The right face cleansers and face exfoliators sweep away dirt, oil, dead skin cells, and other impurities. And they prep your skin for the treatment products that go on afterward. Simply wetting your skin makes even prescription creams more effective, as water speeds and deepens absorption of ingredients dramatically.
To further increase absorption, use a mild daily exfoliating face wash (like the jelly cleanser from goop) or a more intense face exfoliator designed to be used a few times a week (like Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator). This will slough away dead skin cells, makeup, and grime to help clear the way for skin-care-ingredient delivery.
The form of a face cleanser or face exfoliator—cream, foam, scrub, gel, milk, or balm—doesn’t always dictate the types of skin it’s good for. Cleansing oils can be counterintuitively amazing for oily skin. And gel formulas, like our G.Tox Malachite + Fruit Acid Pore Purifying Cleanser, can be moisturizing. So shop for what sounds most delightful to use, and great skin will almost inevitably follow. Here’s our guide to the best face cleansers and face exfoliators.