Beauty Bible: 20 Holy Grail Cleansers That Are Worth Every Penny

Whether it’s about choosing high-quality pieces or makeup, we spend a lot of time and effort trying to always look our best. We want (and like!) to take care of our appearance and looks - but we can all agree that a good look should start with hygiene. So to get that beautiful and natural glow on our face, we need to start from the basics: don’t touch your face and invest in a good cleanser.

But finding the best cleanser for your skin type can be quite a challenge, as our skins seem to react differently to each formula - plus using testers from a shop doesn’t always help. That’s because the long-term effects of a product aren’t seen immediately. Yes, your skin will instantly feel fresh, clean and smooth (especially if you use a face cleanser brush), but it’s hard to determine whether a product will keep working the same way in the long run. Keep in mind that a cleanser's job is to reverse the daily effects of make-up and dirt on our skins – results that won’t be seen until much further down the line.

This is why you need to do your research to find a cleanser that’s specifically matched to your skin type. Luckily, we decided to save you quite some time in front of a screen by assembling a list of 20 best cleansers available on the market right now. Keep reading to know why these cleansers are considered holy grails in the beauty industry and deserve at least a try!

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20 Shu Uemura High-Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil

This cleansing oil is considered to be a cult favorite by most beauty lovers and experts - other than almost every average customer that tested it out (it’s ranked 4.3 out of 5 stars on Makeup Alley and 9.5/10 on Total Beauty).

Even though we must admit it’s quite expensive (you’ll need $69 to bring this home) it’s said to be melting makeup off your face quickly while taking off the toughest eye makeup without stripping or irritating your skin. Sounds great, right?

“This is amazing for my skin, leaves it clean, soft and supple. Most cleansing oils leave a film or are basically useless as my face still had a lot of makeup leftover."

"When I used this, depending on how much makeup I had on I would cleanse once or twice and when I patted my skin dry with a towel, no traces left, that left me amazed. Also, my skin was very comfortable afterward, felt very clean and it is very gentle on the eye area. Love this SO much.” - Upset

19 Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser

This cleanser - particularly recommended for oily and acne-prone skins - tends to foam up a little bit, but definitely won’t strip your skin leaving you with that uncomfortably tight sensation. Instead, it washes away dirt and debris on the surface, while Amazonian white clay helps unclog and minimize the appearance of pores.

“This is a really great cleanser for oily and acne-prone skin. I got a sample of this and decided to buy the full-size version as I enjoyed it so much. The cleanser is a lovely creamy consistency and the addition of clay in this cleanser is excellent to eliminate excess oils on the skin. It also slightly exfoliates and is not too harsh on the skin. This cleanser did not over dry my skin and I did see an improvement in the clarity of my skin whilst using this. Overall, this cleanser is a great option for oily and acne prone skin.” - Paulie98

18 Liz Earle Cleanse And Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

There’s a reason (or maybe more than one!) why this plant-based cleanser is a multi-award winner. Reason one: it removes all traces of daily grime and make-up, even stubborn mascara. Reason two: it polishes your skin by using the pure muslin cloth to gently dislodge dead skin cells, making it purified and smooth.

A creamy cleanser with cocoa butter, rosemary, chamomile and eucalyptus, Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser is designed to suit all skin types of varying ages.

However, those with extremely oily skin might prefer to use it as part of a double cleanse routine, to remove any traces of oil left behind by the product.

“I love this stuff! I got a sample in my Birchbox and fell in love. It's cleansing but doesn't strip your face of essential oils and also doesn't break you out either. I just ordered a full size. Amazing stuff!” - jen5276

17 Bobbi Brown Soothing Cleansing Milk

With a whopping 4,5 out of 5 stars ranking, this multi-tasking, emulsified milky-oil gently will effectively detoxify and cleanse your skin - removing surface impurities and makeup while purifying pores. Lightly scented and soothing, this makeup removing cleansing cream is super gentle but packs a punch when it comes to cleaning power. Even if you might be usually wary of using a cleanser near your eyes, fear no more: this formula is irritation-free (and ready to kick that mascara out!).

