Best Cleansers & Exfoliators – Zula Beauty Awards 2019
Cleansing is an essential step that removes impurities to prevent clogged pores, breakouts and a sullen complexion. When paired with a facial exfoliator once or twice a week, a cleanser sloughs off dead skin cells, so you’ll notice clearer, more radiant skin.
For Zula’s first-ever Beauty Awards, we were on the hunt for cleansers and exfoliators that are gentle on all skin types, while still being able to whisk away grime for a smooth, clean canvas.
Presenting, our judges’ picks of the best cleansers and exfoliators launched over the past year.
Sigi Skin’s punny face wash contains kale, a nutrient-dense superfood that helps detoxify pores and brighten the complexion. The sulphate-free formula has a unique jelly texture that lathers a little to cleanse without disrupting the skin’s delicate pH balance.
Our judges loved its mild and effective formula, which is enriched with soy extracts to soothe and moisturise. Makeup artist Dollei Seah found the cleanser particularly “gentle on problem skin”, while makeup artist Cheryl Ow said the cleanser “easily removed oil and eyebrow makeup.”
Avène’s Bright Intense range is specifically formulated for Asian skin that’s prone to sensitivity. This foaming cleanser removes excess sebum and pollutants without drying the skin. It also contains akoya pearl extract, vitamin C and wakamine to refresh and brighten the complexion.
ZULA’s Video Producer Cheryl Chiew said, “I like how the product really left my skin clean and glowy, and you don’t have to use a lot. It removed oil buildup and didn’t strip my skin of moisture, which is good because I always get clogged pores.”
Shu Uemura POREfinist2 Sakura Refreshing Cleansing Oil ($50 for 150ml, $115 for 450ml)
One of the most iconic cleansing oils, the updated formula contains sakura pearl extract, sakura sake extract, green tea and hinoki wood to refresh oily skin types that are prone to breakouts.
Hair and makeup artist Christian Maranion said, “My favourite of the bunch and one I will continue to buy. This oil breaks down makeup as well as removes dead skin. My skin feels really smooth after rinsing.” Dollei added, “You don’t need to use another cleanser after removing makeup with this oil.”
Crafted by local brand Kew Organics, this weekly leave-on serum contains glycolic, malic and salicylic acids to exfoliate the skin, lighten acne scars, and minimise the appearance of fine lines and pores.
Dollei said there was a “very obvious pore-tightening effect,” and Cheryl Ow liked that it was “really gentle and washed off easily. Skin felt squeaky clean but not tight and dry.” As it contains a blend of fruit acids, we wouldn’t recommend this serum to individuals with sensitive skin.
This peeling gel is for those who seek instant gratification. The natural cellulose gently rolls off impurities, so you can see the dead skin cells ball up as you massage it on your face. It contains honey to soothe, vitamin C to brighten and vitamin E to hydrate the skin.
Social media influencer Chevonne Cheng said, “This exfoliating gel made my face instantly smoother and brighter after washing off. No rough microbeads too.”
Pixi Glow Tonic ($22 for 100ml, $44 for 250ml)
An ideal exfoliator for sensitive skin types, Pixi’s cult-favourite toner refines skin texture by sweeping away dead skin cells. It’s made with botanical extracts such as aloe vera and ginseng to soothe the skin.
Cheryl Chiew said, “My skin was smoother the next day, and the bumps were noticeably smaller. I have sensitive skin, so if your skin has some sort of resistance to glycolic acid products, this product would probably work for you.”
Zula’s 2019 Beauty Awards: 6 Best Cleansers & Exfoliators
For our first-ever Beauty Awards, our panel of judges tested notable cleansers and exfoliators launched or reformulated within the past 12 months. Go ahead and update your collection with the best-performing products for clearer, healthier skin.