Wellness Warrior

Cleanser vs Face Wash: Which Is Better?

Knowing how to take proper care of your skin can be a challenge. Especially, because there are so many different skincare products available. The first step in any skincare routine is often cleansing, but the decision between a cleanser vs face wash can be puzzling. Both products aim to remove impurities and refresh the skin, but they have subtle differences that can impact your skincare routine.

I never fully understood the differences until I educated myself, and this is exactly why I wrote this article.

Which is better: Cleanser vs Face Wash?

There is no better option between these two as they can benefit different types of skin types. While both serve the purpose of cleansing, the key lies in understanding your skin’s unique needs. Cleansers, with their gentle, non-foaming formulations, are often a preferred option for those with sensitive or dry skin, providing a mild cleanse without stripping away natural oils.

On the flip side, face washes, equipped with foaming agents and sometimes acne-fighting ingredients, prove invaluable for those battling excess oil or acne. The best choice hinges on your skin type and concerns—opt for a cleanser if you lean towards dryness, and a face wash if oil control is a priority.

The perfect skincare routine is a personalized one that aligns with your skin’s individual requirements, ensuring a radiant and healthy complexion.

What are the main differences between cleanser vs face wash?

When deciding on a cleanser vs face wash, it’s important to understand the basics of each and what it is they do for your skin.


  • Cleansers are generally formulated with mild, non-foaming agents.
  • They are designed to remove dirt, oil, and makeup without stripping the skin of its natural oils.
  • Suitable for various skin types, especially sensitive or dry skin.

Face Wash.

  • Face washes typically contain foaming agents that create a lather when mixed with water.
  • They aim to deeply cleanse the skin by removing excess oil and impurities.
  • Suitable for oily or acne-prone skin, as they provide a thorough cleanse.

RELATED: Is dry skin the cause of premature wrinkles?

Ingredient differences.

Looking at the ingredients in the products you use for your skin is extremely important. Make sure to always check labels to ensure the ingredients will suit your skin.


  • Commonly contain gentle surfactants like cetyl alcohol or sorbitan oleate.
  • Often infused with moisturizing ingredients such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid.
  • May include botanical extracts for added skincare benefits.

Face Wash.

  • Tend to have stronger surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate for a deeper cleanse.
  • Can include ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide for acne-prone skin.
  • May be formulated with astringents like witch hazel for oil control.

RELATED: 7 Signs you need to exfoliate.

Tips on how to properly wash your face.

Using the right product for your skin is almost as important as following the right steps to wash your face. Here are a few things to keep in mind that I have been using to ensure my face is perfectly washed and clean.

  • Know your skin type: Understand whether your skin is oily, dry, combination, or sensitive to choose the right products.
  • Use lukewarm water: Avoid extremes in water temperature; lukewarm water helps open pores without causing irritation or dryness.
  • Choose the right cleanser: Select a cleanser based on your skin type and concerns; opt for a gentle cleanser for sensitive skin and a foaming face wash for oily skin.
  • Dispense the right amount: A dime-sized amount of product is generally sufficient; using too much can strip away essential oils.
  • Apply in gentle circular motions: Massage the cleanser onto your face using gentle, circular motions to stimulate circulation and ensure even coverage.
  • Pay attention to the T-zone: Concentrate on the forehead, nose, and chin, collectively known as the T-zone, where oil tends to accumulate.
  • Don’t forget the jawline and neck: Extend your cleansing routine to your jawline and neck to prevent breakouts.
  • Rinse thoroughly: Make sure to rinse your face thoroughly to remove all traces of cleanser, preventing any residue that could lead to irritation.
  • Pat dry, don’t rub: Gently pat your face dry with a clean towel instead of rubbing, which can cause unnecessary friction and potential irritation.
pat face dry

RELATED: The 9 best DIY face mask recipes.


In the everlasting debate of cleanser vs face wash, the answer lies in your individual skin needs. If you have dry or sensitive skin, a gentle cleanser might be your best bet. On the other hand, if you battle excess oil or acne, a targeted face wash could be the key to clearer skin. Regardless of your choice, always follow up with a suitable moisturizer to maintain your skin’s balance.

Remember, the best skincare routine is one tailored to your unique skin type and concerns.

Happy Washing,

Your Wellness Warrior!

2 thoughts on “Cleanser vs Face Wash: Which Is Better?”

  1. Pingback: 7 Step Golden Order of Skincare: Best Skincare Routine.

  2. Pingback: The 9 Benefits Of Exfoliating Your Skin The Right Way.

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