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
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.
Best Cleanser for Acne Prone Skin
Winner: Skingredients Sally Cleanse
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
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
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
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
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
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
Winner: EVE LOM Rescue Toner
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
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.’