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The Best Facial Cleansers

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🕚 Updated January 2023

Ready to take your skin from blah to brilliant? You need a good facial cleanser to kick off the right routine. Check out these recommendations for your skin care cabinet.

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  Top Choice For All Skin Types For Oily Skin Best for Dry Skin Anti-Aging Option
 
  CeraVe
Hydrating Facial Cleanser
Glow Recipe
Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser
Bioré
Deep Pore Charcoal Face Wash
La Roche-Posay
Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Face Cleanser
InstaNatural
Vitamin C Face Wash
 
Our SummaryA gentle all-purpose facial cleanser that adds essential moisture without stripping the skin and is well-tolerated by most skin types.A luxe face wash that gently exfoliates to reveal fresh, healthy skin.A deep clean that helps to unclog pores and minimize their appearance for healthier skin.Encourage cellular turnover while gently cleansing your skin with this fragrance-free facial cleanser.Brighten and boost collagen production with the inclusion of vitamin C in this gentle exfoliating face wash.
Pros✓ Approved by the National Eczema Foundation
✓ Gentle non-stripping formula with hyaluronic acid and ceramides
✓ Ideal for normal to dry skin types
✓ Trusted brand
✓ AHAs to gently exfoliate
✓ Can double as a face mask
✓ Blueberry extract and hyaluronic acid to moisturize
✓ Deep cleans pores
✓ Charcoal to detoxify
✓ Can be used daily
✓ Niacinamide for cellular turnover
✓ Hyaluronic acid to hydrate
✓ Ideal for normal to dry skin types
✓ Vitamin C boosts collagen production
✓ Green tea antioxidants protects against environmental stressors
✓ Aloe vera and coconut water hydrate
Cons✗ May not be as effective for those with oily or acne-prone skin✗ Expensive✗ Contains parabens and SLS✗ Non-foaming texture may not appeal to all✗ Vitamin C is an active ingredient that may not interact well with other select active ingredients
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The Best Facial Cleansers

Young girl washing her face with soap.
Makistock/Shutterstock.com

Buying Guide for Facial Cleansers

Cheerful black female model applies foaming facial cleanser.
Cast Of Thousands/Shutterstock.com

Why buy a facial cleanser?

Facial cleansers are a key part of anyone’s skin care routine. They purify, hydrate, remove makeup, and soothe various facial skin types. The skin on your face is delicate and may not react well to some body washes and soaps which can strip essential moisture from your skin. Additionally, sometimes the skin concerns you have on your body are different than those on your face. So, a good facial cleanser can be targeted to specific issues to yield a better complexion.

What should you consider when shopping for the best facial cleanser?

  • Type: Do you have oily or dry skin? Are you looking for your cleanser to provide an exfoliating, anti-aging, or acne-fighting function? Get clear on what you’d like your product to do before buying.
  • Ingredients: Facial cleansers are made from a variety of ingredients, such as charcoal, aloe, and even clay. Consider whether ingredients are natural, vegan, and specifically beneficial to your facial skin needs.
  • Texture: Whether you like gels, scrubs, or foams, there is a facial cleanser out there for you. Each texture has benefits. For example, scrubs are ideal for exfoliating your skin but should only be used once or twice a week, so you might also want a gel or foam cleanser to use daily. Choose the type that your skin likes.

Should facial cleansers be used twice daily?

Frequency is going to depend on the type of cleanser you’ve selected and your skin’s tolerance to the ingredients. For example, a cleanser for acne-prone skin might contain a higher concentration of salicylic acid, making it ideal for clearing out pores but maybe not ideal for twice-daily use. On the other hand, gentle, hydrating formulas are usually good for twice-daily use.

Our Picks for the Best Facial Cleansers

Top Choice

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

A gentle all-purpose facial cleanser that adds essential moisture without stripping the skin and is well-tolerated by most skin types.

