The best facial cleansers for every skin type – from balms and creams to gels and oils

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Essential for removing make-up and daily grime, cleansing is arguably the most important stage in your skincare routine.

And face wipes just don’t cut it, as this shocking video from a cosmetic doctor shows. You need to be using a proper cleanser, worked thoroughly into the skin and then removed with a splash of water or a clean flannel.

Fortunately nowadays there’s a formula for every skin type. Gel cleansers will leave normal-to-oily skin types feeling refreshed, while micellar waters are a quick and easy way to get rid of make-up (although are best followed with a cream or gel cleanser to remove any lingering surfactants).

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If your skin errs more towards the dry side, an oil-based cleanser or a thick, dense balm, massaged in then removed with a damp cloth, are great at effortlessly removing make-up, while a cream texture makes an excellent morning or second cleanse.

The OK! beauty team puts them to the test…


REN Clean Skincare Perfect Canvas Clean Jelly Oil Cleanser

Suitable for all skin types, this contains three oils to effectively break down make-up and grime. REN also gets brownie points for the packaging – the tube is made from 50% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic, with the cap made from 100% PCR plastic.

Tester says: “This comes out as a thick, balm-like jelly, which then transforms into a milk when water is added, rinsing away completely clean. It made short work of my make-up, removing every speck of mascara with hardly any effort required, and my skin was left feeling really soft and smooth. Seriously impressive!”

In fact, the OK! beauty team loves it so much we’ve included it in the latest OK! Beauty Edit box, which this month has a clean, green beauty theme. This cleanser normally costs £25 but you can get your hands on a travel-sized tube – plus six other brilliant beauty products – in the latest box.

Get your clean, green OK! Beauty Edit Box here – from just £13*


Nudeskin by Nudestix Gentle Hydra-Gel Face Cleanser, buy it here for £16

Developed in collaboration with a Beverly Hills dermatologist, this non-foaming gel gently cleanses the skin while also claiming to reduce inflammation, blemishes and dryness.

Tester says: “This feels light and fresh to use, like a supercharged splash of water to the face. I definitely felt the need for a moisturiser afterwards, so perhaps one for dry skins to avoid.”


e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm, buy it here for £10

A solid balm that liquifies into an oil on the skin, removing make-up, SPF and impurities with it.

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Tester says: “This immediately liquifies on the skin into a light watery oil, making light work of my make-up when I wipe it off with a warm damp flannel. It’s effective yet unlike some balms, doesn’t leave behind any oily residue on the skin. Sure, there’s no luxurious fragrance and the scoop is a little flimsy, but for its make-up-removing ability, this rivals balms five times its price. Brilliant.”


Indeed Labs Hydraluron Cream Cleanser, buy it here for £19.99

The newest addition to the Hydraluron range, this contains papaya enzymes to brighten the skin, and it’s also packed full of hydrating hyaluronic acid.

Tester says: “There aren’t really any bells or whistles with this, but it’s just a really good, basic, suits-all cream cleaner. It rinses away easily, and while it won’t remove eye make-up, it does leave skin feeling soft and smooth. If you’re totally unsure what your skin needs, you can’t go wrong with this.”


Caudalie Vinoclean Micellar Cleansing Water, buy it here for £15

Caudalie’s new Vinoclean range comes in recycled and recyclable packaging and is made with no synthetic cleansing agents.

Tester says: “As someone who likes to wear quite a heavy base, I've always found it difficult to find a cleanser which removes all of my make-up quickly and efficiently, but this one does it brilliantly, and leaves my skin feeling soft and refreshed. I love it.”

*if you purchase a six month beauty box plan

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