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Skincare is not one-size-fits-all. That’s why choosing a face wash can be incredibly fraught and intimidating. We did the research to make the process easier for you, curating a list of our 15 favorite cleansers for all skin types.
To start, know what your skincare needs are. Do you tend to be dry? Oily? Maybe you’re looking to control acne without irritating your sensitive skin. Once you know what you’re looking for, choose a face wash that addresses your concerns. If you’re not really sure, a gentle cleanser for all skin types is a safe bet.
Read on to find your perfect match from our selection of favorite face washes below.
The Best Face Washes You Can Buy
The Best Overall Face Wash: CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
One brand you’ll see over and over in the skincare world is CeraVe, and for good reason. The products are developed by dermatologists, so whether your skin is dry, oily, combination, or just sensitive, CeraVe is safe to use. You’ll notice it’s a bit expensive compared to other drugstore brands, but you’re paying for quality.
This non-foaming AM or PM cleanser has a lotion-like consistency and contains hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin to help cleanse your skin of makeup, dirt, and oil without stripping it of moisture. It’s also formulated with three essential ceramides that restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier.
The Best Face Wash AM/PM combination: Clean & Clear 2-Pack Day and Night Face Cleanser
Price: $8.97 (2-pack)
This duo is tried and true, a favorite of those prone to oily skin. The morning burst cleanser contains bursting beads, vitamin C, ginseng. Think of it like a cup of coffee for your pores, sure to leave you looking brighter and more awake after use.
On the flip side, the night relaxing wash is made with sea kelp extract and minerals that wash away the day’s impurities, from makeup to dirt to oil. Both cleansers are hypoallergenic and oil-free.
The Best Exfoliating Scrub Face Wash: Clean & Clear Oil-Free Deep Action Exfoliating Facial Scrub
If you have concerns about exfoliants being too rough on your skin — cough, Kylie Jenner’s walnut face scrub — fear not. This face wash is gentle enough to use every day but powerful enough to penetrate your pores for that deep clean feeling. The oil-free formula is designed to remove dirt and oil while invigorating skin, leaving you feeling fresh and clean, without the dryness of some harsher washes.
As you work the exfoliating scrub into your skin, you’ll notice light exfoliation and a tingly, cooling sensation. If we had to describe this wash in one word, it would be “refreshing,” making it a great choice for your morning wake-up routine.
The Best Face Wash for Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser
If you have sensitive skin, finding a cleanser that your pores won’t object to can be an uphill battle. This cleanser is free of a lot of the known offenders, including parabens, fragrances, soaps, and sulfates.
If your skin is prone to dryness, the battle is more about striking a balance between cleansing and conserving moisture. Often, a non-foaming, unscented, creamy formula like this one is going to be your best bet. It also has glycerin, a moisturizing agent that naturally attracts water to the skin. This cleanser is gentle enough to use both morning and night, so you don’t have to choose between retaining moisture and removing dirt.
The Best Face Wash for Oily Skin: Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Face Wash
Price: $17.99 (3-pack)
This charcoal cleanser from Bioré is designed to naturally purify pores by drawing out impurities for a deep clean that’s twice as good as a basic cleanser. If you struggle with dirt buildup, blackheads, or excess oil, this wash can help you feel clear and unclogged.
If you’re worried about stripping away your skin’s natural moisture, fear not. The cleanser is dermatologist tested and provides the best results when used daily.
The Best Face Wash for Acne-Prone, Sensitive Skin: Acne Face Wash with Benzoyl Peroxide by the makers of Differin Gel
If your skin is both acne-prone and sensitive, it can feel impossible to find the right face wash. Acne-fighting formulas are too harsh, while soothing formulas are ineffective. This cleanser from Differin is designed to tackle acne without causing irritation or dryness.
The acne-fighting ingredient is benzoyl peroxide. In larger quantities, this ingredient can be very harsh on the skin. However, while some acne washes contain 10% benzoyl peroxide, this Differin cleanser is just as effective using half that amount. That way, you can strike a balance between acne control and moisturization.
The Best Cruelty-Free Face Wash: Bliss Rose Gold Rescue Cleanser Gentle Foaming Face Wash
While we’re giving out superlatives, we should give this one “most attractive” as well. Made of premium ingredients including rose flower water, colloidal gold, willow bark extract, and rose gold shimmer. But it’s not just a pretty face — It’s free of parabens, phthalates, SLS, and more. As a bonus, it’s PETA-certified, cruelty-free, and dermatologist tested.
Not to mention, it smells amazing. The foaming cleanser smells like roses, yet is powerful enough to remove dirt, makeup, and oil without drying or irritating skin.
The Best Brightening Face Wash: Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Exfoliating Daily Facial Scrub
Dullness isn’t the worst skin problem to have, but it’s nice to feel brighter and not be weighed down by dead skin. The key to brightness is light exfoliation, but you have to be careful about scrubbing away your skin’s natural moisture or creating micro-abrasions.
