6 Best Cleansing Tips (That Are Often Ignored) – Beautiful With Brains


Ready for the best cleansing tips? I know what you’re about to say. “Cleansing is the easiest thing in the world. You can’t do it wrong. Tell me something I don’t know instead, Gio.” Well, I’ll tell you this: You can do cleansing wrong. I did it wrong for years. And, you’re probably doing it the wrong way, too. Or at least you have at some point.

There is a lot more to cleansing than it seems at first. You have to choose the right product. Make sure you don’t overdo it. Keep it safe from bacteria… It ain’t as simple as it sounds. Even if you’re doing cleansing right, chances are you’re ignoring one or two things that could up your cleansing game. So, here we go, 6 effective but often ignored best cleansing tips you just need to know about to get the most out of your fave cleanser:

1. Choose The Right Cleanser For Your Skin Type

This is the most important cleansing tip ever. Get this wrong and you’ll upset your skin. I know this from personal experience. When I was a teenager, I thought that uncomfortable tight feeling I often got after cleansing was proof I had done a good job. How naive I was! Now, I know better. That tight feeling is a tell-tale sign the cleansers I was using were way too harsh for my skin.

So many cleansers back then had Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, one of the harshest surfactants (ingredients that help water mix with oil and dirt so they can be rinsed away easily) used in skincare products. And don’t let me started on bar soaps! Few brands know how to create bar soaps that don’t irritate skin. It’s much safer to just avoid them.

What you should do is choose a cleanser suitable for your skin type. You’ll recognize it when you meet it: it cleanses your skin without irritating or drying it out. To get this right, you must first know what your skin type is. Do you know yours? If not, here’s a quick guide to help you out:

Dry skin: Your skin feels tight even before washing, but washing makes it worse. It can be flaky, red, and easily irritated. Opt for a milk or oil-based cleanser that cleanses and moisturises skin at the same time.

Oily skin: Your skin produces too much oil, so it’s often greasy and shiny. It has large, visible pores, and is prone to all types of acne, including pimples and blackheads. Opt for a gentle, pH-balanced foaming cleanser that removes excess oil without disrupting the skin’s natural protective barrier.

Combination skin: Your skin is dry in some areas and oily in others. Your best bet is a foam-to-cream cleanser that keeps every area of your skin happy and balanced.

Normal skin: Your skin is flawless. It’s not dry and tight. It’s not prone to acne. Your pores are invisible. You hit the skincare jackpot. You can use any type of cleanser, as long as it doesn’t irritate your skin.

Sensitive skin: Your skin is often red and easily irritated. Opt for a very gentle, pH-balanced, fragrance-free cream cleanser or micellar water.


  • Cerave Hydrating Cleanser ($16.99): It’s loaded with ceramides to moisturise skin and prevent dryness during the cleansing process. Available at BootsCult Beauty, Dermstore, Look FantasticSephoraUlta and Walmart.
  • Mad Hippie Cream Cleanser ($16.99): This rich oil-based cleanser dissolves your makeup and moisturises your face. At the end, your skin is cleansed and silky soft (like a baby’s). Available at: iHerb and Ulta.
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser ($19.00): One of the gentlest cleansers I’ve ever come across, it remove dirt and excess oil without drying out the skin. If you’re wearing makeup, you’ll probably need a washcloth to remove every last trace of foundation, so I prefer to use it only in the mornings. Available at Paula’s Choice.

Related: How To Choose The Right Cleanser For Your Skin Type

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2. Don’t Waste Your Money On Fancy Anti-Aging & Exfoliating Cleansers

Look, I love multi-tasking skincare products as much as any other woman. But when it comes to cleansers, basic is best. This was an expensive lesson for me to learn. I used to buy exfoliating and anti-aging cleansers all the time. I thought I’d get double the benefits for half the cost. Turns out, I was just throwing money down the drain.

Antioxidants and exfoliating acids (glycolic, salicylic, etc) work wonders… when they’re left on the skin. But, guess what? When you rinse the cleanser off, you rinse them off, too. Before they have time to work their magic. What a waste!

