The best cleansers—the cornerstone of any skincare regimen—will peel away every last scrap of makeup and kick pollution and skin aggressors to the wayside without leaving your face feeling like you've sucked out every last drop of its moisture. When you set that sort of benchmark for a product, it's likely the £££ signs will start to flash up in your eyes, right? Wrong. Over the past few years, high-street beauty brands have cherry-picked the best ingredients and applied the most advanced technologies to create incredible drugstore cleansers that you'd be forgiven for thinking were far more luxe.
In fact, if you ever find yourself peeking into the bathroom of a beauty editor, it's likely you'll soon discover that the cleanser perching beside their sink isn't a beauty-hall heavyweight but rather a quietly impressive affordable equivalent. And it makes sense—we use so much of the stuff that it's only sensible to choose a cleanser that won't leave us petrified of checking our card balances for the rest of the month.
Keep scrolling to discover seven drugstore cleansers your skin (and bank balance) will love.
If you have sensitive skin, you cannot go wrong with a bottle of this stuff. Beauty editors the world over have fallen in love with its soap-free, pH-balanced formula such is its power to purge skin of all grime without leaving it feeling tight and uncomfortable.
Be wary of cleansing gels, as many contain harsh surfactants that will make the formula satisfyingly foamy but also have the tendency to strip skin of all natural moisture. This, however, does none of that. Containing zinc extract, it will dial down blemishes before they've even had a chance to appear above skin level. And yes, it's pleasingly foamy, but it leaves skin feeling hydrated, not tight.
Now this is as close as you'll get to a fancy spa in your own bathroom. The 97% organic balm feels like butter that soon melts into skin, sweeping up all makeup, pollution and general dirt. Warm the accompanying cloth under the hot tap, lay it over skin, and it'll open up and clear out pores, too.
Cleansing milks are great for the days when you're not wearing any makeup but want to take off that layer of pollution that has settled on the skin—or if you have dry skin that needs the gentlest cleanse possible. This one feels like a moisturiser and has an uncanny ability to leave skin glowy, even if you're feeling a bit grey.
If you have dull, congested, blemish-prone skin, make detoxifying charcoal your new best friend. This formula sends charcoal deep into pores, like a search party seeking out impurities and excess sebum, bringing them to the surface and washing them away. Plus, it contains antioxidant-rich tomato extract and salicylic acid for an extra dose of pore draining.
A cleansing oil won't just leave behind an extra layer of nourishment, even after you've rinsed it off, but it will also melt away all makeup remnants. This one is made from grape-seed oil and contains vitamins A and E to fight impurities.
If you haven't already succumbed to the makeup-clearing, skin-freshening powers of micellar water, start here. Simply drench a cotton pad with the eater cleanser and sweep it over skin, no harsh rubbing or scrubbing required. It's a kinder alternative to a cleansing wipe.
Up next, these are the drugstore foundations that rival event the fanciest beauty hall buys.