Cleanser vs. Face Wash: Understanding the Key Differences

We've all at least at one point in our lives stood in front of the skincare aisle, tried to figure out the difference between a cleanser and a face wash, and thought to ourselves: “Is cleanser and facewash same?”. With countless products lining the shelves, it's easy to get confused between the two. However, picking the right one for your skin type is crucial for achieving healthy skin. Using the wrong product can lead to dryness, irritation, or ineffective cleansing.


But fear not; we're here to break it down for you, so you can make the best choice for your skin.

What is a Cleanser?

A cleanser is your go-to product for removing makeup, dirt, and any impurities from your skin's surface. It is usually available in a cream or lotion form and is prized for its gentle cleansing action, making it a hit for sensitive or dry skin.

Cleanser Key Features: 

Hydration Boost: Cleansers often contain hydrating ingredients like Glycerin and Ceramides. These skincare heroes help your skin hold onto moisture, leaving it soft and nourished. 

Skin-Friendly: Unlike some face washes and traditional soaps, cleansers don't contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which is a common skin irritant. This makes them perfect for sensitive skin or specific skin conditions. 

Makeup’s Best Friend: A cleanser is ideal for a makeup enthusiast as it acts as a great makeup remover. Its creamy texture effortlessly dissolves makeup, ensuring a clean canvas for your nighttime skincare routine. 

Dry Skin’s Biggest Rival: If your skin leans towards the drier side, a cleanser is your consistent savior. It not only cleans but also hydrates, making it an excellent choice for your nighttime skincare ritual. 

What is a Face Wash?

Are cleanser and facewash same? No! Face washes are your skin’s deep-cleaning warriors. They come in liquid form, either foaming or non-foaming and are well-known for their ability to remove excess oil and surface impurities. They're your perfect pick if you have oily or acne-prone skin. 

Face Wash Key Features:

Acne Assistance: Many face washes contain acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, which helps clear pores and manage acne issues. 

Oil Tamer: Face washes designed for oily skin often boast ingredients like green tea extract, known to regulate oil production and keep shine at bay. 

Deep Clean: Face washes like the Nivea Milk Delights Face Wash - Tumeric For Acne-Prone Skin is your best bet for a thorough cleansing experience. They banish excess oil, dirt, and pollutants, leaving your skin feeling refreshed. 

Oily Skin’s Partner: If your skin tends to get greasy or you're dealing with acne, a face wash is your go-to for morning cleansing. 

Choosing Between Cleanser and Face Wash

If you’re wondering “Can I use cleanser instead of facewash” then deciding whether and when to use face wash or cleanser comes down to your skin type and specific needs

Face Wash: If you have oily or acne-prone skin, choose a face wash for your morning cleanse. It'll help manage excess oil and leave your skin feeling fresh. 

Cleanser: Opt for a cleanser if you have sensitive or dry skin or wear makeup regularly. Cleansers are all about hydration and are gentle on the skin, making them perfect for your nighttime routine. 

Can you use both in your skincare routine?

Yes, you can use both a cleanser and a face wash in your skincare routine, a practice known as double cleansing. It's a game-changer for those with specific skincare needs. 

Morning Routine: Wondering whether to use cleanser or face wash first? Begin your day with a face wash to remove excess oil and prep your skin for the day ahead. 

Throughout the Day: If you encounter pollution or need a quick refresh, consider using a cleanser, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin. 

After Workouts: Post-exercise, opt for a face wash to eliminate sweat and impurities. 

Before Bed: In the evening, use a cleanser to remove makeup and deeply cleanse your skin. Follow it up with your nighttime skincare routine. 

Double cleansing ensures all residues, pollutants, and makeup are thoroughly removed, giving your skin a clean slate for your skincare products. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between a cleanser and a face wash?

Cleansers are gentle, cream-based products suitable for dry or sensitive skin. Face washes are liquid and ideal for oily or acne-prone skin.


Which one should I use: cleanser or face wash?

Choose based on your skin type. Dry or sensitive skin benefits from a cleanser, while oily or acne-prone skin suits a face wash.


Can I use a cleanser or face wash to remove makeup?

Yes, both can remove makeup. Cleansers are better for makeup removal, while face washes deeply cleanse the skin.


Can I use a cleanser and face wash together?

Yes, using both in a skincare routine, known as double cleansing, can benefit specific skin needs.


How often should I use a cleanser or face wash?

Use a face wash in the morning for oily skin, and a cleanser at night for dry or sensitive skin. Adjust throughout the day as needed.