“I use this every morning in my shower, and it is such a delightful treat! As a Retin A user, I needed a gentle morning cleanser that wouldn't dry my skin like foaming cleansers tend to do. This product is fabulous for gentle skin care with a subtle, uplifting mild scent. With only two pumps used daily, it lasts a long time. Love it!” wrote a customer on Bobbi Brown Cosmetics’ official site.

16 Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser

Blackheads are no match for salicylic acid, and Mario Badescu’s cleanser contains just the right dose.

Paired with botanical extracts and specifically suggested for acne-prone skins, this cleanser removes makeup, grime, and oil from the skin while tackling clogged pores.

This product got a 4.4 out of 5 stars ranking on ‘Ulta’ with a total of 472 reviews: “I use this daily. It cleared up most of my daughter’s acne in only a week. It is very refreshing. After using it you can tell that it brightens your skin and it honestly just feels amazing. I have been using mine for months and still have 4/5 of my bottle left.” wrote @Elin in her own review on the site.

15 Lancôme Energie De Vie Smoothing And Purifying Cleanser

If you’re a fan of sudsy bubbles in your face wash, Lancôme Energie de Vie Smoothing and Purifying Cleanser might be the right suit for you. This product will give you exactly that, but without leaving you with an overly tight, taught and thirsty-feeling skin - all while being packed in a cool, cheerful green bottle. Looking for a bonus? This cleanser will leave you breathing a lovely, ever-so-slight floral scent.

“Best facial cleanser I have ever used! Leaves skin feeling clean and refreshed without that tight dry feeling. Skin looks noticeably clean and radiant. Love, love, love it!” - Dedra

14 Epara Cleansing Lotion

As it turns out, people of color are more likely to suffer from dryness and discoloration. Meet Epara, the first skincare range designed for (but not exclusive to) darker skin tones. This cleansing lotion feels and smells absolutely divine while still being highly effective - within a matter of days, your complexion will look more even and nourished.

This silky smooth cleanser softens and moisturizes the skin while removing make-up and impurities.

Plant extracts and botanical brighteners target imperfections and even skin tone, leaving your skin soft and luminous.

We must admit it doesn’t come cheap, though. You’ll have to pay £40 (from the official site) to bring this wonderful product home.

13 La Roche Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser


Mostly recommended for sensitive skins, La Roche Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser contains glycerine and La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water to deeply clean your skin without disturbing its normal balance. Also, because you wipe it off with a cotton pad, you don’t have to worry about irritation from warm water.

“My skin type is dry and extremely sensitive beyond belief. I am allergic to everything and my skin reacts very badly to my allergies. This cleanser, however, does not irritate my skin at all which is quite spectacular. [...] This cleanser is also really good at removing makeup, almost as good as an oil or balm but far less greasy feeling. I’ll definitely buy again.” - elishapaul

In conclusion, if your skin reacts to even the simplest of beauty products, you need to give this wipe-off milk cleanser a try.

12 Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser has earned its cult status for a reason. With its ultra-gentle (yet ultra effective) milky jelly texture, this product helped spark a major jelly cleanser movement. People love pretty much everything about it, from that trademark Glossier minimalist packaging to the fact that it's actually formulated with some of the same cleaning agents found in contact lens solution.

“Excellent cleanser, it saved my sensitive skin! I have always had red blotches all over my face from irritating cleansers - it's nearly impossible to find a cleanser that won't irritate me. However, my skin has never looked better since using this."

"My face is not only clearer but so much softer - my dry patches are totally gone. I don't know what I'd do without this product. It's so gentle, and so soothing, especially after a hot shower (showers can often dry out my skin, this returns it back to normal).” - lexymanuka

11 Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm

Known to offer a very deep cleanse to your face and pores, this powerful balm dissolves makeup and helps you get rid of daily pollutants, without drying your skin out. You’ll end up with noticeably clearer skin that’s also hydrated.

