Fashion & Beauty

The Best Face Cleansers for Every Skin Type

Is your skin sensitive? Prone to acne? Parched beyond all recognition? There's a new face wash for that

Fall ushers in many delights like woolly knits, spiced lattes and a new excuse to burn your coziest candles. In the skincare world, it’s bringing a multitude of new facial cleansers. While it may be tempting to immediately *add to cart*, it’s important to know what you’re buying and whether it’ll work for your skin.

“The primary role of cleansing is to remove debris from the skin,” says Dr. Shannon Humphrey, dermatologist and medical director at Carruthers & Humphrey in Vancouver. “That might be makeup, pollution or a build-up of oil and dead skin cells.”

If you’re looking to add a new cleanser to your skincare routine, here are a few things to keep in mind, no matter your particular skin type or concerns. First off, a cleanser doesn’t need to be loaded with harsh active ingredients or exfoliants in order to be effective. In fact, a cleanser that’s trying to do too much can actually disrupt the skin barrier. For the most part, a simple, gentle cleanser will work for all skin types, says Dr. Humphrey.

That being said, certain cleansers will serve certain skin types better. Oily and acne-prone skin types will find that a gel or foaming cleanser works best. Meanwhile, those with dry skin should look for an emollient-rich (think moisturizing oils and fatty acids) cream or milk formula. If you have reactive skin, steer clear of fragrance, which can cause irritation. Meanwhile, cleansing oils are gentle enough for most skin types so it’s more of a matter of preference. 

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The biggest takeaway: “Keep it simple, keep it moderate and keep it gentle,” says Dr. Humphrey. Now that you’ve brushed up on Cleansing 101, here are the most exciting new ones for every skin type to try this fall.

For oily or acne-prone skin

best face wash for fall: starface

Starface Space Wash Facial Cleanser, $22,

From the brand that gave us cute star-shaped hydrocolloid pimple patches comes a gentle gel cleanser for acne-prone skin. It taps into white willow bark extract, a plant-based alternative to salicylic acid, to tackle clogged pores. 

best face wash for fall: versed

Versed Wash it Out Gel Cleanser, $14,

From new-to-Canada clean and vegan skincare brand Versed, this gel cleanser works up a light lather and smells as good as it feels. It combines rosewater, to soothe and nourish, with mint, to refresh the skin.

For removing stubborn makeup

best face wash for fall: go off

ONE/SIZE Go Off Juiciest Makeup Dissolving Mist, $30,

If you love a full face but also love removing it in a cinch, spritz this no-drip, makeup dissolving mist from YouTube personality Patrick Starrr. Packed with jojoba and rosehip oils, the oil transforms into a milky foam to rinse off the most stubborn, waterproof makeup.

best face wash for fall: guerlain

Guerlain Abeille Royale Anti-Pollution Cleansing Oil, $76,

Guerlain’s cleansing oil uses black bee honey sourced from the island of Ouessant in France, which is known for its pure honey, thanks to a unique ecosystem. The formula melts away makeup and pollution while leaving skin comfortable and hydrated.

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For sensitive skin

best face wash for fall: drunk elephant

Drunk Elephant E-Rase Milki Micellar Water, $37,

Drunk Elephant new micellar water is packed with all the good stuff like ceramides, vitamins, plant oils and fatty acids, and works to remove all the makeup and dirt without messing with your skin’s pH balance. 

For dry skin

best face wash for fall: tatcha

Tatcha The Rice Wash Skin Softening Cleanser, $46,

Tatcha adds to its family of cleansers with a pH-neutral cream formula. Drawing on a centuries-old Japanese cleansing ritual, it gently cleanses with skin-brightening Japanese rice powder and moisture-rich Okinawa red algae. 

best face wash for fall: laneige

Laneige Cream Skin Milk Oil Cleanser, $45,

Cleansing oil or milk? Laneige makes the decision easier by combining both in one: the formula contains white tea leaf water, rich in amino acids, to help strengthen the skin barrier and keep it moisturized. 

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For dull skin

best face wash for fall: glow recipe

Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm, $42,

Superfruit turned skincare superhero, papaya works as a natural exfoliant and helps boost brightness. Glow Recipe harnesses its properties in its latest cleansing balm, helping dissolve makeup while providing gentle exfoliation for an instant glow. 

best face wash for fall: okoko

OKOKO Cosmétiques Beauté Majestique Gel-To-Milk Cleanser, $140,

This gel-to-milk cleanser from the Vancouver-based skincare brand harnesses ingredients like pumpkin and bamboo powder and squalane to exfoliate and replenish skin with moisture. You can also use it as a gentle exfoliant or face mask when you need a hit of moisture or a dose of radiance.