These facial cleansers do more than just clean.
What do you hope to achieve every time you wash your face? If your answer is simply “clean skin”, you have been underachieving, my friend. A hardworking facial wash can (and should) not only cleanse your skin but also smoothen it’s texture, brighten the complexion, minimise pores and keep breakouts at bay.
How? With built-in AHAs or other similar mild-but-effective chemical exfoliants. Notice we said “chemical”, not the grainy, physical exfoliating particles like in scrubs; and we said “mild” because these cleansers should be used daily for regular maintenance of the skin’s texture and tone, keeping it looking fresh and at its best. Scroll to find our top picks of facial washes that go beyond cleansing.
- TRACIE MARTYN Amla Purifying Cleanser, USD$65 for 50g from Net-a-porter.com.
A skin-loving foaming cleanser that goes the extra mile — gently exfoliating, arresting breakouts, minimising pores and evening out the complexion by ‘washing away’ fine lines and wrinkles thanks to vitamin C rich amala extract and Hawaiian green papaya enzymes. It isn’t a foaming cleanser, rather more of a cleansing fluid that you rub on your skin with your fingertips to melt away makeup and debris before rinsing it off; plus there is a lovely bonus: The subtle, refreshing aromatherapy scent that lends a little extra to the routine of washing your face.
- HOLIFROG Shasta AHA Refining Acid Face Wash, USD$35.76 from Net-a-porter.com
Supercharged with a carefully concocted blend of citric, glycolic, mandelic, tataric and lactic acids to get rid of dead skin effectively, this face wash gradually but surely resolves clogged and enlarged pores and skin dullness. To care for and balance the skin it also has soothing aloe vera, softening rosehip and nourishing, lightweight oils. Skin becomes clearer and more radiant, less prone to breakouts, smoother and more refined with every wash.
- AHC’s Aqualuronic cleanser, $30, from Watsons, Lazada and Shopee.
This unassuming tube of facial wash produces a satisfyingly rich lather plus it contains papain, an ingredient that works like an exfoliating enzyme that sloughs away dead skin. Added hyaluronic acid and ceramides keep the skin healthy and comfortable so you don’t get that tight feeling that you get when skin is over-cleansed. When the dense foam rinses off, skin is noticeably softer and smoother to the touch.
- Crabtree – Refresh + Renew Face Foam, $22 for 50ml and $35.50 for 125ml, from Crabtree stores.
With AHA from apples to buff away dead skin and impurities lodged in the pores, this citrusy-smelling gel deep cleanses and detoxifies skin to keep zits away. To use, apply the gel to damp skin and massage to melt away impurities. The gel cleanser will start to foam into a dense lather before it should be rinsed off. Despite offering a thorough cleanse, it won’t leave skin tight and dry thanks to apple extract and apple fruit water meant to replenish hydration levels and make skin smooth and soft to the touch.
- TATA HARPER Regenerating Cleanser, $57, from Sephora
Buff and polish skin to smooth, radiant perfection every time you wash your face; this cleanser combines chemical BHA from white willow bark and gentle-on-the-skin apricot microspheres to do the work of exfoliation. The result from daily washing with this cleanser? Pores are cleared and look smaller and less obvious, breakouts are nipped in the bud and skin’s texture is refined, radiant and supple we’re almost afraid to stop using it.
- Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting Cleansing Gel, $21 for 60ml, from Sephora
Powered with a special blend of hydroxy acids called Alpha Beta® acids, this remarkable cleansing gel removes all traces of dirt, oil, bacteria and makeup, and is even safe for use around the eyes. This is one multitasker everyone needs skin-side. And it doesn’t just cleanse and exfoliate, it also has a powerful hydrating and nourishing ingredient, snow ear mushroom, which was added to the formula to maintain skin’s moisture balance. The formula is also vegan and is paraben and sulphate free.
- The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser, $22 for 150ml, from Sephora
As its name suggests, salicylic acid — one of the best ingredients to clear breakouts — is the star ingredient in this cleanser. This makes it the one cleanser everyone acne-prone skin needs in our book. Daily use of this zit-fighting superstar will keep pores unclogged, reducing blackheads and zits and balancing skin’s sebum levels so that skin is less oily.
- Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser Daily Foaming Wash, $58 for 120ml, from Sephora
For a deep skin clean without ever leaving it too squeaky clean and feeling tight, this creamy, foaming wash contains AHAs, glycolic and lactic acids, plus pineapple, pumpkin, and papaya enzymes to purify and clear pores gently yet thoroughly. It is suitable for all skin types and works to leave skin fresh, soft, and conditioned, all ready for layering on your skincare lotions, serums and creams for optimal absorption.