“This is the best thing I have ever spent my money on, the smell is on point, the feel is a thick balm that turns almost moussey once damp on the skin. I love putting this on in the bath and letting it soak in for 10 minutes, means you get to chill out with all the essential oils and have a mini mask at the same time. I use this along with the nourishing omega cleansing oil and pro marine cream.” - Felstb92

10 Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Whether you have sensitive, oily, dry, blemish-prone or combination skin, this cleanser will most likely suit you. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is probably one of the most popular products on this list - its cleansing power definitely made a name for itself!

This cleanser will, indeed, not only deeply purify your skin but also rebalance its pH balance to provide an effective and gentle skincare without stripping away your natural protective oils.

“This was literally the only face cleanser I could use when I was in my teens. Everything else made my poor crazy sensitive, acne prone skin break out, flake, burn, etc. My skin has calmed down a bit since then, but this is still a go-to for me. It is extremely gentle and my skin isn't unbearably tight post wash.” - kadytheredpanda

9 Eve Lom Gel Cleanser

Fans of Eve Lom’s cult cleanser - which first launched 30 years ago - will love this new addition to their skincare family. Eve Lom Gel Cleanser is a cleanser that’s ideal for the modern working woman (lightweight, pump dispenser and no muslin cloth needed) to nourish the skin - some of its key ingredients include shea butter, grapeseed oil, and argan oil. Nothing else to say: this cleanser is great to purify your skin and refresh it at the same time.

“This is my holy grail of cleansers. I absolutely and totally love this product. I wear heavy makeup every day for work and the only cleanser which has proven to work alone without any help from other cleansers or micellar lotions is this one. It smells wonderful, melts beautifully to allow you to massage away your makeup incl. waterproof makeup. You do need to use a decent amount though but once only.” - shazyhx

8 Optimal Skin ProCleanser

A 3-in-1 gel cleanser, this handy tube really does it all: it cleanses, exfoliates and nourishes the skin, making it smooth and visibly brightening the complexion. This cleanser is also packed with Moringa Seed Extract - to cleans and remove makeup - Jojoba Spheres - to gently exfoliate and leave the skin smooth - and Pumpkin Enzymes - to remove dull cells. All these ingredients work together to reveal and let your natural radiant glow shine.

“I'm so particular with cleansers as I'm so short on time in the morning, and at night I just want to get to bed as quickly as possible, I struggle to find something that does a great job - until now!!"

"It removes all makeup and leaves my skin feeling clean and soft. Such a great 3 in 1 product, could not recommend highly enough” - wrote a customer on the official site.

7 CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is an excellent cleanser for dry and sensitive skin. It cleans and rinses thoroughly and is fragrance-free - so that also people that are particularly sensitive to scents can use it. However, even if you don't have a dry complexion, this cleanser will still work for you — as lots of customers with oily, acne-prone skin were quick to sing its praises.

“Since I use Retin-A several nights a week, this cleanser is a perfect match for what my skin needs. This cleanser is for "sensitive and dry skin" but even with my oily skin, I find that it's exactly what my skin needs. I worried that this cleanser might be too emollient/rich for my oily skin, but it is light and rinses off without leaving a film behind. It's hydrating with hyaluronic acid and I feel it plumps up my skin. It calms my skin down and it does not leave it tight and stripped. It has no scent, which I totally appreciate. In Canada, this costs about $16 for a large pump container. It's a very good, high-quality reliable basic!” - iszeto

6 Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

Clinique Take the Day off Cleansing Balm has quickly risen to coveted cult status. Some customers affirmed that it’s able to break down everything (even waterproof mascara and eyeliner!) while still being gentle on the skin.

Even though it might not be ideal for oilier skin - as many readers agreed that it tends to increase oil production - this does remain a high-quality beauty product.

