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A photo of some of Kiehl's most popular face cleansers


Our Best Facial Cleansers For Combination Skin

If you have combination skin, you need a cleanser that removes oil without drying your skin out. Find our best cleansers for combination skin ahead.

Virtually every skincare product on the market is formulated for a specific skin type. And that’s all well and good, unless your skin doesn’t always fit neatly into one category. As you probably know, numerous factors (such as the weather and even how much you sleep) can affect how your skin looks and feels from day to day. With that said, if your skin is inconsistent most of the time, with aspects of multiple skin types, there’s a good chance you have combination skin (more on what that means shortly). As with any skin type, those with combination skin should always ensure that the first step in their skincare routine—cleansing—is both effective and non-irritating. Enter: Cleansers for combination skin.

The best face wash for combination skin is one that cleanses away dirt, excess oil, and pore-clogging debris without over-drying or irritating the skin. Finding your perfect formula sounds like a tall order, but don’t worry—we’re here to help. Ahead, we’ll break down what combination skin is and introduce you to six Kiehl’s cleansers designed to complement it. Read on to learn how to start your skincare routine for combination skin on the right note.

What Is Combination Skin?

Typically, combination skin refers to skin with both oily and dry areas. This often presents as an oily T-zone and dry cheeks. Our products formulated for combination skin are designed to suit this blend of concerns and help balance the skin while addressing related issues like blotchiness and enlarged pores. Because weather can affect how oily or dry your skin appears, some experts recommend defining skin as “combination” only if it exhibits conflicting characteristics simultaneously for at least half the year.

Our Best Cleansers For Combination Skin

The first (and one of the most important) steps in caring for combination skin is making sure you’re cleansing properly. Ideally, you want to find a cleanser that helps remove excess dirt and oil from the T-zone without over-drying or irritating less oily areas, like the cheeks—balance is key. Because combination skin can have clashing needs in different spots, it can be more challenging to find skincare products for your skin type. But we can help. Keep reading to discover six gentle yet effective Kiehl’s cleansers suitable for combination skin.

Best For All Skin Types:

Ultra Facial Cleanser

To keep your skin fresh and healthy-looking daily, regardless of your skin type, we recommend our cult-classic Ultra Facial Cleanser. This Kiehl’s customer favorite, formulated with squalane and avocado oil, gently dissolves dirt, excess oil, and other impurities without over-drying or stripping the skin. The unique formula is pH-balanced and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. You can use it morning and night to keep your skin feeling clean and balanced.

Best For Oily Combination Skin:

Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash

If your combination skin is prone to oiliness or mid-day shine, try swapping out your usual face wash for Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash, which is made with calendula extract and glycerin. The gel formula activates with water to create a dense foam that easily melts away dirt and excess oil without removing your skin’s essential moisture. Dispense a small amount of the thick gel into clean palms, then massage over your face with warm water. Rinse thoroughly and pat your face dry for skin that feels refreshed and revitalized.

Best For Dull Combination Skin:

Clearly Corrective Brightening & Exfoliating Daily Cleanser

Whether your skin looks dull due to dryness, dehydration, or something else entirely, exfoliating your face can help temporarily brighten the skin and give it a more radiant appearance. For combination skin types, we recommend exfoliating with Clearly Corrective Brightening & Exfoliating Daily Cleanser, which contains pearlstone and white birch extract.

This gentle yet effective exfoliating cleanser purifies the skin, removing dirt, oil, sweat, and pollutants that can give the skin a dull appearance. It also helps lift dead skin cells from the skin’s surface to refine the skin’s texture. It’s dermatologist-tested for safety and won’t disrupt or otherwise damage your skin’s natural moisture barrier. If dullness is your primary concern, we recommend using this mild cleanser daily to promote a smoother, visibly brighter appearance.

Kiehl’s Expert Tip: Learn about other ways to brighten dull-looking skin in our article 7 Steps Toward More Radiant Skin.

Best For Sensitive Combination Skin:

Centella Sensitive Facial Cleanser

When you have sensitive skin, or areas prone to irritation and blotchiness, it’s best to stick to a super-gentle cleanser. Try Centella Sensitive Facial Cleanser, our gentlest face wash suited for even the most reactive skin. It’s formulated without fragrance, soap, and alcohol and is dermatologist-tested for safety on irritated skin. The ultra-mild, pH-balanced formula helps remove excess oil and other impurities while soothing and strengthening the skin’s natural moisture barrier.

You can use this unique formula like you would a regular cleanser—that is, apply it to the face with water and work it into a lather—or you can apply the cleansing liquid directly to your skin with a clean cotton pad (no need to rinse). We recommend using it daily to help soothe and comfort sensitive, reactive skin.

Kiehl’s Expert Tip: Sensitivity often results from damage to the skin’s natural moisture barrier, and keeping your skin well-hydrated with a good moisturizer is vital if you want to reduce irritation.

Best For Problem Combination Skin:

Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Cleanser

A gentle yet effective cleanser is best for those with combination skin prone to blemishes, breakouts, or blotchiness. We recommend Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Cleanser, a calming herbal cleanser formulated with 96% naturally-derived ingredients, including Cannabis sativa seed oil.* The effective face wash gently cleanses away dirt, excess oil, and other impurities without disrupting the skin’s natural moisture barrier. It’s also non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores, and it’s suitable for all skin types, including acne-prone skin.

*We consider ingredients to be naturally-derived if they retain more than 50% of their molecular structure after being processed from a natural source.

Best For Men’s Combination Skin:

Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash

Men’s skin is unique in many ways: It’s thicker, oilier, and tends to be less elastic than female skin. Because of these characteristics, skincare products formulated for women often won’t work as well for men. For guys with combination skin, reach for Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash. This refreshing cleanser with caffeine and vitamin E provides a deep, thoroughly clean feeling and helps prepare the skin for a comfortable shave. It has an energizing formula that’s suitable for all men’s skin types and can be used morning and night to promote a fresh, healthy appearance.

Next: Make sure to complement your cleanser with the right moisturizer. Read about The Right Way To Moisturize Combination Skin.

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