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These Two Cleansers Ensure My Sweaty Summer Skin Is Squeaky Clean (But Never Stripped)

Photo: Rio Viera-Newton

If you ask me, cleansers really don’t get the shine they deserve. As the first step in your skin-care routine, cleansers not only ensure your skin is purified of all the gunk and sweat from the day, but they also set the tone for the rest of your regimen, making sure your complexion is clean enough to properly absorb your other products.

If you’ve never heard of double cleansing, it’s a two-step face-washing process that makes sure your skin is as absolutely clean as possible. The first step of a double cleanse is applying an oil-based cleanser to dry skin. This helps melt away oily dirt or debris like makeup, sunscreen, and sweat. Then, on wet skin or damp skin, you follow up with a water-based cleanser — typically a gel, cream, or foam — which further cleans the skin of any less visible dirt or grime that the first step didn’t catch. Though important year-round, double cleansing becomes doubly vital in the summer months, when skin is constantly drenched in hard-to-remove sweat and makeup, both of which can lead to clogged pores (and ensuing breakouts), rough texture, and irritation.

As someone with dry and extremely sensitive skin, I long avoided double cleansing out of fear that it would strip or irritate my temperamental complexion. But after playing around with a few different cleansers over the years, I’ve finally landed on a duo that doesn’t dry me out in the least: Fancy Face, an oil-based cleanser from Go-To, and A New Leaf Cream Cleanser from Good (Skin) Days.

Go-To is one of my favorite skin-care brands for delivering gentle yet effective products (I use its face oil nonstop during the winter months), and its cleanser is exceptional. The cleanser uses a blend of sunflower, sweet-almond, camellia, and argan oils that easily dissolves dirt and even the most difficult to remove makeup (as in, my generally-won’t-budge-for-anything waterproof mascara). Though it might feel counterintuitive for those prone to shine or breakouts to slather oil all over their face, it’s actually suitable for all skin types and has never once made me break out. I apply about three or four pumps of this on dry skin, massage it in (focusing on areas where I’ve applied makeup or tend to break out), then rinse it off.

The second step is where I’ve historically made my biggest double-cleansing mistake: I’ve either used cleansing foams or gels that are a tad too stripping or I’ve used creams or milks that end up leaving behind a kind of sticky, conditioning film that doesn’t allow the rest of my products to properly sink in. This New Leaf cleanser does neither of the above and has quickly become one of my favorite skin-care products — it’s a thick, creamy treatment that hydrates while simultaneously giving my skin a good, deep cleanse. This is thanks, of course, to the formula, a blend of soothing, healing, and nourishing ingredients including fermented green tea, spinach, celery, and crushed mugwort, all of which help calm and diminish irritation and redness. After rinsing off this second cleanse, my skin always feels clean, refreshed, and bouncy without any tightness whatsoever.

I’ve been using this cleansing duo for about a month now (followed by my Purito Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence and Cosrx Propolis Cream), and my skin is thriving. The Fancy Face cleanser adequately removes any of that tough-to-get leftover makeup that usually triggers my summertime breakouts, while the New Leaf Cream Cleanser calms, soothes, and heals my skin from the intense badgering it gets daily from the sun and heat.

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These Cleansers Ensure My Summer Skin Is Squeaky Clean