Why You Could Be Cleansing Better

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Why You Could Be Cleansing Better

Words by Mr Ashley Ogawa Clarke

24 August 2022

A decent cleanser is the cornerstone of any good grooming routine. It gets rid of the grime, dirt and free radicals (the stuff that makes you look old and tired) that build up, and preps the skin for any serums or moisturisers that follow. Finding the right one, though? Easier said than done.

You also need to make sure your cleanser isn’t too powerful. That tight “squeaky clean” feeling you get on your face after going to town with an all-in-one shower gel isn’t a good thing, and likely means you’ve stripped your skin of its essential oil. This can throw your skin off-kilter, leading it to produce more sebum or become irritated, like a greasy, tantrum-throwing child.

All in all, washing your face is more complicated than it seems, and you could probably be cleansing better than you are right now. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Thanks to a profusion of next-gen cleansing balms, gels and powders from some of the world’s best skincare brands (welcome to MR PORTER), there’s now more than one way to cleanse effectively. Which one works for you will depend on your skin and your preference, of course, but there’s a top-notch cleanser here for everyone – scroll down to find yours.


The restorative marvel

No one does luxurious, science-minded skincare quite like the Harley Street brand 111SKIN, and its restorative cleansing balm is a case in point. Formulated with the label’s trademarked NAC Y2 (a compound of amino acids that work to offset inflammation), it’s ideal for bringing balance back to irritated, acne-prone skin without drying it out. An excellent cleanser should do more than just clean, after all.

Best for: all skin types, but particularly good on easily inflamed skin that needs some TLC.


The soapless bar soap

Bar soap might do the job for your armpits, but it’s also notoriously drying, so generally you’ll want to keep it away from your face. This one from Sisley, however, is a rule breaker, hence the “soapless” moniker. Instead containing shea butter and essential oils, we feel safe in saying that it’s the kindest cleansing bar in existence, and can be applied straight to dry skin and rinsed off with water.

Best for: giving sensitive and dehydrated skin a glow.


The powder-cleansing powerhouse

If you have oily skin and haven’t tried Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Enzyme Cleanser, you’re sorely missing out. Made from a fine white powder that you mix with water to create a rich foam, it contains enzymes to gently slough off dead skin, leaving you looking much more radiant. The exfoliating properties make it particularly great before shaving, and it’s great for travelling, too. Consider this an effective all-rounder.

Best for: brightening up rough, oily and dull skin, and as a pre-shave treatment.


The impossibly gentle balm

Augustinus Bader might be best known for its cult crowd-pleaser The Cream, but we think the brand’s cleansers are the unsung heroes. The Cleansing Balm is our favourite – with a smooth, salve-like consistency that melts into skin and turns into a milky cleanser when you add water, it works to evacuate the build-up of dirt in your pores without disrupting your skin’s delicate pH balance. It’s also incredibly gentle, and will leave your face feeling softer than a freshly steamed dumpling.

Best for: all skin types, but dry or combination skin.


The pore-refining cleanser

Pores larger than you’d like? We’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is that you can’t permanently shrink your pore size (sorry). But the good news is that you can minimise their appearance. This cleanser from Peter Thomas Roth will reliably do that: infused with glycolic acid, it will get rid of excess sebum thereby making your pores less visible, as well as reducing the appearance of fine lines. Smooth.

Best for: oily skin, enlarged pores and fine lines.