Even the most basic, bare-bones skincare routines (should) start with a thorough cleanse. Cleansing helps remove dirt, oil, and other buildup that can contribute to visible skin concerns, and as such, an effective facial cleanser is one of the most important products to have in your skincare arsenal. But with the variety of cleanser options on the market—from gentle foaming cleansers to exfoliating formulas and even luxurious cleansing oils—it can be tricky to narrow down the best cleanser for your needs. A classic foaming face wash, however, is one of few products that we believe can fit in any skincare routine.
Here, we’ll give you the scoop on what foam cleansers are and how they work. Then, we’ll introduce you to our best foaming cleansers for every skin type and offer tips on how to use these Kiehl’s favorites in your skincare routine. Pull up a chair and keep reading for the 411 on foaming facial cleansers.
What Do Foaming Cleansers Do?
Cleansing is an essential first step in your skincare routine, no matter how oily or dry your skin may be. Equally important, however, is choosing the right cleanser for your needs. Foaming cleansers, as the name suggests, are facial washes that lather. They’re usually gel-like in texture and emulsify with water to create foam.
These easy-to-use formulas help remove impurities from your skin’s surface and rinse off easily, leaving your skin feeling clean and fresh. Because of their versatility, foaming cleansers are among the most popular types of face wash available on the market.
Are Foaming Cleansers Suitable For All Skin Types?
Broadly speaking, foaming cleansers are generally considered less hydrating than richer cream or oil-based cleansers. However, since they’re so ubiquitous, you can find a foam cleanser for any skin type—you just have to know what to look for.
The ingredients that make foaming cleansers foam are known as surfactants, and while effective, they can be drying—especially for those with naturally dry or easily irritated skin. If you find that a foaming cleanser makes your skin feel too squeaky-clean (it should feel balanced, not stripped), you may need to try a different option. For gentle cleansing, look for formulas with lightweight moisturizing ingredients, like glycerin or squalane (bonus points if they’re fragrance-free).
Our Best Foaming Cleansers For Your Skin
Now that you’re caught up on what foaming cleansers are, we’ll introduce you to the foaming facial cleansers offered at Kiehl’s. Keep reading to discover our best foaming face wash for your skin type.
All Skin Types:
Ultra Facial Cleanser
If you’re not sure what your skin type is—or find that your skin’s characteristics change seasonally—we recommend reaching for a mild face wash suitable for all skin types, like the cult-classic Ultra Facial Cleanser. This Kiehl’s classic, which contains olive-derived squalane and avocado oil, gently removes dirt and oil without stripping the skin of its essential moisture. It’s also pH-balanced to help maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier, and it’s dermatologist-tested for safety and gentleness.
Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash
Those with skin that errs more on the oily side should reach for a lightweight, gel-based foaming cleanser. We recommend Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash, which contains soothing calendula flower extract and glycerin. The unique cleanser activates with water to create a thick, dense foam that gently lifts away excess oil and dirt, leaving the skin feeling balanced and calm. We recommend using it twice daily as the first step in your skincare routine, followed by a mild facial toner to help prepare your skin for the rest of your routine.
Blue Herbal Acne Cleanser Treatment
Because of their ability to help remove excess oil and other pore-clogging impurities, foaming cleansers are especially well-suited for those with blemish-prone skin. If you’re breaking out, try reaching for a foaming face wash that contains salicylic acid, such as Blue Herbal Acne Cleanser Treatment. This acne cleanser provides a thorough, effective clean, purifying pores to help reduce blackheads, whiteheads, and other types of acne blemishes. When used consistently, it also helps prevent new blemishes from forming, leaving the skin visibly clearer over time.
Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser
If you’re prone to dryness, finding a cleanser that removes dirt and sweat without stripping your skin’s natural moisture barrier is crucial. Cleansing oils are great for this purpose, but if you want a foaming face wash, try Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser. The mild formula with cucumber extract and glycerin melts away impurities without stripping the skin. The non-drying formula also helps maintain the skin’s natural moisture, leaving it feeling conditioned, fresh, and soft.
Kiehl’s Tip: Hot water can strip your skin’s natural moisture barrier, resulting in it feeling dry and dehydrated. Stick to washing your face with lukewarm (or even cool) water to help prevent excessive dryness and keep your skin comfortable and soft.
Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash
Men’s skin is unique in several ways, but one of the most notable has to do with how oily it can be. On average, men tend to have oilier skin than women, making them more prone to oily skin concerns like enlarged pores and shininess. While many cleansers are unisex, some men may find they prefer the feel of a cleanser made specifically for their skin.
For men looking for a cleanser made with these qualities in mind, try Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash. This men’s foaming cleanser, which contains caffeine, menthol, and vitamin E, effectively removes dirt, sweat, and oil while helping prepare your skin for a comfortable shave. The gentle formula can be used morning and night as the first step in your men’s skincare routine for fresh, energized skin.