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Best Face Wash

The Best Facial Cleansers

Everyone needs a good facial cleanser to ensure their facial hygiene is up to par at all times.

You might need a more specific cleanser if you wear a lot of makeup, work in a greasy environment, have sensitive skin, or live in a smoggy city.

How can you find your ideal cleanser? That's where we come in.

We've reviewed plenty of the best facial cleansers for you, whatever your scenario may be.

SkinCeuticals Soothing Cleanser

Best Overall

SkinCeuticals Soothing Cleanser is a gentle face wash for sensitive, acne-prone, or recently treated skin.

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser

Best for Sensitive Skin

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser is a gentle cleanser that contains no fragrance and only uses clean ingredients.

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser

Best for Women

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser is a super-gentle skin cleaning product that won’t irritate the skin or clog your pores.

Tatcha The Deep Cleanse

Best for Oily Skin

A daily gel cleanser with natural fruit exfoliant that deeply but gently lifts impurities and unclogs pores.

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Best for Detoxing

A best-selling 3-in-1 face wash that gently melts away makeup and mascara (without the sting!), removes impurities & tones for clean, balanced skin.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Best Drugstore face wash

A mild, soap-free face and body cleanser that hydrates and soothes skin as it cleans.

Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser

Most Cruelty-Free

An innovative jelly cleanser that removes all traces of makeup, excess oil, pollution and any other grime from the day.

Joanna Vargas Vitamin C Face Wash

Best for Dull Skin

A non-drying face wash that gently cleanses and purifies skin for a smooth and luminous complexion.

iS Clinical Cleansing Complex

Best for Dry Skin

This clear, lightweight cleansing gel is powerful, yet gentle enough for hypersensitive skin.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Facial Cleaner

Best Hydrating Face Wash

This daily facial cleanser for normal to dry skin gently removes face and eye makeup, dirt, and impurities.

La Mer The Cleansing Oil

Best for Combo Skin

This cleansing suspension transforms into a detoxifying emulsion of precious marine oils and pearl powders.

Philosophy Purity Made Simple

Best Natural Face Wash

America's #1 facial cleanser cleanses skin of dirt, oil & makeup all in one simple step.

Banila Clean It Zero Balm

Best Cleansing Balm

Designed with all skin types in mind, this skin-loving formula, completely cleanses skin and hydrates in one simple step.

Renee Rouleau Moisture Protecting Cleanser

Best for Makeup Removal

A unique gel-to-milk formula for dry, damaged and sensitive skin types to give the most gentle cleansing experience.

Vichy Normaderm Daily Cleansing Gel

Best for Acne & Pimples

Formulated with a gentle cleansing base to effectively cleanse without over drying. Leaves skin visibly purified & improves skin tone & texture over time.

Demalogica Special Cleansing Gel

Best Foaming Face Wash

Refreshing lather thoroughly removes impurities, without disturbing the skin’s natural moisture balance.

Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel

Best Gel Face Wash

Lightweight and refreshing gel formula. Removes excess oil and surface impurities.

Erno Laszlo Pore Refining Cleanse

Best Morning Cleanser

A refreshing morning cleanse helps cleanse overnight impurities from pores while smoothing away buildup on the surface.

Dermadoctor Ain't Misbehavin Acne Cleanser

Best Acne Cleanser

A medicated aha/bha acne cleanser is formulated to clear and prevent blemishes and enhance your daily acne control regimen.

Eve Lom Cleanser

Best Balm Cleanser

A signature blend of four aromatic plant oils, the result is incredibly glowing, radiant skin with a smoother, more refined texture.

Facial Cleanser vs. Face Wash?

Want to know the difference between a facial cleanser and face wash?

The chart below compares the two based upon what they should be used for.

Facial Cleanser

Face Wash

Daily use is okay with a cleanser

Best for oily skin

Better for makeup removal

Harsher, but with more cleaning power

Hydrate skin

Foaming power for deeper clean

Formulated with fewer irritants

Usually not for daily use

Usually not exfoliating

Deeper clean in pores

Better for dry skin

Can use daily if necessary

Non-foaming

Not designed for makeup removal

What are the Benefits of Using a Facial Cleanser?

Using a facial cleanser is beneficial for almost everyone, especially individuals prone to dry skin or are exposed to skin irritants every day. 

There are three main benefits to using facial cleansers as a part of your skincare routine: improved look and feel of skin, removal of dirt and irritants from face and pores, and blemish management.

