Nowadays there are many skin care products available that even experienced beauticians need some time to find a suitable facial cleanser for sensitive skin. Besides cleansing foam, mousse or cream there are cleansing oils, balms, tonics, gels, lotions as well as milks. Is there anyone who doesn’t lose track with so many products?!

Mild Facial Cleansing

The most important part of the Daily Skin Care Routine is the mild facial cleansing. It is important that you cleanse the skin gently. A constant treatment with agents that can irritate the skin can damage the skin’s complexion in the long run. For example these effects can be dehydration or permanent excess sebum production.

In today’s review we’re going to look at facial skin cleansers that are mild and specially made for sensitive skin. The range of products has increased over time, but the mild and skin-friendly active agents have always remained the same. This also applies to irritating agents: different types of surfactants, sulfates, fragrances, bad alcohols and synthetic preservatives.

Our focus today lies with the positive and negative active agents and their effects. We will compare the basic types of skin cleansing products and also give some helpful treatment tips for a thorough cleansing of the pores and degreasing the skin.

First of all we will introduce two products for different skin types. Later we go into detail of how to gently cleanse your skin.

Heads-up: The article is a bit longer than usual, but I hope it’s helpful!


Mild facial cleansers – our top pics

Our Tip #1: Clinique Cleansing Balm for dry and sensitive skin

Best Facial Cleanser Balm
Clinique Cleansing Balm (*CLICK*)

The ‘Take The Day Off‘ Cleansing Balm by Clinique is most recommendable, because it has a minimalistic formula with very few ingredients and completely passes on any type of fragrances. This balm contains oils and fatty acids as well as texture giving agents, vitamin E and the mild preservative phenoxyethanol. And because any kind of perfume and fragrance was left out, it is very skin-compatible.

We don’t even need to mention mineral oil or surfactants, because in this product they are none-existent. 🙂 But we will talk more about surface-active agents later.

Most minimalistic formulas are very skin-compatible and that is the main reason we like them. You can find out really fast which active agent is responsible if your skin shows any unwanted reactions.

The cleansing effect of Clinique’s Cleansing Balm is very high because of its contained oils. It can get rid of almost every makeup and sun protection without a problem (even water-proof products!). If you want a similar or the same cleansing effect from a product based on surfactants it needs to be highly-concentrated, thus having a lot of irritating potential. And this is exactly what you need to avoid in your daily facial cleansing routine!

The Clinique Cleansing Balm is without doubt one of our favorite facial skin cleansing and makeup-removing products available on the market.

Preview Product Rating Price
Our Tip #1: Clinique Cleansing Balm Our Tip #1: Clinique Cleansing Balm 101 Reviews $29.49


Our Tip #2: Eucerin DermatoClean Refreshing Cleansing Gel for oily skin

Best Facial Cleanser Gel
Eucerin Cleansing Gel (*CLICK*)

The Eucerin Cleansing Gel is our tip for cleansing oily and greasy skin as well as a mixed skin type. This gel is free of perfume and has a high skin-compatibility. Therefore it can be even used as remover for eye-makeup but as well as cleaner.

This gel is slightly foamy and very rich. Therefore you really need only a little bit of it for your skin cleansing routine. You foam the gel with lukewarm water, spread it evenly on the face and afterwards rinse it off with lukewarm water – then you are done with your skin cleansing routine. It reliably removes dirt particles and excess oil and leaves a clean and fresh feel on the skin.

The Eucerin Cleansing Gel is skin-compatible, but you shouldn’t use it on dry skin. It can cause redness and dry spots if your skin already tends to dryness.

Another tip: You can complete your skin cleansing routine for oily skin with a facial toner or tonic to revive your complexion and refresh the skin. For this purpose Eucerin has brought a Clarifying Toner from the DermatoClean product line to the market and it is just as mildly formulated as the Cleansing Gel. It will surely remove the last particles off your skin and leaves a great feeling of freshness.

Preview Product Rating Price
Our Tip #2: Eucerin Cleansing Gel Our Tip #2: Eucerin Cleansing Gel 101 Reviews $29.49


Questions and answers to treatment and effect of facial cleansers for sensitive skin

What is most important for the daily facial cleansing?

Mild Facial Cleanser

A thorough skin cleansing is not only the first step but the alpha and omega of your Facial Skin Care Routine. Hereby you remove dirt and excess particles from the top dermal layer and prepare your skin for the following skin care active agents.

