No matter how bare-bones your skincare regime is, you should have at least something to wash your face with. You do… right? Like, something other than water (in the course of putting together this piece, we realised there is one NYLON staffer who does just that – he was swiftly admonished). Beyond performing the basic function of, well, keeping your face clean, finding a formula that’s right for your skin can also help improve the health and appearance of your complexion in the long term. Like how our Editor swears on the shu uemura cleansing oil, claiming it to be her fountain of youth.
While the rest of us here at NYLON are still waiting to find our fountain our youth in a cleanser, what we have found at least are products that not only keep our faces clean, but also contain enough skincare benefits to at least keep our skin looking and feeling good. Bonus points if they smell really nice, too.
shu uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula
$50 for 150ml; $115 for 450ml. Available at shu uemura stores and counters.
Twenty years ago when I bought my first bottle of shu uemura cleansing oil in Sydney, I never imagined I would become my country’s number one advocate for the product. I bought it because I liked how the bottle looked. Then I continued using it because I really liked how it smelt and how it made my skin feel. A decade on (and still using the product), I was in my late 20s and kept getting compliments on my skin. I never once thought I had “good skin” until more and more people kept coming up to me and asking me what skincare I was using. That continued well into my 30s (just recently at our April cover shoot, Stefanie Sun asked the same question) and now as I close in on 40 (so surreal), my skin has never been better. When I say better, I mean it looks and feels healthy, I don’t break out, and I like the texture (not rough or bumpy). The only skincare that has been consistent in my routine is shu uemura’s cleansing oil. In fact just yesterday I shot a campaign for the cleansing oil’s 50th anniversary. I was telling the crew that I worked with, that a brand can’t buy my endorsement. I value my editorial integrity and if I think a product is lousy, they couldn’t pay me to say that it was good. So I was really proud to execute and front the 50th anniversary for the oil because it’s really that one golden skincare product that I cannot live without, and would not hesitate to recommend to everyone.
– Adele Chan, Editor-in-Chief
shu uemura POREfinish Anti-shine Fresh Cleansing Oil
$50 for 150ml; $115 for 450ml. Available at shu uemura stores and counters.
I’ve been using this cleansing oil for the past four years. It’s a cult product for a reason: it melts makeup right off your face, and doubles up as a cleanser as well, so you don’t need to double-cleanse. I use it with a Clarisonic to feel extra clean. In my college student days, I only used half a pump each time to save money. It still works, but the full pump is the luxury you get to enjoy with a full-time job, thanks NYLON Singapore!
– Joanne Cheah, Designer
FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil
$30 for 120ml. Available at FANCL stores and counters.
There’s one word to describe my skincare routine: lazy. But hey, it means I’ve narrowed it down to the least amount of items I need for the maximum benefit – see, good things do come out of bad habits! Using Fancl’s famous cleansing oil daily means I can remove makeup and wash my face at the same time, and I love that this takes away the day’s residue easily without any crazy scrubbing, doesn’t sting my eyes (important!) and leaves my face soft after.
– Amelia Tan, Associate Editor
Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash
$47 for 230ml. Available at Kiehl’s stores and counters.
I’m a bit addicted to trying out new things to wash my face with, so unlike our Editor-in-Chief, I’m unable to pledge allegiance to a single cleanser for longer than a couple of months, much less two decades and counting. Flights of fancies aside, I’m still quite picky about the cleansers I choose to try. This new one from Kiehl’s passed the test because I already know how good the Calendula toner is, so I figured the face wash version should do pretty well too. The gel formula feels soothing as I massage it onto my face, and as promised, my skin always feels soft and hydrated after each wash – I don’t feel an immediate need to go slap on my moisturiser; in fact, it’s so sufficiently hydrated that on a few occasions I found myself forgetting to apply moisturiser until quite some time after.
My only gripes are that it doesn’t really create a “rich foam” as the brand promises, and doesn’t smell as heavenly as the Calendula and Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque (this face wash barely has any smell, in fact). I don’t need the foam, but I might go through a few more bottles of this if it bore a better scent.
– Tami Lai, Associate Editor
Paula’s Choice Resist Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser
$36 for 190ml. Available at paulaschoice.sg.
I’ve stuck to this one for a couple of years now and every time I sway to a trendy new face wash, my skin gets pissed off and I come crawling back to Paula’s Choice. A little goes a long way with this, and although its name says “foaming”, it actually produces a creamier lather. It’s a no-frills, fragrance-free cleanser that does a great job at purifying my sensitive, acne-prone, combination skin (a winning synergy, am I right?) to keep it balanced.
– Jade Yeo, Writer
Himalaya Herbals Oil Control Lemon Face Wash
$6.95 for 100ml. Available at Guardian stores.
If you scour the internet for natural acne treatments, you’re bound to come across the words ‘lemon’ and ‘honey’ – and this face wash has both of those things. Specially formulated for oily skin
like mine, this product was a skin saver back when I was a broke student, and it works so well that I still purchase it today. Though most people might be skeptical of its worth due to its affordable price and its drugstore availability, I find that it’s one of the very few cleansers that can do its job without overly drying my skin the way many products targeting oily skin do. A pea-sized amount is all you need, and the tiny blue granules in the transparent gel would work its way into your skin, the lemon having an astringent effect on open pores, leaving your face feeling fresh without leaving behind any residue. It also possesses the faintest citric scent, for those who do not enjoy fragrant cleansers.
– Patrene Mathieu, Designer
The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash
$20.90 for 250ml. Available at The Body Shop stores.
I’ve been using The Body Shop’s Tea Tree facial wash since my massive acne breakout days in secondary school, so… that’s about seven years and counting. Tea tree-infused products are tricky; they can’t be too potent or else the formula is going to dry your skin out, bad. The Body Shop does their tea tree cleansers well — the gel-like liquid lathers up in an instant, and really strips your skin of dirt and grime, leaving it squeaky clean but still adequately moisturised. And the minty tea tree scent that follows is an added assurance that I’ve properly executed step one of my skincare routine. (Pro tip: The Body Shop tends to have sales on their star products occasionally, so grab them when they’re at 2 for $19.90!)
– Chelsea Tang, Editorial Assistant
I’ve never been one to be too hung up about what I use in the bathroom — I mean, the fact that I use Donald Duck shampoo should be evidence enough of that, but I have to say that The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Facial Wash is one the best products that I’ve had the luck to accidentally stumble upon (i.e my mom left it in the bathroom one day and I’ve been using it ever since). I’m not well-versed in the nitty-gritty details of how these things work, but my face just feels…fresher after using it, and my skin has remained relatively clear since adopting it as my go-to facial wash. Besides, I have not one, but several friends — ones who are a lot more invested into skincare than I am — using this as well, so it has me believing that I’m somewhere along the right side of things.
– Jared Alex Tan, Editorial Assistant