A cleanser removes all the oil soluble impurities by dissolving the dirt, excess oil, pollution and make-up from the top of your skin. Face washes on the other hand, because of its foaming and micro-level cleaning action, cleanses the pores and removes deep seated debris. So now you might be confused if you need to wash your face or cleanse it! Think of it like this; when you get up in the morning you will not have that many impurities on your skin so a face wash is sufficient, whereas after a full day of work and with a full face of makeup you might want to cleanse your face and then go in with a face wash before heading to bed. Another difference between the two is the method in which they have to be used: cleansers can be massaged on to the face and rinsed off, or wiped on the face with a cotton ball/pad; whereas the active ingredients in the face washes need some time to act so then need to sit on the skin for at least 2mins before rinsing off.
Save your skin from water of extreme temperatures! Do not wash your face with hot or very cold water regardless of your skin type, water at room temperature is your best bet. Also, please do not tug your face with a towel! Either just tap the excess water off or just immediately go in with your moisturiser.
People with dry skin need to stay away from soaps, face washes and cleansers which contain detergent (sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulphate) in them. On the other hand choose one with surfactants (polysorbates, Cocoamidopropyl betaine, Caprylic acid), they are more gentle on sensitive and dry skin. Also look for things like humectins (hyaluronic acid and glycerine) and ceramides in the ingredients list, as these prevent sudden drying of the skin. Find a cleanser which is thick and creamy because ones like these usually contain squalene and derivatives of natural oils in them which moisturises the skin while cleansing. So once you are done with washing your face, do not dry your face completely! Well, if you are dripping wet them maybe just wipe off the excess water, but make sure you apply your moisturiser to your skin when it is slightly and this will help lock the moisture into the skin.
People with oily skin need something which will encapsulate and remove the oil and dirt from the skin. The process of micellization helps in removing these impurities, micellar water and detergents do this for you. A strong detergent may strip your skin off the essential oils as well so one needs to be careful. Salicylic acid and Benzoyl peroxide in the cleansers are effective in preventing acne, reducing pore size, whiteheads and blackheads, and cutting down on excess oil production (avoid using these around your eyes because they sting!). But please bear in mind that completely stripping your skin off the oils is not a good thing to do, this can cause irritation and inflammation of the skin. After this your skin tries to over compensate by enlarging the pores and producing even more oil, so avoid over cleansing.
This is more of a concept (and a marketing gimmick) rather than a skin type because no one is born with combination skin, their habits (over cleansing, not moisturising, using wrong cosmetic products, etc.) is what leads to patches of dry skin with oiliness of other areas. But nevertheless I will address this skin type too. So people in this category need to assess and find out if their skin is mostly dry or mostly oily, after which you can start using appropriate products. Try and minimise the products you are using for a couple of weeks, your skin will settle down and go back to being normal. During this time of ‘skin-detox’ you can use a very mild/gentle cleanser suitable for sensitive skin, a simple moisturiser and sunscreen.
This includes people with a skin problem (Rosacea, Eczema, photosensitivity, allergies), people who have had treatments done on their face (lasers, chemical peel, microneedling) or ones whose skin reacts easily to products applied. This category is the hardest to recommend things to without examining them. But I will try :). So, the first thing to avoid in all your products is fragrance (I know we all want to smell good, but you we thank me for this). The next thing to avoid is essential oils, these tend to be harsh on the skin and hence irritate the skin. Ingredients like aloe vera, soy and niacinamide on the other hand can be beneficial for your skin by reducing redness. My honest advice for people with sensitive skin would be to consult your dermatologist and get advice from them, because experimenting with products available in your supermarket can leave your skin more damaged than before.
Oil cleansing means cleaning your face by using oils (olive oil, castor oil. Jojoba oil, almond oil, coconut oil, etc.), sounds bizzare? This trend is seen all over YouTube and Instagram, you will see influencers and beauty gurus doing it and looking all cool. Firstly, let me tell you all that this method can be used by people of all skin types (Yes, even people with oily skin). This method very gently and effectively dissolves make-up, even the water proof stuff. It has to be followed up with a cleanser to clean out the residue off your skin, this is called Oil based double cleansing method. This method for removing make-up with way more gentle than using make-up wipes (which pull and tug your skin, causes premature wrinkles), micellar water and other make-up removing solution. Oil cleansing will not make your skin oilier, nor will it increase breakout. It will cause these problems only if you do not wash the oil off, or use products with artificial fragrances.
SPECIAL MENTION: Salicylic acid face washes
These are very efficient in penetrating into oil glands of your skin quickly, and reduces oil production and acne. When you use such washes make sure you concentrate them in the oilier areas and to avoid using it around the eyes. Let it sit on your skin for 2-3mins before rinsing it off.
So pick your cleanser wisely and do not over/under cleanse.
Be gentle to your skin 🙂