We’ve come a long way from astringent foaming face washes, stinging eye-makeup removers and thick cold creams. There’s no excuse to leave your makeup on when we have cleansers, in every form, that actively make us want to abandon our evening plans and prise ourselves from bed in the morning to clean our faces and achieve a glow that rivals that of the moon in the darkest of skies. Cleansers take the day away at night, and give you that clean-slate feeling in the morning – which is why they might be the most important product to invest in (after a moisturiser, and sunscreen, of course).

And what better time of year to start yourself off on a new skincare routine? Treat cleansing as an opportunity to clean, massage and nourish your skin, while using ingredients that will give you a squeaky clean feeling without leaving you dry, greasy or irritated. Get yourself a clean flannel and some hot water; massage your cleanser (gel, cream, balm or oil) in circular motions all over the skin, lifting and wiping any makeup away; use the flannel doused in hot water to wipe away excess. The results are dewy, clear skin, that is approximately one thousand times brighter than if you had half-heartedly dragged a face wipe under your eyes.

Of course, one size doesn’t fit all so we’ve picked our favourite cleansers – old and new – for a fresh start to your skincare regime:

The gel: Sisley Gentle Cleansing Gel with Tropical Resins, 120ml, £56 from Space NK

Luxurious French brand Sisley has got us hooked on their new soap-free gel cleanser. Unlike many traditional gel cleansers this one never stings, doesn’t smell clinical or leave the skin stripped (which makes it perfect for oily skins that produce excess sebum). The silky gel formula removes every trace of make up and leave us luminous.

The double: Pixi and Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse, 2x50ml, £24 from Pixi

Caroline Hirons is an omniscient skincare goddess and blogger, and the woman that gave (the bestselling acid toner) Pixi Glow Tonic its breakthrough. So it made sense that she would team up with Pixi to give us this new, oh-so-clever, double cleanse product. Combining a balm and a cream, the idea is to go in first with the balm and get that skin clean as a whistle, and then to go in again with the cream and, well, double cleanse your skin. It’s fragrance-free so great for those who find that an irritant, and contains both camellia and primrose oil which are great for oilier complexions.

The oil: De Mamiel Pure Calm Cleansing Dew, 100ml, £50 from Net-A-Porter

If any cleanser could elevate cleansing from the mundane to the sublime it would be this one, which gives ritual a new meaning.While not as heavy duty as cleansing balms, oils are ideal for drier skins that react badly to foaming or soap-based cleansers and they’re pretty good at getting rid of makeup too. Use this cleanser to unwind, massage into the skin and open your lungs to aromatherapy heaven. It’s called “pure calm” for a reason.

The cream: Tata Harper Refreshing Cleanser, 125ml, £62 from Cult Beauty

Tata Harper makes a mean cleanser, and this Refreshing one is no different. It’s aloe vera base makes it perfect for more sensitive or reactive skins, and like all of the brand’s range, it contains no nasties and uses natural ingredients. As a cream cleanser it probably won’t get waterproof mascara off but it’s so luxurious that this is may be one to use for your morning cleanse. The smell is fresh, the texture is silken, and it never leaves the skin feeling greasy.

The balm: Darphin Aromatic Cleansing Balm with Rosewood, 40ml, £33 from Look Fantastic

Cleansing balms are like the removal men of the skincare world: let them do the heavy lifting. Use a balm to get it all off, eyeliner, lipliner, pollution or just daily residue. We love this one from Darphin, which is good for all skin types especially dry skin, and which is enriched with ylang ylang, rosewood and sage oils to lift all pollution and dirt from the skin. Like all things Darphin, this balm smells like a holiday in the Mediterranean. It’s a classic for a reason.