Difference Between Cleanser and Face Wash

Difference Between Cleanser and Face Wash – Which One to Use First?

OH! Face wash and cleansers are not the same thing, so, you need to pick between them according to your cleansing needs.

Difference Between Cleanser and Face Wash
Difference Between Cleanser and Face Wash - Which One to Use First?

When it comes to skin cleansing, several questions pop up in our mind like “Is there any definite difference face wash and cleanser? Do they perform the function similarly? On what should I get my hands on? Should I use both when cleansing my face? Etc.

These questions hamper your task of face cleansing as you don’t have adequate knowledge to go with the flow…

Let’s get into this article to know the subtle difference between a face wash and a cleanser and decide which one is better for your skin.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you buy from my link I might make a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay. See the full affiliate disclosure here.

Also Check: Is it Necessary to Double Cleanse your Skin?

Basic Functions of Face Wash and Cleanser

While both face washes and cleansers function for a common job of cleansing your face, a face wash is usually well foaming cleanser.


While a cleanser has a non-foaming quality that requires no need to wash it off instead needs to be wiped off smoothly.

Face Wash
Face Wash

A face wash serves to be gentler than a soap bar, which helps is removing dirt and debris from the underlying layers of skin and cleansing the pores. It is well-suited for an oily or a combination skin type. It is not jam-packed with much hydrating or moisturizing features.

Related Guide: Best Face Washes and Cleansers for Hyperpigmentation

When it comes to cleanser, it serves to be gentler than a face wash. It helps in removing makeup, dirt and oils from the skin’s surface. It is well-suited for dry and sensitive skin types.

In addition, there are special cleansers for large pores if that is what your skin type is. Besides this, it has more hydrating or moisturizing quality.

Do they Have the same Cleansing Activity?

A simple answer to this question is NO!

Both face washes and cleansers help in removing dirt, oil and pollution from your face. A cleanser effectively dissolves away oil-soluble impurities. Although, this task might be achieved by a face cleanser, but that won’t not yield effective results.

A face wash goes into the deeper layers of your skin and removes the deep-seated dirt-Its all because of its forming activity.

By wearing a lot of makeup and being exposed to lot of pollution, a good-approach is to go for cleanser beforehand. After using a cleanser, you can work with a face wash.

Is there Any Specific Time for using a Face wash and a Cleanser?

This question is entirely dependent on your daily skin regime. If you have faced a mild traffic and pollution on your way home, it’s better to use a cleanser first and then go for the face wash.

Use a face wash as a first thing in the morning and as soon as you return from your grinding office work to home-these practices allow a deep-washing away of dirt from the layers of your skin.

Using a cleansing lotion at night is considered to be one of the finest practices as it removes all the impurities from your face, leading you to have a sound sleep with an impurity-free face.

Washing/Cleansing your Face in the Right Way

Some people don’t pay heed to the minute factors that might affect your cleansing activity. Doing it the right way is important to ensure all the impurities on your face are bid farewell. All you need to do is to:

Wash your hands first before beginning the cleansing action. The reason is that if your hands are greasy, you won’t be able to witness the proper function of a cleanser.

Take out a small amount of face wash and gently massage it on your face in circular motions. Do this activity for almost 60 seconds.

TADAAA! Rinse your face thoroughly.

How to Choose a Right Face Wash or Cleanser?

Face washes and cleansers should be the staple of your skincare products. Choose such a face-wash that perfectly matches your skin type.

Likewise, when buying a cleanser, check out the ingredients mentioned on the product. Avoid products that include:

  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Sulphates

Hold onto a simple principle when hunting for the right cleanser, “A Cleanser gentle on your skin, without instilling more oily texture.”

If you are having a sensitive skin type, you need to be extra careful in your attempt of finding a right facewash or a cleanser.


Everyone is tempted to do cleansing but not everyone is aware of the differences between a face wash and a cleanser.

Get an idea form the above-mentioned contents and choose the perfect product for your skin type.

Make sure you don’t over cleanser your face as it will do more harm than good to your face.

Now, that you have understood the differences between a cleanser and a face wash, I hope you won’t confuse both the terms again.

Happy Cleansing!!!

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