No two complexions are alike, and neither are facial cleansers. A face wash is one step in a skin care routine that’s crucial and not to be skipped over, and what you’re using to get the job done is just as important as the act itself. “Facial cleanser is the first step of any skin care routine and therefore sets the stage for all products that follow,” explains dermatologist Dr. Jessica Weiser of New York Dermatology Group. “Cleanser should gently remove impurities and makeup from the skin without stripping natural oils from the surface. Cleansing also helps to maintain proper pH balance in the skin, and allows for better penetration of small molecule active ingredients, and improved hydration by emollients.”
Regardless of your skin type, using a wash with the proper ingredients is key to effectively ridding your complexion of makeup, dirt, oil, and grime from the day. Whether you’re oily, dry, or have acne-prone skin there’s the perfect cleanser out there for your complexion needs, that won’t dry out or irritate your skin. Read on to learn what ingredients should be in your facial cleanser based on your skin type, along with our top picks, then get washing!
1. Sensitive Skin
Dr. Weiser suggests avoiding washes that contain added fragrances and chemical preservatives to elimate the risk of irritation. Instead, stick with formulas that contain gentle ingredients such as honey, lavender, and calendula. We love Kiehl's Calendula Deep Foaming Face Wash which goes on like a gel, but foams as you splash your face with water to rinse the day off.
Kiehl's | $29
2. Aging Skin
Not only will a face wash like Dermalogica AGE Smart Skin Resurfacing Cleanser that's formulated with lactic acid leave your complexion feeling squeaky clean, it also targets visible signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles and loss of elasticity. Other ingredients Dr. Weiser suggests you look for: glycolic acid, Bisabolol, and green tea.
Dermalogica | $36
3. Oily Skin
Sop up your complexion's excess oil and dirt, which can clog pores and lead to future breakouts, with a charcoal-based wash such as Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser. Dr. Weiser says that clay-based formulas also do wonders for your skin type.
Boscia | $28
4. Dry Skin
Parched complexions should look for formulas infused with oils such as avocado, rose hip, and jojoba for a dose of moisture. We love First Aid Beauty Milk Oil Conditioning Cleanser because not only does it remove stubborn waterproof makeup with ease, its nourishing formula leaves skin its softest yet.
First Aid Beauty | $26
5. Combination Skin
REN Skincare Micro Polish Cleanser is perfect if your T-zone is oily, but the rest of your skin isn't. It's packed with papaya, glycolic acid, and lactic acid, which will keep oily areas in check and grease-free throughout the day without drying out the rest of your complexion.
REN Skincare | $30
6. Acne-Prone Skin
Keep breakouts at bay with a cleanser that's infused with an acne-zapping ingredient like salicylic acid such as iS Clinicial Cleansing Complex. Other ingredients you should look for: glycolic acid, tea trea oil, and rosewater.
iS Clinical | $40
7. Normal Skin
For complexions free of any evident issues (lucky you!), opt for a cleanser that's pH balanced such as Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser. A pH balanced formula will wipe away the day's makeup and grime without stripping it of its protective barrier.
Glossier | $18