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Our Top 8 Facial Cleanser Picks for 2023

Every good skincare routine starts with a quality cleanser. But with so many options available, how do you know what will work best for you? We’re highlighting eight of our favorite facial cleansers currently on the market to use in addition to your  face serums

How to Choose a Facial Cleanser Depending On Your Skin Type

For the best results, you should pick out a facial cleanser that is suitable for your skin type. Here’s a quick guide on what each skin type should look for in a cleanser. 

Oily Skin

If you have oily skin, you might be tempted to reach for a drying formula to help get rid of all that excess sebum. However, a cleanser that strips away natural moisture can actually trigger the skin to produce even more oil to overcompensate.

With this in mind, finding a cleanser that effectively gets rid of excess oil while still keeping the skin’s moisture levels balanced is essential. Gel-based cleansers are excellent, as they thoroughly cleanse to leave the complexion feeling refreshed. 

Face washes made with low concentrations of salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acids are particularly effective, as they will help gently unclog pores and clear away impurities and sebum. We also suggest looking for formulas with lightweight hydrators – like hyaluronic acid or glycerin – to keep the skin soft and comfortable. 

Combination Skin

Creating an effective routine for combination skin can be complicated, as you’re battling caring for both dry and oily skin. For this skin type, gel or lightweight cream-based cleansers are ideal. These types of formulas will help clear away excess sebum from oily areas, but won’t strip away moisture from dry areas.  

Be sure to look for ingredients that will keep your skin hydrated. Low concentrations of gentle exfoliants can also help get rid of excess sebum in oily areas, as well as dead skin cells and other impurities that may cause dullness. 

Dry Skin

If you have dry skin, you’ll want to reach for a mild and moisturizing formula. Cream-based cleansers are best, as they work to gently wash away impurities while supporting the skin’s moisture barrier. Look for formulas infused with ingredients like ceramides, shea butter, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and squalane. 

Typically, those with dry skin will want to avoid cleansers with high concentrations of chemical exfoliants, as they can further dry out the skin. If you do want a cleanser with some exfoliating power, go for cleansers made with low concentrations of alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic and lactic acids. 

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin types need to look for formulas that will cleanse without aggravating the complexion. Reach for super gentle, low or no foam cleansers made with soothing and hydrating ingredients, like aloe vera, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and colloidal oats. 

Avoid chemical exfoliants or other harsh ingredients that may irritate the skin. You should also look for formulas that are hypoallergenic and made without soaps, parabens, or fragrances. 

Vitamin C Serum

Our Top 8 Facial Cleanser Picks

Now, let’s go over our favorite facial cleansers currently available on the market. 

1. Youth to the People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser

For those with oily or combination skin, we love this Youth to the People Cleanser. The gel-based formula works into a gentle foam that deeply cleanses the pores and clears away impurities and excess oil without stripping the skin’s natural moisture. It’s also packed with antioxidant-rich superfoods (including kale, green tea, and spinach) to protect the skin against free radicals, as well as lightweight hydrators that keep the skin soft and balanced. 

2. Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser

If you have sensitive and/or dry skin and are looking for a no frills daily cleanser, this is your perfect match. The Vanicream formula is non-comedogenic and made without ingredients that can trigger irritation, such as soap, sulfates, and fragrances. It has a super simple formula that supports the moisture barrier as it gently clears away debris on the surface of the skin. 

3. CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser

This CeraVe product – which is great for combination and dry skin types – is another one of our favorite gentle cleansers. It has a unique cream formula that works into a light foam that clears away debris. The fragrance-free cleanser is also infused with ingredients that enhance barrier health and improve the skin’s hydration levels, including ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and amino acids. 

4. Glytone Mild Cream Cleanser

Anyone with normal to dry skin looking for a cleanser made with chemical exfoliants should check out this Glytone product. The cream-based formula contains a 3.4% concentration of glycolic acid. It works to lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while improving uneven tone and texture. The fragrance-free and sulfate-free formula is also made with hydrators that soften and support barrier health. 

5. Paula's Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Acne Cleanser

This Paula’s Choice cleanser is ideal for anyone with combination or oily skin that is prone to breakouts. The gel-based, fragrance-free formula contains a low concentration of salicylic acid, which unclogs pores and removes debris and excess oil from the surface of the skin. It’s also infused with ingredients like glycerin and panthenol to calm and hydrate. 

6. First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser

First Aid Beauty’s popular cleanser is expertly formulated to gently cleanse the skin without aggravating the barrier or leaving the complexion feeling tight and dry. This makes it a particularly great choice for sensitive, combination, and dry skin types. It’s made with soothing and hydrating ingredients like allantoin, aloe, and glycerin, as well as antioxidant-rich extracts. Even better, the formula is free of potential irritants like artificial fragrances and sulfates.  

7. Paula’s Choice Defense Hydrating Gel-to-Cream Cleanser

We recommend this cleanser to anyone with combination skin. The unique gel-to-cream formula effectively washes away impurities, while at the same time calming and softening the skin. Antioxidant-packed extracts protect the complexion. While ingredients like licorice root, aloe, and glycerin ensure the skin is left feeling soothed and that moisture levels are balanced. 

8. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser

If you have oily skin and are looking to cut down on shine, we recommend this cleanser. It’s made with zinc pidolate, which clears away excess oil while purifying the skin. Thermal spring water also soothes the skin while nourishing it with antioxidants, minerals, and trace elements.