Best Face Washes: My Five Favorites
“What’s the best face wash for…..” This is a question I get asked all the time, and it’s one of the most important steps in any skincare routine. Having a great cleanser in your beauty arsenal is the foundation of great skin, so it’s important to make sure you are using one that is best suited for your age, skin type, concerns, and desired results.
There are literally thousands of options out there for face washes, and they come in a variety of different formulations. From gels to creams to balms to foams to bars to oils, you can easily get overwhelmed in a sea of options.
Depending on your unique skin concerns, certain face washes will be better for you than others. Below are five of my current favorites for the top concerns I see, including the best face washes for glowing skin, dry skin, and sensitive skin, along with a great recommendation for a “clean beauty” face wash and a really nice cleansing balm (which I’m personally obsessed with).
Best Cleanser for Glowing Skin
ORPHEUS Resurrection Serum Slip Cleanser - I’m 46 years old, an aesthetician, and a beauty lover, and I want bouncy skin every single day of my life! So, it stands to reason that I‘m always on the hunt for products that promise to deliver smoother, more supple, deeply hydrated skin with a lovely glow. Enter Orpheus' newest addition to their bio-active line of 100% clean skincare, Resurrection Serum Slip Cleanser... you had me at serum. The fact that this cleanser feels so velvety smooth is just one of the reasons it stands out among its peers. The super-star actives - lactic acid (my favorite glow-up AHA), snow mushroom extract (a powerful hydrator and antioxidant), and Orpheus' proprietary peptide complex, all work synergistically to form a gentle yet powerful rejuvenating facial wash. And I’ve also enjoyed the benefits of leaving it on my skin for a few minutes and experiencing a light enzymatic exfoliation treatment, think at-home mini treatment. I must mention that the packaging is beyond chic - the weight of the pale periwinkle ceramic bottle in my hand is substantial and texturally pleasant to hold and use. And the pumped container looks gorgeous on my vanity – I’m a sucker for exceptional branding. From manufacturing to marketing, to science, packaging, and beyond - this product delivers something truly special and noteworthy in a sea of other products. A little goes a long way, and I’m glad because I want to keep this serum cleanser in my rotation.
Best Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
SEKKESEI CLEAR WELLNESS Gentle Wash - As a skincare expert, I’m fully invested in the ritual of cleansing my skin. And often, I do a double cleanse in the evening and just a single cleanse in the morning. I’ve been having a love affair with another pumped gentle foamy and soothing cleanser for several years, so I was curious to give this lightweight self-foaming J-Beauty cleanser a whirl. It’s described as having a meringue-like texture and it’s just that - feather-light and requiring no lathering (so perfect for sensitive or post-procedure skin), it leaves my skin soft, calm, and clean. I’ve found it to be the perfect morning cleanser and ideal for anyone with sensitive or reactive skin. I tend to prefer to wash my face with something gentle after waking up, as I’m not looking to remove makeup, the funk of the day and more – I’m just wanting to lightly cleanse and then prep my skin for the rest of my routine. This natural face cleanser is affordable and uncomplicated, and I’ve found a new favorite AM face wash for myself and for all of my clients with sensitive skin!
Best Cleanser for Dry Skin
COSMEDIX Crystal Cleanse Hydrating Liquid Crystal Cleanse - I’m a cleanser fanatic by any sane person's standards - I honestly have handfuls upon handfuls of tubes, bottles, and bars scattered throughout my home's 4 bathrooms! I’m also an aesthetician and makeup artist, so I’m forever on the prowl for formulations that gently remove stubborn and long-wearing cosmetic products. The texture of this creamy face wash is truly lovely, and my skin is always left feeling not only clean but also soft and supple after every wash. I love the addition of coconut oil and prickly pear extract, as I certainly feel hydrated after washing up, making it a great option for nourishing and soothing dry skin. I do find that it’s effective at breaking down makeup while rinsing clean, however, I can’t speak to waterproof eyeliners or mascara, as I don’t wear waterproof formulations. In any case, nine times out of ten, I do a double cleanse, so there's a place by my sink for this medical-grade cleansing cream with a convenient pump applicator.
Best Overall Cleaner and Best Natural (Vegan & Organic) Cleanser
KADALYS Organic Pure Melt Cleansing Gel-in-Oil - I’ve found a new favorite cleanser! I’m a makeup artist and aesthetician and always have no less than 20 cleansers within reach of my tub and bathroom sink areas. So, saying that I’ve discovered a new favorite facial cleanser is something special indeed! This product delivers the best of everything I’m looking for in a face wash, especially one that is eco-conscious, vegan, and organic. That's to say that it truly dissolves and removes every trace of makeup at the end of the day (even waterproof formulas I’m told) while leaving my skin soft, plump, and supple and not feeling stripped in any way. The gel-in-oil formulation effortlessly breaks down mascara, eyeliner, and all other stubborn pigments when massaged into dry skin, yet my moisture barrier remains undisturbed. This face wash rinses clean leaving behind clean skin that truly feels happy! The oily texture, which I prefer in a first cleanse, turns milky when warm water is applied, so I get the satisfaction of a second cleanse experience, but all in one step. That's a win-win for me. This clean beauty face wash contains luminosity-boosting natural and organic oils like rosehip, sunflower, and avocado – so my mature and slightly reactive skin is left noticeably nourished and feeling balanced and bouncy. The addition of vitamin c-rich lemon water leaves my skin brighter and feeling energized after rinsing. And as if that wasn’t enough, it is a French cleanser, swoon… embracing powerful antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and banana bio-actives!
Best Cleansing Balm
NUDESKIN by NUDESTIX Citrus Clean Balm & Make-Up Melt - I LOVE cleansing oils and balms and this product feels like a lovely combination of these two types of cleansers. I’m an aesthetician and a makeup artist with nearly three decades of industry experience. I’m also a woman who always has no less than two dozen cleansing options on-hand to reach for when washing up at the sink or when bathing. I found this balm to be extremely effective at removing even the most stubborn of mascara and eyeliner formulations, a big win for me since I tend to have watery eyes and so I'm drawn to longer-wearing eye makeup, but not waterproof formulas, as they tend to be irritating to my sensitive eyes. Add to this, the lovely aromatic yet not overpowering citrus scent of this thicker makeup remover, and I have a new favorite option to throw into my mix of facial cleansers. My skin feels soft, moisturized, and pampered after rinsing it off, some of the benefits I look for in a great cleansing balm/makeup remover. I also appreciate that it comes in a convenient tube rather than a tub, so I don't have to use my fingers to scoop out the product (something I have often found to be bothersome with other "melts"), I can just squeeze a bit onto my fingertips to apply... and a little goes a long way. This also makes it easily portable and ideal for travel. I would like to see it made available in a larger size though, as I could see myself going through this tube fairly quickly if used twice daily.
If you are struggling with what's the best face wash or best cleanser for your beauty routine, reach out for a free 15-minute consultation to find out how I can help you. I've sampled thousands of skin care products over my almost three decades in the beauty industry, and I can customize a routine designed to meet your specific needs.