How to Choose the Best Anti-Aging Facial Cleanser for Your Skin Type (and Which Ones to AVOID!)

It's the first step to glowing skin, so jumpstart your routine the right way!
BY Sarah Lim
| May, 2021
Anti-aging facial cleanser

If you’ve ever scanned the shelves at YOUR local Sephora and wondered, “How important can it really be to find the ‘right’ cleanser?” you’re not alone. After all, its only job is to remove grime from your skin, and it gets rinsed off after what, a minute (if even)? Does even the best anti-aging facial cleanser make a difference?

The thing is, using the best cleanser targeted to your unique skin does actually make a world of difference. Not only will it support healthy-looking, youthful skin without having an irritating or drying effect, of course, but it will also help prime your skin for all your following skincare treatments.

So how can you choose the best anti-aging facial cleanser for YOUR skin type, and which ones should you avoid at all costs? Here’s your tell-all guide!

Why Knowing Your Skin Type Is Important to Choose the Right Anti-Aging Facial Cleanser?

First, you’ll need to know your skin type to choose the right cleanser (take our fast and easy quiz here!). But why? Can’t you just pick any old cleanser at the store? They all do the same job, right?

While all cleansers are designed to, ahem, cleanse your skin, they won’t all have the same effect because your skin is unique! Just like YOU, your skin is one-of-a-kind that has its own beautiful characteristics. The right facial cleanser will nourish your beautiful skin rather than robbing it of its glowing beauty.

There are five different skin typesnormal, dry, combination, oily and sensitive. Most people will fit into one of these categories, but some may have a combination of skin types. For example, you can have dry and sensitive skin, or you may have combination skin that tends to get drier in the winter and more oily in the summer.

Cleanser Recommendations Based on Your Skin Type

Armed with the knowledge of your skin type, you can choose the right anti-aging facial cleanser for a stunning complexion. Here’s how!

Anti-Aging Cleanser For Normal Skin

People with normal skin can choose different cleansers without worrying too much about their skin being too dry or too oily. That being said, not every cleanser is going to benefit people with normal skin. So don’t just opt for regular soap to wash your face—you still need a good anti-aging facial cleanser.

If you have normal skin, avoid these ingredients in a face wash:

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a surfactant (which can act as a detergent or foaming agent) that can disrupt skin’s natural barrier, making it more sensitive. Diethanolamine (DEA), a foaming agent that’s also carcinogenic.
  • Alcohol imparts a drying effect on the skin.

Look for: Gel, foaming, bar cleansers without SLS, milk, and powder cleansers can all be safe picks for sensitive skin. Micellar water is also an excellent pick for your double-cleanse skin care routine!

Avoid: Clay cleansers may be a bit too drying. Whereas oil, balm, and lotion cleansers may be too heavy for normal skin types.

Recommended pick: Christina Moss’ Organic Facial Wash is made for all skin types and designed to be non-drying and free of synthetic fragrances. Organic aloe, shea butter, and rosemary essential oil balance out this refreshing and nurturing facial cleanser.

Anti-Aging Cleanser For Combination Skin

Combination Skin

Combination skin types exist in that in-between space where skin can be on both ends of the oily and dry spectrum, with the T-zone (your forehead, nose, and chin) being more oily and other areas being drier. The best anti-aging facial cleanser for combination types is that which addresses excess oil but doesn’t harm dry skin areas in the process.

Skip the following ingredients if you have combination skin:

  • Benzoyl peroxide can help acne but can irritate drier areas of the face.
  • Mineral oil, which can clog pores.
  • SLS, which can also be too drying.

Look for: Gel, foaming, bar cleansers without SLS, milk, and clay cleansers can all be safe picks for combination skin types.

Avoid: Balm and lotion cleansers may be too heavy for combination skin types, while powder cleansers may be too harsh. Consider micellar water or oil cleansers in the drier months. And, consider a lighter cleanser such as gel, foaming, or milk in the warmer months.

