When it comes to skincare, our focus instantly moves to serums, moisturisers and anti-ageing creams. However, we forget about a vital skincare product – a good face cleanser. Introducing a cleanser into your daily skincare routine will hydrate, smoothen and nourish your skin through any season, from winter and beyond.
Shopping for a face cleanser might seem like an easy task, but with so many options available, it does get a little tricky. It should not be a "quick pick up from the rack' item but it must be one that is thoroughly researched. To help you pick an effective face cleanser, we have put together a simple buying guide that should make your decision-making process easy. This article is medically reviewed by Dr. Hitaishi Kaushik, a research associate in the dermatology lab.
Dr. Hitaishi Kaushik pursued her Ph.D. in the field of dermatology and is currently working as a research associate in the dermatology lab at PGIMER.
mybest editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in India in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
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For those of you who already have dry skin, it gets even more important to choose the right cleanser. You should look for the ones with hydrating ingredients, and stay wary of strong acid formulas, like alpha-hydroxy acids and beta-hydroxy acids. If you are looking for an effective face cleanser for dry and sensitive skin, read through our buying guide, curated specially for you.
Before buying a face cleanser, you must understand your skin type and its requirement. If you have highly sensitive skin, it is best to avoid phthalates and fragrances in your cleansers as they can disturb your skin's pH, leading to rashes, over-drying, redness and breakouts. Our skin’s pH is weakly acidic, so whatever products we use should have a similar pH.
For acne-prone skin, choose cleansers with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide to get rid of dead skin and for exfoliation too; those with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and sulfur promote collagen production and remove excess sebum from the skin.
So, whether your skin is prone to acne, or you have highly sensitive skin, you must look for products that are clinically tested and are hypoallergenic.
People with dry, sensitive, or allergic skin are prone to excessive skin problems ranging from mild to severe, such as pustules, stinging/burning sensation, redness, rashes, itchiness, bleeding, or scaly skin could be very unpleasant and painful.
Excessive dry skin loses extreme water and sebum, due to which it cannot properly protect nerve endings of the skin, causing all these problems. Also, such people are more prone to skin damage when exposed to environmental factors such as sun, wind, or excessive heat or cold. Hence, they should take extra precautions when using any product.
Non-comedogenic, also known as non-acnegenic cleansers are formulated in such a way that they do not clog pores, reducing acne and the number of breakouts you get. Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and some natural ingredients, including mineral oil are considered non-comedogenic as they help unclog pores and wash away dead skin without producing more oil.
Face cleansers with Benzoyl peroxide are really effective in treating mild acne, but they can sometimes dry out your skin. So, make sure to apply a moisturiser after you have cleansed your face, sulfur, however, has no side effects, except a slightly pungent smell.
Non-comedogenic cleansers are beneficial for those people with acne-prone skin. Non-comedogenic cleansers contain ingredients that do not clog the pores. Cleansers containing salicylic acid should be preferred in acne-prone skin as it breaks down the materials that clog the pores like exfoliated skin cells and excess oil.
Initially, it should be used at night time only. As your skin gets used to the product, it can be used twice daily, i.e., morning and evening.
When it comes to choosing a formula for your face cleanser, the choices can seem overwhelming. But the best one should feel gentle on your face and cleanse thoroughly without drying the skin. For dry skin, cream and lotion-based cleansers work best because of their silky texture. They wash nicely while leaving behind a weightless film of hydration after rinsing.
They also gently cleanse the skin without disturbing the skin’s pH balance. Some cream and lotion-based cleansers even remove makeup effectively. Though, waterproof makeup might require you to use a makeup remover before applying the face cleanser.
It is advisable that people with dry skin should limit the number of times they wash their face. Preferably they should wash it with normal water only and use face wash only when required. While choosing face wash, consider products that are cream or lotion-based (usually white in colour).
Face cleansing is an everyday activity, so it should give your skin all the hydration it needs. Therefore, before making a purchase, look for nourishing and moisturising ingredients, and avoid any exfoliant that isn’t gentle to the skin. Dermatologists suggest staying away from harsh physical scrubs, such as beads with rough edges to prevent any sort of irritation or inflammation.
If you have dry skin, you can choose a cleanser that has hyaluronic acid as an ingredient because it attracts water to the skin, therefore helping retain moisture. It will leave your skin smooth and soft while keeping it wrinkle-free.
Glycerin and ceramides also give an extra dose of moisture while maintaining the pH balance of the skin. Natural ingredients such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, aloe vera, soy and shea butter are also beneficial for the hydration of the skin.