This face scrub is soap-free and hypoallergenic, and it’s gentle enough for everyday use, even for sensitive skin. The soy-enriched formula targets and removes impurities for softer, brighter, more even-toned skin that looks lit-from-within.
The Best Anti-Aging Face Wash: Insta Natural Vitamin C Cleanser
Wrinkles, dark spots, blemishes, and breakouts — They’re as unavoidable as aging for most people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reduce their appearance. This wash is designed to be used twice daily — morning and night — to increase skin’s clarity and tone. It’s also formulated with ingredients you can feel good about, including aloe vera, coconut water, and green tea.
You’ll likely see increased radiance after just a few uses, but advanced results take 6-8 weeks of regular use. If you’re wondering whether it really works, take a look at the 15,000+ Amazon reviews and a 4.5-star rating.
The Best Salicylic Acid Face Wash for Oily Skin: Neutrogena Oil-Free Salicylic Acid Pink Grapefruit Pore Cleansing Acne Wash and Facial Cleanser
This is another classic in the skincare industry. If your skin seems to produce oil quicker than you can remove it, this maximum-strength formula is a great choice. Beware, however: This is not for anyone with combination or dry skin. It contains 2% salicylic acid, which is powerful and can easily cause dryness.
On a lighter note, the grapefruit and vitamin C make this cleanser smell lovely, so you’ll look and feel fresh all day.
The Best Gentle Foaming Face Wash: Face Wash by Cetaphil, Daily Facial Cleanser for Combination to Oily Sensitive Skin
Gentle cleansers are great for any skin type, but some people just don’t like the feeling of a creamy, non-foaming wash. Sometimes, it can be tough to feel clean without some lathering action. Luckily, you can have both a gentle formula and a foamy consistency.
This cleanser from Cetaphil is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores, but it’s moisturizing enough to keep your skin from feeling dry. It’s gentle enough for twice daily use for all skin types — normal, dry, oily, and sensitive.
The Best Face Wash for Rough and Bumpy Skin: CeraVe SA Cleanser
If you love the dermatologist-backed formula of CeraVe, but need something with a little more exfoliating power, this face wash is a great choice. Rather than exfoliating with microbeads (which can irritate skin and damage the environment), this cleanser uses ingredients that gently break down dead skin.
The combination of salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and antioxidant vitamin D work together to remove dead, rough skin, while essential ceramides help restore and maintain your skin’s natural protective barrier. If you’re looking for a perfect combination of exfoliation and moisture, this is it.
The Best Face Wash with Sunscreen: Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Nourishing Daily Facial Cleanser
This face wash promises to remove 99% of skin-aging impurities, including dirt, oil, and makeup. The unique formula contains blackberry extract, which is rich in antioxidants to help rejuvenate skin and protect its natural moisture barrier. It also contains broad-spectrum sunscreen, which helps protect skin from sun damage.
Another fact you can feel good about: this face wash is clinically proven to help reduce the visible effects of collagen & elastin depleted skin. For those looking for a gentle, everyday cleanser to add to their skincare routine, this hydrating cleanser is a great choice.
The Best Cooling Face Wash: Neutrogena Deep Clean Invigorating Foaming Facial Scrub
If you’ve ever used a cooling face wash, you know how much cleaner and fresher your skin feels — There’s something so nice about that fresh, rejuvenated feeling. With this cleanser, you can have that feeling every day.
The light gel formula bubbles and gently exfoliates when slathered onto your face. It’s designed to be used daily, for a deep clean, and a fresh energized look and feel. So add it to your morning routine to put a little extra pep in your step.
The Best Enzyme Face Wash: EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser
This cleanser from Elta MD is the most expensive product on our list, but it has some interesting perks that stand out from the competition. Rather than using abrasive exfoliants, like microbeads, this face wash contains enzymes and amino acids that work together to loosen and lift makeup, oil, and dirt from your face. It’s gentle enough for everyday use for all skin types.
Aside from a silky smooth clean, other benefits include a 48% reduction in skin damage caused by pollution, which is a pretty unique perk. EltaMD attributes this to their proprietary, self-foaming technology.
Our Hot Take
Your skin is as unique as your fingerprint, so choosing a face wash is a big decision. First, know what your goals are. Are you trying to clear up acne, maintain moisture, exfoliate dead skin, or a combination of a few things? Look for a dermatologist-recommended cleanser that addresses your particular concerns.
If you aren’t sure, you can’t go wrong with a cleanser “for all skin types.” These will remove dirt, oil, and makeup without any unnecessary drying, which is why they’re ideal for anyone. That’s why we picked the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser as the best cleanser overall.
Looking for some skincare beyond your face? We recommend checking out Hempz’s Sweet Pineapple and Honey Melon hand sanitizer and moisturizer duo.
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