Foaming Cleanser vs. Gel Cleanser

All cleansers are the same, right? Not so fast.

In reality, cleansers can vary dramatically. From their ingredients to their cleaning agent to their texture to their other properties, no two cleansers are alike. Furthermore, a cleanser’s category can dictate who and what a cleanser is good for. For instance, did you know that certain cleansers are better for sensitive skin, while others might be better if you have acne?

Let’s examine two of the major cleanser categories you can find on the market: foaming and gel. We’ll explain what these cleansers are, who they're probably good for, and how you can tell which one will be right for your skincare needs.

What Are Cleansers?

The name says it all: face cleansers are designed to thoroughly and deeply cleanse your skin’s pores. Unlike regular soap and water (which can actually dry out your skin and strip away protective oils), cleansers are specially formulated products that have ingredients that imbue them with a number of benefits.

Well-made cleansers can:

  • clean out your pores of dirt, debris and skin oil
  • remove sebum: a mixture of oil and debris that’s naturally formed throughout the day
  • clean away dead skin cells which collect over time
  • provide nutrients and moisturizing elements to your deeper skin layers while cleaning at the same time

The best cleansers will use natural ingredients wherever possible and will feel great on your skin. Some cleansers are designed more for general cleaning and soothing, while others may be more exfoliation-focused. In this case, try to target cleansers that use natural sugar is an exfoliating agent. Sugar doesn’t tear the skin, nor is it a harmful synthetic element. Suki Skin Care’s cleansers and other products use sugar for just this reason.

Foaming Cleansers

Foaming cleansers are also easy to understand; they’re cleansers that have a foaming agent, turning sudsy or bubble as you lather them onto your skin. The foaming quality is part of what makes them so great. As the foamy cleanser digs in your skin, the foaming particles can lift dirt and debris out of the deeper parts of your pores and affect an even greater cleaning action leaving your skin feeling revitalized.

Lots of people think that foaming cleansers are naturally irritating by removing natural oils from your skin. But that’s just because many modern cleansers use sodium laurel sulfate or SLS: synthetic agent. However, natural-ingredient-based foaming cream cleansers don't use this ingredient and might still be great for any type of skin, even one that's historically sensitive to SLS.

Foam cleansers like the Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser is a great example of this type of product. It uses natural sugar as its exfoliating agent, but it also provides several additional benefits. For instance, this cleanser can jumpstart collagen production in your face’s skin so it looks and feels younger and healthier.

It’s also imbued with other natural ingredients like colloidal oat, which is gluten-free and calms even the most sensitive or irritated skin. Furthermore, this ingredient can lock in moisture and restore your skin to healthier pH levels. All in all, it’s a great foaming face wash that’s hard to beat.

Suki’s Purifying Foaming Cleanser is another perfect example. It’s an ideal choice if you want to purify your pores and reduce the incidence of blemishes across your skin. It uses potent botanical enzymes to penetrate your pores and get rid of surface soils and dead skin. But it’s also bolstered with high-performance antioxidants to strengthen and rejuvenate your skin and skin tone. 

What Skin Type Are They Good For?

In general, foaming cleansers are great for oily and acne-prone skin, specifically because of their pore penetrating capabilities. If you want to get rid of acne or excess oil/sebum, you need a cleanser that can go deep in your pores and get rid of the gunk without too much effort. Foaming cleansers are perfect at this job.

As mentioned earlier, they can also be good if you have sensitive skin provided that the foaming cleanser in question doesn’t contain SLS.


  • Makes a tingling sensation
  • Can be great for oily or acne-prone skin 
  • Some foaming cleansers are good for sensitive skin
  • Provides a deep clean every time
  • Many can provide antioxidants to deeper skin layers


  • Cleansers with SLS can be bad for some skin types
  • A little messier than gel cleansers

Gel Cleansers

Gel cleansers on the other big type of cleanser on the market. They’re totally different from foaming cleansers in both texture and appearance; they’re usually thicker and translucent or lightly colored. They only provide a small amount of foam (if any) and generally affect a lighter cleansing experience. As you can imagine, this makes them a great choice for most sensitive skin.

