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 so 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 drugstore brands to big 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: Not only are there facial cleansers that won’t dry out your face, there are even some that add moisture!
Recommended Products: So Clean! Facial Cleanser.
1. Best Natural Facial Cleanser
Fleur & Bee: So Clean!
One of the toughest parts of finding a great cleanser is finding one that really cleanses your skin well but isn’t so drying you feel as if you’ve been living in a desert for ten years. One of our main goals when creating our So Clean! facial cleanser was to create a product that did just that--cleansed your skin to perfection without drying or irritating it. Not only does our cleanser accomplish that goal, it even helps to remove makeup.. In addition to the fact that it is non-drying, So Clean! also balances the skin’s oils, which is so important for those with oily skin. Full of nourishing ingredients like organic aloe to hydrate the skin, 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. It’s also formulated to work with any skin type. And at just $30, it’s great value for the money!
2. Best Gentle Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
Burt’s Bees: Sensitive Facial Cleanser
From their body lotions to their lipsticks, anyone who’s ever used a Burt’s Bees product knows they’re some of the most gentle, creamiest, most soothing products you could ever use. That’s why we love their Sensitive Facial Cleanser which manages to give skin a deep clean without irritating it. Using cotton extract and aloe, it even moisturizes the face while cleaning it.
3. Best Gentle Cleanser Splurge
Doctor Rogers: Restore Face Wash
It really is amazing what some people can do with just eight little ingredients! 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 (yes, we said make-up as well as dirt and oil!). With a gentle foam, it’s perfect for anyone looking for a mild cleanser that accommodates all skin types!
4. Best Ultra-Gentle Facial Cleanser
Farmacy: Clean Bee Gentle Facial Cleanser
For some of us, gentle just isn’t enough--we need something that is so gentle you almost don’t know you’re using it. Luckily, Farmacy’s Clean Bee Gentle Facial Cleanser is just that product. Soap, sulfate, PEG, alcohol, paraben, formaldehyde, and artificial coloring-free, this gentle cleanser contains hyaluronic acid, a super-effective humectant that hydrates skin and a proprietary honey that protects skin against environmental stressors looking to harm it (just note that the honey makes it officially non-vegan). In addition to honey, it also uses a soothing combination of turmeric, chamomile, calendula, aloe and licorice root.
5. Best Gentle Facial Gel Cleanser
Augustinus Bader: The Cream Cleansing Gel
You’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard of this super popular brand but you might not be as familiar with its products. While it’s not cheap, it is effective and this cream cleansing gel is as gentle as it sounds like it would be. One note: don’t expect major suds--this 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. Not only that, but it’s great for 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.”
6. 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?
7. Best Exfoliating Gentle Cleanser
If you have sensitive skin then you know that exfoliating can be a dicey proposition. Many exfoliants are just too rough and can even cause irritation. The problem is that one of the best ways to get your skin super, super clean is to exfoliate it. It’s also one of the best ways to prep your skin for makeup and especially for moisturizer or other product like serum. So what’s a person with sensitive skin to do? Well, for starters, they could try Tatcha’s Deep Cleanse Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser. Made with natural Japanese luffa fruit it takes away dirt and oil but keeps skin soft and hydrated. It also contains Japanese Wild Rose which helps protect skin from environmental stressors and visibly tightens pores. Finally, it contains Japanese Leopard Lily which helps minimize excess oil. Best of all, it does all of that without overdrying the skin. If you’ve been looking for a really great exfoliant that won’t dry out your skin, this could be the ticket!
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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