – pollution, sunscreen, makeup – without stripping your face.
It’s important to find one with a consistency that works well for you. A cleanser that’s too rich can clog pores. And one that’s too foamy can strip and irritate your skin. Cleansers are out there for every skin type and condition and there’s no excuse for using the wrong one for you.
What do you look for in your cleanser? Which is your favorite type to use? Do you have a holy grail cleanser? Let us know your favorite in the comments below!