Oh, in case you’re wondering. Exfoliating cleansers with salt, sugar, apricot kernels and other tiny exfoliating particles can exfoliate skin during cleansing. But, they’re more irritating than exfoliating acids. They also don’t exfoliate skin evenly. Do  your skin (and your wallet a favour) and skimp on your cleanser so you can invest in a leave-in exfoliants or antioxidant serum. Or, better yet, both.


  • Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum ($90.00): Don’t let the name fool you. This exfoliant has both salicylic acid to unclog pores and glycolic acid to fade away the dark spots pimples sometimes leave behind. Available at Cult BeautySephora and SpaceNK.
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid ($29.00): The cult exfoliant from the brand, it unlclogs pores and treats blackheads and acne. The texture’s a little sticky, but if you can take that, this is one of the best salicylic acid exfoliants out there. Available at Cult BeautyDermstoreNet-A-PorterPaula’s ChoiceSephora, and SpaceNK.
  • The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution: A simple, no-frills Glycolic Acid exfoliant that brightens the complexion and fades away dark spots. Available at Beauty BayBootsCult BeautySephoraSpaceNKThe Ordinary, and Ulta.
  • The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% ($8.90): A simple Lactic Acid exfoliant enriched with Hyaluronic Acid to exfoliate and hydrate skin at the same time. Available at Beauty BayBootsCult BeautySephoraSpaceNKThe Ordinary, and Ulta.

Related: What Are The Best Antioxidant Serums?

3. Don’t Let Bacteria In Your Cleanser

Did you know that bacteria could potentially find their way into your cleanser if you don’t bother to close that tube well after every use? It’s true that if your cleanser has a good preservative system, that lonely bacteria will likely get killed instantly the moment it venture inside. But not every cleanser does. Now parabens are being phased out, preservative systems have gotten a lot weaker. Some natural products don’t have preservatives at all! I know it’s such a small thing, but the devil’s in the details. Close that lid well.


  • CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser ($14.99): It’s loaded with ceramides, precious little waxes that strengthen your skin’s protective barrier and keep your skin soft during the cleansing process. It removes all traces of dirt and makeup (even long-lasting foundation) effortlessly without irritating or drying out your skin. Available at BootsDermstoreLook FantasticSephora, and Ulta.
  • Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm ($30.00): This nourishing balm effectively dissolve makeup without stripping the skin’s natural moisture barrier and causingredness or inflammation. Fragrance-free, i’s suitable for even the most sensitive skin types, including those with rosacea. Available at BootsClinique, and Ulta.
  • La Roche Posay Toleriane Dermo Cleanser ($23.99): A lightweight formula that effectively removes impurities and makeup without stripping away your skin’s natural moisture. Plus, it’s fragrance-free, so it won’t cause any unnecessary irritation. Available at BootsCult BeautySephora, and Ulta.
estee lauder advanced night micro cleansing foam

4. Don’t Over-Cleanse

When I was a teen, my skin was way oilier than it is now (thanks, hormones!). Back then, I would sometimes wash my face three of four times a day. But, it would just make it worse. Drying out your skin simply sends it a message it needs to produce more oil to compensate what it has lost. *sighs*

There really is no reason to cleanse more than twice a day (once in the morning and once at home). Do it more often and you’ll just get into a vicious circle of extra oil, acne, and tightness. Not what your skin needs, my friend.

If your skin is very sensitive, you could wash it only once a day. “If you’re going to wash only once, my recommendation is to wash in the evening to remove everything that has accumulated during the day so you sleep with a clean face on your pillow,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in the dermatology department at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “If you work out, do your best to wash afterward as well,” he adds.


