What is a serum cleanser?

Of all the beauty categories that see routine innovation, cleansers haven’t had a big shake up, really, since we all started to double cleanse. But recently the term “serum cleanser” has started popping up and Professional Beauty wanted to investigate. What is it and is it different and/or better than the variety of other cleanser types already on the market?

Biologi Cosmeceutical Skincare is probably most closely linked to serum cleansers. It says “A serum cleanser gently works to remove makeup and dirt and prepare the skin’s surface to receive the active ingredients found in nourishing serums. … Because the serum cleanser is more gentle, it can be used morning and night or as often as required without irritating the skin.” Hollywood aesthetician Shani Darden has also created a cleansing serum and she uses it in all her facial treatments. Trend Hunter says “Despite only being on the skin for a brief amount of time, facial cleansing products are being adapted with active ingredients that are commonly found in targeted serums. Creating serum-like formulas and consistencies boosts the perceived efficacy of these products.”

Professional Beauty Editor Ruby Feneley writes in our Luxury Issue that “A cleanser that leaves something on the skin seems counter-intuitive. In a surprise move, D2C beauty giant Glossier released a film-forming Cleanser Concentrate in April this year. The product is alleged to mimic the skin barrier by leaving a permeable membrane of amino-acids behind – something they’re referring to as a “skincare topcoat.” However, Australian professional beauty brands have been playing in this arena for some time. Shoshanna Eisner founder of Australian natural and organic skincare line QED says that rinse-free formulations integral to her skincare philosophy.”

A cleansing serum is a far gentler, non-foaming, soap-free cleanser that’s great for frequent, repeat use, contains actives and also prepares the skin for subsequent active ingredients in your skincare products. It’s skincare that’s meant to be washed off but does more than just remove dirt and makeup and the thoughtful actives and formulations

Biologi’s Managing Director and Dermal Specialist Lucy Macdougald says “We launched a serum cleanser because we wanted our cleanser to have the ability to do so much more than just clean the skin! Despite being on the skin for a short period of time and then being washed off, Biologi’s Bc Refresh Cleanser will continue giving your skin benefits long after it’s been removed. How does it do that? Well, it comes down to the active ingredients. Biologi’s cleanser contains a cleansing agent which also happens to have incredible active ingredients that can hydrate and nourish the skin at the same time. While active ingredients are commonly found in serums, our Bc Refresh serum cleanser happens to be a serum-like formula that both cleanses the skin and provides nourishment long after it’s been washed off.”

Because Biologi’s Bc Refresh serum cleanser contains only gentle ingredients, it won’t strip the skin of its natural oils. It harnesses the power of Soapberry extract which is a natural foaming agent that cleans the skin without drying it out. These natural actives were created inside the plant in a water-soluble environment and do not look for water to absorb, so no dehydration occurs. What you’re left with is cleansed, hydrated and silky-smooth skin. 

Not only does the product clean the skin, but the active ingredients also hydrates, build antioxidant protection and help to repair cells deep within the dermal layers offering results far more than simple cleansing. 

When choosing traditional cleansers, you’ll notice they’re usually marketed towards a certain skin type such as dry, combination, oily or sensitised. But not all cells were created equal. Cleansers for oily skin types tend to contain more alcohol which can have a drying effect and cause unnecessary damage to those cells which aren’t excessively oily. Biologi’s Bc Refresh Cleanser being a gentle serum cleanser is suitable for all skin types, even the most sensitive of skins. Because the cleanser contains fully active ingredients, each phyto nutrient works to simultaneously hydrate, nourish and protect every cell without the use of synthetics. Bc Refresh Cleanser is naturally beneficial for all skin types, including sensitive skin.”

Biologi has launched professional treatments into beauty salons, so now offers backbar sizing. You could be able to incorporate this style cleanser into your treatments in the near future. For now, not many brands make a serum cleanser, but as consumers become more and more informed and require more of their products and treatments, such active yet gentle cleansers look set to become more common.


Cleansers 101

What are the other types of cleansers out there and how do they work?

Gel Cleansers | For oily and combination skin
Clear with a gel-like consistency. Effective at decongesting clogged pores and removing excess oils.

Try Skinstitut Gentle Cleanser 200ml $49.00, available at www.skinstitut.com

Cream Cleansers | For dry and combination skin

Thick & creamy with moisturising ingredients – cleanse skin without stripping it of its natural oils.

Try Aesthetics Rx – AHA Cream Cleanser 125ml $59.00, available at www.aestheticsrx.com.au

Try Dr Roebuck’s – NOOSA Nourishing Crème Cleanser 100ml $42.00, available at www.lookfantastic.com.au

Foam Cleansers | For oily and combination skin

Lightweight cleansers that start out as a cream or a gel and burst into a foamy lather, which effectively removes excess oil.

Try Aesthetics Rx – Revitalising Foaming Cleanser 125ml $59.00, available at www.aestheticsrx.com.au

Try Dr Roebuck’s – KIBOSH Weightless Foaming Cleanser 100ml $42.00, available at www.lookfantastic.com.au

Miceller Cleansers | For dry and sensitive skin

Made up of micelles, tiny balls of cleansing oil molecules suspended in soft water. Attract dirt & oil, drawing out impurities without drying skin.

Try Skinstitut – Microbiome Micellar Water 200ml $39.00, available at www.skinstitut.com

Clay Cleansers | For oily and combination skin

Purify skin with their absorbing power, drawing our excess oil and toxins in pores.

Try Dr Roebuck’s – BYRON 2-In-1 Mask + Scrub 50ml $40.00, available at www.lookfantastic.com.au

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