Woman washing her face

Woman washing her face (Photo by Miriam Alonso on Pexels.com)

Washing your face seems like a no-brainer, but with countless cleansers on the market, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. Do you battle stubborn breakouts? Crave a dewy glow? Perhaps you have sensitive skin that needs a gentle touch. Fear not, fellow skincare enthusiasts! We’ve scoured the shelves and 16 expert reviews to present you with the best face washes for every skin type and concern. From cult-favorite drugstore finds to luxurious spa-worthy options, we’ll help you find the perfect cleanser to leave your face feeling refreshed, radiant, and ready to take on the day. So, ditch the confusion and get ready to experience the power of a truly great face wash!

The List: Best Face Washes, According to Skincare Experts

1. CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser  
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser (cerave.com)

This CeraVe cleanser was the most common recommendation across more than half the sources consulted, loved for its accessible price and moisturizing ingredients. According to VeryWell Health, this gentle cleanser effectively removes makeup without leaving your face feeling tight or stripped. Reviewers rave about how it minimizes the appearance of pores and leaves skin feeling refreshed and clean – a win-win in our book!

CeraVe is a fantastic option for those with dry or eczema-prone skin. While it might not contain all the bells and whistles of some high-end cleansers, Byrdie assures that it gets the job done beautifully. This fragrance-free formula skips the harsh exfoliation and focuses on what truly matters: gentle cleansing and hydration. Hyaluronic acid and ceramides work together to keep your skin barrier strong and supple, preventing that tight, uncomfortable feeling some cleansers leave behind.

But CeraVe’s magic doesn’t stop at its effectiveness. USA Today highlights its affordability, making it a budget-friendly favorite among reviewers. A pump or two dispenses easily, and a little goes a long way, maximizing the value of this drugstore gem. So, if you’re looking for a gentle, effective cleanser that won’t break the bank, CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is definitely worth a try!

2. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser (Cetaphil.com)

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. In the world of cleansers, there are some products that achieve legendary status, and Cetaphil’s Daily Skin Cleanser is definitely one of them. Elle magazine spills the tea on this cult-favorite, calling it the ultimate grime fighter. Makeup, oil, dirt – you name it, this cleanser tackles it all without stripping your skin’s natural moisture barrier. Packed with good-for-you ingredients like niacinamide and glycerin, it gently cleanses while keeping your skin healthy and protected.

Glamour adds to the chorus of praise, raving about Cetaphil’s affordability and versatility. No matter your skin type, this cleanser plays nicely, leaving your face feeling clean and refreshed. Dermatologists and beauty editors alike have been singing its praises for years, and for good reason.

The Cut sums it up perfectly – this is a cleanser that transcends trends. Its gentle yet effective formula works on everyone, from celebrities with Hollywood complexions to everyday people who just want healthy, happy skin. So ditch the harsh scrubs and confusing concoctions – sometimes, all you need is a good, basic cleanser to achieve that coveted skincare glow. And when it comes to basics done right, Cetaphil is a champion.

3. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser (Laroche-posay.us)

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.

Struggling to find a cleanser that removes impurities without leaving your face feeling parched?According to Us Magazine, this drugstore favorite snagged the number two spot on Amazon’s best-seller list for a reason – it gets the job done beautifully. Makeup, dirt, oil – say goodbye to all that without disrupting your skin’s natural moisture balance or messing with its delicate pH. In fact, a four-week consumer study revealed that 94% of users found it gentle and 93% agreed it rinsed clean easily. Sounds like a win-win!

Vogue tapped into their expert network and discovered that La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane cleanser is a dermatologist darling. Vogue itself calls it “one of the most beloved face washes on the market,” and experts like Dr. Whitney Bowe rave about it. The Strategist breaks down the magic ingredients: La Roche-Posay’s famous thermal spring water calms and hydrates irritated skin, while glycerin provides a surge of moisture without clogging your pores. So if you have combination skin that’s prone to dryness or irritation, this gentle cleanser could be the key to a calm, comfortable complexion.

4. VaniCream Gentle Facial Cleanser

VaniCream Gentle Facial Cleanser
VaniCream Gentle Facial Cleanser (vanicream.com)

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. But fret no more, gentle souls – Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser might be your holy grail, according to Oprah Daily. This fragrance-free, sulfate-free cleanser is like a hug for your face, removing dirt and oil without disrupting your skin’s delicate balance. Dermatologist-tested and safe for even eczema-prone skin, it won’t clog your pores or leave your face feeling tight and stripped.

This cleanser is non comedogenic so it won’t clog pores or cause acne either. People Magazine also points out the unique lotion-like texture, which doesn’t lather like some cleansers. This might surprise some, but fear not – it cleanses just as effectively! However, if you’re a makeup devotee who rocks a full face daily, you might need a separate makeup remover to tackle mascara and eyeliner.

Forbes dives into the science behind Vanicream’s magic. This cleanser ditches all the harsh irritants like dyes, fragrances, and parabens, focusing instead on gentle ingredients that cleanse effectively without causing a reaction. Glycerin keeps your skin hydrated, while purified water forms the base of this simple, effective formula. So, if you’re looking for a cleanser that gets the job done without all the drama, Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser might be your new skincare BFF.

