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January 8, 2021

How To Pick The Right Cleanser For Every Season And Skin Type

It’s time to put more thought into your daily cleanser, as the right formulation can make a noticeable difference in your skin.


On an average day, airborne grime and pollutants assault our skin. Combine those elements with everything we apply purposefully – from moisturizer to sunscreen to makeup – and it’s no wonder our skin starts to revolt. 


 It’s time to put more thought into your daily cleanser!


Picking the ideal cleanser is part preference and part skin science, although most of us look to expert reviews for guidance, as an endorsement from a skincare professional is very meaningful. Since product choices and labeling can be confusing, a few of Beautytap’s trusted experts recently offered their advice along with recommended products for each skin type, so your skin will stay healthy and be able to rejuvenate itself overnight.


Build a Cleanser Wardrobe


Each day we choose what to wear based on our mood and activities. If you’ve never thought of building a cleanser wardrobe, you should. It may be tempting to use the same cleanser year-round, but fluctuations in skin hydration, oil production, and the elements make having a few cleansing choices on hand a better way to care for your face. “Skin changes throughout the year with the changing seasons, hormones, and external factors, such as wearing makeup and masks,” says Dr. Tess Mauricio, “so it’s important to also change cleansers as needed. We have more choices now than ever and can really customize our cleansing regimen to optimize the health of our skin any time of the year.”


cleanser wardrobe


Choose a Gentle, Balanced Cleanser 


With Dr. Tess’s wisdom in mind, most people should be using a mild cleanser, like Epicuren Discovery’s Herbal Cleanser, which cleans effectively without causing undue aggravation. Product pH can range from zero to 14, with the sweet spot hovering around 5.5. Many manufacturers state the pH on the product, and words like “gentle” and “sensitive skin” are usually reliable indicators of a suitable cleanser. Why does pH matter? “We don’t want cleansers that have a very high (basic) or very low (acidic) pH as that increases the risk of irritation and sensitivity,” says Dr. Tess. Skinfix and LaRoche Posay are Dr. Glynis Ablon’s sensitive skin favorites, and Dr. Tess likes Jan Marini’s Age Intervention Gentle Cleanser. She also suggests choosing products with anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as bisabolol, which is found in chamomile.


Epicuren Discovery Herbal Cleanser
Epicuren Discovery Herbal Cleanser – $29.50,/a>


Minimize Maskne with an Exfoliating Cleanser


If you have oily skin or are battling maskne, opt for a cleansing foam or gel that removes debris and keeps pores clear. Dr. Tess and Dr. Ablon agree that salicylic acid cleansers provide gentle exfoliation and help reduce breakouts. Most people tolerate these products well, but if your skin is sensitive, try using an exfoliating cleanser with an alternative ingredient. Restorsea’s Reviving Cleanser contains Aquabeautine XL® , an exclusive proprietary enzyme backed by scientific studies and is proven to cleanse and gently exfoliate only the dead skin cells without causing skin irritation. 


Restorsea Reviving Cleanser
Restorsea Reviving Cleanser – $65


Double-Cleanse When Necessary


Many Asian beauty fans swear by a double-cleansing routine and use a cleansing oil or balm to break down makeup and sunscreen and then cleansing a second time with a traditional foaming cleanser. The process can be laborious, especially after a long day, and isn’t necessary for everyone. If you have acne-prone skin, Dr. Tess doesn’t recommend oil cleansing unless you need to remove “heavy oil-based makeup, which can clog pores and make acne worse.” In her practice, Dr. Ablon sometimes recommends oil cleansing to clients using drying topical medications, but she warns against using olive or coconut oil because “they can cause breakouts.”


Bioderma Sensibio H2O
Bioderma Sensibio H2O – $14.90


Embrace Minimalism


Sometimes, your skin only needs the bare minimum in terms of cleansing, and sometimes, it just can’t handle anything remotely resembling a traditional cleanser. Enter micellar water, aka cleansing water. These ultra-gentle liquids contain micelles that latch onto surface debris as well as makeup, so they can be swept off the skin without disrupting its natural balance. All micellar waters contain cleansing agents and water and can be used by individuals with varying skin types. Both Dr. Tess and Dr. Ablon recommend micellar water for patients with sensitive skin, including those with eczema. They also recommend matching your cleansing product to your skin’s needs since formulas are often tailored to dry, sensitive, or oily skin. 


