When it comes to skincare, putting your best face forward can be difficult. The beauty industry is vast and constantly changing, with consumers being bombarded with ads for new products on every social media platform. What’s important to remember is that skincare is a very personalized experience – everyone’s skin is different, so what you see online might not be right for your own needs. That being said, it’s always important to look for products that have ingredients compatible with your own skin type. For dry skin, you’ll want to look for moisturizing ingredients like glycerin, ceramides, or hyaluronic acid. Ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can be great for acne. For sensitive or eczema-prone skin, look for products without fragrance. Finding the best face wash can be a bit of a process, but taking the time to do your research and try new products will result in healthier skin!
A good face wash is the foundation for healthy skin. Washing away any makeup or other impurities decreases your chances of acne and uneven texture. Yet many of us may end up going to bed without a proper skincare routine or even washing our faces! A survey conducted by skincare company CeraVe finds that most Americans are not knowledgeable about proper skin hygiene habits. Many respondents admit they sometimes went to bed without washing their face. Others say they used hand soap, bath soap, or simply water. We can do better than that.
If you feel as though you’re constantly plagued by skin issues, you aren’t alone. Many people find that their own skin issues have an impact on their personal confidence. A poll conducted by Massage Envy finds that out of 2,000 Americans surveyed, 67 percent say that skin issues kill their confidence and make them self conscious about their looks. Although confidence is based on much more than appearance, healthy skin is a great place to start if you want an extra self-esteem boost!
If you have no idea where to start when it comes to choosing the right face wash, keep reading! StudyFinds rounded up the best face washes recommended across the web, including picks for a wide variety of skin types. We recommend starting the process for finding the best face wash for you by determining what type of skin or skin concerns you have – combination, oily, dry, acne-prone? Certain ingredients will suit your own skin type better. Let us know which one you use in the comments below.
The List: Best Face Washes, According to Skincare Experts
This CeraVe cleanser was the most common recommendation across more than half the sources consulted, loved for its accessible price and moisturizing ingredients. “It removes makeup with ease, but without feeling stripped or parched afterward,” writes VeryWellHealth. “We especially appreciate the fact that our pores appear smaller and our skin feels refreshed after each use.”
This face wash is your best choice if you have dry or eczema-prone skin. If you’re wearing heavy makeup you may need to remove it first, but otherwise it should leave your skin feeling clean without being stripped. “It’s not super fancy, and it doesn’t offer ‘extras’ like exfoliation or antioxidant protection, but it’s fantastic at cleansing the skin without stripping it or creating that tight feeling that many cleansers do,” explains Byrdie. “It has a creamy, slightly gel-like texture, and it’s formulated with hyaluronic acid and ceramides for hydration and skin barrier support which is excellent for those with dry and sensitive skin.”
“The CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is one of the most budget-friendly products on our list when cost per ounce was factored in. It proved to be more than a value pick, however, earning a perfect score all around in our testing,” writes a reviewer at USA Today. “Everything about my experience with this cleanser for normal to dry skin was overwhelmingly positive. The formula is easy to get out of the pump bottle, and because it’s so easy to spread, a pump or two goes a very long way, which undoubtedly stretches your dollar even further.”
The Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser is another budget favorite. Suitable for any skin type, this cleanser has no problem removing makeup or any other impurities on your face. “Any trace of dirt, oil, and gunk doesn’t stand a chance against Cetaphil’s cult-favorite cleanser,” writes Elle. “The formula is gentle enough for daily use and is packed with skin-loving ingredients like niacinamide and glycerin, which protect the barrier.”
“There’s a reason this cleanser is recommended by pretty much every dermatologist and beauty editor out there,” says Glamour. “Not only is it affordable, but it’s also great for every skin type. It’s gentle enough to use in a.m. and p.m. routines and has long championed now buzzy ingredients in its formulation, from glycerin (a popular humectant) to niacinamide (which can help regulate acne and minimize hyperpigmentation).”
“Non-offensive, readily accessible, and transcendent of both time and trends, Cetaphil’s gentle formula has rightfully earned cult status,” writes The Cut. “It’s humbly effective, works on every skin type, and is beloved by all: dermatologists, famous people, and real-life people with good skin.”
