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At this point, we’ve tackled winter skin care from all angles. We know how important a moisturizer made with ingredients that literally shield our top layers from the winter elements is. And though we wholly appreciate a routine that doesn’t require using upwards of 5 different products, we’ve also been schooled on the best combinations–all of which include a cleanser, toner and moisturizer– for every skin type.
However, what remains is one small, but important necessity: a cleanser that succeeds in removing full-coverage makeup in one full swoop. We’re well aware that there aren’t rules when it comes to foundation and the season; how much and how often one decides to wear it doesn’t depend on the weather.
At the same time, we do notice an increased interest in full-coverage this time of year, when the cold can often leave us with duller complexions, redness and sensitivities directly tied to winter weather. So naturally, we need both a makeup remover and clarifying cleanser that’ll ensure we don’t fall asleep in our makeup and risk having blemishes on top of it all. The best ones are made with both exfoliating properties as well as ingredients that can deeply penetrate the skin to draw up dirt and grime without irritation.
White and black clay, charcoal and alpha-hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, citric, malic) are just a few of the hard-hitting ingredients that come to mind. Combined with hydrators like glycerin and aloe, you’re armed with daily formulas that leave you fresh-faced without sacrificing all your skin’s natural nutrients. See 11 of the best-rated ones below.
REN Skincare Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser
Designed for acne-prone skin, this cleanser kaolin clay for drawing out dirt and grime, plus willow bark extract, a popular BHA for minimizing blemishes and the appearance of pores.
$32 at REN Skincare
Shiseido Clarifying Cleansing Foam
What starts out as a rich cream turns into a lightweight foam as you lather into the skin, removing dead top surface cells and pollutants. Also made with white clay so it’s gentle enough for daily use.
$36 at Shiseido
Tata Harper Clarifying Cleanser
If you’ve got oily skin and prefer a more eco-friendly solution, this foaming gel eliminates impurities, while balancing sebum production.
$68 at Tata Harper
SheaMoisture Bamboo Charcoal Detoxifying Foaming Facial Wash
African Black Soap is renowned for its ability to quickly absorb oil and grime from the skin, but can often be drying. That’s why we’re glad this foaming wash also includes aloe to soothe as it cleanses.
$10.99 at Ulta
Exuviance Clarifying Facial Cleanser
Dealing with a dull complexion and need a little exfoliation for breakouts? This heavy-duty cleanser is made with a trifecta of chemical acids (salicylic, mandelic, polyhydroxy) to handle excess oil and dissolve impurities.
$36 at Ulta
Yes To Tomatoes Daily Clarifying Cleanser
Come winter, your skin will love the detoxifying effects of tomato extract, which also includes a big does of antioxidants for delaying further skin damage.
$10.89 at Amazon
Goldfaden MD Detox Clarifying Facial Wash
Made with a combo of alpha-hydroxy acids (lactic, glycolic) to remove dead cells from the top layers of your face, as well as a detox complex made up of plant extracts to soften the skin.
$35 at Goldfaden MD
NERD Clarifying Cleanser
Soap-free and made with probiotics and glycerin, this creamy cleanser hydrates the skin without leaving it dry or tight.
$20 at NERD Skincare
boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser
Made with activated charcoal to absorb excess oil, Vitamin C to brighten skin tone, glycolic acid to promote exfoliation and artichoke leaf extract to improve elasticity.
$30 at Sephora
GLAMGLOW YouthCleanse Daily Exfoliating Cleanser
A mud-turned-foam cleanser that exfoliates and cleanses the skin to correct a dull, uneven complexion.
$32 at Sephora
Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing & Makeup Remover
Made with sensitive skin in mind, this part cleanser-part makeup remover contains Peruvian tara seed, a nutrient that softens skin.
$6.59 at Target