Difference between Cleanser and Face Wash

Difference between cleanser and face wash
Difference between cleanser and face wash

What is the difference between cleanser and face wash? How and when should I use both of them? These are some of the questions that come up for most first timers when it comes to facial routines. Read on for this and more cleansers vs face washes. 

Difference Between Cleanser and Face Wash

Cleanser Vs Face Wash: These two have a basic function and that is to clean your face. Both are used to clean the face of dirt, makeup, and excess oil. A cleanser is a non-foaming liquid that is used to clean the face and does not need to be washed out. It is commonly used as a faster way to get rid of makeup before bedtime. A cleanser is gentle– it simply wipes off dirt and oil on the skin. It is moisturizing and hydrating.

Cleanser vs Face Wash
Cleanser vs Face Wash

A face wash, on the other hand, is more like soap. It is a foaming cleanser and works to remove deep seated dirt and grime. Face washes are a little harsher and thorough compared to a cleanser. It leaves you feeling clean and refreshed.

Which one should I use?

On whether to use a cleanser or a face wash, this depends on the current need and occasion. While these two can be used together, there are requirements that may dictate which and when to use each one of them.

Cleansers are most recommended for those with dry skin. They will moisturize your skin leaving feeling fresh and hydrated. How often to use a cleanser depends on your exposure to dust and other pollutants. If you can go out less often, you can limit using a cleanser to once a week or so.

Face washes are harsher and should not be overused by those with sensitive skin. They contain the ingredient sodium lauryl sulfate which is a common skin irritant. They lather and foam providing cleansing for deep set impurities.

When to use a Cleanser and a Face Wash

Well, this depends on your daily routine. You can choose to use a face wash in the morning and as soon as you get home after exposure to pollutants.

The most common way of using a facial cleanser is just before bedtime to get rid of makeup. You can also use one just before applying your makeup to gently cleanse and moisturize.

The best way to use these to is by interchanging them depending on the current need. For example, if you have been exposed to a lot of dust in traffic, you can you use a cleanser first then follow it up with a face wash. If you plan to use these two together, it is best to use face washes more than cleansers to keep your skin refreshed and healthy. This does not apply if you have a dry skin type.

Remember that soaps are way harsher than face washes. DO NOT replace your face wash with normal bath soap.

NB: Over cleansing strips your face of the necessary oil. Some ingredients may cause an imbalance in PH creating a favorable environment for bacteria.

Cleanser or Face Wash for Sensitive Skin?

Can I skip face wash if I have very sensitive skin? Depends on whether you have dry sensitive skin or oily sensitive skin. You still need the deep cleaning action of face washes. The foaming action dissolves and breaks oil, dust, and dirt, unlike cleansers.

Cleansers are best for dry sensitive skin. Since they have a hydrating effect, using cleansers for oily sensitive or combination skin may not be a very good idea. If you are not exposed to any pollutants and do not wear makeup- you can just go for the face wash and skip the cleanser.

What to do for sensitive skin

  • Purchase and use a mild face wash
  • Limit the number of times you use face wash to like once a day or morning and evening
  • Avoid the use of bar soaps for face cleaning

Try to create a balance between face wash and a cleanser without overdoing either of the two.

Dry skin types

For dry skin, it is important to cleanse properly without stripping the skin of its natural oils. Go for cleansers that have a creamy or balm like texture.

Oily skin type

People with this skin type are prone to breakouts, therefore, require deep cleansing. Cleansers that come in form of clay or mud work best. They not only draw out impurities, they absorb excess oil giving a matte look.

Cleanser or Face Wash First?

Most people go cleanser first to remove makeup then proceed to face wash. It is important to note that, while it’s not necessary to spend the entire evening deep cleaning your face, it is very important to remove makeup before bed. Depending on how heavy your makeup is, you may need to double cleanse.

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