Find an ideal cleanser for your routine

Sunday 10 December 2023

Find an ideal cleanser for your routine

Double cleansing? Tripple cleansing? Which method is better? Should I use cleansing oil? Cleansing balm or maybe choose micellar water? Why do I even need to cleanse your skin? Cleansing is the first part of the skincare routine, but do you do it properly? Or maybe your cleansing routine needs a tiny booster or change? Let's talk about cleansing! 

It's not a secret that lately, I started to post once again in Polish, but this time, I'm focusing on the Polish language only on Instagram and TikTok. I thought, why not start from the beginning? I think that even for my English content, this move is beneficial because sometimes I forget about basic things people want to know.   

What's a cleanser? 

According to the Cambridge Dictionary Cleanser is "a substance used for cleaning, especially your face". That's correct. If we want to be more specific we might add that a cleanser is a substance that contains cleansing agents, another name for them is surfactants.   

Cleanser is a product that removes dirt, sebum and products (makeup, sunscreen), but before cleanser, there was soap.   

Types of cleansers There are different types of cleansers. Some people use soap to cleanse their skin, some prefer micellar water, milk cleanser, cleansing oil or cleansing gel.   


We can consider soap as the first cleanser. I'm not even telling you how many of my clients used Dove soap to cleanse their skin, and I still don't get how their skin was so flawless since my skin reacts to soap with acne. What's wrong with soap? It has an alkaline pH of around 9, and our skin should have a pH of around 5.5 (slightly acidic). One thing I should note. Dove soap is not a soap, but it's a syndet. What's that?  


Syndet or Synthetic Detergent is an alternative for soap. Syndets have a lower pH than soap (around 5.5 up to neutral pH), so now it makes sense why so many people use this product and have nice skin. Syndets might look like a bar soap or it might be liquid. One of the most popular syndets in Europe is La Roche Posay Lipikar Syndet AP.   

Micellar Water  

I wish I could have the ability to tell how micellar water works with simple language. Micellar water is a product that contains micelles. Once again I need a little help from the Cambridge dictionary - micelles are "small cleansing molecules that are dispersed and suspended in water." Micellar Water is a delicate formula. It removes makeup, dirt, oil and it has beneficial properties for the skin. Although brands like Bioderma recommend not to use water after using their Sensibio H2O micellar water, I still use water after using micellar water to make sure surfactants are not staying on my skin.   

Cleansing Milk  

Believe me or not, I used to love cleansing milk formulas since they are delicate. They are made for dry and sensitive skin types.   

Cleansing Gel, Cream or Foam  

Water-based products. These products need water to create a foam. Depending on the surfactant used in a product, it might be a milder product.   

Cleansing Oil or Cleansing Balm  

Oil-based products. These products are the best to remove makeup, sebum or products like sunscreens. Some oils are emulsifying (I believe the majority of Korean and Japanese cleansing oils are emulsifying ones) like Purito From Green Avocado Cleansing Balm or Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil. Emulsifying ones are easier to remove since you can add water to them and these products are changing into milk.   

There are also cleansing oils that aren't emulsifying, I see that mostly local (European) brands are creating non-emulsifying cleansing oils since they are created for the OCM - oil cleansing method. I've tried cleansing oil like that from Resibo (a Polish skincare brand), and I believe the OCM method is not for me. It takes time, and removing non-emulsifying oil can take ages.   

Does pH in cleanser matter?  

Yes! Back in the day, toners were supposed to balance the pH of the skin after cleansing. Right now, toners have other purposes like nourishing and adding moisture to the skin. If you use a water-based cleanser, you might want to choose products with a pH similar to the skin. A higher pH of the skin is bad for the natural skin barrier, it can disrupt the function of the skin barrier and cause infections or irritation. Higher pH of the skin is also a good environment for acne.  

If you have acne and you tried a series of products but nothing helps with your skin condition, you might want to check your cleansing gel and its pH.  

Can I use pure water to clean my skin?  

