4 Face Washes for a Quick Morning Cleanse

dcl vitamin c cleanser

I’m having a bit of a face wash frenzy at the moment; after finally finishing my First Aid Beauty Deep Cleanser with Red Clay I decided to start not one replacement cleanser but four. The full reviews are coming up, but I thought I’d jot down some speedy notes in case you were looking for something a bit lighter (and faster) than a cream or balm cleanser.

I don’t always want to do a full-on cleanse first thing – I rarely have the time – and so face washes tend to be my morning staple. And – I’m not going to lie – this sort of cleansing more often than not happens in the shower. I wash my hair, stick on my conditioner and then wash my face whilst I’m waiting for my locks to be transformed into something vaguely manageable that won’t snap the hairbrush in half when I try to brush it.

(Note: I don’t ever put my face under the shower jets, I splash with water I’ve collected in the palms of my hands. Which makes it sound as though I stand there in some sort of religious pose, hands upturned, accepting gifts from heaven. But you know what I mean. I catch-n-splash.)

I’d say that the following face washes are more suited to normal/oily skin than dry – I prefer a cream or balm cleanser on drier skin – and I probably wouldn’t use them for makeup removal, as I like to really take my time and massage my cleanser in when I’m doing my end-of-day routine.

But each to their own – whatever floats your beauty boat. I know loads of people who never use a balm or cream or oil cleanser, removing their makeup with a wash and very happily too. I have to say that I haven’t tested any of the following cleansers on eye makeup – it’s just not how I’d ever choose to take it off – but I did my usual rub-it-in-the-sockets test (taking one for the team, there) and my eyeballs are still in tact. So. Knock yourselves out…

simple kind to skin vital vitamin foaming cleanser

Simple Vital Vitamin Foaming Cleanser, £2.19 at Superdrug here*: I’m really impressed with Simple’s cleansing stuff at the moment. Their oil is great and a fraction of the price that you’d pay for some of the higher-end ones with similar ingredients; their Dual Effect makeup remover is, I think, superb. (And – again – £2.19. Though it’s a limited offer, see here*.) The Foaming Cleanser is a very soft, gentle and non-stripping foam and my skin didn’t feel dry after rinsing. In fact I think that this would be my choice if you did have slightly drier skin and wanted a quick, affordable face wash option.

paulas choice pore normalising cleanser

Paula’s Choice Pore Normalising Cleanser, £16 here*: totally fragrance-free, this gel-to-mild-lather cleanser leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean but without that dreadful squeakiness that you sometimes get with “blemish prone skin” products. It contains salicylic acid to help unclog pores, so worth looking at if you suffer from blackheads and breakouts, but I always wonder just how effective something can be if you rinse it straight off. Which is why I usually leave these sorts of cleansers on for a few minutes and piddle around doing something else…

DCL C Scape Enzymatic Gel Cleanser, £33 at SpaceNK here*, though currently seems to be out of stock everywhere: this one is pitched as a gentle cleanser, but I actually think that it packs much more of a punch than it gives itself credit for. It contains enzymes and fruit acids and so I’m supposing that when it’s left on the skin, which is what I do (only for a couple of minutes, but still), it has an exfoliating effect. My skin feels smoother and a little tighter, as though I’ve used a very fine scrub, but the texture of the gel is silky and completely free from grittiness. I’ve earmarked this one for a full review, as I feel I’ve been a bit balm-centric recently.

la roche-posay toleriane softening foaming gel

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Softening Foaming Gel, £8.33 here*: I’ve had this one for ages and I think that it’s a nice, uncomplicated face wash if you just want a functional cleanser. It rinses off easily without the need for a washcloth/flannel – in fact all of the cleansers on this page rinse off well – and the lather is gentle, unfragranced and non-stripping.

See a theme, here? These are all quick to use, easy to rinse and don’t dry out your skin. I have another few dozen cleansers lined up around my bathroom (Mr AMR loves me) and so I’ll keep the reviews coming, as and when I get the chance to type up my findings. For now, you can browse more cleanser features here.



© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.



  1. Hannah C
    July 27, 2017 / 8:52 am

    I’m so glad to see a review of face washes – thank you. To hear some of the skincare gurus talk, you’d think they make your face fall off. After 18 months of faffing about with lotions and Hylamide High Efficiency Face Cleaner I’ve just gone back to washing my face in the shower in the mornings and I swear it suits my skin (and fringe!) better.

    • July 27, 2017 / 10:31 pm

      Oh God oils in the fringe are NOT good! x

  2. July 27, 2017 / 8:52 am

    I leave my acid cleansers on when I brush my teeth as well, like you I feel like otherwise they wouldn´t do anything at all. In the mornings a face wash is my “weapon of choice”, too. Creams and balms and oils are reserved for the evenings.

