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Community Wisdom: The Best Cleansers and Moisturisers

It’s a given that the best cleansers and moisturisers support simple, stripped back routines that effectively deliver results without the fuss. 

What qualities do you look for in your cleanser and moisturiser? If you’re anything like us, the list is pretty long.

Eco-credentials are key – we’re putting it out there that sustainable, vegan, cruelty-free and recyclable packaging should be standard. If you’re using active ingredients in your nighttime routine, hero products should also complement the formulation of your Daily Doser

Oh and we’re also partial to touch-me texture, barrier protection and super gentle formulas.

We asked our community, The Collective, what you value in a product. From product name to consistency, brand values and results that boost your mood – what cleansers and moisturisers work for you and why?

Claire: I love Clinique Take The Day Off Balm but equally love The Body Shop Camomile Balm as a cheaper alternative. It’s in a metal tin that can be recycled too. I don’t really have a favourite moisturiser. I like a rich cream in winter but it has to be easily absorbed.

Tamsyn: I look for products in tubes! I love moisturisers and cleansers in tubes, and hate putting my fingers in pots. Pumps are not also great for recycling.

Alisha: I love fragrance-free as I feel better knowing I’m less likely going to have a reaction. I love cruelty free. Also, love a cleanser with a pump! My faves at the moment are Cerave Cleanser and the Aqua Gel Hydro Boost from Neutrogena as they’re easily absorbed but nice and thick at the same time.

Julie: I love products that don’t clog my pores or strip my skin. Heliocare makes the best hardworking SPF, that doesn’t make me break out. I’ve recently started using jojoba oil as the first step in my double cleanse which has been game-changing. It blends with my makeup perfectly and cleanses my pores better than any other product I’ve tried.

I love products that don’t clog my pores or strip my skin.”

Caroline: I love Kate Somerville’s delikate range. Scent-free and full of ceramides. My products must not contain silicone and must sit nicely with other products and makeup.

Becky: In a cleanser, I look for something to take off the day and something that doesn’t leave a residue. I use Inkey List Oat Balm and Cerave Hydrating Cream to Foam Cleanser. For a moisturiser, I look for something simple and soothing. I use The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors or LRP Cicaplast Baume.

In a cleanser, I look for something to take off the day and something that doesn’t leave a residue.”

Kershia: I love CeraVe. It’s such good value and does exactly what I need when it comes to cleansing my skin.

Anna: I want products that are unfragranced, gentle and non-comedogenic from a reputable brand. I like LRP, Avene and CeraVe at the moment.

Sarah: The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser is the perfect cleanser – vegan, cheap, unscented, rinses away cleanly.

Cathy: I absolutely love The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Balm – it literally melts makeup off at the end of the day. My favourite moisturiser is Kate Somerville’s Exfolikate Glow Moisturiser – a lovely light moisturiser that sinks right in. Makeup sits perfectly on top.

Laura: I’m loving the Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Balm and also the Cetaphil No Soap Cleanser as my double cleanse, I feel clean but not stripped! I also love the Neutrogena Gel Moisturiser, I can layer it up if I need extra moisture.

For daytime moisturiser, I need something light for under makeup.”

Michelle: My holy grail cleanser is Kate Somerville Goat Milk, I love the thick creamy texture, the slight scent that smells luxurious without being overpowering, it’s soft and gentle on the skin. I love everything about it – except the price! 

I like balms to take makeup off and creams to clean my face because they don’t feel as stripping as gels. For daytime moisturiser, I need something light for under makeup. The Curel Fluid is lovely, thin consistency and sinks in well, super simple too. For nighttime, I like something thicker to use after my Doser. I put on a thick layer an hour before bed and let it sink in. 

Alex: Cruelty-free is important, I try to avoid any cosmetics tested on animals. I’ve used and enjoyed Liz Earle’s Hot Cloth Cleanser for years, as well as dupes from Superdrug and Aldi. I recently discovered Facetheory and I am really liking the Vitamin C Cream Cleanser, which also comes in recyclable/reusable packaging. When it’s finished, I’m going to use the glass jar to store things.

Elyse: I look for lots of hydration. Many moisturisers don’t last long enough. I want non-pore clogging, no rapeseed oil (I’m highly allergic), no weird smells, and reusable packaging is awesome too. I love products that add good bacteria via skincare.

Takeaway: What do you look for in the best cleansers and moisturisers?

Cleanser and moisturiser checklist

+ Great texture
+ Good value
+ Effectiveness
+ Protects skin barrier
+ Fragrance-free
+ May contain actives
+ Non-comedogenic
+ Vegan, sustainable and cruelty-free
+ Recyclable/reusable packaging

Cleanser PLUS: Purifies the skin without stripping it, Melts makeup, soothing

Moisturiser PLUS: Easily absorbed, primes skin for makeup, hydrating, soothing

See our best Dermatologist recommended products for winter skin.

N.B Some quotes in this feature have been edited lightly for length and clarity. Thanks for all your contributions.

N.B Skin + Me do not receive commission for external product recommendations. Our recommendations are impartial. We’re industry leaders in sustainable, vegan and cruelty-free skincare but do not speak for all brands.

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