Difference between cleanser and face wash: Which One is Best For You

Have you always admired the smooth skin of others? Always thought that their good, acne free skin was due to genetics. What if I tell you, that you are farther from the truth than ever? Good skin isn’t always dependent on good genes but on the amount of information, you have at your disposal.

Sure some people have good, blemish free skin because of their genes, but that is always not the case. There are plenty of people who have acne prone skin but are able to have blemish free and well moisturised skin. According to me, anyone can have great skin, no matter what their skin type is.

Neutrogena Oil free achne face wash

If you believe all the skincare products available on the market are a sham then I would say you are not alone. Most people think this way leading to mistakes while taking care of their skin. That is why in this blog post I talk about the basic step of any skincare routine – The face wash or the cleanser. Hopefully knowing about the two products and the differences between them will help you in making better decisions.

What is a cleanser?

Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser

A cleanser is a lotion or liquid which doesn’t foam and is used to remove the dirt, makeup and pollutants on your skin. You can remove it either by using water or by using cotton balls on your face. The cleanser is used at night to remove all your makeup and not during the morning. It is often followed by a face wash.

What is a face wash?

Himalaya Purifying Neem Face Wash

There are many types of face washes on the market and most of them are foaming face washes. They remove deep seated debris from your face. A face wash will lather on your face when it comes in contact with water and is an excellent remover of debris that has clogged your pores.

The difference between the two

I have listed the differences between the two to give you a better picture.

A cleanser is very effective to remove oil based impuritiesA face wash is very effective in removing deep seated debris from clogged pores
A cleanser is used at night especially after a night out when you have worn makeupA face wash is used in the morning and night and is used twice daily
Cleanser can be used on all skin typesA foaming face wash is best for oily and acne prone skin type

From the table, it is clear that both cleanser and face wash have different properties but they are used for the same purpose – cleaning the face. They can be used sequentially applying the cleanser first and then using the face wash. If confusion still prevails please continue reading this post as I have given my suggestions regarding when to buy which.

When to buy a cleanser or a face wash?

Ok, now when to buy a cleanser or a face wash depends on a few things. If your skin type is oily or combination skin then a foaming face wash is a must. If you have dry or a normal skin then you can skip the face wash. It also depends on your skincare routine. I suggest buying both especially if you have a combination or an oily skin like me.

A cleanser can be used on all skin types and such are available on the market. Buy a salicylic or glycolic acid face wash and use it regularly to witness amazing results on your skin if you have combination/ oily skin. You can always use a cleanser especially if you have worn makeup to remove all that dirt, no matter what your skin type is.

Then you can wash your face with a face wash to remove all the debris from your face. If you have a combination skin you will quickly notice that using only cleanser doesn’t do the job effectively and your skin and pores are still clogged.  Only a foaming face wash will work effectively.

 In most households, people invest in both of them and use the face wash regularly and the cleanser occasionally. If you have normal skin then you can use a cleanser and wash your face with a non-foaming face wash. For dry or normal skin foaming face washes are not recommended. Non foaming face washes are available on the market and can be purchased online.

Having a good skincare routine is a must and the order of the products matter very much. If you are washing your face it will be futile if you use the foaming face wash first and then the cleanser. Even when taking care of your skin always take the thickness of the product into account.

Your skincare routine should be something like this: First, apply the cleanser then wash your face with the face wash. Your face wash should be paraben and sulphate free and should contain ingredients like retinol, salicylic acid, vitamin C, and chemical exfoliants. They can be bought online (Amazon, Flipkart) or in your local drug store.

Then always start with a toner that is alcohol free and has soothing ingredients. You can skip this step if you want. Then you can follow it up with a serum. Serums are solutions that are easily absorbed by the skin. Products with active ingredients should go on first. In the morning you can apply a Vitamin C serum and at night you can go for a vitamin A & E serum.

After the serum, you can apply a moisturiser. Water based moisturiser for oily skin, oil based moisturiser for dry or normal skin. If you wish you can top off the moisturiser with facial oils. I recommend castor oil as it brightens your skin and increases the skin’s elasticity. You can follow it up with your sunscreen.

If you need to step out of the house then you can apply makeup and step out. If you are going to stay indoors then you still need to apply a thin layer of water based sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30. Sunscreens are great for protecting your skin from UV rays damage and leave your skin wrinkle-free.

Most of the products I have talked about can be easily bought online. Do not buy products that are heavily marketed in ads. You can speak to your pharmacist when it comes to buying these products and focus more on the ingredients than the brand name while purchasing them.

Ingredients like retinol, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, Vitamins A, C & E work wonders for your skin independent of your skin type and always make sure to buy paraben and sulphate free products.

The following are some popular face washes and cleansers.

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Anybody can have great skin by maintaining good habits and developing an effective skincare routine. It is not always dependent on your genes. Understanding your skin type, focusing on the ingredients that go into your products and understanding how face washes and cleansers work, go a long way in helping you make better choices.

I do hope you find my post informative and it helped you change your perspective on skincare. There are differences between cleansers and face washes but depending on your skin type these products will give you the desired results. Do let me know how your skincare routine is now and if you have noticed any differences after making the changes I have suggested.

Frequently Asked Questions

Also read,

  1. Benefits of oil pulling for skin
  2. Benefits of Makhana for Skin
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