Marie Claire Skin Awards: Cleanse Winners

Marie Claire Skin Awards 2020

Cleansing is the first step of any good skincare routine. However, it's important to choose products that won't leave skin tight or stripped of its natural oils. Below are our judges' pick of the cleansers, toners and exfoliators that leave skin immaculately clean and prepped for what comes next...

Best Cleanser for Dehydrated Skin

Winner: CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

Marie Claire Skin Awards 2020

The Hydrating Cleanser has no gimmicks and no fancy fragrance. Just hydrating hyaluronic acid and skin-strengthening ceramides, proving you don't have to pay for good skin. A favourite of team Marie Claire (Senior Beauty Editor, Katie Thomas, calls it the best cleanser on the market.).

Best Cleanser for Acne Prone Skin

Winner: Skingredients Sally Cleanse

Marie Claire Skin Awards 2020

Prepare to hear a lot more from this brand. In the meantime, add this salicylic acid cleanser to your shopping list. Our judges voted it the best for mopping up excess oil and reducing blackheads.

Best Cream Cleanser

Winner: Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

Marie Claire Skin Awards 2020

This cream cleanser deserves a place in the Beauty Hall of Fame, as it’s largely responsible for our double-cleansing routines. With the first cleanse, make-up and grime is washed away. With the second, cocoa butter, rosemary, chamomile and eucalyptus deep clean skin before the muslin cloth provided gently exfoliates. 

Best Cleansing Balm

Winner: Sisley Triple Oil Balm Make Up Remover & Cleanser

Marie Claire Skin Awards 2020

A trio of skin-loving oils (babassu, shea and macadamia) creates a heavenly emulsion that lifts away daily grime, nourishes and leaves skin smelling like a spa.

Judge Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme says: ‘This balm has one of my favourite scents and left my skin feeling hydrated and clean. I will be buying this again.’

Best Oil Cleanser

Winner: Syrene Aquagel Oil To Foam Cleanser

Marie Claire Skin Awards 2020

First, the oil melts sunscreen, make-up and grime off your face. Next, the formula transforms to a frothy foam when combined with water so you can swiftly wash impurities down the drain. To top all that off, seaweed extracts boost skin elasticity. Nice.

Judge Caroline Barnes says: ‘A fantastic cleanser for combination skin.’

Best Micellar Water

Winner: Garnier Micellar Rose Water, Cleanse and Glow

Marie Claire Skin Awards 2020

Tiny oil molecules in the formula attract dirt and make-up (including stubborn mascara) so you can wipe it away with a cotton pad. Both rose water and glycerin in this micellar water make it a soothing experience.

Judge Sherille Riley says: ‘A great, all-round skincare solution. It's perfect for sensitive skin, the bottle size is great and price point accessible.’

Runner up: Herbal Essentials Himalayan Infused Micellar Water

Best Make-Up Remover

Winner: Lancôme Bi-Facil

Marie Claire Skin Awards 2020

What goes on, must come off. However, there’s no gentler way to do this than with a cotton pad soaked in this bi-phase, water-in-oil make-up remover.

Judge Ruby Hammer says: ‘All time great - I love this product, always have done.'

Runner up: Decorte AQ Meliority High Performance Renewal Cleansing Cream

Best Toner/Essence

Winner: EVE LOM Rescue Toner

Marie Claire Skin Awards 2020

This is nothing like the alcohol-heavy toner you applied as a teenager. Here, super-charged botanical extracts like centella asiatica, aloe leaf and AHAs gently buff and brighten skin, without sapping it of moisture.

Judge Abigail James says: ‘Simple, understated and nice to use.’

Runner up: MONAT Skin Revitalizing Essence

Best Facial Exfoliator/Scrub

Winner: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment

Marie Claire Skin Awards 2020

There’s a good reason this tube is dubbed the ‘Hollywood facial’. Natural AHAs and fruit enzymes nibble away at dead cells on the skin’s surface. In addition to smoother skin, you also get the softening benefits of aloe and honey. 

Judge Ruth Crilly says: ‘This is so powerful. I love that it combines chemical exfoliants with the satisfaction of a mechanical scrub.’

Runner up: Emma Hardie Exfoliating Brightening Tonic

Fiona Embleton

Fiona Embleton has been a beauty editor for over 10 years, writing and editing beauty copy and testing over 10,000 products. She has previously worked for magazines like Marie Claire, Stylist, Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health. Beauty journalism allowed her to marry up her first class degree in English Literature and Language (she’s a stickler for grammar and a self-confessed ingredients geek) with a passion for make-up and skincare, photography and catwalk trends.