Skin + Hair Basics

Cleanser 101: Tips for Washing Your Face

Looking for tips on how to wash your face or finding the best men’s face wash for oily skin or for sensitive skin? Here’s a breakdown of how to manage oil, prevent acne and breakouts, and keep your skin clean and clear.
Cleanser 101: Tips for Washing Your Face

No, a body-bar soap is not "good enough", because it’s not formulated for the face’s volatile and sensitive skin. Picking the perfect cleanser is a tough task, because it demands a lot from a single product in order to preserve the skin’s pH balance. But it is possible, particularly when you find the right key ingredient. We’ll outline the best key ingredients for cleansers, and the worst ones, below.

Okay, first thing, you shouldn't use body wash on your face.

Cleansing is exactly one half of a foundational skincare regimen. Done twice a day (morning and night), it flushes away excess oil and grime that collects on the surface of the skin. It also rinses those same things from the pores, to prevent breakouts and clogging. By washing your face twice a day, you also clear the way for a nourishing, protective moisturizer, which doesn’t absorb properly if there’s a layer of grease on the skin. A moisturizer can also further trap grime inside the pores if that buildup isn’t first flushed out by a cleanser.

And if you’ve got oily skin (to which men are prone, far more than women), if you sweat a lot, or if you keep an active lifestyle, then you also might need to cleanse additional times throughout the day. For any of these reasons, you should be using a heavy-duty cleanser that is tough on grime, but one that is also gentle enough on skin so that it doesn’t leave you feeling dried out or irritated.

So, with plenty of options out there, how do you know which type of cleanser is best for you? And which cleansing ingredient is best for any and every guy? We’ll get to all that.


There are many cleansing agents to choose from. Here are the ones to avoid, followed the best cleansers for clear, healthy complexion.  


Bar Soap: When it comes to washing your body and your face, you gotta keep ’em separated. The skin on your bar is far less sensitive and can tolerate the harsher cleansing ingredients in your bar soap. (And ditto for your body wash, while we’re at it.) Yes, it’s convenient to just wash your mug and body in one fell swoop, but it’s doing few favors when it comes to properly nourishing and balancing the face—and especially for extracting gunk from the depths of your face pores, which makes soap a poor choice for preventing breakouts.

Alcohol-Based Cleansers: Never apply alcohol to your skin, unless you’ve got a nasty cut and need to disinfect it. Alcohol based toners and cleansers will parch the skin, then leave it red and dry. It takes your from being excessively oily to being dangerously dehydrated.

Sulfate-Powered: Many cleansers contain sulfates, which are often listed as SLS or SLES on the label. While not all foaming cleansers contain sulfates, typically all sulfate cleansers will foam. These sulfates can clog pores or irritate sensitive skin. Bonus tip: Avoid shampoos with sulfates as well, in order to prevent overdrying and breaking the hairs.


Considering all the options you have when buying a cleanser (plus a few other key ingredients not mentioned above), it’s hard to say that any one ingredient works universally on every single face. So, consider how difficult it was to choose a hero ingredient for our own facial cleanser, one that we knew would work best on everyone. (And one that would work well with soothing cactus extract, which is featured in all Cardon products.)

After lots of testing and research, Cardon ultimately settled on clay as the best cleansing ingredient. Here’s why:

Benefits of Clay Cleansers

Clay pulls sebum and grime from pores up to 4x better than charcoal.Clay is gentle enough for twice-daily use on dry and sensitive skin, but strong enough for twice-daily use on oily skin. It preserves the skin’s delicate pH levels despite cleaning so effectively.The minerals in clay ionize (in another word, activate) to nourish and hydrate the skin while the product cleanses. Again, it preserves the skin’s harmony and never overly tightens or dries the face.


Powder: Powder cleansers can be made with many ingredients, from rice to clay. Typically, they’re botanical powders, and they don’t contain the chemicals that many liquid cleansers do. You simply mix water with the powder in your palms to create a cleansing paste. Some, like rice-based or enzyme powders, also have gentle exfoliating abilities.

Cream: Cream cleansers are good options for dry and sensitive skin, but not for oily skin. They typically contain oils that help nourish the skin while they cleanse.

Gel: Popular for its deep cleansing powers, gel is a terrific choice for oily or combination skin types, but possibly too dehydrating on sensitive and dry skin.

Oil: Fight fire with fire, right? Oil cleansers do in fact help pull away excess sebum and grime from the skin. They’re better for sink-ledge cleansing, as opposed to in the shower, and they’re no fun to spill—but they sure are effective.

Charcoal: Charcoal is notorious in skincare for its ability to extract oil from deep within the pores. This makes it a great ingredient in face masks, but charcoal is often too drying to use daily in a cleanser.


Follow up your face wash with a toner to help restore your skin's pH level back to 5.5 and prep your skin to better absorb your moisturizers.

Check out Cardon's Exfoliating Toner Wipes that exfoliate, balance, and soothe all in one!

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