My ‘Best Ever’ Cleansers That I Always Recommend (Plus FIVE Ways To Ensure The Perfect Cleanse Every Time)

One of the most important items within your beauty repertoire isn’t that volumising mascara or long-lasting lipstick, neither is it that hardworking moisturiser or overnight treatment; in fact it’s without a doubt your cleanser. Removing your makeup well is the most effective way of looking after your skin and ensuring it remains radiant, reducing inflammation and irritation by removing the daily build-up of dirt, makeup and general grime. You can spend all the money in the world on expensive face creams and innovative serums, but if you’re not cleansing effectively and removing the dead skin that can block pores, then they won’t be
able to penetrate deep down enough to really make an impact. I’m often asked which cleansers I’d recommend, so these six are the products that will always get my vote – and are more often than not by my bathroom sink.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil (£32.00)
Enriched with Evening Primrose Oil, Lavender Essential Oil and rich in Omega-6 Fatty Acids, this lightweight and subtly scented oil is perfect for a pre-bedtime cleanse. It effortlessly glides over skin to lift away makeup, without any tightness or overloading the complexion, leaving my face feeling incredibly supple. You need just a couple of pumps massaged into the face, so this huge bottle lasts months. (I’ve actually left my bottle at my mum’s so I know there’s always a fab cleanser on hand when I stay overnight!)

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm (£23.00)   
One of the most celebrated cleansers of all time, this doesn’t feel like a traditional balm; it transforms from an almost wax-like texture into a silky oil when mixed with water, which instantly and effortlessly lifts away all traces of makeup – including mascara. It’s a beautifully sensorial experience that leaves skin feeling super soft, even if the ingredients inside it aren’t exactly easy to get your head around. (Nothing natural in here!)

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter (£10.00) 
A cheaper version of the Clinique favourite, this has an incredibly similar texture and provides a very similar result: soft and supple skin that’s thoroughly cleansed without feeling tight. The addition of Camomile helps to calm as it cleanses, while it’s suitable for even sensitive skin. A great budget buy that will deliver every time.

Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Melting Cleanser (£24.00) 
The cleanser I just can’t get enough of, the unique jelly-like texture is a dream to massage into skin. It turns into a milky liquid when mixed with water on the face, lifting away makeup and dirt in a simple swipe of a damp flannel. Enriched with antioxidant-rich Vitamin C, Rosehip and Virgin Cherry Oil, it nourishes skin and protects it from environmental aggressors, as well as giving my complexion a soft and supple texture.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm (£41.00) 
Undoubtedly the cleansing balm that changed the game for me, this super luxe and soft balm includes a unique blend of Geranium, Lavender, Camomile, Eucalyptus, Orange, Menthol and Clove, Starflower and Elderberry Oils, perfectly fused with Mimosa and Rose Wax. You can use it to instantly remove makeup, or leave it on during the second cleanse for ten minutes as an indulgent treatment.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (£14.50) 
You really can’t go wrong with a tube of this iconic cream cleanser – it’s won pretty much every award under the sun for a reason. Two pumps massaged into skin will lift away even the most stubborn makeup, while the ingredients including purifying Eucalyptus essential oil, toning Rosemary, soothing Camomile and nourishing Cocoa Butter leave skin looking and feeling top notch.

Cleansing may seem like a basic
process that’s hard to get wrong, but it’s also one of the most
misunderstood elements of beauty; if you’ve been struggling with your cleanse, it hasn’t been making your skin look or feel great, or it simply makes your eyes all stingy, then these five steps could help you achieve the perfect cleanse every single time.

Many mascaras and eyeshadow have a high concentration of talc, which is a drying agent; when washed onto the delicate eye area it can not only cause irritation, but it could actually zap the area of moisture and cause those little fine lines to become even more noticeable. These makeup products can also sting the eyes if you accidentally wash residue into them, so play it safe and quickly wipe away makeup before you pop open the cleanser.

As a general rule I personally prefer to avoid anything that foams during an evening cleanse, as these foaming formulas can strip the skin of goodness and leave it feeling tight. Since I’ve been using cleansing balms and oils I haven’t looked back; they’re much gentler on the skin and can actually *add* goodness, rather than taking it away.

