There are a variety of face washes for sensitive skin on the market that are high in quality but won’t break the bank. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best affordable face washes for sensitive skin.

Our Recommendations

1. Gentle Facial Cleanser

Vanicream Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser

This mild, soap-free cleanser is excellent for dry and sensitive skin. It gently cleanses without irritating or drying out the skin.

Skin types: Normal, Dry and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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This Vanicream cleanser was made specifically with sensitive skin in mind. It is incredibly gentle on the skin, and contains hydrating ingredients like glycerin to keep the skin moisturized. This formula is also soap-free, meaning it gently cleanses without irritation.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance

Cons

  • May not be effective enough for acne-prone skin

This cleanser is free of common irritants that can negatively affect sensitive skin, including dyes, fragrances, and essential oils.

Purified water, glycerin, coco glucoside, sodium cocoyl glycinate, acrylates copolymer, caprylyl glycol, mica, sodium chloride, 1,2-hexanediol, titanium dioxide, sodium hydroxide, disodium EDTA

  1. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Aug. 26, 2021.

2. Hydralight One Step Face Cleanser

Paula’s Choice Hydralight One Step Face Cleanser

Paula's Choice Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Paula’s Choice Hydralight One Step Face Cleanser

For those with oilier and more sensitive skin, this gentle gel cleanser is one of the best Paula’s Choice products. It contains replenishing ingredients that leave the skin feeling refreshed and clean without irritation.

Skin types: Normal, Oily, Combination and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: First, wet the skin with lukewarm water. Dispense the cleanser into your palms, and then gently massage into the skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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This cleanser is incredibly gentle, even for those with more sensitive skin. However, the gel formula still effectively cleans, while soothing and replenishing ingredients calm the skin.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Gentle
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Some reviewers note that it doesn’t remove makeup

This cleanser contains sodium hyaluronate (the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid), which increases moisture levels in the skin. It also contains allantoin and niacinamide, which moisturize, soothe, and protect the skin.

Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Glycine, Fructose, Urea, Niacinamide, Inositol, Lactic Acid, Allantoin, Sodium Hyaluronate, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Xanthan Gum, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Benzophenone-3 (Oxybenzone), Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Sodium Benzoate.

3. SoonJung pH 6.5 Whip Cleanser

Etude House SoonJung pH 6.5 Whip Cleanser

Etude House Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Etude House SoonJung pH 6.5 Whip Cleanser

This soothing and gentle foam cleanser is excellent for daily use, and is particularly beneficial for sensitive and drier skin types. It contains a variety of ingredients that moisturize and nourish to keep the skin adequately hydrated and balanced.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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This simple but effective cleanser contains panthenol, glycerin, madecassoside (derived from the centella asiatica plant), and camellia sinensis leaf extract. These ingredients hydrate, soothe, and repair the skin, while cleansing ingredients effectively wash away dirt and debris.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Hydrating
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

98.9% of the ingredients in this gentle cleanser are naturally derived, and it is also free of common irritants (like fragrance and artificial color).

Water, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Propanediol, Lauryl Glucoside, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Panthenol, Madecassoside, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate, Ethylhexylglycerin

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.
  2. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.

4. Ultra-Calming Foaming Facial Cleanser

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Facial Cleanser

Aveeno Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Facial Cleanser

This gentle foaming cleanser was formulated with sensitive skin in mind. It helps effectively cleanse while reducing irritation and minimizing redness.

Skin types: Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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This gentle cleanser contains feverfew (chrysanthemum parthenium (feverfew) extract), a natural ingredient that is related to chamomile, which calms the skin. Additional ingredients cleanse the skin while minimizing irritation so that the skin feels soothed and balanced.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

This hypoallergenic cleanser is free of ingredients that commonly irritate sensitive skin, including fragrances and soap.

Water, glycerin, cocamidopropyl betaine, decyl glucoside, citric acid, ppg-2 hydroxyethyl cocamide, peg-16 soy sterol, polysorbate 20, disodium lauroamphodiacetate, phenoxyethanol, butylene glycol, sodium coco pg-dimonium, chloride phosphate, sodium citrate, tetrasodium EDTA, methylparaben, xanthan gum, propylparaben, ethylparaben, propylene glycol, chrysanthemum parthenium (feverfew) extract, sodium cocoyl amino acids, sarcosine, potassium aspartate, magnesium aspartate, sodium hydroxide

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): A systematic review"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.

