No matter who you are or what your skincare (or grooming) routine is, the first step should always be to wash your face. Cleansing your skin helps remove the dirt, oil, and pollutants that accumulate on your face throughout the day and prepares your skin for more targeted skincare products. But, cleansers aren’t universal; factors such as age, skin type, and gender influence what formula will best suit your needs.
For example, research indicates that men’s skin tends to be thicker, oilier, and more likely to have enlarged pores.I While some men may experience sensitivity or dryness, in general, the best face wash for men is one that also exfoliates or helps control oil without stripping the skin’s moisture barrier.
At Kiehl’s, we offer a range of products made specifically for men’s skin, plus a few unisex options that work well with a man’s daily skincare routine. Keep reading to discover some of our best-selling cleansers for men.
Best Face Wash For Normal Skin:Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash
Normal skin types are those that don’t exhibit any significant complexion concerns, like acne or dryness. As such, this skin type is pretty easy to care for. Look for mild facial cleansers formulated without harsh ingredients to keep your skin barrier healthy and hydrated.
A good face wash for normal skin types is our best-selling Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash. This lightweight men’s cleanser is formulated with an invigorating blend of caffeine, menthol, and vitamin E to remove dirt and excess oil. It also helps awaken skin while preparing it for a comfortable shave.
Use it to cleanse and refresh your entire face day and night. Apply to damp skin and work into a lather, then rinse off and follow up with a toner, serum, and moisturizer.
Best Face Wash For Oily Skin:Oil Eliminator Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Face Wash
While some amount of oil is necessary for maintaining the health of your skin’s natural moisture barrier, too much oil (also known as sebum) can leave the skin looking shiny or greasy. People with an oily skin type often notice enlarged pores, particularly on the T-zone (which is the forehead, nose, and chin), and may deal with blackheads.
If oiliness is your primary concern, it’s best to reach for a lightweight formula designed to mattify the skin, such as Oil Eliminator Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Face Wash. This men’s face wash features crushed apricot kernels to gently exfoliate the skin and wash away dirt, sweat, and other impurities. It also helps visibly reduce the appearance of large pores and minimize shine for a smooth, balanced complexion.
For best results, we recommend using this cleanser daily. Apply a dime-sized amount to damp skin and lightly massage it over your face in a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly and pat your skin dry, then follow up with your preferred toner and moisturizer.
Best Face Wash For Dry Skin:Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser
Dry skin is often the result of a weakened skin barrier or a natural underproduction of sebum. However, it can also be caused (or worsened) by external stressors, including extreme weather, hot water, and the use of overly-stripping skincare products. You may be wary of using a facial cleanser out of fear that doing so could lead to more dryness, but washing your face is crucial to remove the dirt and pollutants that accumulate on your skin throughout the day.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, we recommend reaching for a mild, non-drying cleanser, like Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser. This gentle formula contains soothing cucumber extract and glycerin to thoroughly remove dirt and excess oil without over-drying skin. It also conditions skin to leave it feeling fresh and soft.
Apply a nickel-sized amount to your damp face morning and night, and work the creamy formula into a light lather. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm (not hot!) water, and pat your skin dry with a clean towel.
Kiehl's Expert Tip: If you’re unsure how often to use face wash, a good rule of thumb is that foaming cleansers are safe for daily use, while harsher scrubs should be limited to two or three times per week. Of course, read the package of any new skincare products you buy for the most accurate directions.
Best Face Wash For Acne-Prone Skin:Blue Herbal Acne Cleanser Treatment
Acne is typically caused by a buildup of dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. When these impurities accumulate, they can clog pores, which may result in blackheads or whiteheads. If bacteria enter the pores, inflammatory acne (a.k.a. pimples) will develop. As such, reducing the amount of oil on the skin can help reduce acne and keep future breakouts at bay.
If you’re prone to blemishes, try reaching for a cleanser formulated for acne-prone skin, such as Blue Herbal Acne Cleanser Treatment. This foaming cleanser contains salicylic acid and ginger root essential oil to remove dirt, oil, and other pore-clogging impurities from the skin’s surface. It helps reduce active breakouts and prevent new blemishes from forming for visibly clearer-looking skin.
Kiehl's Expert Tip: You might be familiar with the acne-fighting power of salicylic acid, but many other ingredients can help banish breakouts. Head to our article, The Best Ingredients For Treating Pimples, to learn more about what you can use to keep your acne under control.
Best Anti-Aging Face Wash:Age Defender Dual-Action Exfoliating Cleanser
As we age, our skin begins producing less collagen and elastin, the two primary proteins responsible for giving skin its elasticity. As a result, fine lines and wrinkles may appear, and other age-related complexion concerns, such as age spots and sagging, will start to develop.
Incorporating an anti-aging cleanser into your daily skincare routine, such as Age Defender Dual-Action Exfoliating Cleanser, can help minimize these visible signs of aging. This gentle exfoliating facial cleanser for men contains Moroccan lava clay and phytic acid to gently exfoliate the skin and remove dirt, oil, and pollution. With regular use, it helps to visibly diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a refreshed, younger-looking complexion.
Kiehl's Expert Tip: This daily face wash can also be used as an exfoliating face mask two to three times per week. Apply a thin layer to clean, towel-dried skin, and let the formula dry for about five minutes. Then, add lukewarm water and massage the mask on your face to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells. Rinse thoroughly, and follow up with your chosen anti-aging skincare products.
Best Face Scrub:Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub
Most people use “face scrub” and “exfoliating cleanser” interchangeably, but they’re actually two different things. Exfoliating cleansers contain ultra-gentle physical or chemical exfoliants and are designed to be used daily. Face scrubs, on the other hand, are more intensive exfoliating treatments. These formulas are best used less frequently—we generally recommend two to three times weekly.
When your skin needs a deeper exfoliation than your go-to cleanser can provide, reach for Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub. This top-rated formula stars caffeine, menthol, and crushed apricot seeds, which work together to energize the complexion and slough away dead skin cells and other impurities. When used before shaving, this effective scrub helps soften tough facial hair to promote a closer, more comfortable shave.
To use it, apply a dime-sized amount of the invigorating scrub to wet skin and massage it over your face lightly in a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly and either continue your skincare routine or begin your shaving routine.
I.Rahrovan, S et al. “Male versus female skin: What dermatologists and cosmeticians should know.” International journal of women's dermatology vol. 4,3 122-130. 22 Jun. 2018, doi:10.1016/j.ijwd.2018.03.002