The Best Face Washes

When it comes to skincare these days, it seems that there's no limit to how many steps you can have in your routine. But regardless of how long your ritual takes you, washing your face is always a great way to start. Plus, getting all that makeup and dirt off your skin after a long day out and about doesn't just make you look better, it helps your cells feel better, too. Unfortunately, though, finding the right cleanser can take a bit of time when there are so many different options out there. That's why we've gone ahead and done some of the research for you to compile our top list of cleansers available today. When making our list, we looked at how well each of the products cleans the skin, what ingredients they use, and, of course, their price points. For example, if you're looking for an inexpensive face wash that prevents breakouts while it cleans your pores, then PanOxyl's foaming wash is the one for you. On the other hand, if you're willing to spend a bit more on all-natural ingredients that will still get all your makeup off, then consider the cleanser by Youth To The People instead. Check out the rest of our purifying picks below.

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

Purify and protect

With three essential ceramides in its formula, this cleanser restores your skin's natural barrier while simultaneously cleaning it.
Best Overall

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Believe it or not, our skin is designed to take care of itself. That’s why it’s so important to find a face wash that cleans the skin without stripping the oils that protect your skin and make it healthy. Well, here’s where CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser comes in. This gentle cleanser has some of the essential fatty acids found in our skin built right into the formula. Restore and maintain your skin’s natural moisture while removing dirt and grime from your pores at the same time.

Pros:

  • Though some of us prefer foaming cleansers, the foaming agents used in most face washes can actually irritate your pores if you’ve got sensitive skin. That’s why we love the smoother, non-foaming formula of this particular cleanser.
  • If you have a lot of scented ingredients in your skincare collection, you’ll appreciate that this face wash has a neutral scent, so it won’t clash with the rest of your fragrances.

Cons:

  • If you wear waterproof makeup, you’ll want to use a makeup wipe first before using the cleanser.

PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash

Not just cleaner, but clearer skin

This anti-microbial face wash not only clears existing acne but also helps prevent future breakouts.
Best For Acne

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For some of us, acne is a problem that we face during our hormonal teenage years. But for others, the stubborn skin condition follows us well into adulthood. Thankfully, though, you can now find face cleansers that tackle breakouts at the same time, and few products are as effective as this foaming face wash by PanOxyl. Other acne cleansers tend to just dry oils on your skin. But this face wash contains benzoyl peroxide, which kills acne-causing bacteria deep in your pores, helping to prevent future blemishes from forming.

Pros:

  • As many of us know, acne isn’t just localized to the face. Fortunately, this particular cleanser works just as well on your back, chest, and arms.
  • In addition to clearing up blackheads and bumps, this wash also quickly tackles any splotchy redness on your face, so you can feel confident leaving the house without makeup again.

Cons:

  • You’ll want to use special towels after washing your face with this cleanser as the formula can bleach fabrics.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Made for more moisture

Leave your skin soft and hydrated without dryness after using this super gentle cleanser that's designed for irritation-prone skin.
Best For Sensitive Skin

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Not all cleansers are created equal, and those of us with sensitive skin know this better than others. Though you’ll find a staggering selection of face washes at any drugstore, a lot of them can dry out and irritate your skin while they clean it. That’s why we recommend this gentle skin cleanser from Cetaphil for a more soothing scrub experience. Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, this face wash can be used morning and night, even without water, to purify and hydrate your skin.

Pros:

  • Unlike other cleansers that take a while to wash off, this face wash rinses right off, leaving your skin feeling tight and clean.
  • We love the gentle nature of this cleanser, which is as kind to your eyes as it is to your pores.

Cons:

  • The pump of the bottle may get stuck from time to time.

InstaNatural Anti-Aging Face Wash

For brighter, better cells

The vitamin C in this face cleanser tightens your skin while lightening dark spots over time.
Best Anti-Aging

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Despite their different names, most facial serums on the market today are designed to make our skin look younger. It turns out that there are a lot of different ingredients that can make our cells healthier and happier. And now, with this anti-aging face wash by InstaNatural, you can get some of those same components in step one of your routine. The vitamin C in this foaming cleanser helps to brighten and tone your skin while also supporting collagen production.

Pros:

  • Dark spots and saggy skin make your face look older, but blackheads make it look even worse. Fortunately, this face wash is just as effective at clearing out those stubborn blemishes as it is at brightening and tightening your skin.
  • When we say this cleanser is foaming, we really mean it. You’ll only need one drop to get a good lather going in seconds.

Cons:

  • For those with sensitive noses, you’ll want a different wash, as this one has a strong smell.

Youth To The People Superfood Face Cleanser

A green, gentle gel

With this all-natural face cleanser, you'll get that same clean feeling without any of the harmful chemicals found in other face washes.
Best Vegan

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Just because a lot of skincare products have hard-to-pronounce components doesn’t mean they’re more effective at cleaning your skin. In fact, many of those ingredients actually strip the skin of its own beneficial barriers. Fortunately, the folks over at Youth To The People think that you can clean your skin just the same but with an all-natural, vegan formula instead. This superfood cleanser is made from kale, spinach, green tea, alfalfa, and a heap of vitamins, with nothing else thrown in the mix. With this ingredient list, we think your skin will feel the difference.

Pros:

  • This cleanser proves you don’t need harsh chemicals to do a job well. Take your makeup off in one fell swoop when you wash your face, and save money on makeup wipes in the process.
  • If you’re worried about sustainability and reducing plastic waste, then you’ll love the 100% recyclable glass bottle that this face cleanser comes in.

Cons:

  • This face wash comes with a higher price tag.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I use my face wash?

This depends mainly on the type of face cleanser you get. If you’re using a strong, anti-acne wash, then you may want to use it sparingly so as not to dry out your skin. On the other hand, more gentle skin cleansers are designed for daily use — generally twice a day for maximum benefit. We recommend checking out the specific label on your product and then testing out the effects of daily use on your skin for a few days to find out what works for you.

Should I do anything after washing my face?

Though most face washes are designed to also moisturize your skin, a face cleanse can leave your skin feeling a bit tight and dry. So at the very least, we recommend using a light moisturizer after washing to keep your cells hydrated. Of course, if you have more steps in your skin routine, then feel free to apply toners and serums as you see fit.

About the Author

Originally from the New England area, Sasha now lives in one of the fashion capitals of the world: London. No matter where she’s lived or worked, Sasha has always made skincare a priority. She considers herself an expert in natural skincare and loves to share eco-friendly alternatives with her readers. Sasha’s goal is to help you sift through the vast array of beauty products out there so you can make an informed choice.

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Since 2007, TotalBeauty has been committed to helping millions of people find the right makeup, skincare, and haircare products for their needs. Our experts know what works best for every face shape, skin type, hair type, and more. They are here to share that knowledge with everyone looking to upgrade their beauty routines or try something new.