Be extra careful with the ingredients of your face wash if you have dry or sensitive skin. Before using a new product, a patch test must be done. While selecting a face wash, look for ingredients with hydrating properties such as hyaluronic acid, glycerine, ceramides, natural oils, vitamins, and aloe vera, which are mild and will keep your skin hydrated.
Avoid face washes with glycolic acid, salicylic acids, parabens, soaps, etc., as they are drying in nature. After washing your face, do moisturize with any moisturizer that suits your skin.
Parabens are a preservative that is added to the cosmetics to increase their shelf life and prevent the growth of bacteria and mould. However, parabens are not suitable for the skin as they can cause hormone disruption.
It is better to use face cleansers or any cosmetic product that's paraben-free and is formulated with natural ingredients. Those with sensitive skin or those who have allergies must avoid scented and alcohol-based cleansers because they can cause allergic reactions and skin reddening.
Alcohols dehydrate your skin, and they remove sebum which further makes your skin drier and causes redness or inflammation. Recent studies reveal that parabens can cause inflammation of the skin along with rashes and itchiness.
Also, they can increase the skin's sensitivity to UV rays and can cause premature damage to the skin. They can also penetrate the skin deep inside and sometimes cause endocrine or other medical issues. Hence, products with alcohol and parabens should be avoided.
If you live in a country/city that experiences different seasons/weathers, it is important that you keep a stock of cleansers that are suitable for different time of the year. For winters, when your skin gets really dry, cream-based cleansers, cleansing oils and balms work the best.
During this time of the year, your skin starts producing more oil and serum to compensate for the dryness, thus clogging pores and triggering acne. Therefore, you must go for heavy non-comedogenic cleansers to control oil production.
For summers and humid weather, when your skin feels oily, gel-based, micellar water and foam cleansers keep the acne and oil at bay. And, don't forget to use sunblock after cleansing your face, especially during the summer months.
Some people tend to have different skin characteristics in different seasons. It might become oily in one season or drier or a combination in another. Such people should change their face products with change in season according to skin type.
But before trying any new product, be careful with ingredients and do a patch test first (apply a small amount of product to a small area of your face which can be easily covered—such as the underside of your jaw, corner of your forehead, behind your ear or the side of your neck and observe it for at least 24 hours).
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Nestlé Skin Health India Pvt. Ltd.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Gentle, Effective and A Top-Rated Face Cleanser
Hydrating Facial Cleanser
To Restore and Maintain Skin’s Natural Protective Function
Bio Honey Gel
An Ayurvedic Formula for Acne Prone, Dry Skin
NIVEA Face Wash
A Face cleanser Enriched With The Goodness of Milk Protein and Honey
Herbal Cleansing Milk
Herbal Cleanser With Natural Hydrating Ingredients
100% Ayurvedic Cleanser Enriched With Berberry Herb
Plum Hello Aloe
A Face Cleanser With Aloe Vera Juice and Sunflower Seed Oil
LG Household and Health Care
The Face Shop Rice Water Bright
Take a Step Closer to Glass-Like Skin
Aroma Magic Turmeric Cleanser
Exotic Turmeric Cleanser to Improve Skin’s Complexion
Almond Milk Skin Cleanser
Deep Face Cleanser to Nourish Dehydrated Skin
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is hands down one of the best face cleansers in India. It keeps your skin gentle and soft and is suitable for dry, combination and sensitive skin. It is non-comedogenic, meaning it moisturises the skin without leaving behind any clogged pores.
It is inexpensive, soap-free, hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested face cleanser. You can use it to remove makeup, dirt and other impurities, without losing on your skin’s moisture. Cetaphil is gentle on the skin and is ideal for daily use.
Ideal for normal to dry skin, CeraVe’s hydrating facial cleanser is loaded with ceramides to maintain skin’s moisture and keep it soft throughout the day. It is a bit on the expensive side, but considering it’s packed with all the essential hydrating agents and hyaluronic acid to draw water into the skin, it is worth it.
It is also a non-comedogenic face cleanser, locking in hydration without clogging pores. It is simple to use, just wet face with lukewarm water and massage cleanser into the skin in a gentle circular motion, and rinse it off.
Enriched with pure honey and extracts from the bark of Arjun tree, Biotique’s ayurvedic foaming face cleanser helps soothe the skin and lighten complexion. The face cleanser is suited for all skin types but works wonders for acne-prone and dry skin as it dissolves impurities, therefore purifying the skin.
The soap-free gel formula deeply nourishes the skin, giving it a cooling sensation. Since the face cleanser is paraben-free, people with acne-prone skin can use it too. Reviewers have all the positive things to say about the Biotique face cleanser; no dryness after use, skin feels soft and glowing and nice fragrance.
