Why Cleansing Properly Is The Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Skin

The tips, ingredients and products to know

Put simply, cleansing your face is essential. It preps your skin to better absorb what skincare products you apply afterwards and is equally your first line of defence against blocked pores and dullness. But splashing your face with water just won’t cut it.

Enter cleansers. There are various types of cleanser formulations and whichever one you choose should be based on both your texture preferences and skin type. Here’s why it’s essential to master the most important step in your skincare regime…

Why do you need to cleanse your face?

Your skin is faced with makeup, sweat, pollution and other particles in the environment throughout the day.

At the end of the day if you were to look at your skin through a microscope you’d also see bacteria, dirt and dead skin cells that have accumulated. That’s why it’s so essential to cleanse skin properly and remove every last trace of this unwanted debris from your skin. What’s more, if your skin isn’t cleansed properly it can contribute to breakouts, dehydration and ageing.

What are the benefits of cleansing?

Not only will your skin look clearer and more refreshed once you remove pollutants, irritants, oil and dead skin cells from the surface and pores but it will also increase the effectiveness of the products you apply afterwards.

If you didn’t cleanse, your skin would be covered with a thick layer of dirt and grime making it hard for any active ingredients applied over top to penetrate the skin properly and be effective.

So, by cleansing – and we recommend a double cleanse in the evening – your serums and moisturisers will be guaranteed maximum effectiveness, which is even more key at night when you skin goes into repair mode. 

Why should I use a cleanser instead of a bar of soap?

First, a little history. Soap traditionally has a high pH and is extremely harsh for the skin on your face. So, along came cleansers.

While soap-free, most facial cleansers used to work by dissolving all oils found on your skin, good or bad, so they’d remove hydrating natural lipids as well as the sebum and dirt you want to purge.

The result was often a disrupted skin barrier and a tight, uncomfortable feeling, leading to an increase in people suffering from skin sensitivities.

Thankfully, in recent years, cleansers have evolved in every way as we’re now aware that skin that feels squeaky-clean isn’t the goal.

Especially in K-beauty where the ethos is about gentle and green ingredients, a whole new set of cleansers that clean the skin without stripping it have emerged.

They tend to use mild ingredient, such as gentle plant-derived surfactants from coconut, shea, and fruit sugars for example.

New formulas also include ingredients that nourish the skin by adding fatty acids, oils and ceramides back in so that your complexion feels even softer than before you cleansed.

What are the different types of cleansers?

Here we’ve broken down the various types of cleanser and what skin type they’re best for:

• Oil-Based Cleansers 

Oil-Based Cleansers are best for all skin types (yes, even oily since oil attracts oil), and if you wear long-wear makeup. You can use them as the first step of a double cleansing routine or on their own if you have dry to dehydrated skin. We love:  

Dear Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml Success
Dear Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml Success box
Dear Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml Success bubble
Example of Dear Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml Success
Dear Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml Success
Dear Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml Success box
Dear Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml Success bubble
Example of Dear Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml Success

Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml

as its designed especially for shine-prone, combination skin and Aromatica Orange Cleansing Sherbet for its luxurious melt-into-skin, balm-to-oil texture.

• Foaming Cleansers 

Foaming Cleansers are best for oily and combination skin types as they effectively penetrate pores to remove excess oil, dirt and makeup as well as any skin type if you prefer the refreshing feeling of foam over an oil or balm. You can use them as your AM and PM cleanser or the second step of a double cleansing routine. We love:

Aromatica Tea Tree Balancing Foaming Cleanser 180ml
Aromatica Tea Tree Balancing Foaming Cleanser 180ml
Aromatica Tea Tree Balancing Foaming Cleanser 180ml
Aromatica Tea Tree Balancing Foaming Cleanser 180ml

Aromatica Tea Tree Balancing Foaming Cleanser 180ml

which reduces sebum production without overdrying and Thank You Farmer Rice Pure Clay Mask To Foam Cleanser. This goes on as a pore-purging clay mask and magically transforms into a skin-calming foam once emulsified.

• Cleansing Pads 

Cleansing Pads are best for all skin types in need of a quick, refreshing cleanse, plus they’re a perfect travel-friendly cleansing option. Most pads have an embossed side to really help scrub off heavy makeup, sebum and dead skin cells first, as well as a soft side to smooth away any leftover impurities afterwards. We love: 

Dr. Ceuracle Pro Balance Biotics Cleansing Pad 270ml
Dr. Ceuracle Pro Balance Biotics Cleansing Pad 270ml
Dr. Ceuracle Pro Balance Biotics Cleansing Pad 270ml
Dr. Ceuracle Pro Balance Biotics Cleansing Pad 270ml

Dr. Ceuracle Pro Balance Biotics Cleansing Pad 270ml

Pads due to its 5 Probiotics Complex that helps to strengthen the delicate skin barrier while cleansing. 