This is another great choice in gentle facial cleansers for dry or sensitive skin. La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser comes in a cream formula that contains prebiotic thermal spring water, niacinamide, and ceramide-3 to boost the skin’s natural glow. “Occupying the number two spot in Amazon’s best seller ranking in the category of facial cleansing washes, La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser rids the skin of impurities without disrupting its natural moisture barrier or delicate pH balance,” writes Us. “In a consumer study spanning four weeks, 94% of users said that the cleanser felt gentle on their skin and 93% agreed that it rinsed off easily.”
Vogue consulted their own panel of skincare experts and found this cleanser came well-recommended by dermatologists. “La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane cleanser is one of the most beloved face washes on the market—oft-recommended by the industry’s leading dermatologists,” writes Vogue. “Penzi names it a solid option for those with combination skin, and Dr. Whitney Bowe says it’s one of her long-time favorites.
“It also features the brand’s famed thermal spring water, which hydrates and soothes irritated, dry skin thanks to its antioxidant properties,” writes The Strategist. “Ami Dalal, a certified physician assistant with Schweiger Dermatology Group, specifically calls out the glycerin within the formula, because it’s ‘a wonderful ingredient that helps hydrate your skin without the overproduction of oil.’”
The most affordable option on this list is the VaniCream Gentle Facial Cleanser. This cleanser can be used on all skin types but is especially compatible for those who have sensitive or eczema-prone skin. “Formulated without sulfates, dyes, fragrance, parabens, or gluten, this option is a no-brainer for those looking for a gentle cleanse,” writes Oprah Daily. “It’s a dermatologist-tested formula that doesn’t clog pores and is safe to use on eczema-prone skin.”
Like other gentle cream cleansers, if you wear makeup, it would be best to use a remover first to ensure your skin is entirely clean. This cleanser is non comedogenic so it won’t clog pores or cause acne either. “To that point, it won’t leave skin feeling stripped or dried, and we confirmed that it didn’t cause any type of irritation or reaction when tested on sensitive skin,” writes People. “Just keep in mind that the lotion-like texture doesn’t really suds up or lather, and, since it is so gentle, you likely will need to use a dedicated makeup remover beforehand if you’re wearing a full face of makeup.”
“This no-fuss cleanser omits common irritants like dyes, soap, essential oils, fragrances, lanolin and parabens, which makes it ideal for people who have sensitive, dry or allergy- or eczema-prone skin,” says Forbes. “With purified water and glycerin at the top, the ingredient list is short and sweet and includes only what you need to gently remove dirt, oil, and makeup.”
The SkinCeuticals Purifying Cleanser is a double duty formula – designed to both cleanse and smooth the skin. It’s definitely more of an investment, but “Denton-Hurst says the main ingredient in SkinCeuticals’ Purifying Cleanser is glycolic acid, which provides gentle exfoliation to encourage cell turnover and lessens scarring and hyperpigmentation,” writes The Strategist. “And to prevent drying, the formula also contains glycerin, an ‘unsung skin-care hero’ that Viera-Newton says retains water and provides moisture.”
Though this cleanser is meant for all skin types and the active ingredient is buffered with glycerin for hydration, it might not be a first pick for those with very sensitive or dry skin. “When mixed with water, the gel texture transforms to a foam, which allows it to dive deep into pores,” writes InStyle. “Once rinsed and patted dry, our tester notes that while she didn’t see any major difference in her complexion, her skin felt much more supple.”
“Brendan Camp, MD, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology, says the SkinCeuticals Purifying Cleanser is a nourishing cleansing gel that contains glycolic acid, one of the best exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids that’ll target clogged pores, dullness, and uneven skin tone all at once,” adds Allure.
Editor’s Choice: “This cleanser has been a staple in my skincare routine for years,” says StudyFinds’ editor Sophia Naughton. “I have combination skin, so this formula is perfect for me. It helps to combat blemishes without stripping my skin. I also love how foamy the lather is, even with a small pump of the product.”
EltaMD is a cult favorite for their sunscreens, but their foaming facial cleanser is well-reviewed as well. “Bromelain, a pineapple-derived enzyme, is included in this formula; it both helps to quell inflammation and gently exfoliate for a smoother, more even skin tone,” writes People. “It’s also oil-free and pH-balanced, and while it does contain fragrance, we noted that it didn’t trigger any kind of irritation when used on sensitive skin.”
