Cleansing is the first step of any solid skin care routine, so finding a cleanser that knows what it’s doing is important, especially if you want to set the rest of your products to success. Nobody wants to emerge from crouching with skin over the toilet, feeling hot, stripped or irritated. Here are the powerful face washes and cleansers that have the reputation of leaving the skin feeling immaculately clean, nourished and ready for whatever’s next.
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
Cetaphil’s gentle formula has a cult status, non-offensive, readily available, and transcendent of both time and trends. It’s humbly successful, it works on any form of skin, and it’s loved by everyone: dermatologists, famous people and people with good skin in real life.
Bioderma Sensibio H2O
It’s not a face wash technically, so why do we have to obey every single rule anyway? This is a natural makeup remover that even with a few swipes dissolves the most waterproof maquillage. (Put it in a pad for particularly stubborn mascara, leave it in place and give it time to work.) It looks like water, which is perfect when you’re too lazy to splash actual water on your face.
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser
Both dermatologists and owners of sensitive, finicky skin love this antioxidant-packed, fragrance-free cleanser for its ability to cleanse whilst calming irritation. The mixture is pH-balanced and blended with a calming aloe. It whips into a lovely, lightweight cream which helps to maintain the natural acidity of the skin, making flare-ups less frequent and keeping the skin healthy and supple.
Banila Co Clean It Zero Original Cleansing Balm
This multitasker removes the makeup and cleans it softly, all while you look like a cookie for your face. When it reaches the skin, the smooth, sherbet balm texture melts into heavenly oil and then turns into a mild, milky cleanser until water is added into the mix.
Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel
The soothing gel formula is soap-free and naturally foams alone (thanks to an ingredient called quillaja saponaria, better known as soapbark.) It completely rinses off the day’s debris without bringing all the moisture with it onto your skin.
Erno Laszlo Pore Refining Detox Double Cleanse
This luxurious gel cleanser gives you a double cleanse in a single pump in two measures. The photogenic black charcoal beads pull the entire gunk out of the pores, while the fruit enzymes smooth your skin and a kale protein blend leaves everything fed up. Your face will feel cleaner than usual and squeaky but not the slightest bit taut or stripped.
Peach & Lily Power Calm Hydrating Gel Cleanser
This silky gel cleanser is so well rounded that it can blend in with every skin care routine, be it 3 steps or 15 steps. It has a low pH which means it keeps your moisture barrier intact and it has the perfect combination of cleaning ingredients (natural Coco-Glucoside and Tea-Cocoyl Glutamate), hydrating ingredients (cucumber and hyaluronic acid), and relaxing ingredients (chamomile and camellia). It will leave your skin feeling relaxed and responsive to your skin-care routine for the next phase.
Kiehl’s Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Cleanser
This cleanser has a smooth feel and positive scent (from green oregano oil) that also tends to alleviate skin issues (the salicylic acid in the formula also tends with this). Of course the cannabis sativa seed oil will be the hero ingredient. True, it may not necessarily have any clinically relaxing effects, but you’ll feel soothed when you’re skin.