Here’s some good news—and bad news—about face wash. The good first: Washing your face really is as important as you think it is. “We should definitely wash our skin morning and evening,” says Emer Gillen, ELEMIS Skincare Expert. “Cleanse in the morning to remove what the skin has expelled to the surface during the night and cleanse in the evening to remove what the skin has been exposed to during the day, makeup and SPF included.”
On to the not-so-great news: It’s shockingly easy to over-cleanse. “The surface environment of the skin (microflora/microbiome/acid mantle) is essential not just to the function of the skin, but to its integral health,” says Gillen, who describes the protective barrier as mainly “sebum, pH, bacteria, and water” working together. “Without its barrier shield, intruders in the form of germs and bacteria are more likely to get in,” she explains. “That is why when we clean our skin, we want to remove dirt, impurities, makeup, and SPF. However, we do not want to strip away the surface environment, we want to bring balance to it.”
Though it sounds tricky, there are face washes out there that walk this careful tightrope. Below, 13 powerful products that’ll cleanse and balance every skin type.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.