Cleanser Types: Choose Right for All Skin

When it comes to keeping a soft, healthy, youthful skin, skin acleansing is next to eating healthy and taking 8 hours of sleep daily. As skin hoards up oil, dirt, and loads of impurities all day, it’s important to take the time to give your skin the right cleansing regimen. 

Cleansing might sound simple and easy - soap, water, and you’re done. But not giving your skin the right cleansing regimen may do more harm than good. There’s no need to scramble to your cleansers in a panic wondering “what now?!” - we got you covered. Here is our guide to skin cleansers and skincare regimens to keep your skin squeaky clean, healthy, and glowing. 

What You'll Learn in This Blog



Types of Skin Cleansers

When it comes to cleansers, one product does not fit all. What may keep an oily face matte for long, may do the opposite for combination skin. Are you frustrated that your face never seems oil free no matter how thorough you are with cleansing? If you can’t keep the shine off your face for more than 10 minutes, you might want to replace your skin cleanser.

The good news is that not all skin cleansers are the same. The skincare market is full of various skin cleansers that work wonders for different skin types. Here’s a quick guide to choosing the best cleanser for your face!


Oil Cleansers

Oil and skin might sound like an unpleasant combination, but using specially-formulated oils is an ancient beauty treatment that continues to be as effective today. 

Oil cleansers are made with a combination of a surfactant (aka a foaming agent) and healthy oils like sunflower, almond, grapeseed, and jojoba. Using cleansers with an oil base is among the most effective ways of zapping out dirt from the skin without damaging the skin barrier. 

Oil cleansers clogging your pores should be the least of your worries. In an interview with Huffpost, Miami-based dermatologist Dr. Diane Walder explained that instead of settling on your pores, the good oils from oil cleansers bind with impurities for more effective cleaning.

Read Also: How to use oil cleanser 


Milk Cleansers

Some facial cleansers - especially ones made for acne - can be harsh to sensitive skin. Milk cleansers are a gentler alternative that will remove dirt off your skin without actually stripping your face off its natural oils.

What makes milk cleansers milky? Cleansing milk is not made with milk, per se, but with a combination of oils and emollient ingredients. Like oil cleansers, they follow the like-attracts-like principle - they latch onto and dissolve grease, dirt, and grime. Although milk cleansers won’t cause the proverbial frothy soap action, you can be rest assured these cleansers will do their job. 


Gel Cleansers

Known for its thick consistency, gel cleansers are compatible with acne-prone, and sensitive skin. Gentler than foam cleansers, gel cleansers are water-based and infused with natural ingredients like plant essences and oils. Gel cleansers are compatible with multiple skin types. Cleansers of this type don’t create foam at all, but don’t take the lack of bubbles as inefficiency. Gel cleansers are known to be tough on dirt, but ultra-hydrating on the skin. 


Balm Cleansers

Joshua Zeichner - a NY-dermatologist - shared in an Allure interview that a cleansing balm is an effective option to remove dirt and oil thoroughly without zapping moisture off the face. Balm cleansers are made from emulsified oils. Like oil-based facial cleansers, balm cleansers latch to dirt and grime and break them down to reveal cleaner, lighter skin. 



How to Apply Different Types of Cleansers

Gel Cleansers and Milk Cleansers

  1. Start by wetting your face with lukewarm water all over
  2. Take 1-2 pumps of cleanser into the palms of your hand and gently apply it all over your face. 
  3. Wash with warm water. 

Oil-Based Cleansers

  1. Oil-based cleansers are best used on dry skin.
  2. Apply 2-3 drops of oil into your palms and gently massage it all over your face.
  3. Wash with water.

Balm Cleansers

  1. Use balm on a dry face.
  2. Gently massage areas that need cleaning.
  3. Use a wet cloth and carefully remove traces of make-up or dirt on your face. 



Best Cleansers for Different Skin Types

A simple choice - such as choosing the right cleanser for different skin types - can do wonders to your skincare regimen. Here’s a quick guide to choosing the best skin cleanser based on your skin type. 


Recommended Cleansers for Oily Skin

There’s a common skincare belief that the oilier the skin, the more we need to use cleansers that can make our skin as matte as possible. Unfortunately, using strong foam cleansers can actually cause more oil! Yikes. The dermatologist from Washington Square Dermatology, Dr. Michelle Park, even mentioned that the dryer we make our skin, the more oil it will try to produce to keep it supple. 

