The best cleanser not only removes dirt and oil, it prepares the skin for every product that follows. It helps your skin better absorb serums and moisturisers, it can balance oil or smooth dry patches, and it’s vital when it comes to keeping your face clean to reduce or prevent spots and blemishes.
It’s also great for when you want to clean your makeup brushes and beauty blenders.
dThe problem is that not only do you need to choose a face cleanser for your skin type, but there are also various different types of cleanser to choose from including gels to foams, oils, balms, creams, and more.
To help guide your decision, you can discover which face cleanser best suits your skin and budget in our list of best cleansers below. You can also check out our best cleansing balm page for more options.
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£12.50 | Buy now from Feelunique
Why we love it: A must-have for acne-prone, oily skin, this gentle foaming gel has a lightweight consistency that builds up as you lather it in, drawing out toxins, impurities, and excess oil. It leaves your skin feeling clear and clean without drying it out and a little goes a long way.
The entire La Roche-Posay skincare range is incredible value for money. You can read more about why this is hands-down the best cleanser we’ve ever used in our La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Cleanser review.
FURTHER READING: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Cleanser review: Simply the best cleanser we’ve ever used
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£8 | Buy now from Amazon
Why we love it: The ultimate holy grail cleanser, one bottle of Garnier’s Micellar Water lasts ages and it removes all traces of makeup without feeling too harsh on the skin.
It nourishes and hydrates all in one step, without a complex routine of rinsing needed. However, it does work incredibly well as part of a two-step cleanse, as micellar water is the perfect way to get rid of stubborn makeup – waterproof mascara we’re looking at you – without having to irritate the skin by rubbing.
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£72 | Buy now from Amazon
Why we love it: An expensive choice but nothing removes impurities like La Mer.
A silky smooth texture with divine scent, a little goes a long way in protecting the skin against redness, breakouts, and pollution while minimising pores and leaving skin feeling soft and hydrated.
READ NEXT: Which moisturiser best suits your skin?
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From £16.50 | Buy now from Clinique
Why we love it: Perfect for all skin types, but with amazing benefits for dry to combination skin, this liquid soap has a gentle formula that doesn’t dry out the skin.
Used morning and night, this cleanser removes dirt and dead skin and gives you a perfect base for exfoliating and toning, leaving your face feeling clean and fresh.
It is fragrance-free, meaning it’s suitable for sensitive skin, and it foams really nicely. You only need a very small amount and the bottle is quite big so this should last you a long time!
We’ve pictured, and described the mild version but there are three versions to choose from:
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£7.50 | Buy now from Holland & Barrett
We’re big fans here at mamabella of Q+A Skin‘s no-nonsense approach to skincare. We’ve used a range of its products but hadn’t experienced its Peppermint cleanser until we got it in a beauty advent calendar.
As you’d imagine, it contains peppermint leaf oil which gives a gentle tingle to the skin. Peppermint Oil has natural cleansing properties that leave skin feeling fresh and revitalised. It’s also antibacterial, meaning this is a great, not overly harsh cleanser that fights spots and blemishes.
It also contains coco-sulfate, which is an alternative to the drying and harsh chemical Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, or SLS. SLS can cause dryness and irritation, especially for sensitive skin. Coco-Sulfate, instead, is made from the fatty acids of coconut oil so you still get all the lathering you’d expect from a cleanser, but it leaves your skin feeling soft and clean, naturally.
This cleanser is great for all skin types because it’s also oil-free and fragrance-free.
A word of warning though, because of the use of peppermint leaf oil, try not to get this in your eyes. It doesn’t do a lot of harm but it does tingle and can be uncomfortable.
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£21 | Buy now from Clarins Clarins
Why we love it: A lightweight, mousse-like formula, Clarins’s Gentle Foaming Cleanser is a godsend for combination skin.
It contains coconut extracts, which leave your skin feeling soft and nourished and doesn’t irritate or leave your skin feeling dry or taut. Plus it smells so fresh.
We’ve pictured the bestselling Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with cottonseed above but there are actually three options to choose from:
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Why we love it: Perfect for those who suffer from breakouts, as this charcoal cleansing bar keeps skin looking balanced, clear, and hydrated.
It draws out bacteria, toxins and excess oil while reducing redness and ensuring your skin feels soft and hydrated. The only downside is that it doesn’t come with a container and the charcoal ingredients can leave marks, so a soap dish/container is a must.
It’s also vegan and cruelty-free. You can read more about which cleansers you need if you’re prone to spots and breakouts in our best cleanser for acne list.
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Buy now from Beauty Bay
£12 | Buy now from Feelunique
Why we love it: This iconic cleanser, which contains naturally-foaming Quillaja Saponaria soapbark extracts, gently rinses away toxins and debris to leave skin feeling smooth and clean.
Designed to restore the skin’s natural moisture balance, it isn’t too harsh and leaves skin feeling naturally soft rather than dry and taut.
It also contains Balm Mint to calm the skin, and Lavender extracts to soothe your complexion.
What’s more, it’s fragrance-free, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and vegan. Dermalogica is a PETA certified cruelty-free brand; it does not test any of its products on animals.
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£11 | Buy from The Body Shop
Why we love it: This cleansing butter is our Editor’s Pick in our best cleansing balm article.
It’s suitable for sensitive skin, due to the use of camomile, and this also makes it suitable for contact lens wearers. It removes all types of makeup, including waterproof mascara, and leaves skin feeling clean and soft.
As you can read in our best cleansing balm article, this balm is better used on dry skin as it grabs hold of the makeup and almost melts it away. We recommend you then use a reusable cleansing cloth and warm water to remove the traces of the balm – water alone might slide off – and then follow with a foaming cleanser. See above for options.
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Elly is a production journalist and sub-editor for a number of national newspapers and magazines including The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, and Woman and Woman’s Own magazine. A beauty-enthusiast, she loves travelling – especially to the States – reading and calligraphy