Cleansing Heroes

Cleansing is the first essential step towards better skin, yet so many of us are guilty of using the same old formula that just does the job, but not much more. Cleansing removes dirt, makeup, and dead skin cells that have built up on your skin throughout the day. By cleansing consistently, it can significantly help improve the look and feel of your skin (making it the best base possible for your foundation), but the choice is overwhelming, with a host of celebrity skincare lines joining an already crowded market. 

Choosing the right cleanser for your skin type can be tricky, as a general rule, dry skin or mature skin works best with balms or cream cleansers and if you are prone to breakouts or have oily skin, you may prefer a cleanser with a cream-to-foam texture or a gel cleanser that contains an active ingredient such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid.

To double cleanse or not to double cleanse, that is the question?! Consultant dermatologist Dr Malvina Cunningham says, “if you tend to wear a full face of makeup or heavy sunscreens, then your skin will benefit from a double cleanse, but generally a single cleanse is ample for most skin types.” 

Here, we’ve picked the latest cleansers designed to tackle everything from blemishes and redness to makeup removal and sensitivity…

Trinny London Be Your Best Enzyme Balm Cleanser, £32

Since launching into skincare earlier this year, Trinny has combined her own obsession with skincare into well-thought formulas that tick all the boxes. This cleanser is packed with almond and jojoba oil, while the balm texture will remove even the stubbornest eye makeup. Plus, she’s thrown in a prebiotic which feeds your skin microflora and in turn, makes your skin stronger. And if that’s still not enough, the cleanser comes with a T-Towel muslin for a deep clean. 

Byoma Creamy Jelly Cleanser, £9.99

With the brand’s ethos heavily focused on building your skin’s barrier, we knew this cleanser wouldn’t disappoint. The translucent gel quickly turns into a creamy texture that feels beautifully light on skin, so light in fact that you question its efficacy. The key ingredients are licorice root and green tea both of which are full of antioxidants that soothe and calm skin. This is a great choice for a solo morning cleanse to wake up your skin and leave a brighter complexion. A bargain buy!

Pacifica Wake Up Beautiful Dream Jelly Face Wash, £16 

This jelly-to-foam cleanser is super-light, so much so, you wonder whether your makeup will still be on your face when you open your eyes post-wash. Formulated with skin-soothing quinoa and mushroom and rose. It has a light, fresh scent without being overpowering plus the pretty glass bottle makes it a big hit too.

Farmacy Green Clean Cleansing Balm, £24

This is the kind of cleanser you’d expect when you’re having a facial in a spa. It starts life as a solid balm and then transforms into a silky soft oil before turning into a milky lather. It removes makeup effortlessly with no nasty sting or tight feeling post-rinse, plus the fruity scent of lime, bergamot and orange essential oils gives a welcome boost to all our senses. We’re obsessed with the smell, texture and glow it gave to our skin. 

Medik8 Surface Radiance Cleanser, £22

Arguably this is most beauty editors go-to brand for hardworking cleansers that don’t break the budget- and this one is our current fave. This soft foaming gel lathers up well leaving skin feeling fresh, clean, and ready for the next step in your skincare routine. It removes stubborn eye makeup (even waterproof varieties) without over-stripping the skin, while leaving a subtle glow. Take note: Don’t be overzealous with your squeeze, as a little goes a long way. 

Verso Cleansing Balm, £35

This has posh written all over it. It cleans, exfoliates, and refreshes skin all at once. This comforting balm is thick and rich in texture making it a great choice for sensitive and dry skin types that need that extra TLC. It creates the perfect smooth canvas to layer up your next skincare step.

Augustinus Bader Cleansing Gel, £52

Does Prof AB create anything we don’t love? The answer is a big fat no! Imagine creating a gel that serves as a powerful face wash, a nourishing drink for skin and a skin brightener, well this is it- and more! Quite frankly an excellent all-around cleanser worth saving up for.  

Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Pore Perfecting Cleansing Gel, £17

If you’re in need of a cleanser that tackles blemishes, unblocks pores and sloughs away dead skin cells, this gentle yet tough formula is your answer. Powered by alpha hydroxy acids, this foaming cleanser gently exfoliates while imparting moisture, to leave your skin clean and refreshed – but not stripped. 

Kate Somerville Exfolikate Cleanser, £38

Best known for being the Duchess of Sussex’s go-to LA facialist, Kate Somerville’s skincare is always effective. We particularly love this super-luxe cleanser for a formula that delivers glycolic to exfoliate, smooth and even out skin tone – leaving bright, refreshed skin in its place.

Youth To The People Superfood Cleanser, £31

Although not essentially a new addition to the range, this cleanser needs to be on everyone’s radar whatever your skin type. This packs a nutritious punch like no other, with antioxidant-rich leafy greens (think: spinach and kale), as well as skin-loving vitamins that give complexions an instant boost. The gel foams well, smells gorge and looks attractive on your bathroom shelf too! 

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, £10

We know we’ve bigged up this product before, but we’ll do it again and again as it’s so fabulous and deserving of praise. This non-foaming gel formula contains both ceramides and hyaluronic acid to keep the skin barrier intact and give you the glowiest skin EVER. It removes makeup in a flash while ridding pores of grime and dirt. Plus, it’s fragrance-free so perfect for more sensitive skin types.

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, £44

Sensitive and aggravated skin types in particular will love this gentle cleanser. It quite simply gives skin a thorough clean without leaving it tight nor tingly, while simultaneously refreshing and soothing minus irritation. TLC in a bottle.

Aurelia London CBD Aqua-Oil Cleanse, £18

This multi-phase oil and water innovative formula is infused with the buzzy trend of CBD.  Although it is classed as a cleanser, it’s more mid-way between a micellar water and a skin essence. However, it still removes makeup and the day’s grime and encourages stressed skin to calm down thanks to the infusion of cannabis. And of course, it contains the signature Aurelia probiotic benefits. Top tip: Give the bottle a good shake before use. 

Skin+Me Purifying + Prep Cleanser, (part of a subscription from £24.99 per month)

If you’re overwhelmed by choice or have no idea what your skin needs, this is a great path to go down. Part of a skincare routine that is personalised to you, this brand delivers straight to your doorstep after an in-depth skin consultation. Great for your skin, your bank balance, and your footprint on the planet. This cleanser is fuss-free but with all the hardworking ingredients and formula you’d expect from a premium brand. 

Carol Joy Cleansing Cream, £45

Shea Butter and Golden Millet Oil are at the heart of this multitasking formula. It moisturises and strengthens the skin’s surface layers, all while protecting against environmental damage.

Gently massage into skin morning and evening for a clean base and refreshed skin.

The products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however, The Handbook may make a small commission on some products purchased through affiliate links.

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