This preparation step is neglected by many people, sadly without any good reason. If you do not properly cleanse your facial skin and don’t use the correct products it will have a negative effect on the whole skin care routine. These people will then ask themselves why their skin care does not achieve the wanted effect and try to balance this with high-priced anti-aging products.

The better solution, though, would be to use a high-quality facial cleanser instead of investing all the money into anti-aging knick-knacks. The most expensive anti-aging creams are often made of active agents whose effects have not been proven scientifically. So mainly you can achieve the same positive effect with much cheaper skin care products.

The negative effect from a bad or unfitting skin cleanser is rather quick to be noticed – for example you will get dry, irritated or even flaky skin. With these effects you don’t really need any scientific analysis to understand what went wrong with your daily skin care.

Mild and gentle skin-compatible cleansing can solve many skin problems or at best even prevent these problems to even emerge.

Having said this, you can also get skin problems if you don’t cleanse your skin at all.

A simple facial skin cleansing that is done only with water cannot really remove the excess sebum. The remains of this sebum can clog the skin pores and keep environmental irritating substances in the upper dermal layer. This can cause skin impurities or other unwanted effects.


Which product type is suited for which skin type?

We will show you the different types of facial cleansers and explain the corresponding properties.

As always you will find exceptions – products that fall out of line – in a positive as well as negative sense. But in most cases the properties match the particular product type.

We would be glad about any kind of comments at this point of our article. So if you already made any experiences with this or that product type you would like to share – please do so!

1) Soap as facial skin cleanser

Facial Cleanser Soap

The ‘traditional’ skin cleansing with soap is not even worth mentioning nowadays. No wonder, because soap has a few downsides that weigh heavy on sensitive skin:

  • Soap is based on long-chained surfactants that have irritating potential by nature.
  • It has a high pH-value and hereby weakens the skin’s own acid protection layer. This effect benefits the settling of pathogenic germs.
  • A regular skin cleansing with soap dries the skin and aids redness or impurities.
  • Soap does not completely dissolve in hard water and that’s why it can leave remains being able to cause irritations after a while.

I think these were the most important drawbacks soap has as a facial skin cleanser. Also there isn’t any positive feature that could balance out these negative facts.

Our conclusion: If you have sensitive facial skin to cleanse, don’t touch soap!


2) Cleansing foam or mousse

Mild Cleansing Foam

I must say that I used to like cleansing foam in the past. Foaming products are per se associated with a thorough cleansing effect. I learned my lesson and now I try to avoid cleansing foam or any foaming products for skin care. But why is that?

The reason is that these foaming products mainly consist of skin-irritating surfactants. These foaming surfactants are bad for sensitive skin because they are the best at causing dryness to the skin. Their cleansing effect is so good that they not only remove excess sebum but also the protecting lipid layer of our facial skin.

Surfactants that are this strong do not only dry the skin, but at the same time stimulate the sebum production. This natural process normally helps rebuilding the skin’s natural protection barrier, but it also makes the skin more oily and greasy. And unfortunately, oily skin is even more vulnerable to impurities of any kind.

There are different types of surfactants, some are more aggressive and some are gentler. If you are interested in this topic you can click here for a good explanation of good and bad surfactants.


3) Cleansing milk

Mild Cleansing Milk

Cleansing milk was invented in order to cleanse the facial skin without a drop of water. The milk will not be removed after applying it, because a thin protecting layer can remain on the skin. This protective layer imitates the natural protective skin barrier and shall keep the skin from moisture loss.

By now there are many different types of cleansing milk, but unfortunately there are some with skin-irritating surfactants. They are even more crucial in cleansing milk because you don’t wash it off again. This way the surfactants will stay on the skin even longer and therefore take an even bigger effect on the skin.

This is the reason why you cannot generally say that cleansing milk is suitable for sensitive skin. You should definitely keep tabs on the ingredients list before your purchase and check for any negative active agents.


4) Cleansing water

Mild Cleansing Water

The cleansing waters with micellar-based formula are the most interesting products for us, because they cleanse the skin milder and gentler than alcohol-based products. Most micellar cleansing products are suitable for really sensitive skin that gets irritated even at the touch of water.

They are very nice to use because the skin doesn’t need to be cleared with water afterwards. Micelles are nothing else than a mild type surfactant. Not all types of micelles are the same. You should always check which kind of surfactant was used in the cleanser and how much water it contains.

If you absolutely want to try cleansing waters you should check out the Bioderma H2O Cleansing Water. This product cleanses the skin gently and is even suitable as a remover for eye-makeup. It is really cheap and at the same time has a convincing cleansing effect.


