Cleansing is the first part of my morning routine.

Cleansers are used to wash your face either in the morning or the evening to remove makeup, grime, dirt and anything else. This is done to leave your face clean and refreshed which tends to aid the efficacy of other products you apply unto your skin after cleansing.

Cleansers can also act as exfoliators to remove dead skin, however I will talk at length and in detail about exfoliators in a future post and video.

There are numerous types of facial cleansers, oil, foaming, non-foaming, cream, lotion, balm etc.

In the mornings, I favour a foaming cleanser as it wakes me up and removes the sweat from the night before and makes my face feel clean and refreshed.

The type of cleanser you will want to use is dependent on your skin type and I will go through a few of the morning cleansers I have used and discuss what impact it had on my skin and which ones I recommend based on my personal experience.

As I have had a spectrum of skin types ranging from dry to extremely oily which has now settled into oily combination skin, I think I am well placed to provide a balanced view of the products I found most effective through my skin care journey.

My skin started out oily with mild acne which became severe acne prone and then journeyed to dry and mildly acne prone and then to combination and mildly acne prone. I will discuss the products I used in this journey some weren’t appropriate at the time I used them, however I will walk you though this and explain when these will have been more appropriate.

My focus will be on my morning cleansers or face washes as I call them, as my night time cleansers are a whole different ball game.

Oily and Acne Prone Skin

Dr Nick Lowe Purifying Foaming Cleanser which I got from Boots. It worked very well for me and my skin and also met my important requirement of having a bit of lather. It’s quite affordable and costs about £10.50. It contains salicylic acid, willow bark, arnica and host of other anti bacterial and soothing properties to reduce inflammation etc.

Dr Sebagh Breakout Foaming Cleanser, is a bit pricier than the Dr Nick Lowe Purifying Foam Cleanser and I also found this cleanser quite effective in clearing up my acne. The blurb on the packaging states you can also use it as a makeup remover, it didn’t work effectively for me as a make up cleanser, but it was effective in calming my acne. I should note that the product doesn’t last long and at about £25 a bottle this could turn into a very expensive habit.

Bliss Clog Dissolving Cleansing Milk, this did not work for me. Apart from the fact that as a milk it made my skin feel greasy. It blocked my pores and made my acne worse.

Cosmedix Purity Cleanser, I got this from a spa when I decided to go HAM on my skin as I wasn’t finding much respite in resolving my acne issues. It is a mildly foaming cleanser and quite harsh. I really thought my skin needed to be pulverized into behaving. It’s main ingredient is L-Lactic Acid and it does exfoliate away dead skin which I suppose goes a long way towards unclogging the blackheads in the pores as it is classified as an AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid). It made my face very red and sore, but it really kicked my acne’s ass and made my skin a lot more obedient.

Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Gel Cleanser, this contains salicylic acid, which is a BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) and can penetrate and break down fats. It is an exfoliator which can penetrate skin and causes the cells of the skin to shed more easily, opening up clogged pores and neutralizing bacteria and preventing pores from clogging up again. In my opinion this product only works for mild acne and can leave the skin feeling quite dry.

Philosophy Purity Made Simple 3 in1 Cleanser for face and eyes, this face wash worked on my acne when it was milder as it didn’t exacerbate or irritate my skin. Once my skin decided to get a lot more problematic. This wasn’t as effective.

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap, the one I used was number 3 and I also think it was the previous iteration before this new formulation. I found this ineffective despite the fact I was using the Clinique 3 step routine at the time which included the toner and moisturiser.

When my acne got very bad I had to use a different product, this was a generic product called PanOxyl. I found this product after doing a lot of research into what could help after I found salicylic acid ineffective in solving my acne problems. PanOxyl’s active ingredient is benzoyl peroxide which can be used in addition to salicylic acid, however ensure you check that this will be ok for your skin before you use it. This product saved my skin. The active ingredient benzoyl peroxide has strong antibacterial and anti inflammatory effects on the skin. It can sometimes have side effects which include itching, some stinging or burning, peeling, redness and skin dryness.

So in solving my acne problem, I created another, my skin became very dry which meant I had to switch up my routine to cater for my new skin type which was now dry. As dry as the freaking desert.

To do this I tried the following.


Origins Never A Dull Moment Skin Brightening Face Cleanser, as you will no doubt know, with oily acne prone skin one tends to get a lot of scars and marks. Speaking for myself, I got a lot of scars as I was constantly squeezing my spots and pimples to clean out the gunk and remove blackheads to prevent further build up. However I was overenthusiastic which meant my intervention left a lot of scaring and marks on my skin. So even though my skin was dry I was still suffering from acne and I was trying to add moisture, remove or fade out the scars and treat my acne at the same time. Which is why I decided to use this product. It worked at helping to fade some of my scars and adding moisture to my skin, but wasn’t helpful in tackling my acne. It was a luxurious foaming cleanser which also helped lift a lot of dead skin and turning over my dry skin revealing plumper and better moisturised skin.

Shu Uemura Classic High Performance Balancing Cleaning Oil and Fresh Cleansing Oil, this gets a  hard pass from me, it just did not work for me.

In Between / Combination Skin

Once my skin got better rebalanced after using the Origins cleanser, I moved on to a few other cleansers to ensure I maintained a balanced harmony for my skin.

Jurlique Purifying Foaming Cleanser, this is a comfortable cleanser for oily skin and left the oily parts of my face balanced, but dried out the drier parts of my face. This works better for oily skin and was not the most friendly for my now combination skin.

L’Occitane Immortelle Brightening Cleansing Foam, as I continued my search with my focus on fading my acne scars and balancing my skin I decided to use this product. It made my skin a bit more radiant, and I loved the lather, but it did not fade my acne scars. The scent is lovely and it was mildly balancing. But I didn’t notice any added value.

Bobbi Brown Lathering Tube soap, the schpiel of this is that, not only is it a lathering rich cleanser, it provides maximum moisture. I most definitely did not find this to be the case. It stripped my skin and I think it is because of the coconut extract. Coconut oil is one of the best oils for saponification and makes a great lather, however this tends to strip the oils from your skin leaving it very dry. This product is drying inspite of the inclusion of shea butter, I will recommend this for those with oily skin, definitely not one for those with combination skin.

Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Cottonseed, I liked this cleanser in the same way I also liked the Chantecaille Rice and Geranium Foaming Cleanser. They are both gentle on the skin and are truly balancing for those of us with combination skin. It leaves the skin, comfortable, soft and clean. The Chantecaille is of course the more expensive of the two at more than double the price at £50 compared to the Clarins at £20. Both work well for combination skin.

Colbert MD Balancing Foaming Face Wash, I really enjoy this cleanser. It is fantastic for combination skin, however it doesn’t make it into my holy grail as it does what it says in the packet but doesn’t provide as much of a lather as I would like or any other additional benefits. I acknowledge that one cannot rely on just a cleanser to achieve perfect skin and I don’t want to be unfair in determining this a non- Holy Grail item, I just need more.

Omorovicza Cleansing Foam is my favorite foaming cleanser for combination skin and it lathers up amazingly without being drying. The scent which smells very strongly of orange rind wakes me up in the morning. My skin is balanced, soft and supple after cleansing, not dry or oily, it is the only face wash that makes me feel that I have normal skin. Having this as a base before moving on to the next step of my skincare routine really works for me and I see it add value on a daily basis to my entire morning skincare regimen. Likely Holy Grail status pending for the Omorovicza Cleansing Foam.