Whether your skin is dry, acne-prone, or sensitive, the first step of your skincare routine should always be to cleanse with an effective facial cleanser. Washing your face removes dirt and grime from the skin’s surface and washes away impurities like pollutants that can visibly damage your skin. But it’s not enough to just grab a bar of soap and lather up: The best face wash is one that is formulated specifically to target your skin’s needs. Some face cleansers are hydrating; others absorb oil to minimize breakouts. There are also options that exfoliate the skin’s surface to promote a more even, brighter appearance.
Needless to say, it can be challenging to figure out how to choose the best face wash for your complexion. That’s where we come in. Ahead, we’ve compiled a list of our best face cleansers for every skin type, so you can keep your skin clean and healthy-looking no matter what the day throws at you. Keep reading for our top picks.
For All Skin Types:
Ultra Facial Cleanser
Products designed for all skin types are great for those with so-called “normal” skin—that is, skin that doesn’t exhibit any major concerns like breakouts or dryness. They’re also useful for those who don’t know what their skin type is, or anyone who falls in between two or more skin types. If you’re not totally sure where you stand, we recommend reaching for a mild cleanser that’s suitable for everyone, like our cult-classic Ultra Facial Cleanser.
This iconic face wash with olive-derived squalane and avocado oil gently cleanses to help dissolve dirt, excess oil, and other impurities. The pH-balanced formula is tested for safety and provides a thorough yet gentle clean that won’t over-dry the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
For Combination Skin:
Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash
At Kiehl’s, we define combination skin as skin that exhibits two or more qualities—like dryness and oiliness—in different areas simultaneously. As you can probably guess, it can be tricky to find products for this skin type, as formulas for oily skin may not suit drier areas and vice versa. Thankfully, we have what you need: Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash.
Made with soothing calendula extract and glycerin, this sulfate-free cleanser creates a thick, dense foam that lifts away impurities without stripping skin of its essential moisture. The skin-soothing formula provides a deep clean for skin that instantly feels refreshed and revitalized.
For Oily Skin:
Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser
If your skin concerns include blackheads, shiny-looking skin, and visible pores, try Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser. This mild face cleanser contains mineral-rich Amazonian white clay and aloe vera, plus exfoliating diatomaceous earth. It helps deep clean and detoxify oily skin without leaving the skin feeling dry or stripped. With consistent use, it also helps to minimize the appearance of enlarged pores for fresher-looking skin.
For Dry Skin:
Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil
Oil cleansers are often used in double-cleansing routines, but they also have utility on their own—especially if your skin is dry or under-nourished. To help restore your dry skin, swap your current cleanser for Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil.
This luxurious cleanser is made with a blend of skin-friendly emollients, including olive-derived squalane and evening primrose oil. The lightweight, lavender-scented oil emulsifies with water to create a milky lather that gently washes away dirt, oil, and makeup (even waterproof varieties). Though oil-based, this Kiehl’s staple is non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores, and can be used daily for soft, supple-feeling skin.
For Problem Skin:
Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Cleanser
Keep your problem skin feeling clean and comfortable with Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Cleanser. This ultra-gentle face wash is made with 96% naturally-derived ingredients, including hemp-derived Cannabis sativa* seed oil and green oregano oil.* When combined with water, it creates a light, airy foam that lifts away impurities without stripping the skin of its essential moisture. The herbaceous, non-comedogenic formula is mild enough for sensitive skin that’s prone to redness and discomfort and can be used morning and night to calm and refresh the 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.
For Irritated Skin:
Centella Sensitive Facial Cleanser
When your skin feels super irritated, it’s usually due to damage to your skin’s natural moisture barrier. While keeping your skin clean is still essential, using regular cleansers may make the irritation worse. Instead, reach for Centella Sensitive Facial Cleanser.
This ultra-mild formula (our gentlest face wash) is ideal for those with highly sensitive skin. It’s formulated without soaps, surfactants, parabens, or artificial fragrances, instead containing gentle ingredients, including Centella asiatica extract. The unique, water-light cleanser soothes and strengthens the skin’s natural moisture barrier, leaving the skin hydrated and comforted for up to eight hours. It can even be used without water: Just swipe it on with a clean cotton pad and follow up with your go-to calming moisturizer.
For Acne-Prone Skin:
Blue Herbal Acne Cleanser Treatment
Help keep blemishes at bay with Blue Herbal Acne Cleanser Treatment. This effective cleanser—our best face wash for breakout-prone skin—contains salicylic acid, witch hazel water, and ginger root essential oil. It deep cleans pores to remove impurities, like excess oil and dirt, that can contribute to clogged pores. Additionally, the high-foaming formula helps clear active blemishes, like blackheads and whiteheads, and works over time to help prevent new spots from forming. Use it daily or as needed to promote clearer-looking skin.
For Dull Skin:
Clearly Corrective Brightening & Exfoliating Daily Cleanser
Dull-looking skin can result from any number of factors, including dryness, aging, or a buildup of dead skin cells. If your skin isn’t looking as glowy as you’d like, we recommend reaching for a cleanser that contains a physical exfoliant, like Clearly Corrective Brightening & Exfoliating Daily Cleanser. This gentle exfoliating face wash contains a number of plant extracts, including peony root extract and white birch extract. It helps remove dirt and oil, as well as environmental pollutants, to brighten and refine dull-looking skin. It also exfoliates the skin (while respecting the ever-important skin barrier) to improve clarity and promote a smoother, more radiant appearance over time.
For Men’s Skin:
Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash
Men and women have different skin, and as such, different skincare needs. For this reason, men may find they enjoy better results when using products designed specifically for their skin. A great daily cleanser that all guys can use is our Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash. It’s made with energizing caffeine and menthol and has a light gel texture that washes away dirt and sweat for fresh-feeling skin. When used prior to grooming, it also helps prepare men’s skin for a comfortable shave.
For Men’s Mature Skin:
Age Defender Dual-Action Exfoliating Cleanser
To refresh and restore men’s dull, aging skin, try Age Defender Dual-Action Exfoliating Cleanser. This men’s skincare staple with Moroccan lava clay and mild phytic acid (an alpha-hydroxy acid) effectively cleanses skin to thoroughly remove dirt and excess oil. The exfoliating formula also helps improve skin’s texture, even minimizing the appearance of fine lines, with consistent use. Guys can use this unique face wash as their go-to daily cleanser or apply it as a five-minute mask a couple of times per week to help refresh the skin for a more youthful appearance.