Overwhelmed by the choices? Reach out to a Verified Beauty Expert for a one-on-one skin consultation and customized recommendations for your skin type.

Tracy Ann Teel is a full-time freelance writer and the owner of Finesse Writing and Editing LLC. She’s a tutorial writer for San Francisco Globe’s beauty platform,, covering everything from skin and hair care to makeup and nail art. She writes for skincare companies, dermatologists, and cosmetic surgeons, and proudly taught at her MFA alma mater, the University of California Irvine, as a member of their adjunct faculty in English. She’s been a textbook reviewer for Prentice Hall, been recognized three consecutive years in the Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, and has written professionally for 30+ years. Her poetry chapbook Such Dust was published by Finishing Line Press, and her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Rattle, Pearl, Kaleidoscope, and Lake Arrowhead Life.



Totally agree with this Tracy! I use a gentle hydrating cleansing in the morning and then I double cleanse at night using a cleansing balm and a richer face wash at night. - It depends on what season I am in and my current skin condition. Plus, isn't it lovely just to have a "Cleanser Wardrobe"!? simple pleasures in life - it gets me so excited! Here are my current faves ♡


That's it, I'm going to try the Epicuren Discovery Herbal Cleanser!

I have been using PCA creamy cleanser for years. Nothing compared to this mild PH balanced cleanser until I tried Restorsea Reviving Cleanser. It's pricey, but worth every dime. I've also been eyeing the Epicuren Discovery Herbal Cleanser since you first talked about how much you like it Tracy. I will definitely be adding that to my "cleanser wardrobe"!


Thanks for the overview, Tracy! Rotating products is an excellent suggestion! I have a bit of a cleanser collection myself, but could definitely benefit from a more strategic rotation.

I've been double cleansing for 2 decades now even before double cleansing became a trend. Although my skin is oily, it has a tendency to get dry in the winter months a gentle cleanser is a must for me. I love Restorsea Revive Cleanser which is now part of my daily routine. I've been using Vitabrid Cleansing Balm which I'm really enjoying as well.

I have always been a big advocate of cleansing skin every morning and night but I never knew a specific cleanser could make such a difference in my skin until starting the restorsea cleanser almost a year ago! The beginning of 2020 I struggled with breakouts (like everyone else from stress and mask wearing) I tried all my usual go to's for treating acne and nothing was working. In April 2020 I was sent this cleaners after speaking with the founder Patti on zoom and it really turned things around for me. After a few weeks I noticed a... Read more

I have re-purchased the cleanser multiple times and have gotten some of my friends and family hooked on it too!

I truly believe tailoring your cleanser to your current skincare routine for a balance of pH and moisture is important. Also having a few cleansers in the shower for different skin concerns should not be an area of embarrassment. No one should be saying you have too many products in the shower. Who are they anyway!?

Another great article from the mind of Tracy Teel! I can't tell you how many times I have cleansed my face, only to dry it off and still have a ton of makeup residue lingering behind. This is why I have become such a huge fan of the double cleanse. However sometimes I am not in the mood, I'm tired, my skin is hormonal, or I'm in a hurry. A great alternative to the cleansing oil I have found is using makeup cleansing wipes (especially those formulated with micellar water) is a great alternative. It's faster, but still aides in... Read more

I think learning to double cleanse (thanks to K-beauty) was the biggest game changer in my life as a skincare devotee. I now have a single white towel that I use after double cleansing. It's how I gauge product combinations. If an oil cleanser and foam/gel/cream/soap combo results in makeup smudges on that towel, then somebody's getting sent back to the bench. :)


I found that my skin needs a lighter cleanser in the summer and a moisturizing cleanser during the winter. The different seasons produces changes in my skin especially when it's cold or hot. Like fashion, I think your skincare needs change throughout the different seasons. tracyteel, would love to learn more about what and why skin changes during each season and how we should adjust to it.

I'd love to dive into that topic for you, @james! Putting it on my "to write list" immediately. _nicename_


A "Cleanser Wardrobe!" Couldn't agree more with this. I use both the Epicuren and the Restorsea cleansers. The Epicuren is perfect for everyday. I use the Restorsea a few times a week when I feel my skin needs a bit more gentle exfoliation. I also love the Osmia bar soaps for gentle cleansing.

I need to post a picture of my open cleansers. I'm sure there are at least 8-10, including oil cleansers because I rotate based on my skin's needs and my mood. Thanks for turning me onto Osmia!