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Compare IT: Cleanser vs. Face Wash—Which One Should You Use?

it cosmetics cleanser versus facewash

Face washes and cleansers are often confused as the same thing, but the two are actually pretty different from each other. Sure, both products both help remove dirt, oil, makeup, and other debris from your face, but how they clean your skin isn’t quite the same. With that in mind, it’s important to make sure you’re using the product that fits your skin needs. To help you do that, we’re outlining what each does. We’re also providing some guidance on how often you should visit the sink no matter what type of product you use.

Cleanser vs. Face Wash: What’s the Difference?

To settle the debate once and for all—and to ensure you’re using the best product for your skin type—let’s dig into the key differences between a cleanser and face wash.

How Does Face Wash Work?

Face washes are water-based products (often gel, foam, bar, or powder formulations) that get very sudsy when massaged onto your skin. They also often contain more astringent ingredients to help combat oil production. 

The foaming action and astringent qualities of a face wash mean that it really gets in there to deeply clean pores and sweep away oil. For those with oily skin, this can be helpful. However, people with dry, sensitive, combination, or normal skin types might find that face washes are too harsh for their complexion. If you accidentally remove too much oil from your skin, that can result in a tight, dry, or otherwise uncomfortable feeling. 

What Does a Face Cleanser Do?

Face cleansers also clean your skin, but they do so while also hydrating and soothing. They’re usually richer in texture compared to face washes: think creamy or milky gels, oils, and balms ranging from thick to thin. Additionally, face cleansers are often formulated with ingredients that aim to nourish your skin, balance your complexion, and boost moisture levels.

Because facial cleansers gently clean your skin without stripping away too much oil, they’re considered an ideal product for many skin types, including normal, sensitive, dry, and combination. Even oily skin types can benefit from incorporating a cleanser into their regimen, especially if they notice their skin feels tight or dry after washing. If that sounds like you, try using a face wash at night and then a cleanser in the morning to keep skin balanced. 

Our Best Facial Cleansers Approved For All Skin Types

Now that you have a better grasp on the whole cleanser vs. face wash conversation, let’s dive into the best facial cleansers to use. IT Cosmetics has two clinically tested options to choose from, and both have been formulated to promote beautiful and healthy-looking skin.

Confidence in a Cleanser™: Our best-selling face cleanser is a force to be reckoned with. It’s a revolutionary cleanser-meets-serum hybrid that gently sweeps away the day (including waterproof makeup) while moisturizing your skin. It’s also made with our Anti-Aging Armour Rejuvenating Concentrate™, as well as collagen and skin-plumping hyaluronic acid. Colloidal oatmeal helps soothe skin, while a super ceramide complex bolsters the skin barrier to better lock in moisture. After using, your skin will look vibrant and feel soft and refreshed—not dry or tight. It’s one of the best facial cleansers to use, no matter your skin type.

Bye Bye Makeup™Cleansing Balm: A bit of our cleansing balm massaged onto your skin will melt away all traces of makeup, sunscreen, dirt, and gunk. It’s a lightweight, silky, oil-based balm that easily spreads across your face and rinses away. And because it’s formulated with our Proprietary Skin-Softening Serum Concentrate™, it will leave your skin feeling supple, hydrated, and vibrant. After rinsing, this facial cleanser provides a soft barrier of moisture on your skin that helps shield it from free radicals and pollutants to keep your face’s appearance healthier and younger-looking.

Pro Tip: You can use ourBye Bye Makeup™ Cleansing Balm as a stand-alone face cleanser if you have dry or sensitive skin. Alternatively, follow it up with our Confidence in a Cleanser for the perfect double cleanse routine if you have normal, combination, or oily skin. 

How Often Should You Wash or Cleanse Your Face?

How often you should cleanse or wash your face is arguably one of the greatest debates in the skincare world. So much so that you’re bound to get a different answer from every single person you ask! However, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s best to limit it to twice a day (morning and night), and to also wash or cleanse after sweating. 

Ultimately, the right frequency depends on your skin type. For instance, some find balance in cleansing or washing their skin every evening but only rinsing with water or using a micellar water in the morning. Conversely, many find that their skin looks best when they cleanse or wash both morning and evening. In rare instances, your skin might benefit from hitting the sink midday, as well, but usually only in situations where you’re sweating through the day.

To make a long answer much shorter, try to stick with once or twice daily, making sure you’re at least washing or cleansing every night. If it seems like your skin needs less, skip doing it in the morning and rinse with water or use a micellar water instead. 

When talking about cleanser vs. face wash, it can be easy to mix the two products up. However, while a cleanser and face wash both serve the same basic function—to nix makeup, oil, product, and grime from your face—the way in which they do so is different. A face wash is usually better for very oily skin types, while a face cleanser is often universally helpful. Choosing the right product for your skin, and using it only once or twice a day, will help ensure you look and feel your best!

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