Facial cleansers are a mandatory part of a great skincare routine, but so often they seem to leave the skin feeling tight and uncomfortable. There are also so many choices, so how do you pick the best face wash that’s perfect for you? Well, do not fret! Now the time has come for you to shop for the best facial cleansers for every skin type, which you can find below!
In this article:
- Best Facial Cleansers for Normal and Combination Skin
- Best Facial Cleansers for Dry Skin
- Best Facial Cleansers for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin
- What to Look for in the Best Facial Cleansers for You?
1. CosRX Low pH Good Morning Cleanser
This simple cleanser has a cult following amongst enthusiasts of Korean skin care. This cleanser has, as the name suggests, a low pH that hovers around 5.5, which is perfect for all skin types. It has a blend of skin-soothing and acne-fighting botanicals, and is free of SLS and SLES.
Unlike other sulfate-free cleansers, it foams up a bit when mixed with water, and it does an excellent job cleansing everything. You can try it for yourself, since it’s available for sale at Ulta.
2. May Lindstrom Skin The Honey Mud
This powder is a two-in-one cleanser and mask, made with a blend of ingredients that can work for most skin types. Botanical oils do the job of cleansing the skin, while Halloysite clay purifies and absorbs oils. Unlike many other facial cleansers, this face wash is surfactant-free and totally natural, so a bit of the oil stays behind to keep the skin moisturized, although the clay ensures that it’s not too much. You can give this innovative cleanser a try by buying it from Net-a-Porter.
3. Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water
This gentle micellar water is deeply beloved by all skin types, because it’s super effective at removing makeup and other kinds of nasties, but it is also extremely gentle and hydrating. It does require more waste than other cleansers, since you must use a cotton pad, but it can be a great treat for those who need easy cleansing on the go, like at the gym or when travelling. It is available for purchase through Revolve.
4. First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser
This facial cleanser is the perfectly balanced option, with just enough foam and lather, without leaving the skin feeling dry. It is one of the best facial cleansers for those with normal and combination skin, thanks to gentle surfactants along with lots of nourishing fatty acids and balancing extracts. You can buy it from Sephora.
5. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
This is another drugstore cleanser with a cult following on the Internet. It hits all the important points: it’s the right pH, the right price, the right ingredients, and it simply works really really well. It’s gentle and hydrating without being overly creamy or greasy. It is fairly light, so for heavier makeup you might want to start off with an oil-cleanse. You can pick it up for yourself at Ulta.
6. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
The Japanese pioneered cleansing oil, and to date, this is one of the best face washes on the market. This oil cleanser combines nourishing olive oil with some emulsifiers, to ensure it will completely break down even very heavy makeup, but that it will rinse totally clean off the skin. It is light and moisturizing, and perfect for treating dryness and dehydration. You can pick it up via Dermstore.
7. Banila Co. Clean It Zero
This cleansing balm is a K-Beauty innovation that is creamy and luxurious. Think of it as somewhere between a cold cream and an oil cleanser. As it’s applied to the skin, the balm melts into an oil and totally breaks down impurities of all sorts. It contains plenty of nourishing and anti-aging botanicals, as well. It is available for sale through Amazon.
8. Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm
This exceptional cleanser’s punny name makes me appreciate it even more. It is gentle and non-greasy, and it easily rinses away along with a multitude of sins. It is fragrance free and super gentle, so it’s great for people with both sensitive and dry skin. It can be purchased through Nordstrom.
9. Boscia Clear Complexion Cleanser
Almost anyone who tries this gel cleanser from Boscia cannot help but love it. It is made for oily skin, but it treats it with gentle ingredient like willow bark extract, so it can work for anyone. It does a perfect job of gently removing makeup and other impurities, but it leaves the skin feeling clean and refreshed. It is available for sale at Sephora.
10. La Roche Posay Effaclar Deep Cleansing Foaming Cream
This creamy yet foaming facial cleanser is perfect for anyone who is seriously on the oily side. The formula is perfectly balanced, but it does eliminate more oil than some of the ultra-gentle facial cleansers on this list. Those who use it often rave about its astringent properties, which tighten up the pores quickly and efficiently! Just make sure to moisturize after using this cleanser. You can pick it up from Walgreens.
11. Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser
You can always trust Paula’s Choice to give us gentle, simple products that are perfectly formulated, and the job is done. This is the perfect facial cleanser for oil skin, made with ultra gentle surfactants to foam up lightly without stripping the skin of essential nutrients. It’s the perfect cleanser for someone with sensitive oily skin, or for anyone who’s finding it hard to break up with sulfate-based cleansers. You can pick it up from Nordstrom.
12. Drunk Elephant Juju Bar
Are you surprised I added a bar cleanser to my list of the best facial cleansers? Don’t be! This unique bar from Drunk Elephant is not a soap, but a gentle, surfactant-based solid cleanser that cleanses the skin without dehydrating it. It has very gentle exfoliating properties, and it’ll help cleanse most makeup (although waterproof makeup might require some extra help from an oil). It is available for sale via Sephora.
Many of us (especially those of us who have oily skin or acne) expect our skin to feel tighty and “squeaky clean” after using a face wash. In reality, this feeling is actually a sign that our cleanser is no bueno.
When the skin feels tight it means that it has been stripped of all of the things that it needs to be healthy, strong, and protected, like natural skin oils, and that our moisture barrier has become compromised.
This uncomfortable feeling means our skin has become rapidly dehydrated without its natural protection, which makes it more susceptible to bacterial infection (that’s right, it’s now more susceptible to acne!), along with sensitivity, irritation, and premature aging.
Instead, after you cleanse you want your skin to feel comfortable, refreshed, and even a little bit hydrated. You can rest assured that your skin will still be completely clean, especially if you’ve used one of the best facial cleansers on my list, but it’ll also be healthy and strong.
The ideal skin pH is between 4.5 and 5.5. At that pH it’s easier for our skin to function well, because it becomes an inhospitable environment for bacteria to survive. Any higher, and our skin can go out of whack – all kinds of infections, including acne, are likelier to occur, along with irritation, dehydration, and sensitivity.
Cleansers with a pH that is too high (anything over 5.6) are big culprits in throwing off our skin and causing it to misbehave. When choosing a facial cleanser, always opt for one that is at a low pH. Companies don’t tend to advertise the pH of their cleansers, but you can always shoot them an email to find out.
Photos via Sephora, Nordstrom