Cleansers 101

Looking for your perfect cleanser? First you need to understand a little about your skin type, this will go a long way to identifying it’s needs and how to treat any issues you have. Secondly don’t assume that because something has worked for you in the past it will always work.. I for one know that skin types can change as I’ve recently gotten much drier where I used to be Combination/Oily.
So, I’ll run down my recommendations for each skin type, this is just a guide for those unsure of or starting out in the world of cleansers. There are so many on the market it’s tricky to understand what you’re looking for so hopefully this will be of help to someone.
Dry Skin
There are different degrees of dry skin so be aware that a product that says it’s formulated for ‘dry skin’ may not be the one for you. It’s can be the toughest skin type to work with but the following cleansers are a good place to start if you’re looking for something new.

Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser £5.99
I bought this looking for a cheap alternative to the Liz Earle favourite, if you’d like a full comparison let me know. This was much thicker and left a residue, much better for drier days/winter months than summer when it could be a bit much. It’s safe to use on eye makeup though which is a huge time saving plus for me.. it does however smell like sun cream.

Botanics Organic Cleansing Balm £6.63
Also a product I bought hoping to find a Liz Earle dupe.. this was completely the wrong choice. It’s a balm as opposed to a cream or a liquid so totally different to anything else I’ve used. It’s supposedly a dupe for the Eve Lom cleanser (I may have been confused) and although at first I hated it I came to realise it has it’s place. It’s all natural and soothing so for those with skin prone to react with products it’s probably going to be perfect. Not unlike the Vitamin E cleanser it also leaves an oily film so I decided it was more suited to dry skin types.

Oily Skin
A common misconception for those with oily skin is that you should avoid moisture at all costs when in fact the opposite applies. All skin types need moisture but often products targeted at oily/blemish prone skin are high in alcohol which strips your skin of the oils it needs causing it to over compensate and produce even more oil leading to breakouts.

Neutrogena Visibly Clear 2in1 Face Wash/Mask £3.99
I used this on and off for years during my blemish prone periods and it’s a great product to have in as it doubles as a face mask. It’s really effective at keeping excess oil and breakouts at bay.

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pink Grapefruit Gel Wash £4.89
First of all this smells amazing. There are 3 options which I believe are targeted at different levels of oil control. The scrub was a little too drying for me, this was much gentler yet did the job and I think if you’re on the oily/combination fence you may be more at home with the cream wash.

Combination Skin
Combination skin is trickiest when you’re trying to clear your skin of blemishes. Just as above the last thing you feel like you need is something thick or oily but the drier patches crave it. You’re looking for something that will meet two needs and restore a balance and these are those I’ve tried myself and found effective.
Soap & Glory Peaches & Clean £7.00
This gives a deep clean while smoothing with fruit acids to gently exfoliate. It’s creamy and refreshing and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this smells divine! Most importantly it’s not drying and it goes some way to evening out combination skin.

Clinique Facial Soap £13-£14.00
As you probably know you can purchase this is liquid or bar form. For combination skin I would suggest the milder formula and if you err more on the side of dry than oily I would go for the liquid over the bar however the bar lasts a lot longer. Most importantly you don’t have to use this in conjunction with Cliniques 3 step programme.. it doesn’t suit everyone but the cleanser is still really effective and something I would recommend everyone try at some point.

Sensitive Skin 
I have never suffered from sensitive skin myself so can only empathise with your problem and suggest the following cleansers which seem to work for others of the same skin type. I would recommend going organic and trying the all natural approach if you can as this seems to be the best answer for those that react to everything they try.

Cetaphil £8.99
 Now I have actually tried this and have to say.. I wasn’t impressed but I’m led to believe that for those with very sensitive/problem skin it’s a life saver.

Dr Organic Rose Otto Cleansing Milk £8.19
The Dr Organic range has a lot of fans and if you’re in to that kind of thing you might want to pop over to Holland and Barrett to check it out. This is a cleansing milk as opposed to a wash which often people with more sensitive skin prefer as it’s a little more soothing.

All Skin Types
I wanted to avoid using the term ‘normal skin’ as I don’t think there’s such a thing. Throughout our lives we’ll all probably have our oily/dry/sensitive moments but some less than others. These are the cleansers that claim to suit ‘all skin types’, you should find less irritating ingredients in an ‘all skin types’ product but if you are sensitive always check the label!

Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser £14.25
No matter what phase my skin is in this cleanser always works for me. It’s gentle but be warned your skin can become reliant and break out when you stop using it.

Simple Refreshing Facial Wash £1.32
If you have no skin woes.. why spend a fortune when you don’t have to? All you want is to feel fresh and clean and this will do the job for a bargain basement price. Some of us spend a fortune looking for ‘the one’ so why not take advantage of your enviable position?

