Cleansers might feel like a boring skincare category, but finding the right formula can mean the difference between good and great skin health.
Sure, they need to be functional in that they rid the skin of makeup, dirt, debris and excess sebum, but an innovative cleaner can also serve up a bounty of complexion benefits, from hydration to refined texture.
If you’re looking for the one, or want to upgrade what’s currently on rotation in your bathroom, below you’ll find 7 cleansers that are a cut above the rest — all you need to do it pick one that aligns with your skin goals.
To soften and brighten
Dermalogical Daily Milkfoliant, $99. shop now
Just in from Dermalogica comes this even gentler version of the brands iconic Microfoliant. Rich in coconut milk, enzymes, alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, it polishes the skin’s surface, leaving it radiant, soft and hydrated. Mix a little into your favourite milk cleanser for the ultimate clean.
For a moment of luxury
Costa Brazil Óleo De Limpeza Para A Face | Face Oil Gel Cleanser, $87. SHOP NOW
Not only is this superlative formula packed with replenishing plant ingredients (copaiba, urucum, tea tree oils, squalane), but it’s a delight to use. It transforms to a gel to a silky foam, dissolving makeup and residual skincare with ease. And because of the high lipid content, it leaves the ski soft and beautifully plump.
To refine and decongest
Dr. Dennis Gross Pore Perfecting Cleansing Gel, $57. SHOP NOW
Rough, bumpy or acne-prone skin will fare well with this gel cleanser from Dr. Dennis Gross. It contains alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, so will simultaneously smooth the skin’s surface and clear out pores. Massage it in for at least 30 seconds to reap the full benefits.
To remove eye makeup
Bioderma Sensibio Eye Biphase makeup Remover, $24. SHOP NOW
If you have sensitive eyes, or find your regular cleanser isn’t removing liner and mascara, Bioderma’s latest formula combines gentle cleansing agents with an oily layer to gently but effectively remove stubborn waterproof makeup. Bonus: it conditions eyelashes, too.
Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Cleansing Foam, $33. SHOP NOW
This hard-working foam from Laneige cleanses and gently exfoliates for soft, clean skin in one step. It’s full of humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin to prevent dehydration as well.
To remove light makeup
Dior Cleansing Milk, $68. shop now
Fans of sensorial cleansers will very much enjoy Dior’s latest Milk, a fluid formula that emulsifies slightly to rid the skin of makeup, sunscreen and pollutants. The key ingredient, French water lily, works to counteract the effects of pollution, while the floral redolence is a luxe touch.
to remove heavy makeup
Milk Makeup Hydro Ungrip Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm, $55. shop now
If you need to properly dissolve layers of sunscreen or long-wear foundation, this balm from Milk Makeup is up to the task. Rich and creamy, try massaging it into dry skin before emulsifying with a little water water. Remove with a damp flannel and follow up with a gel cleanser for a perfectly clean complexion.