  • CeraVe Foaming Cleanser ($14.99): A little stronger than all the other cleansers in this list, it effortlessly removes dirt, excess oil and makeup without drying out or irritating skin (unless it’s sensitive). Available at Beauty BayBootsSephora, and Ulta
  • Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Cleanser ($11.00): A gentle, no-frills morning cleanser that gets the job done without irritating skin. Plus, it has a skin-friendly pH that doesn’t destroy the skin’s protective barrier. Available at Beauty BayBootsSephoraStylevanaUlta, and Yes Style
  • Paula’s Choice Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser ($22.00): A cream-to-foam formula that uses a mix of surfactants and a few drops of oil to remove every last trace of makeup, dirt, and excess oil from the skin. Available at DermstorePaula’s Choice, Sephora, and SpaceNK
vichy purete thermale one step cleanser

5. Cleansing Wipes? Only On-The-Go

In my early 20s, I would often go out partying and come home in the early hours of the morning during the weekends. Cleansing wipes were my BFF. I’d pick up one, rub it all over my face, slather on moisturizer, and go to bed. So convenient! You know what wasn’t convenient? Pimples. Those take ages to go away. But they come so quickly when you don’t remove all your makeup properly.

Those cleansing wipes never took every last trace off. They can’t. It’s not just me. “Face wipes do not clean as thoroughly as a dedicated facial cleanser and water, often leaving behind grime and oil which may over time lead to clogged pores, breakouts and even irritation from residual product on the skin,” warns Dr Alexis Granite, Consulting Dermatologist at Kiehl’s.

If you’re wearing waterproof and longlasting products, you’d probably have to use two or three to get the job done. All that rubbing can irritate skin.  Not to mention the cost. The more quickly you use them all up, the more often you’ll have to buy them again. In the long run, they’re not such a good investment.

I’m all for using a cleansing wipe in an emergency or when you’re travelling. But for every day use, stick to a regular cleanser. It gets the job done and is much gentler on the skin. If you really must use face wipes in an emergency, check out my best picks below.


  • Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Wipes ($11.99): These wipes are infused with the famous micellar solution for a gentle on-the-go cleanse. Available at Dermstore and iHerb
  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost Facial Cleansing Wipes ($10.49): These hydrating cleansing wipes contain a few drops of moisture-binding hyaluronic acid to keep skin soft and supple during the cleansing process. Available at Look Fantastic and Ulta
  • Paula’s Choice Gentle Cleansing Cloths ($13.00): Every wipe is biodegradable and do a great job at removing dirt and makeup (yep, even long-lasting foundation). Did I mention they’re loaded with antioxidants to soothe skin and prevent premature aging, too? Available at Paula’s Choice
drunk elephant beste no9 jelly cleanser

6. Never Wash Your Face With Shampoo Or Body Wash

Run out of face cleanser? No problem, use your shampoo or body wash. They contain the same cleasing ingredients, right? Sort of. The ingredients may be the same, but their amount is different. Shampooes and body washes contain a bigger dose that may be too harsh for the face. The skin there is way more delicate.

 “Some body washes are designed to eliminate stubborn dirt, debris, and excess oil, and as a result can be too harsh for the face and lead to redness, dryness, and irritation,” says board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick. If you’re out of face wash and need to cleanse your face in an emergency, you may make an exception once – but not more than once. Don’t make it a habit!


  • CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser ($14.99): A cream cleanser loaded with ceramide to remove impurities while strengthening your skin’s protective barrier. Available at BootsCult Beauty, Dermstore, Look FantasticSephoraUlta and Walmart.
  • Corsx Low PH Good Morning Gel Cleanser ($11.00): A gentle pH-balanced (5.5) foaming cleanser that gets rid of excess oil and impurities without drying out skin. Available at Sokoglam and YesStyle.
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser ($17.00): This moisturising cleanser uses a mix of surfactants and natural oils to remove impurities and makeup from skin, leaving it soft and clean. Available at Paula’s Choice.

The Bottom Line

Cleansing is the foundation of your skincare routine. Now you have the best cleansing tips to remove impurities and makeup without drying out or irritating skin – and the small annoying habits to avoid to start your routine the right way.



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