Hybrids are everywhere: The freeway, the grocery store (tangelo, anyone?) and, now, in our skin-care routine. Melting cleansers give us the best of both worlds: An easy-to-apply gel makeup remover that transforms into a cleansing oil that rinses away as a silky milk.
"What makes these cleansers different from other oil-based cleansers is that they contain water (as well as water-based botanicals)," says cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson from BeautyStat.com. "The inclusion of surfactants and or emulsifiers allows the oil and water-based ingredients to blend together in the form of a gel... yet turn into an oil when spread on skin."
If the prospect of a thick gel and oily cleanser is making your acne-prone skin run cold, well, those feelings aren't entirely unfounded. Dr. Debra Jaliman, a New York City-based cosmetic dermatologist, says that due to the nature of these cleansers, they can aggravate acne further. These hybrid cleansers work best for dry skin, she says. They help keep skin moisturized, and don't leave your face with that stretched-out, tight feeling.
The ultra-gentle formula contains the brand's signature blend of skin-soothing willow herb; antioxidant-packed jojoba leaf; the product's namesake Tsubaki oil, which contains hearty amounts of omegas-3 and -6 that keep skin soft and supple; and moisture-loving rice bran oil.
If you're worried the blend of oils won't de-gunk your pores, think again: it also contains naturally antibacterial allantoin, which gently clears out pores without overdrying.
If You Want a Do-It-All Cleanser
It was the luxurious orange blossom scent that made me fall for Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel; it was the ease with which the gel-to-oil-to-milk formula took off all of my makeup (including some heavy-duty eyeliner and night-out foundation) that kept me coming back for more. Marula oil acts as an emollient that also melts away makeup and dirt, and leaves skin feeling hydrated, not stripped.
For Added Insurance in Your Anti-Aging Regimen
If you're the kind of girl who scours labels for anti-aging ingredients, make Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Melting Cleanser a part of your routine. The gel is packed with alguronic acid, which firms and tones skin, along with microalgae oil, a relative newcomer to the anti-aging game that keeps skin hydrated five times longer than normal. And the formula is soap-free, which means it imparts all these benefits while being extra-gentle on sensitive skin.
For Your Daily Dose of Vitamin C
Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Melting Cleanser is packed with vitamin C, rosehip oil and virgin cherry oil; these brighten, repair and hydrate, respectively. The scoop-able consistency is similar to Jell-O (If you tap the container, it bounces), and it luxuriously melts into skin, clearing away makeup without over-drying skin. After rinsing, a light layer of hydrating oil is left behind that feels nourishing but not greasy.