I think in product categories, which means I try not to get too attached to products themselves, instead looking at product function. So while I might have a favourite oil cleanser, or favourite acid toner, I have others that work well enough that I wouldn’t hate if I had to use them.
That said, I have favourites in each category and I thought it would be fun to talk through them all. I have used all these products each for at least a month and the majority of these can be found on the highstreet in the UK, hold tight UK fam, I’m always looking out for you ❤
I’ve provided links wherever I can, but please note that these purchase locations are not exhaustive and I do not use affiliate links, so click happy!
I have tried pure oil cleansers, but I prefer premade cleansers with emulsifiers, as those turn milky when they come into contact with water and wash off cleaner.
L’Oreal Paris Extraordinary Oil Cleansing Oil: £7.99/150ml (£5.33/100ml)
This was the very first oil cleanser I tried, I bought it because it was so cheap. It is frequently on sale almost everywhere beauty is sold, and even when it isn’t on offer, it is the cheapest of the three. It has an ‘old’ fragrance which I could do without, but I like how easily it rinses clean with just water. The oil base is mineral oil, and it has a medium consistency. What makes this a great pick is just how basic and cheap it is.
L’Occitane Shea Butter Cleansing Oil: £17/200ml (£8.50/100ml)
Contrary to the label the oil is a blend of sunflower oil and shea butter oil, which I don’t mind except the fragrance is overwhelmingly reminds me of cooking oil, gag. This is the thinnest consistency of all the cleansers, it washes off really cleanly and of all the three gets out all the grit and dirt from my skin. It is the only oil cleanser I’ve used that consistently gets out all the gunk. For that alone I really like this cleanser. Plus, it’s the best I’ve used decanted as it’s so thin and doesn’t need any extra work to remove.
No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Oil: £11/150ml (£7.33/100ml)
This cleansing oil is my absolute favourite of all the cleansing oils I have ever tried, the running total so far is five. It is the thickest consistency of all the cleansers and is a mineral oil base mixed with other oils like avocado, olive and safflower oils. It vaguely smells like oil, and while it washes off cleanly, I like to use a muslin cloth to help it along.
For all my apathy about 2nd cleansers (compared to say, toners which I am absolutely batty about), I spend a lot of time and money on them. I have three requirements for this category, not break me out (obviously), be around pH 5.5 and be SLS free. Finding products that feel good to use as well as being effective has turned out to be a pricey endeavour for me.
Eucerin DermoPURIFYER Cleanser: £9.50/200ml (£4.75/100ml)
Hold me. I can never use this cleanser again (it contains SLS), but I recommend it to anyone who asks. It is a solid cleanser that effectively cleanses the skin leaving it soft and lovely. If I could just buy one cleanser forever, I probably would have just stuck to this due to the price and quality. My mother is also a huge huge fan, this is her primary cleanser for life. Whenever Boots has 3 for 2 I stock up on these for her.
Avène Cleansing Foam: £12.50/150ml (£8.33/100ml)
Of all the foaming cleansers I’ve tried, this Avène cleanser is hands down the best I’ve used. It foams nicely, cleanses nicely and has a faintly sweet fragrance that makes it a joy to use. It’s also really travel friendly and opens up so you can decant it into travel bottles for convenience!
Hada Labo Gokujyun Foaming Face Wash: Price varies, usually around £10/160ml on Amazon Prime UK.
I like the products, but Hada Labo are the most boring brand. That’s a good thing, they deliver on their promises so when you buy a product you know exactly what you’re getting. This cleanser was recently updated and honestly, they worked pretty much the same, the updated one left my skin a little bit more hydrated, but not in a way that would prompt me to have a strong opinion of one over the other. Point is, if you’re looking for a no frills, no fuss, no fragrance cleanser, then bob’s your uncle, this is a good un.
ATOCLASSIC Real Tonic Soothing Multi Cleanser: £23/200ml (£11.50/100ml)
I gravitated to foaming cleansers because they best fit my requirements, but really I prefer gel cleansers. This one checks all the boxes and for added fun it’s consistency is like like snail mucin, something I had no idea I wanted but now thoroughly enjoy. The thick texture spreads nicely with the most minimal foam so I don’t get anxious about anything in my eyes, and leaves my skin feeling the softest it feels. The fragrance is faintly sweet, like spun sugar which just adds to the charm.
I prefer to wash my face with the above cleansers, and no matter how tired I am that fact is still ingrained in my mind. However, I appreciate that sometimes I’ll be too tired to wash my face and I’d rather reach for a wipe than sleep in the day’s grime. Also these are great for point removing makeup, like lip tints!
Garnier Skin Naturals Micellar Cleansing Water: £4.99/400ml (£1.25/100ml)
I’d heard great things about this, so when I saw a small size for £1, I grabbed it and what a great decision that was! Of all the micellar and cleansing waters I’ve tried this does the job at the best possible price. Feels like water, cleanse well and doesn’t leave a sticky film or residue. It also tastes like very little. No I haven’t been chugging it, I use it to remove stubborn lip tints and it doesn’t make me want to gag right after. Score!
Cremorlab Cleansing Veil: £17.39/70 Wipes (25p/wipe)
Pricy and hard to get, but this wipe reminded me that cleansing wipes don’t have to be an unpleasant experience. One sheet (or veil) is large enough to cleanse my face (and then some) and unlike others I have tried leaves my skin feeling truly clean. There is a travel size too, which I take with me on planes, they’re absolutely perfect for that! I like these well enough, but with makeup I never feel like I’ve gotten everything off, even though a quick toner swipe usually shows that I have!
Garnier SkinActive Oil-Infused Micellar Cleansing Wipes: £3.26/25 Wipes (13p/wipe)
I like the idea of an oil cleanse in a wipe, and these are pretty much what I expect from such a concept. They’re much better than the Cremorlab in that I trust these a little bit more to get off all the grime and makeup of the day, but the downside is that I then feel like I need to wash my face, or use another wipe to feel clean. Sorry Nature. That said! They’re still great for super late night /tired cleansing when I know I need a deep clean, but I physically cannot bring myself to stand at the sink and scrub.
So now you know my faves in my cleansing arsenal! Any surprises? Things you also use or things I’ve listed that you flat out hate? Let me know in the comments!
No suggestions though, I’m all cleansered out, I honestly cannot bring myself to test anymore, these will do for now.