5. SkinCeuticals Purifying Cleanser

SkinCeuticals Purifying Cleanser
SkinCeuticals Purifying Cleanser (skinceuticals.com)

The SkinCeuticals Purifying Cleanser is a double duty formula – designed to both cleanse and smooth the skin. And it’s worth the splurge, according to The Strategist. This cleanser goes beyond just washing your face – it contains glycolic acid, a gentle exfoliant that helps shed dead skin cells. This results in a brighter, more even complexion, and can even minimize the appearance of scars and dark spots. But don’t worry about dryness – glycerin steps in to keep your skin hydrated and plump.

InStyle‘s testers experienced a newfound suppleness after using this cleanser, but noted that more dramatic results might take some time. The gel formula transforms into a light foam upon contact with water, reaching deep into pores to remove dirt and oil. Allure breaks down the science behind the magic ingredient: glycolic acid. This powerhouse AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) is an exfoliating superstar, targeting clogged pores, dullness, and uneven skin tone for a radiant, healthy-looking complexion.

Editor’s Choice: “This cleanser has been a staple in my skincare routine for years,” says StudyFinds’ Associate 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.”

6. EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser

EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser
EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser (eltamd.com)

EltaMD is a cult favorite for their sunscreens, but their foaming facial cleanser is well-reviewed as well. Struggling with redness and inflammation? EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser might be your new skin superhero, according to People Magazine. Their reviewers say this gentle cleanser contains bromelain, an enzyme derived from pineapples, that works double-duty to soothe irritation and buff away dead skin cells for a smoother, more even complexion. The formula is also oil-free and pH-balanced, making it a great choice for sensitive skin types – testers reported no irritation, even after using it!

VeryWellHealth points out a caveat, though: if you wear a lot of makeup, you might need to double cleanse with EltaMD to remove everything completely. This could potentially leave your skin feeling a bit tight or dry. However, if you prioritize gentle cleansing that combats redness and inflammation, this cleanser could be a game-changer for your morning and night routines.

Byrdie dives into the luxurious feel of EltaMD. Unlike most lightweight, foamy cleansers, this one has a richer, more viscous texture that transforms into a thick, soft lather. Testers raved about how it felt like a spa-worthy treat as they massaged it into their skin. So, if you’re looking for a gentle cleanser that delivers a luxurious feel and targets redness, EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser might be worth a try!

7. Dr. Loretta Micro-Exfoliating Cleanser

Dr. Loretta Micro-Exfoliating Cleanser
Dr. Loretta Micro-Exfoliating Cleanser (drloretta.com)

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. According to CNN Underscored, this luxurious formula skips the harsh ingredients that can irritate and dry, focusing instead on helping your skin detoxify from daily aggressors like pollution and makeup.

Health notes that soothing aloe vera and coconut oil calm your skin after the good stuff gets to work. These “actives” help accelerate cell turnover, gently buffing away dead skin cells and impurities to reveal a brighter, smoother complexion. Marine peptides add an extra layer of hydration, ensuring your skin stays plump and healthy. And for those nights when you crave a deeper clean, Dr. Loretta’s cleanser doubles as a detoxifying mask – just leave it on for 3-5 minutes before rinsing.

InStyle‘s testers were also impressed with the results. After rinsing, they saw not a trace of makeup, just skin that felt noticeably softer and more radiant. This cleanser is a multi-tasking marvel – gentle enough for everyday use, yet powerful enough to deliver a deep clean when needed.

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.

Guide: Best Makeup Removers, According To Experts

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.

Guide: Best Ways To Exfoliate

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.

Additional tips:

  • 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.

Bonus tips:

  • 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.


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. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

About Elsa Lee

Elsa is a freelance journalist, copywriter, and marketer based out of the Los Angeles area. She has been writing for 7 years.

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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  1. Priscilla says:

    Awesome going to try Cetaphil

    1. jack w samuels says:

      I use Cetaphil and it is really mild and it feels good and it leaves your face moisturized

  2. Catherine says:

    What are your 5 top choices for day and night moisturizers; particularly for dry aging skin.

  3. Wendy Lukacs says:

    Dr. Belmeur Bubble Foaming Cleanser is my go to.

  4. Nuzaibah says:

    Which face wash is good for extremely dry skin?

    1. Chibuike mahakww says:

      Yeah! Wanted to ask this👍

  5. Eunice says:

    Thank you I,didn’t know what to use on my face,and yesterday I decided to check with a dermatologist I haven’t been to see her as yet but I will definitely try the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. My skin is alway dry after washing and nothing ever seem to give me that glow I heard of or seen on other people’s face.

  6. KC says:

    You forgot NuSkin! We have been #1 in the world for the last 5 years and running! Using our Lumispa iO with ageLoc properties in the cleanser of your choice…normal/combo, dry, sensitive, oily and acne to choose which one is best for you!

  7. Jackie J says:

    Shiseido beats all of the category in skincare💖 truly nothing in whole world superior to Shiseido Japanese beauty products. Shiseido has various lines all consisted of skincare, foundation, makeup for every age and every skin type. For the lower prices other creams probably listed here.

  8. Pamela says:

    CeraVe is really good products and they have all the vital products you need for face and body at a very affordable price. I won’t use any other products. I have sensitive skin and prone to adult Acne. It has cleared up my face and it is soft and smooth.

  9. Chibuike mahakww says:

    One of my friend has been facing eczema due to dry skin, what skin care should be the best to treat that?