Some people don't like to use cleansers or they think that water is the only good solution to cleanse their skin. I believe that pure water is better than no cleansing at all. If your skin is very dry or your skin barrier needs to rebuild then using pure water instead of any cleansing product might be good. Still, it's not something I would recommend doing every single day.  

What's double cleansing?  

Double cleansing is mostly associated with Asian skincare routines, especially Korean ones. I even found some articles (not research papers) that this method of cleansing comes from the 14th century. Sadly, I couldn't find a source of this information.   

Double cleansing is a method of cleansing dry skin with oil-based products like cleansing oil or balm and following it with cleansing foam or cleansing gel. Between these two steps, we use water (not too cold, not too warm) to emulsify the oil.   

Using double cleansing is supposed to remove makeup and make sure that none of the impurities are left on the skin.  

What's triple cleansing?  

I'm not joking, there's not only double cleansing, there's also triple cleansing. It's about using a makeup remover before double cleansing to remove makeup. I'm not a fan of using makeup wipes, but if you have heavy makeup then using cleansing pads soaked in micellar water and leaving them for a while on the skin before double cleansing can make it easier for makeup to remove.   

My favourite cleansers  

Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil

Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil  

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Isononyl Isononanoate, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Isopropyl Myristate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Polysorbate 20, Fragrance, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Carapa Guaianensis Seed Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil  

I was a bit negative towards Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil because I was scared that it might cause allergic reactions, but it turned out to be a nice, elegant oil that removes makeup well. It doesn't leave a 'fog' in my eyes that's why I enjoy using it.  

$19.72/150 ml || YesStyle

Klairs Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil  

Helianthus Annuus(Sunflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Seed Oil  

Wait, isn't this the same cleansing oil? No, the difference is in the formula and name. This product is even more gentle, for people who don't like scented products - choose this version.  

$21.51/150 ml || YesStyle*

Purito From Green Avocado Cleansing Balm

Purito From Green Avocado Cleansing Balm  

Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Synthetic Wax, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil (10,000ppm), Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Seed Oil, Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil, Brassica oleracea Acephala Leaf Extract, Spinacia Oleracea (Spinach) Leaf Extract, Brassica oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Extract, Artemisia Princeps Leaf Extract, Brassica Oleracea Capitata (Cabbage) Leaf Extract, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopherol  

I made a review about this product last month. I've tried Purito Cleansing Oil, but this cleansing balm is way better! It removes makeup well, it doesn't sensitize my skin, and sometimes when I don't wear makeup and my skin feels dehydrated I just don't feel like I need double cleansing and this cleanser is all I need.   

$22.80/100 ml || YesStyle*

Nivea Soothing Cleansing Oil Face & Eyes with Natural Grape Seed Oil for Sensitive Skin

Nivea Soothing Cleansing Oil Face & Eyes with Natural Grape Seed Oil for Sensitive Skin  

Paraffinum Liquidum, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isopropyl Palmitate, Isododecane, Ethylhexyl Stearate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil, Tocopherol  

It's affordable and simple, and it works. If you live in Europe the difference between this cleanser and Asian cleansers might be significant. I only wish this cleanser would have a better availability  

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Makeup Cleansing Butter 

Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Synthetic Wax, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter/Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Olea Europaea Fruit Oil/Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopherol, Parfum/Fragrance, Linalool, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil/Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Limonene, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Citric Acid  

My only problem with this product is the lack of The Body Shop store in my city and the fact that I can order it only from the official website. Another product which you can find easier in Europe than Asian cleansing balms.   

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm  

Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/​Capric Triglyceride, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Polyethylene, Peg-5 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Water, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol  

Not an affordable cleanser, but a product I use when I travel. Clinique is one of the few brands that sell miniature versions of cleansing balms. It's not the cheapest even if you buy miniature products, but it's available in different sizes and I got this version and charcoal version thinking that I'll travel a lot and apparently, I was at one of 5 Clinique stores in my country.   

