Finding the right facial cleanser can be a difficult challenge, as some detoxifying and foaming face washes can leave your skin unbearably dry or greasy, with unwanted residue or worse, breakouts. And if that's not enough, some overpriced cleansers can be a total waste of money, despite their very pretty packaging.
To avoid throwing out pricey products you'll probably never use, we consulted 13 dermatologists and medical estheticians to find out which facial cleansers they swear by — and they all ring in at under $20. Here are some of their top picks they recommend for all skin types.
"For my patients with extremely dry skin or a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, I recommend the new Dove DermaSeries Dry Skin Relief gentle cleansing face wash," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Evan Rieder. "The creamy, oil-based cleanser is non-foaming and ultra-gentle. It removes impurities without stripping skin and improves skin texture, making it great for daily use."
"Cerave has two facial cleansers: a hydrating one for dry, sensitive skin and a foaming one for normal to oily and combination skin," says Dr. Toral Patel, Chicago's top dermatologist and founder of D&A Dermatology. "Both of these non-comedogenic cleansers effectively cleanse the skin without overly drying the skin. They also contain ceramides to help restore and maintain the skin barrier. I recommend using twice a day to cleanse the face."
"If you have a dull complexion, look for cleansers that help brighten the skin," says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD. "This one contains a soy complex that has been shown to lighten dark spots. To use properly, sing the alphabet, then rinse off to be sure it has enough time to set on the skin and do its job."
"This is a gentle cleanser that works great for those with sensitive skin," says Dr. Gary Goldenberg of Goldenberg Dermatology. "I recommend using lukewarm water to wet the skin and then work the cleanser in a clockwise and then counterclockwise direction. Remember to treat skin gently and not scrub."