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Unveil the difference between Cleanser and Face Wash?

Unveil the difference between Cleanser and Face Wash?

What is the difference between a face wash and cleanser? When should I use what? Should I use both? These questions must have come to your mind quite often. Most of us often mistake a face wash for a cleanser while both the skincare products help in cleansing your skin. While both face washes and cleansers do the basic cleansing of your face, a face wash is a foaming cleanser and cleanser is  non-foaming in nature. Both are used to remove impurities, excess oil and pollutants from your face. A cleanser dissolves away excess oil, make up and grime. However there are subtle differences that you should know as it will help you understand when to use both and in which skincare regime. The fact is that you may require both at different times for different functions. 

Why do you even need to cleanse your face?

Sebum secretion, dust and impurities traps a lot of micro and macro particles and environmental pollutants makes it crucial for your skin.  Moreover, cosmetics and personal care products get accumulated on your skin leading to more sebum, dirt and load on the surface of the skin.With seemingly endless skincare options in the market, understanding the differences between a face wash and cleanser can leave you feeling overwhelmed. 

Is there a need for a facial cleanser ? 

If you want your skin to be healthy , younger, glowing , clear, free of blemishes and pores , clear without acne and redness cleansers will help to uncover clear and radiant skin. A good cleanser can clean the skin surface well without reducing beneficial surface moisture, it decongests your skin and extricates the product residue. Effective cleansing also removes top layers of the skin which contain dead skin cells that are loaded with old melanin pigments.

What is a cleanser?

Cleansers are usually thicker than their face wash counterparts and come in different forms such as creams, lotions, or gels. Cleansers leave skin feeling smooth, supple and moisturized as they don’t strip away natural oils from the skin. They may contain special ingredients such as vitamins A or C to reduce redness and inflammation or AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) for exfoliating benefits and goodness of natural ingredients. For those with dry skin, using a cleanser could be beneficial as removing dead skin cells will help attract moisture into your pores.

What is face wash? 

Face washes typically have a gel-like texture that lathers when combined with water and contains more cleansing agents than cleansers do. They are perfect for people who tend to have oily or acne-prone skin as they can clear out pores while removing excess oil without over-drying the skin in most cases. Face washes usually maintain pH balance on your face after each use which helps prevent irritation caused by harsh soaps or products that contain noxious chemicals like sulfates or parabens.

What is the difference between face wash and cleanser? 

  • Face wash removes debris from the deep layer of your skin and cleanse pores while cleanser removes the dirt, make up residue and excess oils from the skin’s surface. 
  • Face wash is for oily and combination skin types while cleanser is for dry and sensitive skin types.
  • Face wash is gentler than a soap cleanser is gentler than  face wash. 
  • Cleanser is more hydrating and moisturizing than face wash. 
  • Face wash is best used in morning skincare routine when rinsing is required while cleansers are used in night skincare routine and rinsing may not be required.  

Take a look below to get a comprehensive understanding of cleanser vs face wash!

Difference in terms of

Face Wash



Soapy foam

Watery, creamy or gel-like

Foam production

Foams well

Doesn’t foam much

Skin Type Preference

Oily / Combination / Acne Prone

Dry / Sensitive

When To Use






Side Effects

Can dry out the skin excessively

Might strip skin off of its natural oils if used excessively


Requires rinsing

May not require rinsing, depending on the product

Which Is Better - Cleanser Or Face Wash?

  • No matter your skin type, it's important to opt for a face wash or cleanser designed specifically for you. If you have oily, acne-prone skin, choose a face wash to help keep things in check. On the other hand, if you have dry skin you will want to look into a special hydrating face cleanser. Remember no matter which option you go with; just make sure to steer clear of any products containing harsh ingredients like parabens, sulfates and phthalates!
  • When it comes to face washes, there are so many textures to choose from: foams, gels, even ones with astringent properties! Cleansers are more moisturizing than washes, with thick, creamy or clay-like textures that both cleanse and hydrate. So pamper yourself and pick the perfect product for your skin type!
  • If you have sensitive skin, cleansers are the way to go! Mild and especially helpful for those with conditions such as eczema or rosacea.

 Which products should you use and when? 

  • The cleanser is mild and can be used multiple times during the day without drying out your skin. You can use a cleanser as soon as you wake up or before you hit the bed. You can also use it after exercise, running or swimming. Finally, you can use it after a bath to thoroughly clean your face. Try Ningen Cadamba Cleansing MIlk  enriched with the goodness of Cadamba, Neem, ALoe Vera and cucumber to give you best results. 
  • It would be best if you used a face wash before you hit the bed or after intense physical activity that results in sweating. Face wash can also be used after exposure to the polluted sun and dust for long hours. Check out Ningen Tea Tree Face wash powered with tea tree oil, wild pansy, and lavender to clean and nourish your skin. 
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