What is a facial cleanser and is it the same as a face wash? We’re breaking down the difference between cleanser and face wash, why it matters, and how to know which one is right for you.
The Difference Between Cleanser and Face Wash
Face cleanser and face wash both share the basic goal of getting your skin clean (no surprises there!) but they go about it in different ways.
One can help you achieve hydrated, calm, and supple skin while the other often leads to dryness, irritation, breakouts, and oiliness.
Let’s take a look at the difference between cleanser and face wash.
What is a Facial Cleanser?
A face cleanser has a gel or cream consistency and gently removes excess oil, debris, and makeup from the skin’s surface.
What does a cleanser do that a face wash doesn’t? The cleanser helps keep the pH level of your skin barrier at its healthiest (around 5.5 - slightly acidic) by maintaining the natural water and oil balance of the skin. In general, cleansers are much more mild and gentle on the skin.
What is a Face Wash?
Face wash takes a more heavy-duty approach to cleaning the skin.
Like soap, face wash foams, and lathers upon application. The problem is, that the foaming agents and preservatives in many face washes strip your skin of natural oils and moisture, leaving it dry and tight.
While it does clean the skin, face wash can also disrupt the pH level, causing it to become too alkaline, which leads to a decrease in skin hydration.
Over time this can damage your skin barrier leaving you with a red, sensitive, and inflamed complexion.
Face Cleanser vs Face Wash
Choosing the gentle cleanser option is a safe bet for most skin types, especially if you have sensitive or dry skin. A mild cleanser won’t disrupt the skin’s delicate pH balance and helps keep skin hydrated, supple, and calm.
Cleansers are often formulated with additional antioxidants and other active ingredients to nourish skin and target specific skin concerns, like the Uncomplicated Cleanser range.
Face wash can make breakouts and oiliness worse
Even oily and acne-prone skin will benefit from a face cleanser rather than a face wash.
When you strip away the oil with a foamy face wash, the skin dries out and then produces more sebum to counteract this drying effect. More breakouts follow!
Using a gentle cleanser on acne-prone skin is the best way to break the oily skin cycle.
Removing makeup with a facial cleanser
Gentle cleansers aren’t as heavy-duty as a face wash when it comes to makeup removal. Use an eye makeup remover first or double cleanse for a deep clean without any residue.
Click through to view the Uncomplicated Cleanser range.