I will hold my hands up and say that I didn’t know about the existence of muslin cloths until I bought an item from John Lewis a while ago and received a free sample of the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish with a free muslin cloth. I haven’t used the cleanser yet, but when I misplaced my face cloth I decided to start using the muslin cloth. I developed my own personal preferences about them both but thought I would dig a little deeper about the difference between these two cleansing items.
Face cloths (flannels) are usually squares of thick and fluffy flannel material. I have used face clothes almost my entire life as they are generally (in my opinion) more well-known than muslin cloths.
Like everything, they do have disadvantages; since they are so thick, they tend to hold a fair amount of water which means it can take a long while for them to dry and bacteria can thrive under those conditions so it is important to regularly wash your face cloth. They can also be a little rough on sensitive skin but if your skin is normal, you shouldn’t have any problems with a face cloth. Also, I find that when I am trying to remove a face mask, face cloths tend to swirl the mask around on my face as opposed to take it off – I have to rinse the cloth quite a few times to get the mask off.
However, face cloths do have an abundance of positive features. They are generally a lot cheaper than muslin cloths so it is more than feasible to have a large stack of them available, meaning you can use one per day and wash them all once a week! Due to the flanneling material, I find they give a deeper cleanse than muslin cloths so remove dirt, oil and skin cells a lot more effectively. They can also be used for relaxation purposes – run a face cloth under warm (not scolding!) water, wring out the excess liquid and place over your face for a few minutes to steam your skin and provide a sense of relaxation.
Muslin cloths are generally made of a much finer cotton weaved material that provides a much gentler cleanse than face cloths. They are a bit more expensive than face cloths and tend not to last as long either – after a few washes, muslin clothes can be quite tatty and discoloured and need to be replaced. Plus, they don’t hold heat as well as a face cloth so don’t give as deep of a cleanse as a face cloth.
However, there are positives to muslin cloths as well; I find them to be much gentler to use around my eye area than face cloths and where the face cloth fails in taking off thick face masks, a muslin cloth succeeds and seems to grip the product a lot better to remove it easier. Muslin cloths are generally used with a Hot Cloth Cleanser, where you apply the cleansing solution to your face and then use the muslin cloth to buff and polish it away in circular motions. In addition, it dries a lot quicker than a face cloth so is a much less favourable place for bacteria and I find it is better to use for travelling than a face cloth.
Personally, I can’t decide between the two so I use both. I feel like using a face cloth twice during the day would be a bit too much for my skin, but using a muslin cloth twice wouldn’t be enough. As a result, I tend to use the muslin cloth in the morning when I am looking for a gentler cleanse and the face cloth in the evening for a deeper cleanse.