Clinique Take The Day Off Charcoal Cleansing Balm  

Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/​Capric Triglyceride, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Synthetic Wax, PEG-5 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Charcoal Powder, Tocopherol, Caprylyl Glycol, Water/​Aqua/​Eau, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Phenoxyethanol  

You love it or hate it. Some people might hate the fact that Clinique added Charcoal to the product since it's a bit harder to remove it from the skin than the regular version, but for my skin when I'm travelling charcoal powder in a cleanser has an additional benefit.   

The beauty of Joseon Radiance Cleansing Balm

The beauty of Joseon Radiance Cleansing Balm  

Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Synthetic Wax, PEG-10 Isostearate, Lactobacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Seed Water, Avena Sativa (Oat) Meal Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-yuen Seed Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Aqua, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Glycerin, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin    

It's not the most perfect cleansing balm since it doesn't fully melt, but my experience with this product is not as bad as I had with Yadah Green Tea Pure Cleansing Balm (I didn't publish the review on Kherblog, but believe me my experience was so bad that I've decided to stop using it after one try), and you can find it in really good deals.  

$14.70/100 ml || Olive Young*

Axis-y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser

Axis-y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser  

Water, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate, Betaine, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Extract, Chlorphenesin, Hydroxyacetophenone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract, Ocimum Tenuiflorum Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Fruit Extract, Citric Acid, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Allantoin  

First water-based cleanser on my list. It has the right pH and gentle formula, and it's affordable. The price-to-quality ratio is surprising. Additionally, Axis-y is cruelty-free.   

$14.49/180 ml || Olive Young*

Neogen Real Cica Micellar Cleansing Foam

Neogen Real Cica Micellar Cleansing Foam  

Water, Glycerin, Potassium Cocoyl Glycinate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Sodium Chloride, Lauric Acid, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Gluconolactone, Lactobionic Acid, Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, Madecassic Acid, Octyldodecanol, Ceramide 3, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hyaluronic Acid, Centella Asiatica Extract, Madecassoside, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Allantoin, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polyquaternium-7, Disodium EDTA, 1,2-Hexanediol

The packaging has changed but Neogen Real Cica Micellar Cleansing Foam still keeps the same quality and right pH. I also enjoyed cleansing oil from this series, but I believe it's discontinued.

$16.43/200ml || YesStyle*

Heimish All Clean Green Foam

Heimish All Clean Green Foam  

Water, Potassium Laureth Phosphate, Glycerin, Lauryl Hydroxysultaine, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Quillaja Saponaria Bark Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Potassium Cocoyl Glutamate, Citric Acid, Coco-Glucoside, Sodium Chloride, Caprylyl Glycol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Tromethamine, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Disodium EDTA  


The best cleansing foam for acne-prone skin. For a long time, I believed the name might be related to green clay, but it's not. Still, Centella and Witch Hazel in this cleanser help my acne-prone skin.   

$11.99/150 ml | YesStyle*

Heimish All Clean Balm Mandarin

Heimish All Clean Balm Mandarin  

Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Synthetic Wax, PEG-8 Isostearate, Citrus Unshiu Fruit Oil, Citrus Junos Fruit Oil, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Fruit Extract (0,01 ppm), 1,2-Hexanediol, Cetyl PEG/​PPG-10/​1 Dimethicone, Artemisia Vulgaris Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Leaf/​Twig Oil, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Litsea Cubeba Fruit Oil, Laurus Nobilis Leaf Extract, Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Eclipta Prostrata Extract, Glycerin, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Melia Azadirachta Bark Extract, Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract, Water, Oleyl Alcohol, Octyldodecanol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Ceramide NP, Butylene Glycol, Phytosphingosine, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Candida Bombicola/​Glucose/​Methyl Rapeseedate Ferment, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Tocopherol, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract   

Heimish cleansing balms are loved by many, but my controversial opinion is that the Mandarin version is way better than the regular one. Both have specific scents, but Mandarin got me on the first try. It took me a while to get used to the scent of the regular version.   

