The Regimen

How to Choose the Perfect Cleanser for Your Skin Type

Woman relaxing in round outdoor bath with tropical flowers

Serums may be the stars when it comes to skincare, but an effective cleanser is the foundation of healthy skin, and as such, deserves as much consideration as you give your headliner products.

Cleansing isn’t just about removing the day’s grime and makeup. This all-important first step in your regimen preps skin for all the other steps. Far from an afterthought, it’s the first line of defense, maintenance, and prevention.

Choosing the right cleanser, one that has benefits tailored to your skin’s needs, will make all the difference in optimizing your regimen and promoting a healthy, radiant complexion. Not sure how to choose? Let’s break it down. 


Combination Skin

Is this you?

  • Oily T-Zone (forehead, nose, chin)
  • Drier on cheeks
  • Maybe some blackheads

The mix of oily and dry can make it tough to avoid over-compensating for one or the other. Our favorite way to accomplish this balancing act is with Green Tea Antioxidant Cleanser. This gentle daily wash harnesses the power of skin-nourishing and humectant ingredients to deep cleanse without stripping. Green tea regulates sebum and protects against environmental stressors, while lightweight, non-comedogenic grapeseed oil replenishes lost moisture without clogging pores or adding sheen. Toss antioxidant kiwi extract and moisture-infusing honey into the mix, and you get a hydrating, shine-eliminating formula with bonuses like photoprotection, age-deceleration, and barrier-strengthening.  

Best choice: Green Tea Antioxidant Cleanser

Dry Skin

Is this you?

  • Itchy
  • Flaky
  • Some redness
  • Tightness after washing

Dry skin types should steer clear of bar soaps, harsh cleansers, and foams, which are moisture vampires. Instead, opt for creamy or milky formulas that will nourish and hydrate cells. Our luxuriously creamy Cleansing Milk seriously delivers on the moisture front. Grapeseed oil quenches dry skin with lipid-replenishing fatty acids and vitamin E. This lightweight, uber-antioxidant oil is also anti-inflammatory and free-radical fighting, making it a reparative and protective agent. Use this hydrating cleanser daily to keep skin feeling silky smooth, and supple.

Best choice: Cleansing Milk Gentle Non-Drying Cleanser

Oily or Acne-Prone Skin

Is this you?

  • Visible pores
  • Oily sheen soon after washing
  • Whiteheads, blackheads, nodes, or nodules

Two words: benzoyl peroxide. There’s a reason BP is synonymous with acne treatment. It’s a pore-flushing powerhouse that kills the bacteria that feeds acne. This clear skin crusader releases oxygen deep into the pore to zap the bac and reduce inflammation. Meanwhile, keratolytic properties cause a peeling reaction that clears dead skin cells and impactions from the pore, so the healing can begin. At a concentration of 3% benzoyl peroxide, plus humectant ingredients, Vivant’s BP Acne Wash balances refining and resurfacing while avoiding over-drying.

Best choices: 3% BP Acne Wash or 3% BP Exfoliating Cleanser

Acne- and Hyperpigmentation-Prone Skin

Is this you?

  • Visible pores
  • Oily sheen soon after washing
  • Whiteheads, blackheads, nodes, or nodules
  • Dark marks left behind by acne inflammation

When your skin is hyperpigmentation-prone, as is often the case with skin of color, acne inflammation can leave behind dark spots when blemishes have gone. Some acne-fighting cleansers can be trigger more inflammation, making the problem worse. You need ingredients that do double duty to gently banish breakouts while brightening your complexion. Mandelic acid is uniquely qualified for the job. Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, melanin-inhibiting, micro-exfoliating, and non-irritating, this gentle giant of AHAs makes the perfect base for your daily cleanse. 

Best choices: Mandelic Acid 3-In-1 Wash or  Mandelic Acid 3-In-1 Exfoliating Cleanser

Sensitive Skin

Is this you?

  • Easily irritated
  • Frequently tight or itchy
  • Prone to redness, rashiness, rosacea
  • Reactive to things like cosmetic ingredients, diet, stress, environment

Sensitive skin can be dry or oily and may be prone to acne, hyperpigmentation, or rosacea, but it is above all reactive. Finding a cleanser that soothes while improving other issues can be a challenge. Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice effectiveness. Ingredients like green tea extract and grape seed oil are super-soothers with transformative powers, including pigment reduction, acne-fighting, and cell regeneration. Both are anti-bacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory, non-comedogenic cell-renewers. Green tea also inhibits melanin production and regulates sebum. Grapeseed oil is rich in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid (lacking in acne-prone skin) that helps decongest pores. Our Green Tea Antioxidant Cleanser contains both green tea extract and grapeseed oil in a gentle gel formula. Our Cleansing Milk relies on grapeseed oil in a calming creamy base.

Best choices: Green Tea Antioxidant Cleanser or Cleansing Milk Gentle Non-Drying Cleanser

Normal Skin

Is this you?

  • Rarely breaks out
  • Even skin tone
  • Hydrated, non-flaky texture
  • Mostly shine-free

If you’re lucky enough to have the problem-free skin type, your goal is to keep it that way. Maintenance and prevention are the action items for your active ingredients. You want a cleanser that dissolves makeup, grime, and oil without stripping or drying. We recommend some light exfoliation to support cell renewal and a healthy, elastic tone. Antioxidants and hydrating ingredients round out your perfect formula.

Best choices: Buffing Grains Exfoliating Cleanser or Green Tea Antioxidant Cleanser

Cleansing Tips For All Skin Types

1. Cleanse and rinse with lukewarm water. Hot water can strip natural oils and leave skin dry and irritated.

2. Wash for a full sixty seconds to get the full benefit of this critical regimen step. Extending your cleansing time will allow key ingredients time to penetrate the skin and work their magic while increasing circulation and bringing more nutrients to cells.

3. Be gentle. Scrubbing too hard can irritate the skin. Avoid abrasive pads or brushes and pat skin dry with a soft towel when finished.

4. Maximize your cleanse by following it with a facial toner. Facial toners remove excess oil, cleanser residue, and dead skin cells to clear the path for optimal absorption of corrective serums and moisturizers.

5. Mix Buffing Grains with any cleanser to create an exfoliating scrub.

6. Green Tea Antioxidant Cleanser is also great as a shaving gel, body wash, and shampoo. Bonus, green tea naturally combats dandruff.

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