Water that’s too hot can cause aggravation and damage the moisture levels in skin. Scalding hot water can strip the natural oils and actually burn the surface, which is akin to sitting too long in the sun and suffering the consequences. The water you use should be warm but not hot, helping get your cleanser all lathered up and aiding the removal of makeup residue; don’t blast your skin with freezing cold water either!  

Generally speaking, I wear a lot of makeup and use a lot of skincare products – so my cleanser has to work hard to remove it all at the end of the day. My first cleanse removes the makeup and dirt you can see, but the second removes it from the lower layers that you can’t; the result is squeaky clean skin that’s ready for my night creams. (Although double cleansing is always a great idea if you wear heavy makeup or SPF, if your skin is sensitive or you suffer from a skin condition then it’s probably best to stick with a singular cleanse.)

It’s so important to use a clean face cloth every day (or every other day if you’re not removing makeup) so you’re effectively washing away grime and not just scrubbing it back onto your face again. You don’t need to spend a fortune on face cloths (mine come from Primark and are about £2.00 for a pack of five,) but do ensure you have a big enough stash to see you from one week to the next.

How committed are you to your cleansing regime? Do you have any firm favourite cleansing products, or have tried any of my own top pics? 



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  1. Philippa
    January 9, 2018 / 1:24 pm

    I love the cleansing butter from The Body Shop – it's great at removing every last bit of stubborn makeup!My Many Favourites x

    • Hayley Hall
      January 9, 2018 / 3:53 pm

      It's a great affordable cleanser – a great place to start if you're not sure about oils, balms and so on too.

  2. Kay
    January 9, 2018 / 3:34 pm

    Have been using Liz Earle for 17 years now an love all the variations they make, especially the rose and lavender. x

    • Hayley Hall
      January 11, 2018 / 9:59 am

      The limited editions are so pretty – although some of them do sting my eyes a bit! The downside of the added essential oil scents.

  3. SheerBeauty (Kayla)
    January 9, 2018 / 3:52 pm

    I had the melting cleanser I got it from my old job and I by-mistake gave it to my cousin with other free stuff that I got lol. So now I need to by it for myself, as I have been wanting to try this for so long.KaylaSheer Beauty Blog

    • Hayley Hall
      January 11, 2018 / 10:01 am

      It's sooooo good! To the point where I'm really stingy as I don't want to waste it, ha!

  4. George Marshall Power Tools Ltd
    January 9, 2018 / 3:58 pm

    I am a big fan of all of these. The Liz Earl is always first on my list to recommend to any skincare cleansing newbies! Leanne #

  5. Lucy Cole
    January 9, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    I've just picked up the clinique cleansing balm after some good reviews – I'm so excited to try it!xxLucy |

    • Hayley Hall
      January 11, 2018 / 10:02 am

      It's a great all-rounder and loved by so many!

  6. Jane O'Sullivan
    January 10, 2018 / 9:56 am

    Love this list, am looking for a new cleanser myself so will be investigating further.

  7. Laura
    January 13, 2018 / 4:47 pm

    I think I might go back to using the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish as I just don't have a cleanser that I particularly like at the minute. The Body Shop one sounds interesting, too…Laura x LookAtMyClothes

  8. Sequinist
    January 16, 2018 / 11:31 am

    I love this list… I'm on the hunt for a new cleanser, and this gives me a few good options to explore. The Ole Henrikson one sounds dreamy! xx

  9. Lori Smith (@lipsticklori)
    January 21, 2018 / 12:08 pm

    This is a really useful post and list. Think I need to get myself some more face cloths! Have you got any recommendations for good eye make up removers?

  10. Prettiful Blog
    January 25, 2018 / 9:20 am

    Interesting fact, per ml, The Clinique is actually cheaper than The Body Shop ;

  11. Jess | The Indigo Hours
    February 6, 2018 / 8:39 pm

    I love the oil version of the Camomile cleanser from The Body Shop, it's beautiful! ♥

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