As far as I am concerned, cleansing the skin is one of, if not the most, important step in a skincare routine. To start the day with clean, refreshed skin is lovely – as is taking all the makeup, grime, dirt, sweat and general ‘grimness’ from the day off is a lovely feeling. I do not understand how/why people would go to bed having not washed their face?! If you are a bit rubbish at this step, invest in some white bedding – you’ll never go to bed with makeup/dirty face again!!
Budget, decent cleansers is probably the most frequently asked question by friends and family. I thought I’d put together a little list of the budget friendly options that you can buy on the high street or online – that I own and love. I know everyone’s version of ‘budget’ is different – but to give a bit of context, my version of budget is probably under £15. I have spent far far more on cleansers that I absolutely love, but I’m a skincare junkie! To be perfectly honest, if you can’t/don’t want to spend above £15 on a cleanser you don’t have to – there are some fab ones on the high street!
A cleanser needs to do several things in my opinion. Firstly, in the morning, it needs to gently clean and refresh skin without leaving it tight and uncomfortable. I like to take cleansers right over my eyes, so they need to not irritate at all. Secondly, in the evening as I use two cleansers, the first one needs to remove makeup effectively – including mascara/eye liner (not waterproof as I don’t often use it) without stinging eyes. Then the second cleanser needs to remove any residue from the first cleanser, and any last bits of makeup.
For a budget, start-up cleansing routine, I would buy two cleansers – one for the morning and second cleanse and one make up remover cleanser for the first evening cleanse.
Here are my picks!
Soap & Glory Peaches and Clean Deep Cleansing Milk £8.00/350ml Boots – This is a very fruity smelling cleansing milk – if you don’t like peaches then it probably isn’t for you! The amount of cleanser in here is huge – you get 350ml – so it is a real bargain. Use for AM and second PM cleanse; I’ve not used it for makeup removal. Apply to dry skin, massage in, then hot flannel to remove. Leaves skin really clean, fresh and smooth – not drying at all. Great value for money.
Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk £8.55/100ml or £14.25/200ml http://www.escentual.com – This is a beautifully gentle cleansing milk, perfect for really sensitive skins. This is my second bottle of this (I have the 100ml one) and I use it when my skin is a bit raw, sun-burnt, reactive, red etc. It is really soothing, beautifully subtle scent and no tightness afterwards. You use it the same way as the S&G one above – AM and second PM. Not great for makeup removal due to the fact it is so gentle – which is actually a plus point.
Superdrug Naturally Radiant Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser £5.99/150ml Superdrug (currently BOGOF) – This, alongside the S&G Ultimelt coming next, are my two replacements for Liz Earle Cleansing Polish which I hate. The eucalyptus in the LE really irritates my skin and makes it red and tight – these are a lot more gentle. The Superdrug cleanser is a really gentle thick cream texture, similar to LE. It has quite a fresh scent but doesn’t make my face feel like the LE one does. It comes with a muslin cloth – which I never use – and it can be used as a makeup remover – it takes off mascara/eyeliner without stinging. Use as an AM, PM1 or PM2 cleanser. This would be a really really good budget purchase as it can be used at all stages.
Soap & Glory The Ultimelt Purifying Cleanser £10.00/100ml Boots (currently on 3 for 2) – This is one of my favourite budget cleansers, and my second tube. It is a slightly thinner cream texture with a lavender scent (middle swatch above). I have used this for AM and both PM cleanses – it is good at removing makeup too. It feels quite deep cleaning without being harsh on the skin – it leaves skin feeling smooth and soft and I find the scent really relaxing before bed. A really good buy.
The Body Shop Tea Tree Cool and Creamy Wash £6.00/100ml (CURRENTLY £3.00!!) The Body Shop – This is quite a specific cleanser for me and more of a treatment really, in that I don’t use it every day as it would be far far too drying and would probably have a really negative effect on my skin – I use once a month probably. It is one I save for when my skin goes bonkers … that one/two days during the month where I get horrible spots or if, during really hot (when does that happen?!) months when my skin has returned to being a bit oily and unpredictable. I only use in the AM cleanse. It is a thick, creamy texture and would be perfect if you have very blemish prone skin, acne or oily skin – but only used three mornings a week or so; don’t overdo it as it is quite drying (and if you dry out oily skin it will produce more oil = more oily skin!).
