A clean face is the cornerstone of a skincare routine. Hence, it is unsurprising that facial cleansers are the essential tools in your skincare arsenal. Cleansing should always be the initial step in your skincare regime because it preps the skin for the following products you apply. Facial cleansers work to strip the surface of the dirt, makeup, and grime to prevent pores from becoming congested.
Know Thy Skin Type
Before you pick out the best facial cleanser for yourself, you need to know what type of skin you have. Using an incorrect cleanser for your skin type is a big no-no. For example, if you have dry or sensitive skin and use a detergent that is marketed towards oily or acne-prone skin, your skin may become even drier because the harsh cleanser is designed to remove oil from your skin. Likewise, if you have oily skin but yet use a product that’s too rich, it could clog your pores with gunk.
For Dry Skin
Dry skin lacks lipids (fats) and water. That’s why your skin may feel tight and flaky.
Look for cleansers that preserve your precious oils and prevent further drying. Cleansers for dry skin should contain ‘soap-free’ ingredients that are gentle and without fragrances. It should wash the grime away without effectively stripping the face of much-needed moisture.
Best cleanser type: Cream- or milk-based cleansers
Best ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, glycerine, ceramides
Avoid this ingredient: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) – it strips and dries the skin
The rule of thumb is “ More Lather, More Drying. Less Lather, Less Drying.”
For Oily Skin
Oily skin overproduces sebum and is more prone to breakouts. You need a cleanser that fights blemishes before they begin. By removing excess sebum, you can combat oiliness and breakouts. Hence, you need a cleanser with ingredients that can penetrate your pores and eliminate pore-clogging impurities.
Best cleanser type: Gel or foaming cleansers that are non-comedogenic
Best ingredients: Salicylic acid (unclog pores), benzoyl peroxide (attacks p. acne bacteria), glycolic acid (gentle exfoliant)
If you live in a humid climate, zinc soap could also help with fungal acne – but make sure it does not contain comedogenic ingredients like cocoa butter.
For Combination Skin
You may have an oily T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin), whereas the other parts might be dry or normal.
Use a mild cleanser that isn’t too harsh on the skin and doesn’t remove much sebum. If your skin feels tight after cleansing, it’s a sign that the cleanser might be too harsh for you.
Best cleanser type: Gel or cream cleanser
For Sensitive Skin
If you have a thinner outer skin which is easily irritated and reacts readily, then you need to use mild and gentle cleansers.
Look for: Hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, soap-free
Best ingredients: Natural (organic) emollients
Do You Need More Than One Cleanser?
Even when you correctly determine your skin type and appropriate cleanser, there are circumstances where you may need to use a different formula. Seasonal changes can play a role in what facial cleanser you need. Those with oily skin might experience more dryness in the frigid winter months. The same is true in reverse; those with dry skin can experience excess oil in the summer heat.
Making a Match
Now that understand your skin type, you can begin to narrow down your search for a facial cleanser. Read the labels – most facial cleansers advertise upfront what kind of skin and concerns they are best suited.
To remove the guessing game, we created an ultimate guide for the best face cleansers for all skin types and concerns.
|Best for Aging Skin|
Peter Thomas Roth
|Best for Deep Cleansing|
|Best for Dry Skin|
|Best for Acne-Prone Skin|
|Best Cleansing Brush|
Clarisonic Mia Smart Sonic Facial
Best for aging skin
Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel
Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel is a product made for aging skin that will make your skin appear more youthful. This gel is formulated to remove dead skin cells and dirt from our face, leaving a more youthful appearance.
The main selling point of this gel is the fact that it’s full of natural ingredients. For example, glycolic acid is a critical ingredient in its formula. Besides glycolic, it also contains salicylic acid. These two acids are well-known fighters against acne; they remove all the extra oil and dirt sitting on top of our face.
Moreover, this product is genuinely filled with anti-aging ingredients. Besides the glycolic and salicylic acids, there is arginine. Amino acid L-arginine is believed to be a ˝magic bullet˝ for our health. The potent combination of these three ingredients will increase cell turnover and help diminish wrinkles.
This is an oil-free gel that foams nicely. If our skin is normal or oily, we should use it every day. Otherwise, we should use it only two times a week. The potent combination of acids could irritate sensitive skin. Additionally, Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleanse has Quaternium-15, a popular preservative, and a known irritant. If the skin becomes irritated, it is essential to stop the use and consult a professional.
Finally, the gel also contains alpha-hydroxy acids that make our skin more susceptible to sun damage. So, it is best to regularly wear sunscreen and stay out of the sun if we decide to use it.
This powerful anti-aging cleanser is easily accessible from the company’s website or other online beauty websites.
Best for deep cleansing
iS CLINICAL cleansing complex
The iS Clinical cleansing complex is excellent for gentle cleansing and is well tolerated by most people. However, it is particularly useful for sensitive skin.
