Sweat, dirt, and waterproof mascara—inevitable on summer skin—are so important to wipe away at the end of the day. It might seem trivial, but cleansing your face makes a world of difference in unclogging pores, taking away irritating preservatives, and keeping skin radiant. That said, with so many different formulas on the market, it can be difficult to determine which will work best for your skin. So, we’ve broken down the formulas for you (eight different types!) and selected our favorites, all of which will leave your skin looking absolutely radiant.
Cleansing Milk Cleansing milks are a great option for those with dry or sensitive skin. Milk has been a valuable skin soother for years because its proteins absorb quickly, neutralize the skin’s pH, and promote the synthesis of collagen. The 100 percent natural formula of Korres Milk Proteins Foaming Cream Cleanser($21) makes this cream-to-foam cleanser a particularly ideal product for reaping the benefits of milk, while removing makeup, excess oil, and dirt from your face.
Cleansing Balms Adding a thick balm to your face may sound icky during the summer, but Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm ($28.50) transforms into a luxurious cleansing oil as you massage the formula into your skin. Infused with safflower seed oil, which dissolves makeup, and caprylic/capric triglyceride, which traps the skin’s natural moisture, the balm is suitable for all skin types.
Cleansing Oils Applying oil to oily skin may sound counterintuitive, but oil cleansers have been gaining popularity over the last few years. The oil dissolves your skin’s excess sebum without harshly depleting all moisture (like soap does). SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil ($60) contains Pitera, which helps improve the skin’s texture and tone. Use it two ways: without water if you’re on the go or with water for a rich and luxurious lather.
Gel Cleansers When you have oily skin—especially common during summer months—you may have the urge to furiously scrub away all that excess shine. Don’t. Cleansers that are too harsh remove too much of the skin’s oil, which leads to even more irritation. Enriched with Estee Lauder’s new 3C Purity Complex, Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Gelée Cleanser ($25) calms, comforts, and clarifies oily skin. Exfoliating microbeads gently polish the skin while the silky Gelée generates a lather that removes pore-clogging impurities.
Cleansing Water In hot weather, it’s much more comfortable to go barefaced than to pile on the foundation. If you’re not wearing a lot of makeup, NARS Makeup Removing Water ($28) is a great product for your skin. Free of soap, alcohol, or oil, the makeup-removing water tones with soothing cucumber and chamomile as it removes dirt without causing irritation or excess dryness. This product is best for those with normal to dry skin, which doesn’t need a super deep cleanse.
Eye Makeup Remover Waterproof and smudge-proof eyeliners and mascaras can be a royal pain to take off. Unlike many eye makeup removers on the market, Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover($26.50) is non-oily and fragrance-free, using ultra-fine oils in a dual-phase method that is perfect for sensitive skin. Plus, the cornflower soothes the skin while the rose water softens and tones.
Cleansing Towelettes Cleansing towelettes are excellent for those nights you absolutely can’t make it to the sink to wash your face. Formulated with Active Naturals Calming Feverfew, a naturally soothing ingredient related to chamomile, ($6.99) are perfect for dry, sensitive skin. Keep these on your night table to instantly remove dirt, oil, and makeup and reduce facial redness and irritation.
Makeup Remover Swabs These little guys are great to stash in your purse for quick touchups. Almay Oil Free Makeup Erasers ($5.50) are filled with a skin-conditioning makeup remover to instantly erase mistakes or smudges. The swabs are infused with aloe, cucumber, and green tea, which hydrate and condition as they sweep away your mistakes. Snap off the lined end of the stick to activate, re-touch, and go.