Formulated with an amino acid and enzyme blend meant to soothe inflammation, this cleanser is a great choice if you suffer from rosacea or redness. “If you tend to wear heavy makeup, you may have to wash your face several times to remove it with this cleanser, which could cause some tightness and drying,” explains VeryWellHealth. “But if you want a gentle wash that helps address redness and inflammation, the EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser is one you should add to your skincare routine.”
“Our tester loved the texture of this face wash, although it’s not exactly like most lightweight, foaming cleansers,” writes Byrdie. “While most foaming cleansers have airy, mousse-like textures, this one is definitely more rich and viscous and forms a much thicker foam. She said that it felt soft and luxurious when applied on her skin, noting that it was easy to lather and massage across her face.”
Those who suffer from acne will love that salicylic acid is the active ingredient in this cleanser, yet the formula is still gentle enough to cleanse without stripping moisture. “This gentle exfoliating cleanser from her line is free from sensitizing and drying ingredients, and helps detoxify from external elements,” writes CNN Underscored.
Aloe vera, coconut oil and other soothing ingredients help to soothe skin after actives work to turn over skin cells faster and exfoliate away impurities. “Dr. Loretta Gentle Hydrating Cleanser is a luxurious face wash infused with soothing Aloe Vera, moisturizing Sodium Hyaluronate, and protective Green Tea Extract that came out on top during all of our tests,” explains Health. “It features marine peptides for enhanced hydration and deep cleansing and the option for a detoxifying treatment by leaving it on the skin for 3-5 minutes.”
“What really puts this cleanser at the top of our list is the visible results,” adds InStyle. “Our tester says that after rinsing, no trace of makeup could be found. Instead, she was left with refreshed skin that was ‘significantly softer than before.’ And, if you want an even deeper clean, it can be left on for three to five minutes as a detoxifying treatment. Regardless of how you use it, your complexion will feel supple and look rejuvenated.”
How To Wash Your Face Properly
Washing your face is an essential part of any skincare routine, but doing it the right way is crucial for maintaining healthy, glowing skin. Consider the following to help you master the art of washing up correctly:
Step 1: Remove makeup (if applicable)
Start by removing all traces of makeup with a gentle makeup remover. You can use an oil-based cleanser, micellar water, or makeup wipes specifically designed for your eye area.
Step 2: Wet your face with lukewarm water
Splash your face with lukewarm water to open your pores and prepare them for cleansing. Avoid using hot water, as it can strip your skin of its natural oils and leave it feeling dry and irritated.
Step 3: Apply cleanser
Squeeze a small amount of cleanser onto your palm and lather it up with a little water. Avoid using too much product, as it can be difficult to rinse off completely and leave residue on your skin.
Step 4: Massage the cleanser onto your face
Using your fingertips, gently massage the cleanser onto your face in circular motions for about 30 seconds. Pay special attention to areas that tend to get oily, such as your T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin).
Step 5: Exfoliate (optional)
Exfoliating your skin helps remove dead skin cells and promote cell turnover. This can be done 1-2 times per week with a gentle exfoliating scrub or brush. Be extra gentle around your eyes and mouth.
Step 6: Rinse thoroughly
Rinse your face with lukewarm water until all traces of cleanser are gone. Make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies, including your hairline and around your ears.
Step 7: Pat dry your face
Use a soft, clean towel to gently pat your face dry. Avoid rubbing, as this can irritate your skin.
- Wash your face twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
- If you have sensitive skin, avoid harsh cleansers and scrubs. Look for products that are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic.
- Always wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher during the day, even on cloudy days.
- Be gentle with your skin and avoid over-washing.
- Consult a dermatologist if you have any concerns about your skin.
- If you wear a lot of makeup, you may want to double cleanse at night. This involves using an oil-based cleanser first to remove makeup and sunscreen, followed by a water-based cleanser to cleanse your skin.
- You can use a facial steamer to open your pores before cleansing. This can be helpful for people with oily or congested skin.
- Apply a moisturizer after cleansing to hydrate your skin and keep it looking its best.
By following these simple steps, you can wash your face the right way and achieve healthy, radiant skin.
You might also be interested in:
- Best Face Washes for Oily Skin
- Best Face Masks for Healthy Skin
- Best Facial Tanning Drops
- Best Face Moisturizers
- Best Face Serum
- USA Today
- The Cut
- The Strategist
- Oprah Daily
- CNN Underscored
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations