You’ve probably based the majority of your skincare routine around your skin type—normal, dry, oily, sensitive, acne-prone, or combination—but have you overlooked your cleanser? If you’ve been using the same face wash for years, it may be time to rethink your options. “Without the proper cleanser, the rest of your skincare routine won’t be effective,” New York-based aesthetician Toni Lee Roldan-Ortiz says, who specializes in problem skin. Don’t worry, we’ve outlined exactly what you need in our slideshow, no matter your type or concern.
Photo courtesy of Echo Nittolitto.
If you’re one of the lucky girls whose skin is neither particularly dry nor oily, Roldan-Ortiz suggests changing up your cleanser with the seasons. To keep your skin from drying out in the winter, try a hydrating cream or balm cleanser, like Eve Lom’s Cleanser ($50). For summer, a clarifying gel, like Boscia’s Purifying Cleansing Gel ($26) will keep your skin balanced.
For oily skin, Roldan-Ortiz suggests foaming cleansers. “It won’t strip the skin, and will remove the dirt, debris, and oil better than creams and lotions,” she says. Look for products with low levels of salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or benzoyl peroxide. Try Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash ($8) or PCA Skin’s BPO 5% Cleanser ($35).
Not all acne-prone skin is alike. If you’re both acne-prone and dry, Roldan-Ortiz recommends using a non-irritating cleanser, like Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser ($11)—and save the acne-fighting ingredients for a spot treatment or mask.
If you’re acne-prone and oily, you can get away with stronger ingredients in your cleanser. She suggests using an exfoliating face wash, like Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant ($52).
Those with sensitive skin, on the other hand, should stay away from ingredients that can irritate skin, like fragrance, acids (like glycolic or salicylic), and surfactants (the ingredients in soap that create lather). Roldan-Ortiz suggests a simple cleansing milk, like REN’s Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk ($28).
The key to caring for dry skin, according to Roldan-Ortiz, is binding moisture to your skin. She recommends products with hyaluronic acid, which can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. We like Avene’s Gentle Milk Cleanser ($20). Or try a cleansing oil, like NUDE Skincare’s Perfect Cleansing Oil Face & Eyes ($36), which locks moisture into the skin.
This one has two parts as well. “You have to know your skin type. You can be mature and dry or mature and oily,” Roldan-Ortiz told us. For dry, mature skin, she suggests using products with hyaluronic acid to keep your skin moisturized. If you’re oily and mature, “you should be able to get away with ingredients like acids and benzoyl peroxide.”
Try CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser ($9) for the former, and Murad’s AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser ($36) for the latter.