  • Improved Look and Feel of Skin

    Facial cleansers can do wonders for your skin regardless of your base skin type. For dry skin, cleansers can hydrate and increase radiance. For oily skin, you can use cleansers that remove excess oils or balance your pH.
  • Removal of Dirt and Irritants

    Facial cleansers use surfactants and other ingredients to grab onto dirt and grime and move it out of your pores. They can also help to dissolve makeup and wash it away.

    Recently dermatologists and researchers have come up with products that can grab dirt without disrupting the skin barrier, which is a significant accomplishment in fighting for better cleansers for sensitive skin. 
  • Blemish Management

    Cleansers work better than face washes for acne and blemishes because they aren't so harsh on the skin. They can remove the dirt from pores without removing all of your skin's natural oils, which helps to create a balance that prevents acne.

    Acne-prone skin needs a healthy balance of dirt removal and hydration, which means you'll need to look for cleansers that don't dry out your skin too much so that your natural oils don't overcompensate.

SkinCeuticals Soothing Cleanser

SkinCeuticals Soothing Cleanser

Calming, soap free cleansing foam with a high-concentration blend of botanical extracts.

SkinCeuticals Soothing Cleanser is an ideal cleanser for individuals of all skin types, but especially those with sensitive skin. 

It is paraben, sulfite, and soap-free, and is an excellent option for post-procedure skin. 

Pros

  • Built for sensitive and post-procedure skin.
  • Removes long-wear makeup.
  • Works for all skin types.
  • Excellent source of hydration.

Cons

  • Can leave skin feeling dry immediately after use.
  • Some customers report issues with pump sticking.

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser

First Aid Beauty Cleanser

A fragrance-free, gentle cleanser that effectively removes makeup, dirt and grime, leaving skin soft and supple.

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser is fragrance-free and pH-balanced, which is perfect for sensitive skin. 

It guards against environmental aggressors that could harm your face or lead to hot spots. It is allergy tested and free of harmful ingredients.

Pros

  • Free from alcohol, sulfates, parabens, artificial fragrances, and more.
  • pH-balanced.
  • Vegan and allergen-free.
  • Removes makeup well.

Cons

  • Smell is strong despite a lack of artificial fragrance.
  • Can dry out skin.

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser

Glossier Milky Jelly

A gentle-yet-effective creamy gel face wash for all skin types.

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser is a pH-balanced gel cleanser that you can use on either dry or wet skin. 

It removes makeup well and refreshes your face, but the best part is that it's safe for your eyes. 

Pros

  • Non-drying formula.
  • Removes makeup from a dry face.
  • Gentle on sensitive skin.
  • Ophthalmologist tested and approved for eye areas.

Cons

  • Doesn't lather.
  • Smell can be a bit much for some.

Tatcha The Deep Cleanse

Tatcha The Deep Cleanse

A daily gel cleanser with natural fruit exfoliant that deeply but gently lifts impurities and unclogs pores.

The Deep Cleanse is a daily-use gel cleanser that contains a natural fruit exfoliant to lift out dirt and impurities from your skin. 

This cleanser is excellent for uneven and oily skin because of the Japanese Leopard Lily and Wild Rose ingredients. 

Pros

  • Allure Magazine Best of Beauty award winner.
  • Cruelty-free.
  • No mineral oil, synthetic fragrances, phthalates, parabens, or sulfate detergents.
  • Excellent for normal to oily or just oily skin types.

Cons

  • Doesn't remove makeup well.
  • Can leave a residue if not scrubbed off thoroughly.

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

A best-selling 3-in-1 face wash that gently melts away makeup and mascara (without the sting!), removes impurities & tones for clean, balanced skin.

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser is a 3-in-1 face wash that is amazing at removing makeup, even mascara. 

It tones your face and creates balance for all skin types. 

Pros

  • Removes makeup quickly and easily, even around eyes.
  • pH-balanced for all types of skin.
  • Removes mascara well without stinging.

Cons

  • Contains alcohol and other potentially irritating ingredients.
  • Doesn't lather well to deep clean.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Cetaphil Gentile Skin Cleanser

A mild, soap-free face and body cleanser that hydrates and soothes skin as it cleans.

Cetaphil's Gentle Skin Cleanser is one of the best facial cleansers that contains no soap or fragrance. 

It's a basic product, but works well for dry and sensitive skin, especially for a drugstore price. 

Pros

  • Moisturizing for dry and sensitive skin types.
  • No rough exfoliants.
  • Works well on acne-prone skin.

