Cleansing is an important step in your skincare routine. There are so many different types, brands and forms of cleanser. Our Cosmetic Chemist told us what to look at in the cleanser. We will summarise them in very short and easy to understand even without chemistry knowledge.
What is in the cleanser ?
Surfactants are the key ingredients in the cleanser. There is no cleanser without surfactants. There are 3 different common types of surfactants found in the cleanser, non-ionic surfactants, anionic surfactants and amphotheric surfactants.
As name implies, Non-Ionic surfactant is surfactant without charge which means it is very mild. You could easily found this non ionic surfactant in cleanser, such as coco glucosides, caprylyl/capryl glucoside.
Anionic surfactant contains negative charge, therefore it is very powerful in cleaning. However, it is very irritating if use more than the upper limit in formulation. The most commonly use in cleanser are sodium cocoyl isethionate, sodium cocoyl glutamate, sodium laureth sulfate.
Amphoteric surfactant contains positive and negative charge (depending on pH of formulation). It gives mildness into cleanser, such cocomidopropyl betaine.
So What ?
Let us spill it, the best gentle cleanser is cleanser with those three combination. If your cleanser only have non ionic surfactant, the cleansing power is very low even though it is very mild and less likely to form soap scum.
You need cleanser that has Anionic surfactant so it has the ability to bind dirt, oil, etc due to its negative charge. You don’t want buy cleanser that does not have the ability to remove sunscreen, oil, dirt, etc from your face.
Amphoteric surfactant has antimicrobial properties while the charges depending on the pH level. You need to make sure your cleanser contain anionic surfactants and at least either amphoteric surfactant or non ionic surfactant to improve mildness.
What about the type of cleanser ?
Cream cleanser is the most gentle cleanser because it is high in emollients. There is no differences between Cleansing Gel and Foaming Cleanser in term of the mildness. You could think of cleansing gel is Foaming Cleanser with thickener.
If you have sensitive skin , choose cream cleanser . It is very gentle and mild on skin. Otherwise, make sure your cleanser have amphoteric or non ionic surfactant along with anionic surfactant to ensure it is gentle enough for skin.