    • July 27, 2017 / 10:30 pm

      I like to take my time with a balm – it seems like a waste when I rush the procedure! x

  3. Kat S
    July 27, 2017 / 9:19 am

    I like the Vichy Purete Thermale 3-in-1 One Step Cleanser in the morning, but unlike the directions I take it off with a flannel. Even though it’s a cream cleanser it’s really thin so comes off super quick and will come off in the shower too.

    • July 27, 2017 / 10:30 pm

      I love a flannel in most circumstances whether it says to use one or not! Unless it’s a quick splashy sort of wash-off x

  4. Cynthia
    July 27, 2017 / 9:43 am

    “I stand there in some sort of religious pose, hands upturned, accepting gifts from heaven” HAHAHAHAHA – now I’ll laugh every day in the shower when I’m doing the same, hahaha.

    Btw: have you tried Dr. Jackson’s cleanser? It’s beautiful! Light gel, lovely smell, natural ingredients, super gentle and comes in a pretty bottle with a super handy pump (just need half of it). It’s my current favourite, I’m going for me 3rd bottle :)

    • July 27, 2017 / 10:29 pm

      I haven’t, but I shall endeavour to! x

  5. July 27, 2017 / 11:19 am

    They all sound right up my street, but the LRP Toleriane Softening Foaming Gel is particularly tempting, just because it seems very similar to the Effaclar one, which I used to love when my skin was a little bit more on the oily side of things. Now that it is normal and sensitive, I think the Toleriane one would offer the same sensation, but in a formula more adapted to my skin (not that the Effaclar one is irritating or drying, it is LRP after all)!

  6. Kim Kovarik
    July 27, 2017 / 12:07 pm

    Why can’t I put my face full on under the jets in the shower? It’s how I wash and rinse. Have I caused my own wrinkles by doing this? Aggravated my acne? Hampered efforts at world peace? I am mortified and ashamed…:-)

    • July 27, 2017 / 10:29 pm

      No, it’s only if you have it really hot! x

  7. S
    July 27, 2017 / 3:58 pm

    I’m surprised that most of these are foaming washes – Caroline Hirons always mentions that the foaming-bit is actually bad for your skin.

    • July 27, 2017 / 10:28 pm

      They aren’t the stripping, soapy foaming kind. x

      • K
        July 28, 2017 / 11:54 pm

        Alas soap (the reala thing) is where it’s at! Soap actually exfoliates without those fancy acids and enzymes, and my skin is never better than when washed with Olive oil soap in the morning (cream cleanser with muslin cloth at night)

    • Hannah C
      July 27, 2017 / 10:45 pm

      S – I love CH and I believed that too but having experimented for 18 months, a foaming cleanse in the AM genuinely seems to suit my face best.

      (I also note the best skin on my body is my tummy which only *ever* gets washed with cheap shower gel – go figure!)

  8. Bea
    July 27, 2017 / 8:24 pm

    I put my face under the shower jets too, uh oh, don’t take my favourite part of my shower away from me, I like pretending I’m in a tropical waterfall!

    • July 27, 2017 / 10:28 pm

      Haha! It’s only if it’s too hot xx

  9. July 27, 2017 / 10:33 pm

    I always thought I needed something a bit ‘stronger’ than Simple, however, after trying their products I found that they work really well on my skin! x

  10. jenn
    July 28, 2017 / 6:44 pm

    I use the other La Roche Posay Toleraine cleanser as my morning cleanse as it makes my skin feel so soft and doesn’t irritate it a single bit. This post just reminded me I need to buy a new bottle of either that or try the foaming one x

  11. July 29, 2017 / 4:07 am

    love simple pretty fuss free and swear by a roche posay!

  12. Mansi
    July 29, 2017 / 8:58 am

    Need the flannel in the morning to properly wake up. I’m like the walking dead otherwise. Avène anti- Rougeurs Dermo cleansing fluid for me, it just leaves my skin feeling like skin, if you get what I mean.

    FAB red clay seems right up my alley! Sometimes you need the clay- I’ve taken to sort of using the mask as cleanser at times. Toleriane is an old favourite here as well xx

  13. July 30, 2017 / 2:06 am

    I’ve been loving the Cosrx low pH good morning cleanser. Very gentle and refreshing on skin. These all sound like great options though!

  14. Michelle
    August 3, 2017 / 12:41 am

    So glad to see your thoughts on these types of face washes, I much prefer them. Everyone is so obsessed with balms and oils – I don’t like all the faffing about with them

  15. Vicky
    August 7, 2017 / 5:05 pm

    Every time I shower I can’t help but think of the “catch and splash” (also a fan) it’s very Larry David!

  16. Karen Reynolds
    November 25, 2017 / 6:41 pm

    This has made me laugh so much. I will now adopt the prayer pose whilst I cleanse in the shower.

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