The first step of any great skin care routine is cleansing the skin, but that can be more easily said than done given how harsh many cleansers are. Often filled with artificial fragrances and/or harsh chemicals, they can cause irritation, discomfort, and some serious dryness. To make sure you start your skin care routine right, we’re breaking down our favorite gentle cleansers, from wallet-friendly brands to treat-yourself splurges.
IN A NUTSHELL
Main Takeaways: Whatever you do, don’t skip cleansing your face just because you feel your current cleanser is irritating your skin. There are plenty of gentle facial cleansers that won’t.
Good to Know: All our recommendations are clean, vegan, and cruelty free.
Recommended Products: So Clean! Facial Cleanser.
1. Best Gentle Facial Cleanser
Fleur & Bee: So Clean!
So Clean! facial cleanser cleanses your skin to perfection without drying or irritating it. Full of nourishing ingredients like organic aloe to hydrate the skin, coconut oil and glycerin to help retain moisture, and rosemary extract to decongest pores and purify skin, it’s free of “baddie” ingredients like parabens and artificial fragrances. We added the perfect amount of pink grapefruit peel oil for its purifying antioxidant properties and to impart a natural and invigorating citrus scent.
So Clean! is also formulated to work with any skin type and gentle enough for all complexions. A pearl-sized drop of our lightweight gel cleanser will lightly lather and leave your skin feeling clean and refreshed.
2. Best Gentle Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
Doctor Rogers: Restore Face Wash
With only 8 ingredients, Doctor Rogers Restore face wash is ideal for those with sensitive skin. This plant-based, fragrance-free cleanser has a glycerin base to help lock in moisture and hydrate the skin at the same time. Additionally, it contains aloe barbadensis leaf juice, which is water-containing plant-made sugar and fats to hydrate the skin, as well as coco-glucoside and decyl glucoside, gentle cleansing agents made from coconut fats and sugars which gently remove makeup, dirt, and oil. With a gentle foam, it’s perfect for anyone looking for a mild cleanser that is gentle on those with sensitive complexions.
3. Best Gentle Oil-Free Cleanser
The Ordinary: Squalane Cleanser
This squalane-based cleanser by The Ordinary is clinically proven to provide a gentle cleanse that moisturizes without the use of oils. Plant-based squalane hydrates and protects while dissolving impurities for the ultimate clean. It works well for removing makeup and is completely soap-free.
Not that use requires a unique technique. First, dispense a dime-sized amount onto fingertips and rub together to warm and emulsify. On dry skin (no water needed) massage onto the face, then rinse well.
4. Best Gentle Facial Gel Cleanser
Augustinus Bader: The Cream Cleansing Gel
Treat your skin with this cream cleansing gel from luxury brand Augustinus Bader. This cream cleansing gel isn’t meant to lather up like a traditional foam cleanser, but boy, does it get the job done. Formulated for all skin types, it visibly improves skin tone and texture and is highly effective when it comes to calming redness and irritation. It contains the brand’s “TFC8” technology (Trigger Factor Complex), which is “composed of natural amino acids, high-grade vitamins and synthesized molecules naturally found in skin.”
5. Best Foaming Gentle Facial Cleanser
Pacifica: Sea Foam Complete Face Wash
What is it about the sea that just makes us feel refreshed? If you can’t get to the sea, Pacifica’s Sea Foam Complete Face Wash might just be the next best thing. Able to take off dirt and makeup, this wonderfully foamy cleanser contains coconut water and sea algae complex to balance and brighten your skin. It also happens to smell absolutely delectable! Sulfate free, it’s made for all skin types. And at under $10, what’s not to love?
6. Best Exfoliating Gentle Cleanser
If you have sensitive skin, then you know that exfoliating can be a little scary. Many exfoliants are just too rough and can even cause irritation. Your best bet for exfoliation is using the power of enzymes to gently rid of dead skin on the surface of your face, leaving it amazingly soft. Try this cleansing balm from Glow Recipe. It smooths your complexion with natural papaya enzymes, while clearing away stubborn makeup, dirt, oil, and sunscreen. The result is softer skin and a more even complexion, all without the use of harsh physical exfoliants.
So, if you’ve been looking for a gentle face cleanser that won’t make your face feel like sand or irritate it, we hope that gives you a few options. Whether you decide to splurge or go shopping at your local Target, we’re sure you’ll find a gentle face cleanser that meets your needs!
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