Cons

  • Doesn't remove makeup or grease well.
  • Contains parabens and sulfates.
Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser

Drunk Elephant No. 9 Jelly Cleanser

An innovative jelly cleanser that removes all traces of makeup, excess oil, pollution and any other grime from the day.

Beste No. 9 is a great gel cleanser for removing irritants without stripping the face of too many natural oils. 

It contains no fragrances or essential oils and no silicones.

Products from The Drunk Elephant brand are always cruelty-free.  

Pros

  • Cruelty-free and vegan.
  • No essential oils or silicones to irritate skin.
  • Non-stripping pH of 5.5.
  • Multi-award winning product.

Cons

  • Can dry out skin.
  • Doesn't remove long-wear makeup.
Joanna Vargas Vitamin C Face Wash

Joanna Vargas Vitamin C Face Wash

A non-drying face wash that gently cleanses and purifies skin for a smooth and luminous complexion.

The Joanna Vargas Face Wash contains vitamin C to help brighten dull skin. 

The product is gentle and non-drying, making it a solid choice for individuals with dry skin.

It contains exfoliants to deep clean as well. 

Pros

  • Brightens and revitalizes.
  • Removes makeup well.
  • Acai and Goji berries balance skin texture and pigment.

Cons

  • Not ideal for all sensitive skin.
  • Contains sodium benzoate.

iS Clinical Cleansing Complex

iS Clinical Cleansing Complex

This clear, lightweight cleansing gel is powerful, yet gentle enough for hypersensitive skin.

iS Clinical Cleansing Complex is ideal for dry and ultra-sensitive skin types because it cleans and shrinks pores without stripping necessary, natural oils from the face. 

You can use it as a step in the process of a facial or use it for daily cleansing. 

Pros

  • Works well for blemish-prone skin.
  • Removes makeup thoroughly.
  • Excellent for freshly shaved skin.
  • No parabens.

Cons

  • The texture is a bit watery.
  • Can burn if it gets in eyes during makeup removal.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Facial Cleaner

La Roche-Posay Facial Cleanser

This daily facial cleanser for normal to dry skin gently removes face and eye makeup, dirt, and impurities.

La Roche-Posay hydrating facial cleanser works well to retain moisture in your skin by working with your skin's natural microbiome through prebiotics. 

It removes dirt and impurities while focusing on rehydrating your skin for a natural, healthy glow for those with normal to dry skin.

Pros

  • Excellent for combination or sensitive skin.
  • No irritants or fragrances.
  • Adds a glow to skin.
  • Works with skin's microbiome to moisturize and protect.

Cons

  • Doesn't remove makeup or dirt well.
  • Can sting on ultra-sensitive skin.

La Mer The Cleansing Oil

La Mer The Cleansing Oil

This cleansing suspension transforms into a detoxifying emulsion of precious marine oils and pearl powders.

You can use La Mer The Cleansing Oil on dry skin to remove dirt and makeup or with water for a deep, cleansing wash. 

It removes oils and impurities easily while keeping dry skin hydrated. This product is on the pricey side compared to others we've reviewed.

Pros

  • No parabens or sulfates.
  • Dissolves makeup when applied to dry skin.
  • Contains sustainably harvested giant sea kelp for facial regeneration.
  • Luxurious feel.

Cons

  • May not remove eye makeup easily.
  • Oily texture can be difficult to control.

Philosophy Purity Made Simple

Philosophy Purity Made Simple

Fuel your immunity daily with essential greens without chopping, or messy clean-up.

Philosophy's Purity Made Simple is a 3-in-1 cleanser that can help remove your makeup while cleansing your skin and leaving behind natural oils. 

It smells great because of the blend of 12 essential oils inside, but it is synthetic fragrance-free. 

Pros

  • 10-year Allure Reader's Choice Award winner.
  • Excellent for sensitive skin.
  • A little goes a long way, which is excellent for value.
  • Perfect for an everyday cleanser.

Cons

  • Contains parabens.
  • May make skin feel oily with continuous use.

Banila Clean It Zero Balm

Banila Clean It Zero Balm

Designed with all skin types in mind, this skin-loving formula, completely cleanses skin and hydrates in one simple step.

The Banila Clean It Zero Balm hydrates skin as it cleanses impurities and removes stubborn makeup. 

It is an excellent part of a double cleansing routine, which means you shouldn't expect perfection using only the balm, but it does its job of hydrating and removing grime very well. 