Nivea's honey face cleanser softens and plumps the skin over time. It is a gentle cleanser that is pH-balanced and is not harsh on the skin. The combination of milk protein and honey makes it ideal for dry and sensitive skin.
Where milk protein helps keep the skin hydrated while retaining the moisture, and honey cures any wounds and treats scars. The natural moisturising and hydrating properties of the ingredients are effective even on the driest skin.
Khadi is one of the most trusted brands in India, known for its quality herbal products. The company always uses natural ingredients that are suitable for most skin types. Loaded with enriching shea butter, aloe vera, and cucumber, the cleanser will keep your skin hydrated and moisturised.
According to reviewers, this is by far the best cream-based cleanser that is suitable for dry skin and doesn’t lead to any breakouts. Many reviewers have also liked its natural cucumber smell which is soothing to the senses.
Ayurvedic skincare products are the most reliable products among people in India. Biotique is one of the trusted ayurvedic brands that promote the use of authentic Indian traditional medicine clubbed with cutting edge biotechnology.
Biotique’s Bio Berberry hydrating cleanser soothes, heals and protects the skin from acne and boil. It uses berberry’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to prevent boils and acne.
This cleanser is highly recommended for those who have sensitive skin and face skin problems like rosacea (redness in cheeks and nose because of broken blood vessels) and wrinkles. The extract of lodhra (Ayurveda herb) bark and fenugreek are the primary ingredients that have great healing powers and anti-wrinkle properties.
The list of best face cleansers is incomplete without mentioning Plum’s cleansing lotion. This brand has become quite popular in India by delivering phenomenal skincare products. Plum’s face cleanser is infused with aloe vera juice and sunflower seed oil that are gentle to the skin, and help ease out makeup and grime.
The face cleanser is free from silicone, petroleum and colourants, making it ideal for dry and sensitive skin. It is packed with the goodness of all the natural oils, organic aloe juice and vitamin E, which will give you radiant and glowing skin.
This face cleanser offers you the best combination of naturally moisturising and brightening ingredients like rice water and moringa oil. Rice water is the secret ingredient of Korean and Japanese beauty. It helps brighten skin complexion, remove dark spots, and fade blemishes to give a smooth and clear texture.
Moringa oil is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It has other countless benefits like repairing skin damaged from pollution, bringing out a natural glow on the skin, treating acne, and most importantly, working as an emollient.
This product is free from sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), paraben, alcohol, phthalates, artificial fragrance, and colour additives which makes it suitable for dry and sensitive skin. It is enriched with essential oils, including lavender, geranium and ylang, turmeric, and rose extract.
Turmeric enhances skin complexion and imparts radiance, whereas rose extract helps moisturise and soothe skin. Along with jojoba and grapes seed oil, the ingredients regulate oil levels, leaving the skin soft and nourished.
This face cleanser by Calix delivers the benefit of almond milk and lemon, which is suitable for very dry skin. Almond milk is known for its moisturising properties which help nourish your skin, making it soft and supple. The cleanser is also rich in vitamin E, which protects the skin from sun damage.
People have given Calix herbal cleanser a rating of 5/5. They say that it cleanses the pores deeply and effectively reduces wrinkles. For best results, massage lightly on affected areas of face, neck and arms, and remove with moist cotton.
Different skin types have different skincare requirements, and the same goes for facial cleansers. While you might be okay with using a gentle face cleanser on your acne-prone skin, there are some things you should know before doing that.
1. If you are on a prescription and are using anti-acne products, you should avoid using acne-fighting cleansers. The overuse of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can dry out your skin, which might affect you in the long run.
2. If you are using a face cleanser with retinol (Vitamin A) as its ingredient, make sure to apply sunscreen every time you step out of your home. Retinols can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage.
3. Always read ingredient labels carefully before buying a face cleanser, or any skincare product.
To know more follow these tips from here.
Dry skin is more sensitive to harsh soap and skincare products; that is why it needs more attention. You can consider these bath oil and moisturisers to keep your skin hydrated and nourished throughout the day.
Cleansing is the initial stage of the skincare routine. It helps remove dust impurities and makeup, giving you clean and smooth skin. Selecting the right kind of cleanser for your skin is as important as this process. We have selected the top-ranked cleansers for dry skin, and hope this guide helps you choose the right product as per your skin type.
Author: Srishti Sikka
No. 1: Nestlé Skin Health India Pvt. Ltd.｜Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
No. 2: CeraVe｜Hydrating Facial Cleanser
No. 3: Biotique｜Bio Honey Gel
No. 4: Beiersdorf｜NIVEA Face Wash
No. 5: Khadi Naturals｜Herbal Cleansing Milk
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