If you have oily skin, you can consider using:

Gel Cleansers and Milk Cleansers

  • Make-up artist Shara Strand recommends gel cleansers for oily skin. She shares, “..gel is really cooling, and it has moisturising elements to balance out oily skin.” 
  • Milk cleansers are also a great option. Not only is it gentle to the skin - it neutralises the balance of oil on the skin. 

Oil Cleansers

  • Oil for oil? Sounds counterintuitive, right? But hear us out - oil cleansers can dissolve oil unlike any other kind of cleanser! Oil-based cleansers cling onto oil, and effectively pulls it out off your skin in a gentle way. 

We Recommend:

cleansers for oily skin

Infused with immortelle and calendula extract, this ultra-gentle cleanser dissolves urban grime, while leaving skin nourished, and moisturised. Mix with water to achieve that milky consistency that feels so good on the skin!



oil cleansers for oily skin

The nourishing blend of moringa and gentian extracts makes this cleansing milk a delicious dirt buster for the face. Clarins minimises the shine, while leaving skin extra moisturised. 



Recommended Cleansers for Combination Skin

Dealing with combination skin is tricky - it’s not always easy to find products that will work for both dry AND oily areas. A good option for combination skin cleansers is one with a lotion-like texture. When choosing a cleanser that works best for your combination skin, think of these criteria: they should be water-soluble, and gentle on the skin. 

Milk Cleansers

  • Also known as lotion cleansers, milk cleansers are gentle for dry skin. Milk cleansers are made with emollient - a great ingredient that helps oily skin suck out the dirt without stripping the skin of its natural oils. 

We Recommend: 

combination skin cleansers

Featuring a formula that includes moisturising ingredients like French rose, purple orchid, aloe vera, Vitamin E, and hibiscus, GA-DE gentle cleansing milk helps keep your combination skin free from grime and impurities, without drying out dry areas, and exacerbate oiling on oily spots. 



Recommended Cleansers for Dry Skin

If you’re dealing with dry, sensitive skin, the cleanser of your choice will be a big deal - you won’t want the remaining natural oils stripped off your face. A wrong facial cleanser can cause irritation, inflammation, and total discomfort. 

When choosing the best cleansers for dry skin, choose a cleanser that can deliver that clean feel + added moisture to your face. 

Milk Cleansers

  • Acts like a balm and a gel cleanser, milk cleansers help remove dirt, grime, and makeup thoroughly. Unlike foam cleansers, a milky facial wash leaves skin soft, supple, and moisturised. 

Gel Cleansers

  • Ultra-gentle gel cleansers clean the face without irritating it. Choose fragrance-free gel cleansers that might trigger inflammation.

We Recommend: 

dry skin cleansers

This cleansing lotion removes dirt off your face the most delicate way possible. Made from a milky emulsion, La Mer cleansing lotion does not cause the classic drying foam. 


dry skin gel cleansers

Achieve soft, supple skin with L’Occitane Aqua Gel Cleanser. With moisturising components like glycerine and hyaluronic acid, this gel cleanser lifts away impurities and invigorates the skin.



Recommended Cleansers for Mature Skin

As the skin ages, drying becomes common. Drier skin is more susceptible to wrinkling and sagging. Apart from choosing the best skin cleanser for your skin type, considering the age of your skin will help you choose the cleanser that will work best for you. As drying is a common effect of skin ageing, those with mature skin can opt for gentle, highly-hydrating facial cleansers. 

Balm Cleansers

  • Balm cleansers don’t just dissolve grime and make-up - it has an after-cleaning effect that leaves skin supple and moisturised. A balm cleanser promotes gentle cleansing - just a few soft strokes all over your face can leave your face squeaky clean. There’s no need for harsh hand action on your face anymore. 

We Recommend: 

mature skin cleansers

An anti-ageing facial cleanser formulated to act as an oil and gel cleanser. The product works as both a makeup remover and a deep cleanser. 


Make the most out of your cleansing regimen by choosing the right cleanser for your skin. Not sure what skin type you have, and how to care for it properly? Try our skin quiz!

Beauty Affairs Skin Quiz Image

Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne is a passionate beauty writer with over 10 years of experience. She’s incredibly keen on all things skincare, makeup and cosmetics, with a fingertip on the pulse of the latest global beauty trends at all times.

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