5. Daily Face Cleanser

Cetaphil Daily Face Cleanser

Cetaphil Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Cetaphil Daily Face Cleanser

For those with normal to oily skin, this is one of the best cleansers from Cetaphil. The gel to foam formula is clinically proven to deeply cleanse the skin, but is still gentle enough to not strip it of its natural oils.

Skin types: Normal, Oily, Combination and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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This is an excellent cleanser for daily use, particularly for those with normal to oily skin. It cleanses without irritating or drying out the skin and contains vitamins B3 and B5, as well as glycerin, which hydrate and nourish the skin.

Pros

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Gentle

Cons

  • Contains fragrance

The mild and low lather formula is dermatologist tested, and shown to be gentle on sensitive skin. Since it is also non-comedogenic, it won’t clog pores, making it a suitable choice for those with acne-prone skin.

Water, Glycerin, Peg-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Copolymer, Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Phenoxyethanol, Masking Fragrance, Panthenol, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Disodium Edta, Methylparaben

  1. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.

6. Gentle Skin Cleanser

Cetaphil Gentle Skin CleanserCult favorite

Cetaphil Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

This cult-favorite cleanser is known as one of the best Cetaphil products of all time. The creamy formula gently removes debris from the skin without stripping it of its natural oils.

Skin types: Normal, Dry and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: First, wet the skin with lukewarm water. Dispense the cleanser into your palms, and then gently massage into the skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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This gentle cleanser is perfect for everyday use, and is appropriate for all skin types (although it is best for normal, dry, and sensitive skin). It has been clinically proven to be gentle on sensitive skin, and leaves the skin feeling soft and moisturized, rather than tight and dry. This cleanser contains vitamins B3 and B5, as well as glycerin, which hydrate and nourish the skin.

Pros

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Fragrance-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Gentle

Cons

  • May not be effective enough for acne-prone skin

This award-winning cleanser has been clinically tested and shown to be hypoallergenic, which means it won’t irritate the skin. The mild, soap-free formula was crafted with sensitive skin types in mind.

Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben

  1. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Aug. 25, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations"

    Accessed Aug. 25, 2021.

7. Hydrating Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

This cleanser is gentle on the skin, but still cleanses away dirt, debris, and oil. It both cleans and hydrates, and doesn’t strip the skin of its natural moisture or disrupt the protective barrier.

Skin types: Normal and Dry
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet the skin with lukewarm water, then gently massage the cleanser into the skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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It’s incredibly important that people with dry skin use a cleanser that strikes a balance between effectively cleansing and not stripping the skin. This is one of the best CeraVe products for dry skin, because it’s hydrating and gentle, but still actually cleanses. Since it is important to cleanse your face on a daily basis, this product makes it easy to do so without disrupting the skin’s barrier.

Pros

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Non-irritating
  • Fragrance-free
  • Accepted by the National Eczema Association

Cons

  • May not be be effective enough for acne-prone skin

This hydrating cleanser features glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which hydrate and lock in moisture. It also contains three essential ceramides, which restore the skin’s barrier.

Purified Water, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-11, Ceramide 1, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol, Polyoxyl 40 Stearate, Glyceryl Monostearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Potassium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cetyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Phytosphingosine, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum

8. Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

Neutrogena Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

This cream cleanser is an excellent daily face wash for those with drier skin. It is gentle on the skin and effectively cleanses without further drying it out.

Skin types: Normal, Dry and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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This cleanser is one of the best Neutrogena cleansers for those with drier skin. It contains glycerin (a humectant), which keeps the skin moisturized while cleansing ingredients gently remove dirt and debris. It is also non-comedogenic, meaning it doesn’t contain ingredients known to clog pores.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Fragrance-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Dermatologist developed

Cons

  • Some reviewers complain about the pump

This cream cleanser was developed by dermatologists, and is suitable for sensitive skin, including those with rosacea and eczema.

Water, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Cetearyl Glucoside, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol

  1. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Aug. 25, 2021.

9. Squalane Cleanser

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

The Ordinary Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

The Ordinary’s one and only cleanser is a great daily cleanser for all skin types, because it is gentle and moisturizing but cleanses effectively.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Dispense the cleanser into clean, dry hands, and then rub your hands together to allow it to melt. Gently massage the cleanser onto dry skin, and then rinse with warm water.
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This squalane cleanser emulsifies from a balm to an oil-like consistency (despite being oil-free). It leaves the skin feeling moisturized, rather than tight and dry.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Moisturizing
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

The main ingredient in this cleanser is squalane, a skincare ingredient that has an oil-like consistency (but isn't actually an oil). Squalane is a derivative of squalene, which is naturally found in human sebum. It is excellent for lightly hydrating the skin.