The most important thing I learnt about cleansers recently is not to be fooled by texture. I used to hate creamy cleansers ’cause I never felt like they were doing anything until I discovered exfoliating acids. Whether they be glycolic or citric they can smooth the skin just as well as any face scrub so like I said.. always check the label! My favourite cleanser of the moment has to be the Soap & Glory Peaches & Clean which contains said acids and leaves me feeling squeaky clean so unless you’ve already found your holy grail skincare regime why not throw out any preconceptions and try something different?

…and if you have found your HG cleanser let us all in on your secret!!!

Miss BB



  1. 13 April, 2012 / 9:00 pm

    Great post, but I have to disagree about the Simple face wash, despite sensitive skin claims, as I (and a few friends with sensitive skin) have found that their products make our skin worse! x

    • 13 April, 2012 / 9:27 pm

      I agree! that's why I didn't put it in the sensitive skin section. I think simple is great for basic products but if you have any skin issues look elsewhere

    • 14 April, 2012 / 10:57 am

      Yup, if the skin is 'normal' it should be okay, I just hate their misleading claims! The Soap and Glory Peaches one sounds gorgeous x

  2. 13 April, 2012 / 9:09 pm

    I really want to try the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish I've soo many great things about it


  3. 13 April, 2012 / 10:10 pm

    Thanks for this, really interesting. I have normal/combination skin and at the moment I'm loving Origins Checks and Balances. I know everyone loves Liz Earle C and P but I had the WORST allergic reaction to it and it left my face covered in itchy boils haha um nice… x

  4. 13 April, 2012 / 10:45 pm

    I really wanna try the Soap and Glory one =) But I don`t really need a new cleanser at the moment.. =( I was wondering if you could maybe consider moving your search box to the top half of your page? I think it would be a bit easier to find it that way =) I was gonna search for ELF product reviews, but could`t find the search box at first. Have a great weekend!

    • 14 April, 2012 / 9:11 pm

      yes! i appreciate the feedback as i always look to search blogs too x

  5. 13 April, 2012 / 11:44 pm

    Thanks for this. After years of trying different things and thinking maybe my skin was just meant to be awful I tried the body shop teatree range and it has completely cleared my skin up. I guess I'd recommend that to people with blemished skin but also their other ranges to anyone who's not quite sure where to start with their skin. You've given me some great ideas should I ever want to change it up though!
    Maddy x

  6. 14 April, 2012 / 2:48 am

    Since the products you named are not available in Canada (as far as I know… but I think I spotted a very small selection of Botanics products at Shoppers…), I would recommend Burt's Bees Orange Essence Cleanser as it doesn't leave your face tight and feeling squeaky clean – it leaves a slight oily residue behind, which I appreciate as it soothes my irritated skin x

  7. 14 April, 2012 / 8:32 am

    I've been wanting to try the Soap & Glory Cleanser for so long – I'm definitely going to have to order a bottle!

    I've tried the Liz Earle cleanser before and it did work really well but after a while it stopped being as effective – I think I got too used to it!


  8. 14 April, 2012 / 2:26 pm


    Two things:

    1) I have sensitive, combination skin and I LOVE Clarins Extra Comfort Cleansing Cream. It is super gentle.

    2) This is unrelated to your post but I just have to say, when I think of having kids one day, I have these nightmarish images of becoming this fat, frumpy woman. But you give me hope that it is still possible to be a mother and to look stylish and fab, and also have a great figure. So thank you for that 🙂

    Monique x

    • 14 April, 2012 / 9:12 pm

      i try to stay away from high end but there are definitely products that prove you get what you pay for.. and thank you, that's lovely to hear x

  9. 14 April, 2012 / 3:56 pm

    I completely love the Boots organics balm, even with my combination/oily skin I find it amazing, but so many Boots near me haven't had it in stock for about 2 months – I miss it!x

  10. 15 April, 2012 / 7:50 pm

    Went out today and got myself some Peaches and Clean – see what you mean about the smell. Wanted to spend £10 to get the freebie so also got the Mist You Madly! Didn't realise it was also 3 for 2!!!! Thought that was just make-up? They could have told me at the till grrr!

  11. 4 May, 2012 / 10:17 am

    I recently tried the Benefit 'foamingly clean' cleanser and it's great, I'm not too keen on the rest of the B-right range (all the products are fine… but definitely not worth their pricetags). Before that I was using the Clarins energising gel but the Benefit cleanser definitely makes my skin feel cleaner and incredibly soft. I have combination skin (dry patch between my eyebrows and occasionally oily forehead/nose).

  12. Fran
    27 August, 2012 / 9:57 pm

    I love the peaches and clean and I have to say its now my HG cleanser thanks to you. It leaves my skin so clean and I find it good to use with the Clarisonic!

    • missbudgetbeauty
      29 August, 2012 / 8:25 am

      my fave fave fave but bugs me that you have to dillute it to get the last bits coz its so thick 🙁

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