It is formulated to slough off dead skin cells without irritation. Other skin care lines, like Obagi or Paula’s Choice, can be quite harsh to the skin. However, the iS Clinical cleansing complex is very gentle but still strong enough to leave your face feeling completely clean.
Often, cleansers will have alpha-hydroxy acids in their formula. While powerful, these ingredients can be very irritating to the skin. Furthermore, these acids can leave our skin red and flaky, and with prolonged use, they can trigger and aggravate acne.
Still, this product is a good option for people with sensitive skin who have to pick skin care products with the utmost care, but again, want immaculate results and high-quality formulas. It’s an ideal choice for teenagers who have to deal with hormonal skin because it’s both gentle and powerful. Also, adults can thrive by using this product as well, as it is a powerful tool in combating adult acne.
All in all, people who want to try a “natural” cleanser should consider TheiS Clinical cleansing complex since it has a more clean formulation. It doesn’t have any added synthetic acids. What’s more, this product is a great choice when we want a cleanser with anti-aging properties.
Best for dry skin
Cerave Hydrating Face Wash
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser will gently cleanse our face, even though it’s not the most exciting product on the market. It gets the job done, and more importantly, it’s the best option for dry skin.
While its formula is quite similar to the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion, these two products differ when it comes to three ingredients — Polyoxyl 40 Stearate, glyceryl monostearate, and stearyl alcohol.
The CeraVe hydrating face wash is filled with hydrating ingredients such as glycerin( “the gold standard of hydration”), ceramides, and hyaluronic acid. However, since all those ingredients get rinsed off, it isn’t known whether the cleanser adds any moisture to our skin. Furthermore, while it’s gentle and fragrance-free, it does have stearyl alcohol and Cetearyl alcohol, which are fatty alcohols that may irritate people with, particularly sensitive skin.
Also, CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser does contain parabens, which are the ingredients that preserve the cleanser and the integrity of its structure. This is especially important if we keep our cleanser in a wet place, like a shower.
Even though it is promoted as an effective makeup remover, it isn’t an ideal choice for those who enjoy a heavier makeup look. Therefore, it won’t be as effective as an oil cleanser. Another issue that users seem to have is that the texture of this cleanser isn’t as sturdy as is the case with some other cleansers. This gel melts into the skin and doesn’t leave our skin feeling “squeaky clean.”
Best for acne-prone skin
Humane Acne Wash Benzoyl Peroxide 10%
This cleanser has the power to treat and prevent breakouts because it contains 10% of benzoyl peroxide, the best ingredient in the fight against acne. It can also reduce bacteria, inflammation and blocked skin pores.
However, we should keep in mind that sensitive skin won’t tolerate this kind of concentration of benzoyl peroxide. What’s more, since it’s best for moderate to severe acne, there’s a chance it won’t work on mild acne. Additionally, anyone with an allergic skin disorder should consult with a professional before use.
Nevertheless, this truly a vegan and cruelty-free product. It is also free from toxic ingredients such as parabens and added chemicals that produce artificial odors.
However, no fragrance means it doesn’t smell the best. The texture also isn’t ideal — after light washing, there’s a leftover residue that sits on the face, so it’s essential to wash everything off thoroughly.
To achieve desired results, it’s crucial for us to be consistent with use and make Humane Acne Wash a part of our daily routine. After applying a pea-size amount, we need to wait for at least 15 seconds before we rinse thoroughly with hot water and dry the face. Afterward, we should use an excellent moisturizer to nourish the skin further, preferably one that has sunscreen in it.
Best cleansing brush
Clarisonic Mia Smart Sonic Facial Cleansing Set
The Clarisonic face brush was the most popular skin care product for a lot of beauty influencers back in the day. Although its popularity has dwindled a bit, it’s still a great tool that can significantly improve the skin. By far, the most popular model is the Mia.
Clarisonic brushes are gentle and soft — the bristles massage the skin and remove dead skin cells, leaving the skin refreshed and smooth. With regular use, the skin will become even more supple and youthful-looking.
On the other hand, the biggest fault of this product is a complicated cleaning process. There are a lot of filters that should be regularly cleaned, and we need to be very careful and diligent to remove everything. Perhaps the most challenging part is cleaning the actual brushes. We need to wash them weekly if we want them to stay perfectly clean. Considering what we use them for, maintaining ideal hygiene of our brushes is paramount.
Any skin care enthusiast is undoubtedly familiar with the Clarisonic. Washing our face with this brush will make the experience much more effective and pleasurable.
Clarisonic comes in a range of models to choose from — Mia 1, Mia 2, and Mia Fit, to name a few. What’s more, the company is always updating their selection, and the newest product that has recently hit the market is The Mia Smart brush. Mia Smart promises to be the best cleansing brush yet, as it’s six times more effective than our hands. Thus, it’s probably going to become a real hit in the beauty community, though many of us are still quite attached to the original Mia.