Cleanser vs Exfoliator: What’s the difference? Do you really need both?


Hey there, skincare enthusiasts! In the world of skincare, two superstars often steal the spotlight: cleansers and exfoliators. They might seem similar, but they play different roles in your skincare routine. Understanding the difference is key to achieving your best skin. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the essence of cleansers and exfoliators, exploring their definitions, differences, benefits, and tips to help you achieve your skincare goals.

What is a Cleanser?

A cleanser is your go-to product for washing away dirt, oil, makeup, and other impurities that your skin collects throughout the day. It acts as the first step in any skincare routine, helping to purify the skin and prepare it for subsequent treatments. Cleansers come in various forms—foaming gels, creamy lotions, micellar waters, and cleansing oils—catering to different skin types and preferences.

    Tips for Choosing and Using a Cleanser

    Let’s start with the basics: A proper cleansing routine is essential for removing dirt, oil, makeup, and impurities that accumulate on the skin throughout the day. Failing to cleanse properly can lead to clogged pores, breakouts, and dullness. But how do you know which one is right for you?

    • Best Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin: Ultra Gentle Cream Cleanser harnesses the power of Korean Ginseng Root Extract and Green Tea Leaf Extract to gently unclog pores and banish blemishes, leaving your skin clear and refreshed.
    • A Gentle Cleanser for Sensitive Skin: Sensitive skin deserves tender care, which is why our cleanser is enriched with calming ingredients like Cucumber extract and aloe vera to cleanse and comfort delicate skin without irritation.
    • Hydrating Cleanser for Dry Skin: Nourish and replenish dry, dehydrated skin with our Cream Cleanser. Infused with hydrating ingredients like jojoba oil and shea butter, this luxurious cleanser thoroughly removes make up without leaving skin tight and dry.


    1. Match Your Skin Type: For example, choose a gentle, hydrating cleanser for dry or sensitive skin, and opt for a foaming or gel cleanser for oily or acne-prone skin.
    2. Use Lukewarm Water: Hot water can strip your skin of natural oils.
    3. Gentle Motions: Massage the cleanser into your skin gently. Use cotton pads to remove makeup.
    4. Incorporate cleansing into your skincare routine twice daily, morning and night to see a real difference.

    What is an Exfoliator?

    Exfoliators remove dead skin cells, revealing smoother and brighter skin. They come in two main types: physical exfoliators contain abrasive particles that physically scrub away dead skin cells and chemical exfoliators with ingredients like AHAs and BHAs that strip or dissolve skin cells.

      Tips for Choosing and Using an Exfoliator

      Exfoliation helps to slough off dead skin cells, unclog pores, and promote cell turnover revealing fresh, new healthy skin underneath. 

      • Best exfoliator  for Acne-Prone Skin: Take care not to break the skin of current acne by using a gentle physical exfoliator like Jojoba beads found in our Ultra Gentle Cream Exfoliator as well as Green Tea Leaf Extract for antibiotic properties.
      • Best exfoliator For Sensitive Skin: Our ultra gentle cream exfoliator contains Willow Bark extract and  Ginseng Root Extract to reduce redness and exfoliate without irritation or tightening.
      • Best exfoliator For dry skin: Harness the power of Ginseng Root Extract to smooth and hydrate dull, dry skin. 


      1. Select the Right Type: Match the exfoliator to your skin type and concerns. If you feel dry and tight after exfoliating or cleansing, your product is too drying. We guarantee our Ultra Gentle cleanser and exfoliator won’t make your face feel tight and dry.
      2. Avoid Over-Exfoliating, which can lead to irritation, sensitivity, and damage to the skin's protective barrier. 
      3. Gentle exfoliating is best: Walnut shell may make microscopic cuts over skin surface, which leads to dryness, irritation and infection. Choose one with fine, non-abrasive particles like jojoba beads.
      4. Follow Up: Always moisturise and use sunscreen after exfoliating.

      Cleanser vs. Exfoliator: Understanding the Difference

      While cleansers remove surface impurities, exfoliators dig deeper to renew the skin. Using both can give you the best results, but it's crucial to choose products that suit your skin type.

      With a better understanding of cleansers and exfoliators, you're ready to craft your perfect skincare routine. Cleanse twice daily and iIncorporate exfoliation into your routine 1-3 times per week, depending on your skin type and the product you’re using. And always follow up with a moisturiser with SPF.


      With love,
      Greta, QLEAN Beauty Founder

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