Recommended pick: Kora Organics Foaming Cleanser is perfect for combination skin types that struggle with oily areas on their face but don’t want to dry out their skin in an effort to get rid of excess oil. Made with soothing aloe, rosehip seed, and sandalwood oil, this foaming cleanser is fragrance-free and vegan!

Anti-Aging Cleanser For Oily Skin

People with oily skin type tend to age slower than people with dry skin. But they’re also more prone to acne and breakouts, which can be highly frustrating, especially as you age! Fortunately, the right cleanser can help keep skin clear without being harsh or drying. Consider products with clay to absorb excess oil or salicylic acid for gentle acne-fighting BENEFITS if YOU’RE prone to breakouts!

If you have oily skin, avoid these facial cleanser ingredients:

  • Mineral oil, which can clog pores.
  • Alcohol—this can just be too drying, tricking your skin into producing more oil!
  • Fragrance, which can trigger breakouts for some people.

Look for: Clay and powder cleansers are perfect for oily skin. But a good gel, foam, or bar cleanser can also get the job done.

Avoid: Oil, balm, and lotion cleansers can be too moisturizing for oily skin types (unless you’re using oil in your double-cleanse routine). And, a milk cleanser may not help remove excess oil.

Recommended pick: Rosen Skincare’s Earth Cleanser uses Fuller’s Earth clay which specifically targets oil without being too harsh on the skin. Combined with niacinamide (our friend vitamin B3!) for added healing effects and eucalyptus and peppermint, this creamy cleanser foams a bit to give you an ultimately refreshing, uber-clean feeling.

Anti-Aging Cleanser For Dry Skin

Dry skin often feels tight and flaky after cleansing, which is not how it should be! When you have dry skin, you’re more susceptible to premature aging. So, you really need a cleanser that’s going to go the extra mile to deliver moisture to YOUR dry skin.

Facial cleanser ingredients to avoid if you have dry skin:

  • Alcohol and SLS, which can be too harsh for dry skin.
  • Polyethylene glycol, which is the main ingredient in antifreeze and made from petroleum.
  • Benzoyl peroxide—good for acne-prone skin, not for dry skin!

Look for: Oil, balm, micellar water, milk, and lotion cleansers are going to be your go-to picks for the best facial cleanser for dry skin.

Avoid: Gel, foaming, bar, clay, and powder cleansers can all be too harsh on dry skin, depending on the ingredients!

Recommended pick: 100% Pure’s Argan Oil Creamy Cleanser blends aloe, cocoa butter, coconut, and argan oil to create a genuinely hydrating blend with organic green tea, acai oil, vitamin C, and Japanese honeysuckle explicitly designed for dry skin.

Anti-Aging Cleanser For Sensitive Skin

Anti-Aging Cleanser For Sensitive Skin

If your skin is of sensitive type, you need to be extra careful about what products you use on your face. Sensitive skin tends to react easily, meaning an irritating facial cleanser could lead to flakiness, redness, or breakouts. Natural products tend to be more gentle on the skin and have fewer additives than conventional face washes.

Ingredients to avoid in a facial cleanser if you have sensitive skin:

  • Fragrance—unfortunately, even natural scents such as essential oils can irritate sensitive skin!
  • Sulfates, including SLS.
  • Isopropyl (rubbing alcohol).
  • Propylene glycol.
  • Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.

Look for: Oil, balm, micellar water, milk, and lotion cleansers are going to be much gentler on your sensitive skin than foaming or powder cleansers.

Avoid: Gel, foaming, bar, clay, and powder cleansers can all be too harsh for sensitive skin, depending on the ingredients!

Recommended pick: Tree to Tub Ultra Gentle Face Wash for Very Sensitive Skin is unscented, contains super-simple ingredients, and contains pH-balanced soapberries to gently cleanse skin without the need for fragrances or SLS.

Don’t Know Your Skin Type Yet? Find Out With This Quick Quiz!

Knowing YOUR skin type is the foundation of making smart choices when it comes to your skincare products, especially your anti-aging facial cleanser. Find out which skin type you are with our quick and easy quiz! Also, let us know your favorite face wash for your skin type in the comments below!

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take the 60-seconds quiz

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