Pros

  • Ultra-hydrating formula.
  • Contains no parabens, sulfates, alcohol, artificial colors, mineral oil, or microplastics.
  • Hypoallergenic formula.
  • Vitamin E heals skin while Vitamin C increases glow.

Cons

  • Scent can be a bit strong for some.
  • Not ideal for sensitive skin.

Renee Rouleau Moisture Protecting Cleanser

Renee Rouleau Cleanser

A unique gel-to-milk formula for dry, damaged and sensitive skin types to give the most gentle cleansing experience.

The Renee Rouleau Moisture Protecting cleanser is an excellent option for dry and sensitive skin. 

It's also good for aging skin since it keeps necessary moisture barriers intact without skimping on makeup and dirt removal.

You can even use this as a gentle shave gel, which is a nice additional feature. 

Pros

  • Cruelty-free.
  • Contains no dyes, gluten, synthetic fragrances, parabens, or sulfates.
  • Lightly scented with natural cucumber and melon.
  • Contains Aloe Vera for soothing hydration.

Cons

  • Can dry out skin.
  • Not ideal for oily or combination skin.

Vichy Normaderm Daily Cleansing Gel

Vichy Normaderm Gel Cleanser

Deep cleansing gel for oily & acne-prone skin. Purifies skin and unclogs pores without dryness or irritation.

Oily skin and acne are no match for Vichy Normaderm Gel Cleanser

This product deeply cleanses pores without creating dry spots or irritating sensitive skin.

It contains a gentle exfoliant to encourage the removal of dirt and grime from deep and clogged pores. 

Pros

  • Paraben-free.
  • Hypoallergenic formula.
  • Controls shine on oily and combo skin.

Cons

  • Can dry out already dry or combination skin.
  • Not ideal for daily use.

Demalogica Special Cleansing Gel

Dermalogica Cleansing Gel

Refreshing lather thoroughly removes impurities, without disturbing the skin’s natural moisture balance.

Demalogica's Special Cleansing Gel removes impurities without removing too much hydration from your face or leaving you feeling tight. 

It's a soap-free foaming cleanser, which is good for sensitive skin. It is a lightweight and mild formula that works well for everyday use. 

Pros

  • Vegan and cruelty-free.
  • Free from artificial fragrances and dyes.
  • Calms skin while it removes impurities.
  • Soap-free.

Cons

  • Recent formula change has customers questioning the effectiveness.
  • Doesn't remove makeup well.

Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel

Mario Badescu Cleansing Gel

Lightweight and refreshing gel formula. Removes excess oil and surface impurities.

Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel face wash is an excellent formula for all skin types. 

It keeps your face hydrated while eliminating the impurities that can cause breakouts and irritation.

This is a daily cleanser that is so gentle you can use it twice a day. 

Pros

  • Balances out combination skin well.
  • Fresh, invigorating scent.
  • Increases skin's radiance and glow.
  • Gentle formula for sensitive skin.

Cons

  • Doesn't remove makeup well.
  • Won't necessarily clear existing breakouts or acne.

Erno Laszlo Pore Refining Cleanse

Erno Laszlo Pore Refining Cleanse

A refreshing morning cleanse helps cleanse overnight impurities from pores while smoothing away buildup on the surface.

In this Erno Laszlo cleanser, Black Charcoal helps draw out dirt and impurities in the skin that may have settled in overnight. 

This product also helps to balance and smooth skin with a fruit extract blend, and it nourishes dry skin with kale proteins. It's an excellent morning-only cleanser.

Pros

  • Deep cleans without harsh ingredients.
  • Works well for sensitive skin.
  • Makeup applies smoother after use.
  • Light, fresh smell.

Cons

  • Can make skin feel tight.
  • Not hypoallergenic or allergen-free.

Dermadoctor Ain't Misbehavin Acne Cleanser

Dermadoctor Ain't Misbehavin

A medicated aha/bha acne cleanser is formulated to clear and prevent blemishes and enhance your daily acne control regimen.

Acne is no joke, but Ain't Misbehavin will help take down the oil and shine to leave a smooth and refreshed surface free of blemishes. 

This product is excellent for normal to oily skin, it is soap-free, and it's pH-balanced to help keep skin happy during daily use. 

Pros

  • Works well for an everyday cleanser or just during bouts of hormonal acne.
  • Hydrating formula doesn't make skin too dry with daily use.
  • Cream-like formula works well for sensitive skin.
  • Manages acne well on all skin types.

