Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
From scrubs to balms, gels to oils, a good cleanser is to skincare what underwear is to fashion. (Read: essential.)
This year’s Marie Claire UK Skin Awards judges put some of the industry’s best-loved cleansers through their paces, to find you the ones that will keep your skin looking its best, from top to toe. Ready for the best cleanser of your life?
Here are the ‘Cleanse’ winners of the Marie Claire UK Skin Awards 2021…
Best Everyday Cleanser
This brilliant, everyday cleanser won favour with our judges for its super creamy texture. Enriched with goat’s milk and nourishing Manuka honey, Skin Awards judge and Marie Claire Senior Beauty Editor Katie Thomas hailed it as ‘a really nice cleanser, that’s gentle enough for daily use and sensitive skin types’. One of those rare washes that manages to remove impurities, oils and makeup without stripping skin of its natural goodness, we reckon this daily hero is worth every penny.
Highly Commended: Youth To The People Superfood Cleanser, £31
Best Cleansing Balm
A cult classic since its 2009 debut, Emma Hardie’s Moringa Cleansing Balm is adored by loyal EH devotees, beauty editors and celebrities worldwide – and it isn’t hard to see why. Perfect for everyday use, this balm penetrates deep within the skin to give you an enviously plump and healthy complexion. Infused with Vitamin E, radiance is quickly restored to dull-looking skin after just one wash, with judge Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme also remarking on its beautiful subtle scent and silky finish.
Highly Commended: Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm, £40
Best Exfoliating Cleanser
The Organic Pharmacy Rose Diamond Exfoliating Cleanser acts as both a creamy cleanser and gentle skin peel in one. Applied to a dry face and gently massaged in, the enzymes inside work their magic and nibble away at dead skin cells to reveal a smooth, even and luminous complexion. Just ask Skin Awards judge and MC Senior Beauty Editor Katie Thomas, who says, ‘Oh my god, my skin is so smooth I just want to stroke it all day.’ If that isn’t a winning endorsement, we don’t know what is.
Highly Commended: Frances Prescott Tri-Balm, £49
Best Cleanser for Blemish-prone Skin
This fresh gel cleanser is a great option for both your morning and evening skincare routine, due to its gentle and blemish-battling ingredients. Formulated with a variety of essential oils, like lavender and lemongrass, it soothes inflammation caused by spots and leaves skin feeling refreshed. Oh, and it’s also vegan, soap-free and made with 99% natural-origin ingredients.
Best Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
One of the most important elements of keeping sensitised skin happy is to maintain a healthy, balanced microbiome. Why? Well, because protecting the microbiome means boosting the skin’s barrier function to keep the good stuff in (think hydration) and the bad (think pollution) out. Skingredients’ PreProbiotic Cleanser is a brilliant base for a healthy microbiome, as it gently cleans without stripping, and floods the skin with ingredients such as glycerin to maintain moisture. Also praised by the judges for its reusable packaging, sensitive types will never look back.
Best Facial Exfoliator/Scrub
It’s no wonder Paula’s Choice’s renowned 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant sent TikTok into a frenzy. With one Skin Awards judge calling the liquid exfoliant ‘the best BHA product on the market; nothing works to eliminate blemishes like this’ (high praise, considering there are so many out there), this no-nonsense product is the best in show when it comes to reducing blackouts, breakouts, and all types of congestion in between.
Highly Commended: StriVectin Lactic Acid Nightly Retexturizing Serum, £60
Best Bath Product
Founded by three friends, KLORIS CBD was created out of frustration at the lack of ethical, reliable and science-backed CBD products available on the market. KLORIS prides itself on harnessing the healing power of nature, combined with good science, ethical business and respect for the environment. The Restore Bath Block helps you unwind with a combination of Magnesium and 25mg of KLORIS Premium CBD. Each CBD bath block is hand made with salts, clays and oils. ‘It’s simple and effective to use,’ remarks judge Ruby Hammer MBE. ‘It’s perfect for when you are stressed, but time-poor and don’t have time for an elaborate procedure.’
Highly Commended: Laura Mercier Body & Bath Almond Coconut Milk Honey Bath, £57
Best Bath/Body Range For Kids
It’s understandable that one only ever wants the best when it comes to babies’ delicate skin. Formulated with nourishing, organic and natural ingredients, Tropic’s Little Heroes collection delivers a skincare range that you can rely on. With the dynamic range including a baby oil, a nappy cream and the cutest little snood to keep your little one cosy after their bath, sensitive and eczema-prone skin won’t get a look in with this gentle range. And did we mention that it’s packaged in post-consumer recycled plastic, too? Judge Jasmine Hemsley was won over by the ‘social impact ethos behind the brand’, remarking, ‘First prize.’