5) Cleansing oil or balm

Mild Cleansing Balm

Cleansing oils are too rich and oily for many people. For others they have a cleansing effect that is too intense. In our view, they have one of the best cleansing effects.

I always thought that cleansing oils are not suitable for oily or greasy skin because they will make the skin even oilier. This is generally correct, because cleansing oils are most suitable for dry skin, but even oily skin can be dry. So, one thing doesn’t exclude the other!

It is always important to check the ingredients of cleansing products thoroughly. The active agents that are responsible for the cleansing need to be focused. The determining factor is the mixing proportion between oil and emulsifier, because in the end this decides if the cleansing oil can be removed from the skin without leaving residues.

It is also interesting to know that water-free oil cleansers don’t have a pH-value – without water there will be no pH-value. 🙂

A really good and well-balanced cleansing balm is our Product Tip #1 – Clinique’s ‘Take The Day Off’ Balm. It has a simple and effective formula with a short ingredient list, but it still has a well-balanced oil-emulsifier-mixing-proportion. This makes the Cleansing Balm to one of the best products on the market.

Preview Product Rating Price
Our Tip #1: Clinique Cleansing Balm Our Tip #1: Clinique Cleansing Balm 101 Reviews $29.49


Why is it important to use a mild cleansing product for the facial skin?

Mild Facial Cleanser

Don’t forget: Cleansing is the only step of our Daily Skin Care Routine where we remove oil, dirt and makeup remains from our skin.

Many cleansers are too aggressive for the sensitive facial skin. Alcohol, bad surfactants, fragrances and preservatives – all these ingredients can cause irritations to the skin or even allergic reactions.

A product with a sharp cleansing formula removes more than necessary from the skin. The natural protection barrier will be removed and this makes the whole cleansing routine counterproductive and can even damage the skin.

That is the reason why it is important which active agents contained in the cleanser. The formula has to be adjusted to the needs of your skin. That way you can guarantee a gentle facial cleansing.

A mild facial cleansing is the best compromise between removing dirt and sustaining the natural protection barrier of the skin. This also helps to keep the skin healthy in the long run and is also the central element of sustainable anti-aging treatments.

After a thorough cleansing the skin is able to absorb the active agents for anti-aging effects better. This works best for the “silver bullets” of anti-aging agents: Hyaluronic Acid and Retinol.

This is the main reason I try to save money rather on the moisturizing cream than the cleansing product.


My thank you that you have kept on reading: 10 short tips about how to cleanse sensitive skin

  1. No matter how mild and skin-compatible a cleansing product is – the most important is to use the proper amount. That way you can minimize the skin’s contact with surfactants and other irritating agents.
  2. The face should not be cleansed more than twice a day. Every extra cleansing damages the skin rather than helping it.
  3. If you use a cotton pad for cleansing, you should dampen it with water. This way the pad doesn’t unnecessarily soak in too much cleanser and the product will last longer. Also, the pH-value is not changing much because water will take on the pH-Value of the cleanser.
  4. Hot water dries the skin and increases the production of excess sebum. Therefore you should always use lukewarm water, because it still removes the skin’s oils, but without the negative effect of removing too much of the skin’s natural protection barrier. If the skin isn’t too sensitive you can use cold water to finish the cleansing process. This procedure closes the pores and at the same time stimulates the blood circulation.
  5. Always take your time applying and massaging the cleanser. The massage helps to remove dirt from your skin and improves the cleansing result. But: Do not rub your skin intensely, you should gently massage it.
  6. Avoid any kind of foaming product! Foaming cleansers contain aggressive surfactants and are not suitable for sensitive skin.
  7. Even the mildest facial skin cleanser is not completely neutral to the skin. Cleansing always removes the protecting lipid layer from the skin. But unfortunately, it is not enough to cleanse the skin only with water, because it does not remove any excess sebum.
  8. Water should not come into contact with really dry or very sensitive skin. Instead, it is better to use a micellar solution or cleansing milk that is free from surfactants.
  9. Mild cleansers for facial skin are hard to find in a classic drug store. So, whoever was able to achieve this can leave a comment! It would be a great help for us. 🙂
  10. Always consider: good and well-balanced cleansing products can have a better effect in the long run compared to a really expensive anti-aging cream. Thus we wouldn’t try saving money with the cleansing product, because a good moisturizer doesn’t need to be as expensive as the cleanser should be.

Mild facials cleansers mentioned in this review:

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