Cleanser vs. face wash: What’s the difference & which one do you need?

Nourish Mantra

Do you need a face cleanser or a face wash? Wait, you are not wondering about the difference between a cleanser and face wash, are you? Well, if you are, we are here to tell you all about it.

We present you with a detailed guide to the most confused and exchanged terms of the century: Face cleanser and Facewash. These are two categories of face cleansing products. Similar, but not the same. Let’s differentiate the two by answering all these questions:

  • “What is a cleanser?”
  • “Is face cleanser and face wash the same?”
  • “What is the difference between cleanser and face wash?”
  • “Cleanser vs. face wash: what should I use?”

And a lot more! By the end, you’ll be leaving with a handful of knowledge about cleansers and face washes. Ready, set, go! 

Q1: What is a cleanser?

The literal meaning is any product that cleans or removes dirt and other impurities. It can be a detergent, disinfectant, carburetor cleanser, or face cleanser. 

Q2: Is the face cleanser and face wash the same?

No, face cleanser and face wash do not have the same meaning. Both contain face cleansing products, but face cleansers have a wider range than face washes.

So, what’s the difference between cleanser and face wash?

The primary difference between cleanser and face wash is that cleansers encompass all the categories of face cleansing products, including face washes. The primary difference states that a cleanser helps clean the face from the deepest layers, whereas a face wash will only work on the foremost layer of the skin. 

Cleanser vs. face wash: What do you need?

Let’s discuss cleansers and face washes in detail so that you can make your ultimate choice. 

cleanser vs face wash

Face Cleansers

In the wonderful universe of skin care, there are approximately 15 types of face cleansers with a common goal to clean the face. These fascinating products have different ways, purposes, and intensities to do it. 

Face washes or Rinse-off cleansers

Those rinse-off cleansers are the famous face washes. You can clean and purify your skin to a max level. You need water to rinse foam, gel, scrub, and clay cleansers. That’s why the name. Using one of these cleansers is the basic need of your skin. 

  • Foam cleanser: Foaming face wash
  • Gel cleanser: Cleansing gel
  • Clay cleanser: Clay facial cleanser
  • Scrub cleanser: Physical exfoliator

Which face wash you should use; totally depends on your skin type and concern.

Foaming cleansers

A foaming face wash or foaming cleanser is the one that lathers up after coming in contact with water. To make it work on your skin, you must apply it on a wet face and massage it until your face gets covered beneath lots of foam. Based on water, face washes can come in different kinds of textures. Most of them contain strong astringents to excess oil production.

Their astringents and foaming action help clean skin’s surface and pores deeply by soaking its oil, sweat, and impurities. This type of facial cleanser is suitable only if you have oily skin. Otherwise, face washes can be very drying. Skin needs an average amount of oil to remain hydrated, and if you remove the essential oil, it will make your skin dry, dehydrated, dull, and leave you with a very uncomfortable, tight feeling. Such cleansers are also not suitable for your delicate lips.

Due to this foaming element, people consider foaming face washes to be a whole different category than other cleansers.

Gel and clay face washes

What makes them different from foaming face washes? They may foam up very little, as compared to face washes. Many of them don’t even foam up. Unlike drying face washes, they can clean your skin gently. Their formulations don’t focus on removing every ounce of oil and water from the skin. They target specific skin concerns and types.

Gel Cleansers

Gel Cleanser

Gel cleansers are usually suitable for most skin types. Their soft, jelly-like texture is also ideal for acne and sensitive skin. With the right ingredients, gel cleansers can remove the deepest impurities from your face while hydrating it. We have a powerful and lovely gel cleanser with a unique natural formulation. It has a cooling and robust base of famous skin rejuvenators like cucumber, mint, aloe vera, and niacinamide—all in their purest forms. We call it a perfect morning cleanser for all skin types. 

Clay cleansers

Our planet offers some powerful skincare solutions in the form of clays, and one of those clays can be found in our Ratrani face cleanser. It has the world’s top exotic clays like Moroccan lava, Fuller's earth, and French red clay. Ratrani clay cleanser is made for you if you face excessive sweat, oil, acne. You can trust Ratrani cleanser to remove those stubborn air pollutants and dull skin cells. Moreover, the super moisturizing ingredients make it the best purification choice for all skin types. 

Pro tip: For physical exfoliation, ensure that your scrub cleanser does not have rough, grainy particles. They can be very harsh on your skin. Look how our Green Tea Tatva Scrub Cleanser masters it all.

Now, let’s move on to the other type of cleansers that don’t need water- wipe off cleansers.

Wipe-off cleansers

Now, a wipe-off cleanser is usually not a basic necessity, but it can be a very handy product for some. You don’t need to use water with these cleansers. Apply them and wipe gently using face wipes or cotton bolls. A wipe-off cleanser notably removes makeup, sweat, and surface impurities. They sweep or wipe the skin rather than purify it from the inside out. But they do have their benefits.

  • Oil cleanser: Facial cleansing oil
  • Lotion cleanser: Cleansing milk
  • Cream cleanser: Cleansing cream
  • Balm cleanser: Cleansing balm

You may first remove makeup with a wipe-off cleanser and then move to a rinse-off cleanser. This is called double-cleansing. You can avoid that messy situation when your makeup gets mixed up with your cleanser with this technique. It makes way for the pore purifying cleansers to work with their full potential.

So, this was like a crash course on the difference between cleanser and face wash. Woah! Was it a lot for one day? Well, the whole point of a skincare routine is to take care of your skin, and the best way is to use the correct ingredients at the correct time. You got to learn everything about a product to make the best choice for your skin. The same goes for facial cleansers. 

Our recommendation: Try the Facial Cleanser Variety Pack for effective and holistic skin care results.

We hope you have enough resources to back yourself with the difference between a facial cleanser and face wash.