Squalane, Aqua (Water), Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Glycerin, Sucrose Stearate, Ethyl Macadamiate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sucrose Laurate, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Sucrose Dilaurate, Sucrose Trilaurate, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Isoceteth-20, Sodium Polyacrylate, Tocopherol, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Malic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Chlorphenesin.

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Moisturizers: The Slippery Road"

    Accessed Aug. 9, 2021.

10. Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser

Paula's Choice Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser

This cream cleanser is one of the best Paula’s Choice cleansers for dry and sensitive skin, as it is super gentle on the skin, and softens and hydrates.

Skin types: Dry and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: First, wet the skin with lukewarm water. Dispense the cleanser into your palms, and then gently massage into the skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

Those with sensitive skin need a cleanser that won’t cause any irritation. This hydrating cream cleanser was formulated with sensitive skin in mind, and is even suitable for those with eczema.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Gentle
  • Moisturizing

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

This creamy cleanser was formulated with hydrating and soothing skincare ingredients, including soja oil and matricaria flower extract.

Water (Aqua), Hydrogenated Polydecene (texture-enhancing), Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate (cleansing), Glycine Soja Oil (soybean oil/antioxidant/emollient), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (emollient), Polysorbate 80 (texture-enhancing), Laureth-4 (texture-enhancing), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer (texture-enhancing), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (cleansing), Chamomilla Recutita Matricaria Flower Extract, Beta-Glucan (skin-soothing), Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate (texture-enhancing), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Hexylene Glycol (preservative), Caprylyl Glycol (preservative), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Chlorphenesin (preservative).

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils"

    Accessed Aug. 5, 2021.

11. Calm Redness Relief Cleanser

Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin

Paula's Choice Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin

If you’re struggling with redness, this calming cleanser will help soothe the skin while gently cleansing away dirt and debris.

Skin types: Normal, Dry, Combination and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: First, wet the skin with lukewarm water. Dispense the cleanser into your palms, and then gently massage into the skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

This milky cleanser is super gentle on the skin and easy to rinse off, so it won’t cause any further redness. It contains plant extracts and other replenishing ingredients that hydrate and soothe the skin. Additionally, this cleanser was made to be gentle enough for those prone to rosacea.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Gentle
  • Moisturizing

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

Two of the key soothing and hydrating ingredients in this gentle cleanser are chamomile extract and aloe leaf juice.

Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (cleansing), Glycol Stearate (texture-enhancing), Methyl Gluceth-20 (emollient), Glyceryl Stearate (texture-enhancing), Hydroxyethylcellulose (texture-enhancing), Chamomilla Recutita Matricaria Flower Extract (chamomile/skin-soothing), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (hydration/skin-soothing), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (cleansing), Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate (cleansing), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration/skin replenishing), Sodium PCA (hydration/skin replenishing), Caprylyl Glycol (preservative), Hexylene Glycol (preservative), Propylene Glycol (hydration), Citric Acid (pH balancer), Phytic Acid (stabilizer), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils"

    Accessed Aug. 5, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Pharmacological attribute of Aloe vera: Revalidation through experimental and clinical studies"

    Accessed Aug. 5, 2021.

FAQs

How do you wash your face if you have sensitive skin?

Once you’ve chosen a face wash that is suitable for sensitive skin, there are some things you can do to ensure you’re being super gentle on your skin as you wash your face. One tip is to make sure you’re using lukewarm water, as water that is too hot or too cold can irritate the skin. Additionally, avoid using a face brush or wet face towel when washing your face. Simply stick with gently massaging the cleanser into your skin with your fingers.

Should I use a face wash everyday if I have sensitive skin?

Yes, you should wash your face at least once per day if you have sensitive skin. At the end of the day, you’ll want to cleanse away any sweat, dirt, sebum, and debris on your face. You can also cleanse your skin in the morning to prepare for any skincare products you’ll be applying. This is especially important if you workout and break a sweat in the morning. That said, some people are fine just cleansing at night. Avoid washing your face more than two times per day, as it can aggravate sensitive skin.

How do I choose the right face wash?

When choosing a face wash, you’ll want to keep in mind your skin type, as well as any skin concerns you may have. For example, if you have sensitive skin that is prone to dryness, you’ll want to find a gentle face wash formulated for sensitive skin that has hydrating ingredients.

The Bottom Line

There are plenty of effective face washes for sensitive skin that aren't super pricey. If you're building a skincare routine for your sensitive skin, consider one of the affordable face washes mentioned above.