Proper cleansing of your face is of the utmost importance. I use Skinceuticals LHA Cleansing Gel, as recommended by my derm. It is for oily/combo skin that is prone to acne, but is also great for aging skin. (At 24, I'm not quite aging, but I'd like to get ahead of the game and prevent it as much as I can.) This cleanser has lipo-hydroxy acid, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid. These acids unclog and decongest pores to help prevent breakouts. They also slough off dead skin to make the skin tone appear more even and fight whatever breakouts you might already have. Pretty awesome. I use it nightly to eat through my makeup grime. It's slightly foamy and doesn't leave a residue. This may seem like a splurge at $36, but a bottle will honestly last me about 9 months. It's worth every penny. I use my brush cleanser when using this product.
In the mornings, I use something a little different I like to gently exfoliate before applying my makeup. To accomplish this I use Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant and Eminence Stone Crop Gel Wash. The dermafoliant is a powder that I mix with the gel wash to create a paste just the way my aesthetician instructed. I add a couple of drops of water and massage it into my face with my finger tips until it all starts to dry up and roll off. It's icky, but boy does my face feel clean afterwards. Eminence is an organic line so I have to be careful with allergens, but both these products are amazing. Also, the cleanser is sulfate free as sodium laurel sulfate can clog your pores and create breakouts. You never want to use a brush cleanser with particles. This is way too rough on your face. Also, be leary of things with salt, sugar, walnuts, etc as they are very abrasive and can create micro tears in the skin. The dermafoliant is $48 and the wash is $38. The dermafoliant will last me YEARS and the wash is going pretty slowly too because I use just a bit more than a pea sized amount. I feel like both these products are worth it it also, but any gentle exfoliant will do.
Take home messages... Cleans TWICE daily. In the morning, exfoliate gently. At night, remove all your make up and use a cleanser with salicylic acid.