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Types of Facial Cleansers and When to Use Each One

April 10, 2018

No matter how crazy your schedule is, there are a few things that should remain consistent. For example, you’ll want to continue to try as hard as you can to catch eight hours of sleep. Another habit that should remain regular? Washing your face. No matter what kind of excuses you might be dreaming up for yourself, starting and ending your day with clean skin is a skin care essential. And that doesn’t mean simply splashing soap and water across your face. You need to use a facial cleanser, and not just any facial cleanser. You should be putting thought into what you use to wash your face–and when to switch it up. Not all facial cleansers are created equal. While clay, gel, and cream facial cleansers all, at a basic level, remove dirt and oil from the skin, they also cater to other skin care concerns. Keep reading to find out all about the different types of facial cleansers available to you, when you should add each type to your skin care routine, and how to use these skin care products correctly.

Facial Cleanser Category #1: Gel Cleanser

In need of a deep clean? Gel cleansers, like the L’Oréal Paris Ideal Clean™ All Skin Types Foaming Gel Cleanser, are capable of lifting dirt and impurities from the surface of your skin without drying out your complexion.

When to use it: What are your travel plans? For times when you find yourself in hot, humid environments, look for a foaming gel cleanser. The foaming action helps cut through grease and oil that can build up when you’re in sweaty situations. That also means a gel cleanser is a prime pick if you just had a sweat session at the gym.

How to use it: Wet your face and hands with lukewarm water. Work a small amount of gel into a foamy lather and massage onto face with a gentle, circular motion. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry with a soft towel.

Facial Cleanser Category #2: Clay Cleanser

If you’re a fan of clay fake masks —which everyone is—you may be pleased to hear that clay cleansers are having a major moment. You may not be able to use a clay charcoal face mask on the daily, but you can use a facial cleanser formulates with pure clays every day of the week. Our clay cleansers seamlessly transform from clay to mousse and remove everyday impurities from the surface without over-drying skin. Choose from the L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Purify & Mattify Cleanser,  L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Cleanser, or L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Exfoliate & Refiner Cleanser to purify the surface of your skin of dirt, oil, and pollution.

When to use it: If you used a quick facial cleanser in the morning—i.e. micellar water or makeup remover wipes—you may want to switch-up your cleanser at night. Remove everything that’s ended up on the surface of your skin throughout the day, especially if you’re a city slicker exposed to lots of pollution, with a clay cleanser. This also just so happens to be the perfect cleansing routine to use our clay cleansers, seeing as they’re meant to be used just once a day.

How to use it: Daily, squeeze your clay cleanser of choice into your hands and add water to transform it from clay to mousse. Gently massage the facial cleanser onto your face in circular motions, then rinse and pat dry.

Facial Cleanser Category #3: Micellar Water

Once upon a time, we were calling micellar water trendy and feeling blessed that it made its way here all the way from France. Now, micellar water is a straight-up staple. Powered by tiny micelles—oil molecules—that act as a magnet to lift dirt, oil, and makeup up and away from the surface of your skin, the liquid cleansers are here to stay. Definitely not a fad! Besides their cleansing abilities, micellar waters have found a place in plenty of hearts thanks to the fact that they don’t require rinsing or rubbing. We have three micellar waters, so have your pick based on your skin type and needs. The L’Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser – Normal to Dry Skin hydrates and soothes, the L’Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser – Normal to Oily Skin purifies and mattifies, and the L’Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser Waterproof – All Skin Types intensely purifies.

When to use it: Like we said, micellar waters don’t need to be washed off. So, think about what that means—they’re ideal for getting clean when you may not be around running water. If you’re planning a road trip or heading into the outdoors for a camping trip, stock up on micellar water beforehand.

How to use it: Saturate a cotton pad with your micellar water match, then wipe the pad across your face. The micellar waters are free of oil, soap, and alcohol and can be used on your face, eyes, and lips.

Facial Cleanser Category #4: Cream Cleanser

Dry skin types are likely familiar with the feeling of washing your face, only to be left with skin that feels worse than it did before you stepped in front of the sink. To avoid tight and uncomfortable skin post-cleansing, try a cream cleanser. This type of creamy cleanser works to gently wash the skin, only removing the excess oils that build up—not stripping the skin of the oils it needs. If you have mature skin that's on the dry side, you may want to consider using the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Nourishing Cream Cleanser, which is formulated with replenishing oils and gently yet effectively removes traces of makeup, while leaving skin feeling softer.

When to use it: For most people, keeping your skin care routine the same all year round just won’t do. For example, in winter months or cold climates it can be wise to switch to cream cleansers.

How to use it: Lather into wet hands, gently massaging onto skin. Rinse, then pat dry. Oh, and don’t forget to follow up with moisturizer!

Facial Cleanser Category #5: Cleansing Towelettes

Not every facial cleanser comes in a bottle or tube. You can’t forget about cleansing towelettes, which come in small, ultra-convenient packs. The wipes inside are saturated with a cleansing formula that removes makeup and cleanses, all without needing to rinse afterwards. Store a pack of the L’Oréal Paris Ideal Clean™ All Skin Types Makeup Removing Towelettes in your travel bag, in your vanity—and basically anywhere else you can think to. They’re just that good to have on hand.

When to use it: We’ve all been there: you’re feeling a little lazy, and the last thing you want to do is wash off your makeup and attempt to get completely clean. That’s when you should be reaching for a cleansing wipe. A few swipes and you’re good to go! If you struggle to take your makeup off before bed every night, try leaving a pack of towelettes on your bedside table.

How to use it: Gently wipe your face with a towelette to remove all makeup and impurities. And that’s it!

Facial Cleanser Category #6: Scrub Cleanser

We love multi-taskers and if we had to guess, we’d bet you do too. And one of our favorites just so happens to be a type of cleanser. Scrub cleansers tackle two jobs at once, exfoliating and cleansing your skin. Our favorite, the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Bright Reveal Brightening Daily Scrub Cleanser, is formulated with glycolic acid and can help dissolve away stubborn dead skin cell buildup.

When to use it: When you’re complexion looks dull, it’s a good idea to break out a scrub cleanser formulated with an alpha hydroxy acid, like glycolic acid.

How to use it: Every morning and evening, lather into wet hands, gently massaging onto skin in a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly—with lukewarm water—and pat dry. Make sure to follow up by applying broad-spectrum sunscreen as directed and take additional sun protection measures like limiting your amount of time in the sun, seeking shade when you’re outside, and covering up in a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, as glycolic acid can increase your skin’s sun sensitivity.

Who knows what comes after cleansing? Moisturizing, of course. So, it only makes sense that you read up on moisturizers next. Here’s Our Best Moisturizer for Every Skin Type.

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