GESGEP BARE PAD 60EA
GESGEP BARE PAD 60EA
GESGEP BARE PAD 60EA
GESGEP BARE PAD 60EA
GESGEP BARE PAD 60EA
GESGEP BARE PAD 60EA

GESGEP BARE PAD 60EA

Equally standout are Gesgep Bare Pads, laced with gentle PHA’s to exfoliate skin and hyaluronic acid for added hydration.

What are the best cleansers to use regardless of skin type?

You can choose a cleanser according to your skin type as above or, alternatively, depending on what concerns you have. Here, our top six cleansers for a few of the most common skin concerns… 

Dr. Ceuracle Pro Balance Biotics Cleansing Pad 270ml
Dr. Ceuracle Pro Balance Biotics Cleansing Pad 270ml
Dr. Ceuracle Pro Balance Biotics Cleansing Pad 270ml
Dr. Ceuracle Pro Balance Biotics Cleansing Pad 270ml

For toning: 

Dr. Ceuracle Pro Balance Biotics Cleansing Pad 270ml

For tight, smooth, ‘I’ve just had a facial’ skin these hydrating cleansing pads are just the ticket. The 5 Probiotics Complex and 3 Amino Acids restore skin’s balance while removing grime, and a mix of low-pH exfoliators clear and tone skin with just one sweep of the pad. 

Aromatica Orange Cleansing Sherbet 150g
AROMATICA ORANGE CLEANSING SHERBET Texture
Aromatica Orange Cleansing Sherbet 150g
AROMATICA ORANGE CLEANSING SHERBET Texture

For makeup removal: 

Aromatica Orange Cleansing Sherbet 150g

It’s not easy to find a cleanser that whisks away all traces of foundation, but this cult classic balm uses canola and organic babassu seed oils to break down even the most long-wearing base formulas without clogging pores. 

Dear Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml Success
Dear Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml Success box
Dear Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml Success bubble
Example of Dear Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml Success
Dear Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml Success
Dear Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml Success box
Dear Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml Success bubble
Example of Dear Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml Success

For breakouts: 

Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil 150ml

A spot-clearing cleanser is a staple for those prone to breakouts but it’s this sebum-regulating oil formula that offers a new twist with both nourishing and pore-clearing ingredients for skin that feels supple not taut post-cleanse. 

Thank You Farmer Rice Pure Essential Toner 200ml
Thank You Farmer Rice Pure Essential Toner 200ml
Thank You Farmer Rice Pure Essential Toner 200ml
Thank You Farmer Rice Pure Essential Toner 200ml
Thank You Farmer Rice Pure Essential Toner 200ml
Thank You Farmer Rice Pure Essential Toner 200ml

For detoxifying: 

Thank You Farmer Rice Pure Essential Toner 200ml

If you like your cleanser to have grime-grabbing oomph try this two-in-one pore purifier. It goes on as a pore-purging Kaolin and Betonite clay mask but turns into a skin-brightening foam when you add water thanks to exfoliating rice, oat and quinoa extracts.

By Wishtrend Acid-Duo 2% Mild Gel Cleanser 150ml
By Wishtrend Acid-Duo 2% Mild Gel Cleanser 150ml box
By Wishtrend Acid-Duo 2% Mild Gel Cleanser 150ml
By Wishtrend Acid-Duo 2% Mild Gel Cleanser 150ml box

For brightening: 

By Wishtrend Acid-Duo 2% Mild Gel Cleanser 150ml

While this gel cleanser is equally ideal for keeping breakouts at bay, the mix of LHA and PHA – both gentle exfoliators that work well on sensitive skin – make for a brighter, more clarified complexion in minutes. Plus, it works to fade darks spots too.  

Aromatica Reviving Rose Infusion Cream Cleanser 145g
Aromatica Reviving Rose Infusion Cream Cleanser 145g

For reducing redness: 

Aromatica Reviving Rose Infusion Cream Cleanser 145g

Feeling flushed? Try this nourishing cream cleanser. It uses Aloe, Marigold Extract and Damask Rose Water to nourish and protect a disrupted skin barrier – often the cause of a stressed-out, flushed complexion.

What is double cleansing?

It’s a cleansing method traditionally used in Korea to get a completely clear canvas without stripping skin, leaving it soft and glowing instead. A double cleanse involves washing your face in two steps, first using an oil-based or balm cleanser to attract oil-based makeup, sebum, SPF and pollutants. This is followed by a second cleanse using a water-based cleanser to get rid of any leftover debris, sweat and dirt from skin. 

Should I be double cleansing?

Double cleansing is a traditional practice in K-beauty to really ensure that your skin is properly clean. It’s a good idea to double cleanse if you live in a city or anywhere where there’s potentially more pollution that can sit on the surface of skin and clog pores. As well, any good makeup application should result in a double cleanse at night to keep skin in tip top condition. We love 

I'm From Fig Cleansing Balm 100ml
I'm From Fig Cleansing Balm 100ml
I'm From Fig Cleansing Balm 100ml
I'm From Fig Cleansing Balm 100ml

For toning: 

I'm From Fig Cleansing Balm 100ml

for a thorough first cleanse to remove all traces of impurities and makeup, followed by your favourite gel cleanser.