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Best facial cleanser: The best facial cleansers to buy from £5.20 to £70

Jade Vincent
23 Jan 2020
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Want to wash the day off your skin and leave it feeling squeaky clean? Here are the best facial cleansers from £5.20 to £70

From foaming cleansers to cleansing balms, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to giving our skin a thorough clean these days. With factors such as pollution and makeup contributing to clogged pores and acne breakouts, it is any wonder that we’re always on the lookout for the best very cleanser to achieve that healthy, glowing complexion. But which type of cleanser is best for your skin, and how much should you spend on a product that’s intended for daily use and probably won’t last much longer than a few months? Read on for the cleansers we believe are worth every penny.

How to buy the best facial cleanser for you

What’s the difference between each formulation?

Cleansing balms and cleansing oils are similar types of product and are best suited to particularly dry skin. If you’re after a mess-free application, choose a balm that sits on your fingers; oils are obviously thinner and therefore far runnier. Cleansing creams are usually applied directly onto the skin before wetting or via a cotton pad; these work well for dry skin types too. Foaming cleansers and clay cleansers are more for oil-prone or combination skin, since both penetrate deeper into the pores and clear excess oil. Gel cleansers foam much less and suits combination to normal skin types. A cleansing water is applied with a cotton pad for speedy cleansing and is usually part of a ‘double-cleanse’ routine, since alone it typically isn’t able to remove every last trace of makeup or dirt from the day.

How is a toner different from a cleansing water?

Cleansing water and toners do different jobs. A cleansing water does what it says on the tin; it cleanses. A toner, on the other hand, removes any traces of dirt that your cleanser didn’t. It also balances the skin’s pH, replenishes lost nutrients from the cleansing process and provides an extra shot of hydration too. As such, it’s a good idea to invest in both.

How much should you spend?

Let’s face it, your skin is important so spending a decent amount of money on keeping it clean and healthy wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world. However, there are cleansers out there that work and don’t require you to spend a small fortune every few months. Most decent cleansers cost between £15 and £30, but there are exceptional products that go beyond that. We say, if you’re aiming high don’t spend more than £100; if you’re on a budget, don’t spend less than £5.

READ NEXT: The best BB creams for a natural, even complexion

The best facial cleanser you can buy

1. Bioderma Sensibio H20 Makeup Removing Micelle Solution: The best facial cleanser under £10

Price when reviewed: From £5.20 (depending on size of bottle) | Buy now from Feel Unique

This gentle cleansing water is the perfect solution for those who like to remove makeup in super-quick time, but don’t want their skin to become damaged in the process; some liquid cleansers can be drying, stripping the skin of all its moisture. This cleanser is especially good for sensitive skin, with zero irritation – you can even use it to take off your eye makeup. Sweep it over your eyes and face with a cotton pad and it will lift even the most stubborn makeup and dirt quickly and efficiently, without leaving your skin feeling parched immediately after.

2. Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm: The best facial cleanser under £40

Price when reviewed: £39 | Buy now from Space NK

Ever wanted a cleanser that also doubles as a mask, simply melting onto the skin with minimal effort? Well then this is it. The Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing balm comes from Emma Hardie, a professional holistic facialist. She recommends that you use only a small blob, the size of a 5p piece, which you rub in the palm of your hand and then apply to your face and neck. You can either leave it on for overnight pampering, or remove it with warm water and the cleansing cloth provided. Either way, skin is left clean and soothed. It feels super-luxurious and it smells blooming fantastic too. Overall, this ‘dreamy’ cleanser will have you ooing and ahhing with every application. 

3. Clarins Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream: The best facial cleanser for under £30

Price when reviewed: £25 | Buy now from John Lewis

This peach-coloured cream cleanser will leave your skin feeling so smooth, both during application and afterwards, that once you’ve tried it you may well be locked in for life. You warm it up between your fingers and apply it to dry skin in circular motions. Thanks to nourishing shea and mango extracts, it feels like a super-rich moisturiser – but add some water and it only gets better. A quick splash will see it gently lather up, after which it will easily glide around your face doing its thing. Don’t use too much water, though, or it the product with dilute down and you won’t feel that it’s penetrating deep enough. Once you’ve removed it altogether, your skin will be left feeling oh-so clean and – as promised in the name – comfortable too.

4. Clinique Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser: The best facial cleanser for squeaky clean skin

Price when reviewed: £17.50 | Buy now from Boots

Hands up if you want your skin squeaky clean? Part of Clinique’s classic 3-step skin care system, you won’t find a cleanser out there that removes makeup and dirt so efficiently. So much so that, on your first use your skin may feel a bit too clean, simply because you’re not used to it. Suffice to say, it’s ideal for oily skin types but not so great for dry skin. You’ll need only a tiny amount – pea-sized will be sufficient – on wet skin; rub the foam into the nooks and creases of your face for a deep clean. Rinse it off and you’re sure to notice the squeaky-clean results. Apply your moisturiser to leave the perfect canvas on which to apply your makeup. 

5. La Mer The Cleansing Foam: The best facial cleanser under £100

Price when reviewed: £70 | Buy now from La Mer

There are those who believe that a high price is indication of an extraordinary product – but this isn’t always true: there are luxury brands on the market that will cost you a tidy sum yet deliver results equal to something half its price. But this certainly isn’t the case here, with this La Mer cleanser delivering on multiple levels. It works like any other foaming cleanser, but it’s afterwards that you’ll notice that your skin feeling super-hydrated. Your face will be left smooth, comfortable and, most importantly, clean. That’s not to say you shouldn’t apply a moisturiser after cleansing, but this product won’t leave your skin feeling tight after use. Apart from the slightly fiddly lid – it’s heavy and often slipped out of my wet hands when you’re twisting it back on – this La Mer cleanser has no negatives that we can see. We reckon it’s a no-brainer for those with deeper pockets.

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