Pros: If you’re just starting out at building a healthy skin routine, finding a good face wash that won’t strip your skin but is still effective at removing dirt, oil, and other grime is critical. CeraVe is a skin care brand based on science that is dermatologically tested and approved by the National Eczema Foundation to be gentle on most skin types. This cleanser is infused with hyaluronic acid to aid in moisture retention, along with ceramides to protect your skin’s natural moisture barrier.

Cons: While effective, this particular cleanser from CeraVe may not be a good fit for those with oily or acne-prone skin.

Bottom Line: For a twice-daily cleanse that effectively removes dirt without stripping the skin, you can’t go wrong with this CeraVe formula.

 

For All Skin Types

Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser

A luxe face wash that gently exfoliates to reveal fresh, healthy skin.

Pros: When you’re looking for a face wash that can also pull double duty to cleanse and refine your pores, this cleanser from Glow Recipe is a solid choice. Packed with AHAs to exfoliate along with blueberry extract and hyaluronic acid to moisturize, you’ll get a two-in-one treatment for your skin. Plus, this cleanser can also pull double duty as a treatment mask.

Cons: Glow Recipe is a fan favorite in the skin care scene. But it comes at a cost. This pick might be beyond the budget of more wallet-conscious beauties.

Bottom Line: Get the power of an exfoliant and a hydrating cleanser in one.

 

Pros: To purify your pores naturally, use Bioré’s charcoal cleanser. It contains natural charcoal to deep clean your pores with its oil-trapping power, which results in balanced purification of your skin. Dermatologist tested, it’s recommended for daily use to avoid build-up of dirt and to leave your skin feeling clean and tingly smooth.

Cons: Although effective, people concerned about harsher ingredients like parabens and SLS might want to steer clear.

Bottom Line: Clogged pores can encourage breakouts as well as make them look enlarged. This cleanser helps to clear them effectively.

 

Best for Dry Skin

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Face Cleanser

Encourage cellular turnover while gently cleansing your skin with this fragrance-free facial cleanser.

Pros: One way to get a gorgeous complexion is to help your skin with cellular turnover (the generation of fresh skin). Niacinamide is one of the main ingredients that help with this in this face wash from powerhouse skin care brand La Roche-Posay. Meanwhile, ceramides work to hydrate and protect your skin’s natural barrier. This pick is ideal for people with normal to dry skin and is fragrance-free.

Cons: Some people may not like the non-foaming texture.

Bottom Line: Get better skin one wash at a time with this pick that’s packed with niacinamide and ceramides for hydration and better cellular turnover.

 

Anti-Aging Option

InstaNatural Vitamin C Face Wash

Brighten and boost collagen production with the inclusion of vitamin C in this gentle exfoliating face wash.

Pros: InstaNatural’s hydrating facial cleanser is designed to be a versatile and vital part of skin care routines for all skin types. It has been crafted for daily use to gently brighten skin and protect against environmental pollutants in order to brighten skin and increase its radiance. With a unique formula made of natural and organic ingredients, such as Vitamin C, aloe vera, coconut water, and sugar cane extract, it can help produce natural collagen production and support cell turnover for improved skin texture and skin tone. In addition, it’s designed to prevent blackheads and breakouts since it is made with an antibacterial gel. Best of all, it provides exfoliation to minimize pore appearance.

Cons: Vitamin C can be a potent active ingredient. So, be prepared to adjust the rest of your skin care routine to prevent unwanted interactions with other powerful active ingredients like retinol.

Bottom Line: If you want to boost collagen production as well as gently brighten your skin for a natural glow, this vitamin C-infused cleanser is a must-have.

Final Thoughts

Healthy skin starts with a great skin care routine. Your cleanser is the first step in creating a regimen that yields the desired results. Picking the right facial cleanser that effectively cleanses without stripping is a critical start, and we’ve gathered some top choices for most skin types.

Dorian Smith-Garcia Dorian Smith-Garcia
Dorian Smith-Garcia is a diverse writer across beauty, fashion, travel, parenting, consumer goods, and tech. You can also find her work on Inverse, Healthline Parenthood, MindBodyGreen, The Confused Millennial, XONecole, Glowsly, and The Drive. Read Full Bio »
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