“I've been using this for 2 years straight, every single night. It is the BEST makeup remover ever and it is THE reason I'm even willing to wear waterproof mascara, eyeshadow, & foundation daily."

"Apply, massage, and rinse-- you're done! I don't even use a secondary cleanser after this. Don't let the oily texture put you off. This is completely 100% clean-rinsing, and it's fine for oily skin.” - Olfactoria

5 Chanel Gel Pureté

As you might expect from its brand (nothing less than Chanel!) this cleanser is probably the most expensive and luxurious face wash on the list, with a whopping price tag of $45.

However, those seem to be pennies well spent: “Just one pump of this clear gel is enough to lather your entire face! The scent alone is awesome and after I rinse off, I feel like the cleanser has really done a thorough job of removing oil, dirt, and any dead cells. Use this in conjunction with the Chanel Lotion Purete toner and you have a wonderful duo to combat oil and add a matte finish to your skin without stripping it of critical moisture.” - BrandonBoston

4 Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser

While the whole Drunk Elephant line could probably win an award for ‘best name’, they definitely put a lot of effort in creating this one product: this cleanser, in fact, scores bonus points for its jiggly texture, its pleasant, light cantaloupe scent, and its cheery packaging.

It’s supposed to remove all traces of makeup, excess oil, pollution and any other grime from the day. Beste™ No. 9 is also totally non-irritating, non-sensitizing and appropriate for every skin type.

“I love this cleanser because I’ve never used a face wash that was so gentle and mild. My skin is allergic to nearly everything else on the market."

"I typically have patches of dry and dehydrated skin on my cheeks and a very oily forehead and chin. The Beste cleanser removes the dirt and grime of daily life in NYC without removing any of the good oils. I feel clean, hydrated and softer. I would recommend this to anyone from babies to grannies!” - Faran P.

3 Clarins Cleansing Milk With Gentian

Clarins Cleansing Milk with Gentian, targeted to those with combination to oily skin, is white in color and has a subtle scent that most customers find to be very pleasant. Its consistency is creamy and rich, and its great texture will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth after rinsing the makeup off.

Even though it's gentle on the skin, it also thoroughly removes makeup, while taking away dirt and leaving your skin fresh at the same time. It’s particularly recommended for sensitive, combination [and] mature skins. A quick recap: this amazing cleanser is calming and soothing for your skin, but does also smell great!

“I bought this on Caroline Hirons recommendation. It is such a nice smelling gentle cleanser that is effective and cleansing but does not strip the skin at all. My skin feels clean and soft after.” - Roy

2 Neutrogena Hydro Boost Micellar Water

Neutrogena Hydro Boost® Micellar Water - with its patented cleansing technology and hyaluronic acid - will protect your skin’s natural barrier and lock in moisture, leaving it feeling soft and smooth. No more dry skin woes, yay!

“The whole premise behind this range is obviously all about keeping skin as hydrated as possible, and that’s exactly where the hyaluronic acid comes into play, because it is something which is naturally found in skin anyway, and basically acts like a sponge for dry skin."

"The other ingredients of glycerin and olive derivative work together to help the skin ‘bounce back’ throughout the day.” explained the beauty expert Emma on her blog ‘Ellemma’ when reviewing the product.

To recap, this easy peasy cleanser protects and hydrates the skin while also removing makeup and dirt from your face!

1 Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate cleanser is probably the perfect mix of exfoliation and cleansing, as it leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth without irritating or stripping it. Indeed, this daily foaming cleanser contains AHA’s and natural fruit enzymes to purify without over-drying. Honestly, could we ask for anything more?

“This product is my favorite cleanser. It doesn't strip my skin, cleans my skin great with my Foreo, leaves my skin soft and ready my serum and moisturizer. It is reasonably priced and smells wonderful. I also find it refreshing and leaves my skin glowing. I am 54 [...] Reasonable, smells great and does a great job. Give it a try, you will love it! I think Kate Somerville is underrated, she has a beautiful line.” - Wendy315

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