How to choose the right cleanser

Your cleanser can make or break the rest of your skincare routine. We’ve talked about how foaming cleansers dry and tighten the outer layers of your skin, keeping congestion from getting out and your treatment products from getting in.

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The only way to set your skin up to get the best from these products is with a gentle non-foaming cleanser. But what exactly does that mean, and how do you find a good one?

Simply put, a non-foaming cleanser is a gel, cream or balm that you massage into your skin. You won’t see suds when you rinse it off your face with water and a washcloth, and it won’t leave your skin feeling uncomfortable and tight.

Non-foaming gel cleansers are especially good because they work with every skin type, from oily to dry. “Look for one with a smooth texture and a nice consistency,” says Nerida. “You need one that has some body to it, so you can massage it into your face and work it well into your skin. You don’t want it to be too watery or to dry too quickly – it needs to stay on your skin so you can do a really good job of cleansing. A good gel cleanser should absorb your skin’s impurities and dead cells, but not absorb into the skin itself.”

For even better results, pick one with one or more of these hero ingredients in it. Nerida is a huge fan of aloe vera in cleansers because it’s healing, calming and soothing, perfect for setting up your skin to receive the rest of your products. Cucumber extract is cooling and refreshing, while chamomile extract protects and calms even sensitive skin types. Lemon – which often shows up in ingredients lists as limon – brightens as it cleanses and also contains vitamin C to fight free radicals and improve the quality of your skin.

If you have dry, sensitive or mature skin, you could also try a milk cleanser. “Milk cleansers are nice because they’re soft on the skin and they do leave behind a bit of a film,” says Nerida. “They do the complete opposite of stripping the skin – instead, they clean it and coat it with moisture. If you live somewhere with hot, humid summers and long, icy winters, they’re also a great choice for the colder months when your skin needs some extra TLC”.

Oil or balm cleansers can also be good for combination skin. They’re lighter than milk cleansers but give a similar level of extra hydration, which benefits winter skin that’s being stripped by extremes of temperature as you move between a dry, centrally heated indoors and the cold, harsh outdoors.

But whatever skin type you have, a non-foaming gel cleanser is the ideal choice for most – and often all – of the year. They’re flexible enough to suit everyone and, as a bonus, they can also take off your eye make-up without stinging, so there’s no need for a separate make-up remover. That’s why it’s worth putting a little time into finding the right cleanser: it will streamline and support your skincare regime, so you can get on with having beautiful skin.

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