We get it: finding the right skincare products for sensitive skin can be a real chore. Whether you experience redness, dryness, itchiness, or just generally have a hard time taming your skin, it’s not a lot of fun and neither is trying to find products to manage it. Not only that, but your skin may be sensitive and something else, like oily or dry or both! For that reason, we’ve put together a list of our favorite cleansers for sensitive skin. From skin that’s dry and sensitive to skin that’s oily and sensitive, we’ve found a great cleanser for your sensitive skin.
What Makes a Good Cleanser for Sensitive Skin?
Finding a great cleanser for sensitive skin can feel like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s all but impossible to have great skin without a great cleanser and yet, it’s hard to find one that won’t upset your skin. That’s why it’s so important to know which ingredients to look for in a cleanser and which ones to stay away from. Here’s a short primer on what’s what:
The Wrong Ingredients
Sensitive skin can get riled up by almost anything–artificial fragrances, environmental elements, even certain dyes that are used in many cosmetics. We strongly recommend staying away from what we call “the nasties”– ingredients that are used in skincare but really shouldn't be. This includes things like parabens, sulfates, phthalates, etc. It’s hard to believe, but some skincare even include ingredients like formaldehyde or lead. Frankly, these should not be used by anyone, but people with sensitive skin really need to stay away from them.
The Right Ingredients
Just as there are ingredients that almost guarantee irritation, there are some that will work to soothe the skin and are great for sensitive skin. Here are just a few we really love:
- Green tea - Just as green tea is known for its ability to soothe the soul, so, too, does it work to soothe the skin. Plus, it’s full of healing antioxidants.
- Aloe vera - Aloe vera is such an effective soothing ingredient that you can literally take the gel directly from an aloe plant and apply it to your skin to calm any irritation.
- Glycerin - Glycerin is wonderfully calming on skin and can help alleviate temporary discomfort.
- Jojoba oil - Not only does jojoba oil work to balance oils in the skin, it helps soothe it when it acts up.
- Coconut oil - In addition to helping rid the skin of impurities that can aggravate it, coconut oil helps soothe dry skin as well.
1. Best Overall Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
Fleur & Bee: So Clean! Facial Cleanser
One of the toughest things about finding a great cleanser is finding one that cleanses the skin thoroughly without drying out the skin, but our So Clean! facial cleanser does just that. Made with 13 nourishing actives, it contains ingredients that are perfect for sensitive skin in particular. For example, aloe vera to calm, glycerin to soothe, and coconut oil to protect it. Formulated for all skin types, it removes dirt, oil, and even light makeup. Lightweight in texture, it won’t weigh your skin down but leave you with a clean, refreshed feeling.
2. Best Cleanser for Dry Sensitive Skin
e.l.f.: Pure Skin Cleanser
Having dry and sensitive skin is tricky because many cleansers are formulated to strip the skin of oil, which can leave dry skin feeling even more dry. Thankfully, e.l.f.’s Pure Skin Cleanser is made to rid the skin of excess oil and impurities without irritating it or leaving it dry. Gentle enough for sensitive skin, it’s made with ingredients like oat milk to nourish and soothe skin, niacinamide to help even out skin tone and hyaluronic acid to hydrate. We love it not only because it’s under $10, but because it’s also fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, cruelty-free, and vegan. And of course we love that e.l.f., just like ourselves, commits a percentage of sales to worthy causes!
3. Best Cleanser for Oily Sensitive Skin
Human+Kind: Wash-Off Facial Cleanser
If you have oily skin that’s also sensitive, you probably know how hard it is to find a cleanser that will cleanse your skin of excess oils without irritating it, which is why we love Human + Kind’s Wash-Off Facial Cleanser. Made for sensitive skin, it not only purifies but gently exfoliates, helping to remove dead skin and ridding your face of excess oil. Aloe vera soothes and rosehip oil helps to keep your skin moisturized, which in turn keeps fine lines and wrinkles at bay.
4. Best Cleanser for Combination Sensitive Skin
Youth To The People: Superberry Dream Cleansing Balm
The key to finding the perfect cleanser for combination sensitive skin is balance. You want something that won’t dry out the dry areas of your skin (while still providing moisture) and something that won’t make the oily areas oiler) making them more prone to breakouts. Youth to the People’s Superberry Dream Cleansing Balm is made with oil-soluble hyaluronic acid, providing hydration to the skin. Once this lightweight balm is applied to the face and activated with water, it becomes a “milk”, removing impurities and balancing your skin. Not only will it cleanse your skin, it will remove all your make-up as well as any SPF you might be wearing during the day.
5. Best Cleanser for Mature Sensitive Skin
Beauty Without Cruelty: Facial Cleansing Milk
This extra gentle cleansing milk is tailor made for those with mature, sensitive skin. Paraben and soap free, it contains ingredients like aloe vera, safflower seed oil to moisturize and help keep skin more youthful, plus jojoba to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. If you’re not familiar with this brand, it’s been around since 1963 and was one of the forerunners of the cruelty-free cosmetics movement.
No matter what kind of sensitive skin you have, we think you will benefit from one of these great facial cleansers for sensitive skin.
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