Skincare Basics: Cleansing

Skincare Basics


Caring for your skin is very important to keep it healthy and glowing. You can take care of your skin by using a good natural cleanser. Below I will go over the importance of thorough cleansing, give you an overview of the different types of cleansers and suitability for different skin types, plus a brief run through of some ingredients to avoid.

The Importance of Cleansing 

The single most important step, and first step in your skincare routine is cleansing. Washing your face thoroughly is essential to remove makeup, dirt, grime and other environmental pollutants that come into contact with your skin throughout the day.

You should cleanse your face in the morning and in the evening to prevent pores becoming clogged, skin becoming dull and to prevent blemishes, breakouts and acne.

Photo of a woman washing her face

Having thoroughly cleansed skin also allows for other skincare products which follow to penetrate the skin more readily and work more effectively.

There are so many different types of cleansers available on the market ranging from foaming cleansing washes, micellar waters and cleansing lotions to cleansing oils and balms. It is difficult to find the right one for your skin type.

Different Types of Cleansers 

Below is a handy little guide but as always, there will be some exceptions to the rule. You should always do a patch test before applying any new product fully. 

Gentle Foam Cleansers

Ideal for oily and combination skin as they lather up as you massage onto your skin to gently remove excess oil, dirt and makeup without stripping the skin of its natural oils.

Gel Cleansers

These are another great option for oily and acne prone skin. Along with cleansing the skin effectively, gel cleansers have soothing ingredients like Aloe Vera which reduce redness, irritation and help reduce and prevent acne.

Oil Cleansers

Oil cleansers are suitable for all skin types including oily skin as natural oils helps to remove dirt and excess oils while maintaining the skin's natural balance. It prevents the skin from drying out. Great as a first cleansing step if you like to double cleanse. Using a muslin cloth soaked in warm water to remove the cleansing oil is a great addition to your skincare routine. The muslin cloth can also gently exfoliate the skin while removing excess oil, dirt and impurities. 

Cream Cleansers

Cream cleansers tend to be very gentle on the skin with many soothing and hydrating ingredients so perfect for dry and sensitive skin types but suitable for all skin types. They work great as a second cleansing step if you like to double cleanse.

Micellar Waters

These are suitable for all skin types as it is a gentle formula mostly made up or water or floral waters with a tiny amount of surfactant to effectively remove dirt, makeup and oil. They usually include other plant extracts which are beneficial for the skin and as the amount of surfactant is tiny, you don't need to rinse these off. Simply apply to a cotton pad and wipe across the face. Micellar waters are perfect for a second cleansing step if you like to double cleanse.

Cleansing Balms

Suitable for mature, dry and sensitive skin types as they are simply made from natural oils and butters which effectively remove dirt and makeup while adding moisture, soothing, hydrating and protecting the skin. Perfect for a first cleanse if you like to double cleanse and also ideal in colder weather when our skin needs more TLC.

Photo of a woman cleansing her face

A good cleanser will clean your face without stripping away the natural oil (sebum) produced by your own skin. Sebum is a natural waxy substance produced in the sebaceous glands of the skin. It helps protect the skin, keeps it hydrated and moisturised, and is very important for skin health. If after cleansing, your face feels very tight and dry, your cleanser may include harsh ingredients which are stripping your skin of it's natural oils. 

Which ingredients to avoid in cleansers?

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) 

SLS and SLES are inexpensive foaming agents found in many cheap face washes due to their ability to create a good lather. However, they are quite harsh ingredients and strip your skin of it's natural oils, leading to dry skin. They can be very irritating too, especially around the eyes and mouth and many people are allergic to these ingredients.

You may associate oily skin with acne, but dry skin can contribute to acne too. When your skin is dry, it becomes flaky. When your skin is stripped of natural oils, it will produce more oil to compensate and the dead skin cells can clog the pores leading to black heads, breakouts and acne. 

Artificial fragrances

Artificial fragrances are made up of lots of chemicals from the petrolium industry that don't need to be included on the product label, so you have no idea what you are putting onto your skin. They have no purpose except to make the product smell nice (however, artificial fragrances aren't usually that pleasant and can smell very perfume-y!) Artificial fragrances are often very drying and irritating to the skin. Not to mention they can cause asthma, headaches and trigger allergies. Choose products that contain natural fragrances from essential oils and plant extracts, or opt for fragrance free products if you have extremely sensitive skin. 

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is a very cheap ingredient, and it is another by-product of the petroleum industry. It's an occlusive moisturiser, meaning it forms a barrier on the skin to prevent water loss. although it isn't particularly irritating to the skin, it is controversial because it comes from a non-renewable resource which is bad for the environment. The petroleum industry contributes massively to global warming and climate change so it's better to avoid any products containing mieral oil.


Parabens are a group of compounds used as preservatives in skincare products. They should be avoided completely as not only can they cause skin irritation, certain parabens are known as endocrine disruptors. In other words, they are known to disrupt hormones in the body, affect fertility, cause birth defects and cause cancerous tumours. 

The Natural Beauty Box will only ever include products with natural ingredients and where required, safe preservatives. Any product containing water, must include a preservative to prevent mould, bacteria and fungi from developing.

The products in our boxes are always vegan and cruelty free too. Fragrances will always be natural and we will only ever include brands which have the same ethos as us. Better for the planet and better for our skin. We do the difficult work for you, as reading ingredient lists on skincare product labels can be a minefield if you aren't sure what you are looking for. 

Tempted to subscribe? Check our our various plans HERE. We have many options to suit different budgets and lifestyles. You can also GIFT A SUBSCRIPTION. Our boxes do make wonderful gifts! 

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