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What are the different types of Face Wash & Cleansers?

Picking out a face wash or a cleanser can be a tad overwhelming with the vast array of options to choose from. The first step is to make sure to know what your skin type is and then you need choose the type of cleanser based off of that skin type in order to avoid a reaction from using the wrong product, such as over drying dry skin with a cleanser designed for oily skin.

This may take a bit of test and trial as every cleanser has a different set of ingredients and getting the right combination for your skin may take a few attempts before you get it right. Just make sure to pick a brand that doesn't add harsh chemicals or nasties into their products to avoid putting carcinogenic's on your skin and an array of irritating ingredients that do more damage than good. Check out my No Nasties List to help guide you on which ingredients to avoid when buying your face wash.

Now lets check out all the different types of face wash and cleansers on the market to help you understand what type of cleanser you are getting.

Gel - A gel like consistency that is usually light weight and designed to deep clean your pores while removing excess oil, leaving the skin fresh. Best for Oily, Combination, acne-prone and normal skin.

Foam - A foamy light-weight consistency that lathers into a foam to wash away debris, oils and make-up to leave your skin deep cleaned. Just be aware that many of the foam making substances are irritating and use harsh chemicals to make the "foaming" action. Do your research and find a natural (clean) brand that wont irritate your skin. Best for oily and combination skin types.

Clay - A clay consistency that is usually applied to the skin, left and then rinsed off - similar to a clay mask but designed to clean the skin (not treat it like a mask would). These are deep purifying cleansers that draw out impurities, excessive oils and tighten the pores. Best used for oily, acne-prone or combination skin types.

Powder - A powder formula that is activated with water to turn it into a creamy lather and usually used to gently exfoliate the skin. These are potent and undiluted cleansers that help congested, oily and dull skin. Best for most skin types except for sensitive skin.

Cream - Thick and creamy consistency that is packed with moisturising and hydrating botanical oils. They can be applied like a cream and wiped off, or they might have a gentle lather that needs to be worked into the skin and then washed off. Best for dry, dehydrated, sensitive and mature skin.

Lotion - Very similar to a cream cleanser but tend to be a lighter consistency. Lotion cleansers are less common, but the ones I have seen have either a gentle lather or milky lather that is worked into the skin or applied and wiped/washed off. They work well with sensitive skin or dry/dehydrated skin to gentle remove impurities without stripping the skin.

Milky - A milky consistency that is lightweight and gentle. Usually worked into the skin with water and washed or wiped off. They are more gentle like a cream or lotion and are great for dry, mature and sensitive skin types.

Balm - Are a solid oil that melts once its worked into the hands and skin. It can be applied my gently rubbing it into the skin and usually wiping it off, but some balms require water to rinse. Leaving the skin hydrated and moisturised feeling for the drier skin types. Balms can be great for removing makeup, dirt and impurities as a double cleanse combination. Best for all skin types except oily or acne-prone skin types.

Oil - An oil cleanser that can either be rich or a more watery consistency. It is used to pull out impurities in the pores while rebalancing the skins pH - if its a good oil cleanser. Otherwise the good oils on your skin can be wiped away with the bad oils. Usually the oils are a lovely blend of hydrating, protective and antioxidants oils, however be careful as some oils do block the pores and can cause breakouts. Experts say they are good for all skin types, but be cautious if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin.

Micellar Water - Also called cleansing water is made up of tiny balls of cleansing oil molecules and purified water. This type of cleanser washes away dirt and oils on the skin, however can leave residue on the skin which can block pores, so its best to do a second cleanse (with a different type of cleanser)to ensure all traces are washed away. Can be used on all skin types if they are natural, clean and free of harsh chemicals.

Face Wipes - These cloth like cleansers are popular for people on the go and for using after sweating. These should only be used as an alternative cleanser when you are unable to use your normal cleanser or as a double cleanse product because they can leave a residue on the skin which could lead to breakouts. They are designed to remove makeup and oils from the skin, which as a makeup remover is fine but they wont properly clean your skin.


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