Cleansers are used to remove excess oil, makeup and debris from your face. Cleansers are used as the first step in any skin care routine and are more moisturizing and hydrating than face washes. There are many different types of cleansers: gel, cream, foam, oil, clay, powder etc. with each ideal for different skin types. Cleansers do not contain the ingredient sodium lauryl sulfate, a skin irritant and unlike, face washes, cleansers cannot be used as a substitute for soap.