Botanics Hydration Burst Dual Action Cleanser £5.99/125ml Boots – This is a product that I have raved about before and I still love it. I use it for AM or either PM cleanses. It has a thick gel texture that, once applied to dry skin, turns in to an oil the more you massage it around your face. No stinging to eyes which is good and the scent is quite fresh – removes makeup well. Once I’ve massaged for a minute or so, apply water and it turns to a milk that can easily be wiped away with a hot flannel. It leaves skin smooth, soft and supple. This is a great great cleanser – little bit similar to the Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel which is 3x the price. Make sure you buy this one though, and not the No7 Melting Gel Cleanser which is awful and totally dried my skin out (and is full of crap!).
La Roche Posay Physiological Cleansing Gel http://www.escentual.com/Boots – This has unfortunatly been discontinued, but I have a suspicion that it has been repackaged as the new La Roche-Posay Make-Up Remover Micellar Water Gel which is £10.20/195ml. Basically, any LRP cleanser in their Physiological range is perfect for really sensitive skin. The gels are non-foaming (avoid anything foaming as it will have SLS in it which is a no no for skin) and the milks are beautifully gentle. All should be applied to dry skin, massaged in and removed with a hot cloth. I use my LRP cleanser above for AM or for second PM, but the one I’ve linked above is a makeup remover gel so would be idea for the first PM cleanse. If you’ve got sensitive, reactive, red, angry, unbalanced skin – try LRP.
The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil £11.00/200ml The Body Shop – This is AMAZING stuff! I absolutely adore this product and it is fabulous at taking a full face of makeup off in minimal time. The oil is beautiful, non-greasy and easy to remove; there isn’t a residue left on the skin and all makeup is wiped away with ease. This is my second or third bottle – it lasts for ages. I think I’ve had this since June time and I’ve got about a third of this to go. I use three pumps for my whole face for a first PM cleanse – straight on to a dry face, massage about, over the eyes and remove with a hot flannel. It makes such light work of makeup removal and I cannot recommend it enough – if you are lazy and cannot be faffed with cotton pads/wipes (do not use wipes!), this is a breeze, and such great value too. Go and buy it!
The Body Shop Sumptious Cleansing Butter £13.00/90ml The Body Shop – This is the balm/butter version of the oil above and it is just as nice and effective. It is a slightly hard oil/balm in the pot but once you scoop a little out and get massaging on the face it turns to a malleable oil. Same subtle scent as the oil and just as effective at removing makeup and eye liner/mascara. I got this pot for travelling as the oil isn’t really practical to travel with. If I had to pick, I’d chose the oil over the butter for money reasons as the oil is such better value for money. This product is the bottom, white balm in the swatch above. Use as a first PM cleanse to remove makeup.
Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm £8.99/65ml Boots – This is another balm product that should be used for either PM cleanse. It has quite a strong herbal scent, which I am not the biggest fan of, but I prefer it to the hideous scent of the Eve Lom Cleanser (the world’s best selling cleanser apparently ….?!?!). The value for money for this product isn’t great per ml, but it is a nice balm. It is thick in texture and takes a bit of working in to the skin – I think this would be preferred by much drier skins as it is so thick. You need to make sure you remove it well with a hot flannel. Removes makeup well and once warmed on the skin, has good slip on the face.
Fushi Virgin Organic Coconut Oil £5.55/250g http://www.fushi.co.uk – This is such a simple but effective way to cleanse the skin and remove makeup. For everyone who loves their skincare more natural and organic, you can’t beat this. To use on the skin as a cleanser (or moisturiser for really dry skin) it needs to be Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, cold-pressed and unrefined – check the labels carefully. I know the supermarkets and health food shops sell coconut oil but it does need to be all the things listed above to put it on the skin. This removes makeup very well, so perfect for a first PM cleanse, but you do need to ensure you do a good second cleanse and use a hot flannel to remove the residue. I have also used this to cook with, on the ends of my hair, as cuticle oil and on my heels/elbows. I also used coconut oil on Elsie’s dry skin when she was a baby.
RMS Raw Coconut Cream £12.50/70g http://www.cultbeauty.co.uk – This is pretty much a fancy pot of the oil above. It has more of a coconut scent to it but it has been refined in a more scientific way than the Fushi one, to retain an acid called Lauric acid – also found in breastmilk… who knew! It is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial apparently, making this an amazing cleanser, or moisturiser for troublesome skin. I have used it as both and I really love this. I’m about half way through the pot and have had it for over a year. It is a solid oil, so I have to either warm it or scrape out the product (I scrape – who can be bothered to warm the pot in water?!), rub between fingers and apply to skin. Again, remove with a hot flannel and follow with a second cleanse. Really lovely, natural product.
Ok – we’re done! I hope there is something there that grabs you. If I was forced to pick some, I’d pick The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil for makeup removal and Soap & Glory The Ultimelt AM and Botanics Hydration Burst Cleanser for the second PM cleanse.
Thanks for reading 🙂