Face Wash vs Cleanser | What’s the Difference?

The world of skin care can be confusing, especially for us men who generally prefer things to be straight forward and simple. Well let’s keep it simple; something that you must do is regularly wash your face! And with a suitable product for your skin (hide the soap). So should you use a face wash or a cleanser? Let us explain.


Face Wash vs Cleanser

Let’s face it, sometimes companies just name their products in the name of marketing. The name is designed to catch your attention and the packaging and product claims are there to help reel you in.

That being said, when it comes to face wash vs cleanser, there are some general rules that apply most of the time. We outline these below to help make skin care simple.


Face Wash for Men

A product labelled a face wash is usually designed to give your face and pores a deep clean. There tends to be more lather with a face wash vs cleanser, and the ingredients should be optimized to help attract the deeper dirt and unwanted impurities out of your face so you can rinse them off and bid them farewell.

A good face wash should be a staple product in everyone’s bathroom. Your skin will build up dirt and oil (sebum) throughout the day so you need to clean it out.

A face wash is particularly beneficial if you have oily skin or you are prone to spots and pimples, but all guys should use a face wash a couple of times a day.

Depending on your skin type, some products may be more suitable for you than others. IF you want help understanding your skin type then read what is my skin type.



A cleanser can also be used to get rid of dirt and oil, but it’s usually gentler than a face wash, with little or no lather and doesn’t clean as deep. Cleansers sometimes need to be wiped off rather than rinsed of like a face wash.

Cleansers are particularly useful if you want to dissolve away make up and excess oil, so you might find that it’s a regular purchase for the women in your life.

Their benefits tend to lean more towards purification and soothing of the skin as opposed to a no-nonsense clean and dirt removal of a face wash.

A good cleanser can be used in addition to a face wash, but we would not recommend only using a cleanser. It’s unlikely to give you the deeper clean that you need.


Should I Use Face Wash or Cleanser?

Both products can be used to wash your face, but if you are a guy looking for a deep clean of your face and pores then we would opt for the face wash in the first instance.

The deep cleaning properties of a good face wash are not likely to be matched by a cleanser on its own, so ideally a cleanser should be used in addition to a face wash if its benefits are something you feel you really need.

Some people actually use a technique called double-cleansing, in which a cleanser is first used on the face and immediately followed by a deep clean with a face wash.  Double-cleansing is a great way to ensure your skin is cleaned and hydrated thoroughly, but a well performing face wash is a perfectly adequate solution to maintain the skin on your face effectively.


For more information on all things skin care, visit our skin care for men blog.

Here we have a library of articles to help you, including an easy 3 step skin care routine for men and tips on how to prevent acne

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