However, milder cleanse doesn’t necessarily mean less effective. In a way, think of gel cleansers as cleaning out your skin and pores without stripping them away so much of skin cells or helpful oils. They’re a little less effective at cleaning out the deeper layers of your pores but can still do a great job without making your skin feel as raw or open as a foaming cleanser does.

Gel cleansers are water-based and usually have milder ingredients, deriving their benefits from flower extracts, a tree or other essential oils, and other natural elements. These ingredients provide extra positives for this cleanser category; for instance, many excellent products can imbue your skin with a fantastic fragrance or can help your skin’s color and brightness. Furthermore, it’s easy to find gel cleansers that can help balance your skin’s pH.

What Skin Type Are They Good For?

Although they don’t clean as deeply as foaming cleansers, gel cleansers can still be effective at helping with oily or acne-prone skin. Many gel-based cleansers have antiseptic qualities because of their ingredients. For acne that goes crazy because of bacterial elements, this can be a perfect solution since the antiseptic ingredients will fight the bacteria directly. Plus, who doesn’t want healthy, bacteria-free skin?

Of course, gel cleansers are perfect if you have sensitive skin, and especially skin that tends to dry out easily after being cleaned. Gel cleansers are water-based so they’re much less likely to dry your skin out even while cleaning it and can even help you maintain more hydrated skin over the course of the day. Some gel cleansers even have moisturizing capsules to help with this goal.


  • Very gentle on every type of skin
  • Usually contains good hydrating qualities
  • Most are made with natural ingredients
  • Can still clean thoroughly without being as harsh
  • Many can help balance pH or add color


  • Not quite as deep cleansing as phone cleansers
  • Not the best choice for oily skin

Which Should You Use?

Ultimately, that’s up to you! But here’s a few words of advice you can use if you aren’t sure how to find the best face wash:

  • If you've never used any type of cleanser before or are building a skincare routine from scratch, it's a good idea to start with a foaming cleanser, even if you have sensitive skin. Chances are that foaming cleanser made with gentler and natural ingredients, like stuff from Suki Skin Care, won’t irritate your skin the way you might worry.
  • Furthermore, foaming cleanser is almost always better if your skin can handle it purely because of its deep cleansing properties. If foaming cleanser turns out to be too much, you can always switch to gel cleanser and know that it’ll be fine for your skin while still providing a good amount of cleaning action.
  • You might also consider choosing a skin cleanser based on how it feels. Foaming cleansers are a bit harsher and feel more “burn-y” and tingly, but lots of women end up liking it after getting used to the intensity
  • Focus on a cleanser that helps with your specific skin care needs. For instance, if you have really oily or acne-prone skin, it might benefit you to focus on an exfoliant cleanser for super clean skin. These cleansers have ingredients specifically designed to take away dead skin cells and other debris buried deep within your pores. This will help you with your oily problems and, most likely, your acne issues at the same time.
  • But if you have normal skin and don’t suffer from excessively oily skin or breakouts, you can instead purchase a face wash that has additional nourishing or moisturizing elements. Cleansers that also have a moisturizer are great for dry skin because they require you to use less moisturizing lotion or cream later during your skincare regimen.
  • Lastly, be sure to pair your foaming or gel cleanser with other top-tier skincare products. Facial cleanser alone is not enough to get the skin you deserve. Instead, you’ll most likely need to pair the cleanser with a toner, a moisturizing agent, and a lotion or balm to soothe the skin after all is said and done. Fortunately, Suki Skin Care provides all these products and more, making it easy to get all your skincare regimen tools in one spot.


Overall, both foaming and gel cleansers can be effective cleaning agents for anyone’s skin. However, both types of cleansers have distinct advantages and disadvantages you should consider before settling on one. The right skin cleanser can make all the difference with your look and skincare routine. Know your beauty!

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