Highly Commended: Burt’s Bees Baby, from £8.99
Best Body Exfoliator/Scrub
It’s hard not to love cult brand Glossier. From iconic makeup products, accessible skincare and really, really good body products, you’re spoilt for choice. A stand-out for our judges is its Body Hero Exfoliating Bar. Designed to be mess-free, the body scrub can be used two to three times a week over wet skin to slough away dead skin and leave it feeling softer than soft. Judge Caroline Barnes says, ‘This is a fantastic product that leaves my skin feeling soft and creamy.’ Caroline, along with judges Cher Webb and Sunil Makan, also notes how non-drying it is. Oh, and the exterior packaging of the bar is recyclable, and the particles in the bar are biodegradable. Tick and tick.
Highly Commended: Sanctuary Spa Salt Scrub, £14
Best Hand Sanitiser
Winner: ishga Sanitiser, £14
The past year has seen hand sanitiser become a key staple for many of us. There are so many options now available, but it was ishga’s Sanitiser that was ultimately crowned Best Hand Sanitizer by the judging panel. Why? Well it’s the perfect choice for all skin types, thanks to its array of essential oils and hydrators, with judge Dr Kemi Fabusiwa praising its wonderful clean scent. ‘The spray is very innovative compared to standard gels,’ she adds.
Highly Commended: Babington Soap Co. Plant-based Moisturising Hand Sanitizer Lotion, £18
Highly Commended: Babington Soap Co. Plant-based Moisturising Hand Sanitizer, £18
Best Make-Up Remover
Plenaire’s Rose Jelly Gentle Makeup Remover removes makeup and impurities with ease, with judge Lisa Potter-Dixon aptly describing it as, ‘A lovely gentle remover, which leaves the skin feeling soft and looking dewy too.’ The best part? It’s versatility, as it can be used as the first step of your nighttime double-cleanse, or in the shower as your daily face wash.
Highly Commended: Curél Makeup Cleansing Oil, £14.50
Best Luxury Micellar Water
This hydrating and oil-free micellar cleansing water is formulated with pure Icelandic water and plant-based humectants to remove make-up and the build-up of impurities. Judge Zoe Taylor remarks on how well it works for all skin types – even those who typically have to be wary: ‘I love this product as it’s unscented and non-drying, making it perfect for sensitive skin.’ Ruby Hammer MBE, meanwhile, compliments its ‘luxury design’. *Adds to basket immediately*.
Best Purse-Friendly Micellar Water
Garnier was always going to be a top contender when it came to the best micellar water category, and it isn’t difficult to see why. Judge Ola, from Glow With Ola, praises the micellar water for its ‘affordability and power to leave the skin refreshed and clean’. Whether you reach for it on a daily basis, or use it as a one-stop make-up remover while travelling, this one’s an affordable skincare staple for a reason.
Best Shower Product
Created with Alicia Keys and inspired by her own love of skincare and ancient beauty rituals, Keys Soulcare is more than just a brand, it’s a journey that cares for the body, mind and spirit. The Renewing Body + Hand Wash is a luxurious and creamy gel cleanser that nourishes from top to toe. Infused with the finest Manuka honey from New Zealand, and old faithful shea and cocoa butters, judge Adeola Gboyega praised the cream for its quality and price, remarking, ‘I feel that the price point for the quality is amazing. I really love using it.’ Added bonus: each Keys Soulcare product has an affirmation on the bottle to encourage self-care practices. The Renewing Body + Hand Wash proclaims, ‘I love myself as I am.’
Highly Commended: MESSIAH and EVE Body Cleanser .01, £21
Highly Commended: MESSIAH and EVE Body Cleanser .02, £21
Essences are a key player in K-Beauty routines, and are ideal way of incorporating an extra boost of hydration for the skin. Neal’s Yard Remedies Frankincense Intense Hydrating Essence hydrates and perfectly prepares the skin for the products that follow in your skincare routine. Formulated with a combination of hyaluronic acid and organic argan oil, both of which plump, nourish and strengthen the skin, this cult Neal’s Yard essence won major compliments from the judging panel. ‘The packaging is beautiful,’ remarked Marie Claire UK Editor-in-Chief Andrea Thompson. ‘It’s also got a great aroma, smooth luxurious feel and is an indulgent addition to my beauty regime.’