$16.76/120 ml || YesStyle*

Missha Artemisia Pack Foam Cleanser

Missha Artemisia Pack Foam Cleanser  

Water, Kaolin, Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate, Glycerin, Bentonite, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Lauric Acid, Stearic Acid, Dipropylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Powder, Artemisia Annua Extract, Glycol Distearate, Centella Asiatica Extract, Ficus Carica (Fig) Fruit Extract, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract, Amaranthus Caudatus Seed Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Juniperus Virginiana Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Titanium Dioxide, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Chromium Oxide Greens, Artemisia Princeps Leaf Powder, Disodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, Ceramide NP, Hydroxyacetophenone, Ethylhexylglycerin, CI 77492, CI 77499, Linalool, Limonene    

What's so good about this product? Missha Artemisia Pack Foam Cleanser contains Artemisia (Mugwort) and it's like a 2-in-1 product since it works as a cleanser and a clay mask in one.   

$20.20/150 ml || YesStyle*

B_Lab Cica Barrier 5.5 Gel Cleanser

B_Lab Cica Barrier 5.5 Gel Cleanser  

Water, Glycerin, Coco-Betaine, Methyl Gluceth-20, Centella Asiatica Leaf Water (30,000 ppm), Dipropylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Chloride, Methylpropanediol, Panthenol, Hydroxyacetophenone, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Citric Acid, Malt Extract, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin    

I believe the Cica Barrier 5.5 Gel Cleanser is not as popular as Matcha Hydrating Foam Cleanser. The Matcha one didn't work well for me, it made my acne worse, but the Cica version has a gentle texture and formula.   

$13.66/120 ml || YesStyle*

Isntree Yam Root Vegan Milk Cleanser

Isntree Yam Root Vegan Milk Cleanser  

Water, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, 1, 2-Hexanediol, Polyglyceryl-10 Myristate, Arachidyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Behenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Glucose, Coco-glucoside, Glyceryl Stearate, Dioscorea Japonica Root Extract, Hibiscus Esculentus Fruit Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Root Extract, Undaria Pinnatifida Extract, Laminaria Japonica Extract, Glycine Max (Soybean) Seed Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Meal Extract, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Polyacrylate     

Yam is not a typical ingredient in cleansers, but if you need a cruelty-free cleanser or even a vegan one - this one is an interesting option.   

$24.94/220 ml + 100ml (refill) || Olive Young*

Laneige Cream Skin Milk Oil Cleanser

Laneige Cream Skin Milk Oil Cleanser  

Water/​Aqua/​Eau, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Triethylhexanoin, Dipropylene Glycol, Isododecane, Caprylic/​Capric Triglyceride, Polyglyceryl-3 Distearate, 1,2-Hexanediol, C12-14 Pareth-12, Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Propanediol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Glycerin, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Tocopherol  

If you expect it's an oil cleanser then let me tell you, it's more like a water-based cleanser. The milk formula cleanses the skin without destroying the skin barrier.  

107 Beauty 107 Chaga Jelly Low pH Cleanser

107 Beauty 107 Chaga Jelly Low pH Cleanser  

Water, Glycerin, Ethoxydiglycol, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Xanthan Gum, Glycereth-26, Decyl Glucoside, Inonotus Obliquus (Mushroom) Extract, Coceth-7, PPG-1-PEG-9 Lauryl Glycol Ether, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Powder, Glyceryl Caprate, Polyglyceryl-2 Laurate, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citric Acid, Malt Extract, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Broussonetia Kazinoki Root Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Extract, Morus Alba Bark Extract, Malus Domestica Fruit Extract, Camellia Japonica Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Vaccinium Vitis-Idaea Leaf Extract, Tricholoma Matsutake Extract, Vinegar, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Linalool, Limonene, Sodium Chloride, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ethylhexylglycerin   

The texture of 107 Beauty 107 Chaga Jelly Low pH Cleanser is so beautiful. The formula isn't harsh even if there are small particles in the product.  

What's your favourite cleanser?



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