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Even the skincare novice would have a cleanser in her regime, and indeed, this very first step of every regime forms an important foundation to what we need to achieve great skin.

The beauty market spoils us with too many choices when it comes to cleansing and this may be rather intimidating to some of us. What are the different types of cleansers and what are each of them designed for? Daily Vanity gets them cleared up for you once and for all.

Cleansing Foam

Use if: You prefer the feeling of foamy cleanser on your skin.

We’re probably most familiar with this, and it’s probably the product our parents have been buying for us when we were still kids. This is the easiest to use as it lathers up easily. Take note that the correct way to use this is to squeeze around 2cm of it onto palm, add water and lather. And then, cleanse face using the foam that has been formed in the process, before rinsing off with water. It is actually the lather that helps to cleanse, so don’t make the mistake of putting the cleanser directly onto face.

Steal: Bio-Essence Silky Foaming Cleanser with ATP (SGD10.90)
This lathers up easily and carries firming benefits.

bio-essence silky foaming cleanser with atp

Splurge: Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Cleanser (SGD53)
Formulated with plant-derived ingredients, this provides natural anti-ageing benefits while cleansing skin thoroughly.


Cleansing Oil

Use if: You like makeup removers that can cleanse off even waterproof makeup quickly. Many cleansing oils are multi-taskers that also act as a cleanser, but note that it may not apply to all, and you may need to do double cleansing (i.e. use a cleansing foam after that). Read the instructions on the label of your product.

If you think you have oily skin and thus you shouldn’t be using this, you’re wrong. Oil has the best affinity with oil, and hence it’s great for removing it. This is typically used as a makeup remover, and in many cases, double up as a daily cleanser too. To use it, apply cleansing oil onto dry face, then wetting your palms, go over the entire face to emulsify the oil (it should look milky after that). Finally, cleanse everything away with water.

Steal: DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (SGD43)
This is DHC’s star product and is enriched with olive oil and vitamin E to ensure skin will not be left feeling dry. It dissolves makeup, oil and grime.


Splurge: Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil (SGD155)
Shu Uemura has an entire range of cleansing oil that targets at different skin concerns besides functioning as a cleanser. The variants include targetting at concerns like brightening, anti-ageing and dryness.

shu uemura cleansing oil fresh

Cleansing Gel/Lotion

Use if: If you have sensitive skin or acne-prone skin. These cleansers tend to be slightly more gentle on the skin.

With a lighter texture than your usual cleansing foam, this usually feels lightweight on skin, and has a transparent or translucent appearance. Most of the time, this is great for those with acne-prone skin and usually leaves a refreshing sensation on the skin. Like cleansing foam, use it by forming a lather on your palms first, before cleansing it over the skin. It usually produces very little foam though, but that’s normal and there’s no need to use too much just because it doesn’t lather up.

Steal: Vichy Normaderm Deep Cleansing Gel (SGD27)
This is targeted at those with oily skin and helps keep skin shine-free and rids skin of impurities without drying the skin.

vichy normaderm deep cleansing gel

Splurge: Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser (SGD34)
This is a super multi-tasker that is able to remove makeup, cleanse and tone at the same time. It has a gentle formula that feels light on the skin.


Cleansing Scrub

Use if: You are prone to blackheads and prefer multi-taskers so you won’t neglect regular exfoliation.

Exfoliation is a key step to removing dead skin cells that pile up on the surface of your skin. This can cause blackheads (which can lead to pimples), and may be the reason why your skin is unable to receive the goodness from the rest of your skincare products. Some people choose to do exfoliation once to twice a week, however, daily cleansing scrubs carry micro-beads that are gentle enough for everyday use. It is meant to be massaged onto damp skin, and especially on area that is prone to blemishes, such as the T-zone.

Steal: St Ives Apricot Scrub (SGD8.90)
This is an award-winning scrub that is formulated with apricot, corn kernel meal and walnut, all of which work together to help with cell turnover. Note that this is recommended for use 3-4 times a week, instead of for everyday use.

st ives apricot scrub

Splurge: Clarins 1-Step Gentle Exfoliating Facial Cleanser (SGD50)
This is a daily detox for the skin that helps with deep cleansing without upsetting your skin’s natural moisture balance. It also purifies and refines the skin. This is recommended for everyday use.

clarins one-step gentle exfoliating facial cleanser

Cleansing Powder/Cleansing Mousse

Use if: You want a foolproof cleanser that ensures that you use cleansers the correct way (lather than apply)

These are the unorthodox cleansers that you see in the market. Cleansing powder comes in the form of, well, powder. To use, add water to powder and lather. You will notice the powder foam up and you can use it onto skin after which. As for cleansing mousse, it is already in foam when dispensed, so you can apply onto skin for cleansing immediately. I find such products great in terms of making sure you use cleansers right by ensuring that the formula is in foam state when you put it onto your skin.

Steal: Biore Marshmallow Whip Facial Wash (SGD13.90)
This is dispensed as a fluffy foam with micro-bubbles that feels gentle on the skin.

Biore Marshmallow Whip Facial Wash

Splurge: Fancl Facial Washing Powder (SGD26)
It dispenses as a white powder that needs to be mixed with water to produce a lather.

fancl facial washing powder