Cons

  • Ingredients in the product may increase skin's sensitivity to the sun.
  • Does not remove makeup well.

Eve Lom Cleanser

Eve Lom Cleanser

A signature blend of four aromatic plant oils, the result is incredibly glowing, radiant skin with a smoother, more refined texture.

Eve Lom Balm Cleanser removes long-wear and waterproof makeup like a champ.

It deep cleanses but doesn't dry out skin, which makes it ideal for multiple skin types.

This formula can help to drain toxins and exfoliate when used with a muslin cloth, as the brand recommends.

Pros

  • Leaves skin soft after use.
  • Hydrating without leaving excess oils on skin.
  • Removes heavy makeup with muslin cloth.
  • Light, herbal scent.

Cons

  • Maybe too greasy for super-oily skin.
  • Feels heavy when you first apply it to your face.

Ingredients to Watch Out For

Although beauty industry ingredient standards have improved over recent years, there are plenty of potentially harmful ingredients in skincare products that you should watch out for when you buy.

  • Parabens

    Parabens are preservatives that cosmetics companies often use in their products to prevent the growth of yeast, mold, and bacteria. Unfortunately, these preservatives absorb into your skin and can increase your breast cancer risk.
  • Fragrance

    Synthetic fragrances in beauty products are open invitations for companies to add any and all toxins into their products because fragrance ingredients aren't monitored by the FDA. Fragrances are often associated with allergies and immunotoxicity.
  • Sulfates

    Sulfates are surfactants that help to clean out pores, but they can also be dangerous to use. Sulfates are associated with kidney and respiratory damage. They are also known to interact with other chemical additives to create carcinogens.

FAQ’s

Below, you’ll find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding facial cleanser and their benefits, safety, and ingredients.

What Do Facial Cleansers Do?

Facial cleansers help to clean out pores while maintaining skin's natural oils and infusing skin with vitamins and minerals.

What Makes A Good Face Cleanser?

A good facial cleanser isn't easy to define because what makes a cleanser good for one person might make it a poor choice for another.

You should choose one that focuses on your skin type. You should also use cleansers that work for sensitive skin because they are less likely to contain harsh or toxic ingredients.

Is A Cleanser The Same As A Face Wash?

A cleanser is not the same as a face wash. Facial washes are often soap-based and are harsher on the skin than your average cleanser.

Washes focus on removing dirt and debris, while cleansers focus on balancing skin while cleaning.

Should I Use A Cleanser Every Day?

Typically dermatologists recommend cleansing at least once daily. Some cleansers are too harsh to use every day, so make sure you have one that will maintain your skin's balance with daily use.

Which Facial Cleanser Should I Buy?

Buying the right facial cleanser can be a struggle, so let's talk about choosing the right one for your skin. 

First, it's essential to understand your skin type.

Do you have dry skin, or is it oily?

Are you acne-prone, or do you generally have clear skin?

All of these details will make a significant difference in how cleansers work for you. 

Seasonal changes to your skin, your age, and how much makeup you wear each day will make a difference in which cleanser works best. 

Some people need two or three different cleansers as the seasons' change, while others can use the same one every day for years without trouble.

For dry and sensitive skin, you'll want a cleanser that is hypoallergenic, calming, and hydrating.

For oily skin, you'll need a foaming or gel cleansers that are oil-free, and for combination skin, you may need to try a few products before you find one that balances all your skin's needs.

Final Thoughts

Using a facial cleanser helps to balance your skin, clean out your pores, and reduce your risk of forming acne or blemishes.

Finding the right cleanser for you and understanding what to look out for is a challenge, but ultimately worth it for beautiful, radiant skin.

Check out some of the items we've highlighted in our reviews, and we are sure you'll find an excellent facial cleanser for your skin type and needs. 

Our top pick: SkinCeuticals Soothing Cleanser

SkinCeuticals Soothing Cleanser

SkinCeuticals Cleanser

Calming, soap free cleansing foam with a high-concentration blend of botanical extracts.


Tags

face wash, skincare


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About the author 

Lauren Gamble

I’m Lauren. I’m an author, mompreneur, and love everything that’s natural. On a mission to help thousands of women across the world achieve a healthy, happy lifestyle through teaching natural health practices.

  1. People often used plenty of things for cleaning the face. There are lots of creams and facewash are available in the market. But we should always use those products only which suits our face. All the list of facial products which you described in the post comes with good features. People would love them and choose as per their face.

    Thanks for sharing this information with us.

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