You’ll find plenty of excellent skincare brands at your local drugstore. If you need a new cleanser, we’ve created a list of the best drugstore face washes.

Our Recommendations

1. Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm

Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm

Paula's Choice Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm

This hydrating cleansing balm contains a variety of ingredients that nourish and moisturize the skin to keep it hydrated and soft and it is being cleansed.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Massage the cleansing balm into wet or dry skin, and rinse with lukewarm water. This can be used as the first cleanser in a double cleansing routine.
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This fragrance-free cleansing balm is packed with effective ingredients that help ensure the skin stays hydrated and soft while cleansing. This includes omega-rich jojoba and meadowfoam seed oils.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Hydrating
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

This Paula’s Choice cleansing balm contains additional ingredients that hydrate and nourish the skin, including vitamin E and rapeseed oil.

Ethylhexyl Palmitate (emollient solvent), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (skin-replenishing), PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate (emollient cleansing agent), Diisooctyl Succinate (emollient), Olive Oil PEG-7 Esters (emollient cleansing agent/emulsifier), Trihydroxystearin (texture enhancer), Glyceryl Stearate (emulsifier), Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil (non-fragrant antioxidant/skin-softening omega fatty acid), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil (non-fragrant antioxidant/skin-softening omega fatty acid), Hydrogenated Rapeseed Oil (non-fragrant antioxidant/skin-softening omega fatty acid), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant)

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

    Accessed Nov. 10, 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. Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Facial Cleanser

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Facial Cleanser

La Roche-Posay Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Facial Cleanser

This gentle and hydrating cream cleanser is one of the best La Roche-Posay cleansers for normal to dry skin. It effectively removes dirt and debris from the skin while still retaining its essential moisture.

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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If you have dry skin, finding a cleanser that cleans without stripping the skin of its natural moisture is essential. This cleanser contains ceramides and glycerin, which are excellent for keeping the skin adequately moisturized.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Oil-free
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Gentle

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

In addition to the ceramides and glycerin, this cleanser contains niacinamide, which helps soothe the skin. Additionally, this cleanser is suitable for those with more sensitive skin.

AQUA/WATER/EAU, GLYCERIN, PENTAERYTHRITYL TETRAETHYLHEXANOATE, PROPANEDIOL, AMMONIUM POLYACRYLOYLDIMETHYL TAURATE, POLYSORBATE 60, CERAMIDE NP, NIACINAMIDE, SODIUM CHLORIDE, COCO-BETAINE, DISODIUM EDTA CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, PANTHENOL, TOCOPHEROL (CODE FIL: D242855/1)

4. Effaclar Gel Facial Wash for Oily Skin

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Gel Facial Wash for Oily Skin

La Roche-Posay Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Gel Facial Wash for Oily Skin

This gentle foaming gel cleanser is one of the best La Roche-Posay cleansers for oily skin. It removes dirt, oil, and other debris from the skin without disrupting the pH balance or overdrying.

Skin types: Oily and Combination
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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The key ingredient in this cleanser is zinc pidolate, an astringent and anti-inflammatory ingredient that is known for its ability to help control sebum (oil). This makes this gel cleanser an excellent choice for oily skin, as it absorbs excess oil to help reduce shine. This cleanser is also gentle and doesn’t dry out the skin, which is crucial for oily skin, because cleansers that strip the skin of its natural moisture can actually trigger the skin to produce more oil.

Pros

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Suitable for acne-prone skin

Cons

  • Contains fragrance

The Effaclar Gel Facial Wash is non-comedogenic, which means it is not likely to clog pores. This means it is suitable for those with oily skin that are prone to acne.

Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, PEG-8, Coco-Betaine, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Zinc PCA, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Parfum/Fragrance

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Topical Non-Pharmacological Treatment for Facial Seborrheic Dermatitis"

    Accessed Aug. 13, 2021.

5. Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cream Cleanser

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cream Cleanser

La Roche-Posay Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cream Cleanser

If you have combination skin – meaning skin with some areas that are dry and other areas that are oily – this gentle foaming cream cleanser is a great choice. It effectively cleanses the skin while soothing and hydrating.

Skin types: Combination
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 great for combination skin, thanks in part to two of the key ingredients: glycerin and sorbitol. These ingredients are both humectants, and help maintain hydration levels in the skin.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Dermatologist tested

Cons

  • Some reviewers complain about the smell

This cream cleanser doesn’t dry out the skin, which is crucial for combination and oily skin. Cleansers that strip the skin of its natural moisture can actually trigger an overproduction of oil.

Water, Glycerin, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Stearic Acid, Lauric Acid, Palmitic Acid, Coco-glucoside, Tetrasodium EDTA

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

    Accessed Aug. 16, 2021.

6. Effaclar Medicated Acne Face Wash

La Roche Posay Effaclar Medicated Acne Face Wash

La Roche-Posay Face Wash for Acne and Daily Cleansing

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Acne Face Wash

The 2% concentration of salicylic acid in this medicated cleanser helps remove excess oil and clear current breakouts.

Skin types: Normal, Oily and Combination
Best for: Acne and 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 contains a 2% concentration of the chemical exfoliator salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA). Salicylic acid is able to shed excess skin cells and decongest pores to fight current breakouts, as well as prevent future breakouts from happening.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Oil-free
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Non-comedogenic

Cons

  • May be drying

This award-winning cleanser has been dermatologist tested, and is suitable for sensitive skin. It is also non-comedogenic, meaning it doesn’t contain ingredients known to clog pores.

2% Salicylic Acid, water, sodium laureth sulfate, decyl glucoside, glycerin, sodium chloride, coco-betaine, PEG-150 pentaerythrityl tetrastearate, hexylene glycol, sodium hydroxide, PEG-6 caprylic/capric glycerides, zinc gluconate, tetrasodium EDTA, polyquaternium-47, menthol, capryloyl salicylic acid, citric acid.

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Over-the-counter Acne Treatments"

    Accessed Aug. 16, 2021.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser

COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser

COSRX Face Wash for Acne and Daily Cleansing

COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser

This gentle foaming cleanser removes excess oils and helps unclog pores without drying out the skin.

Skin types: Normal, Oily and Combination
Best for: Acne and Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Dispense the cleanser into your palms, and then gently massage it into wet skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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If you’re acne-prone, you need a daily cleanser that will remove excess oils and impurities without further irritating breakouts or drying out the skin. This cleanser contains a 0.5% concentration of salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that helps gently unclog pores to minimize breakouts.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • Contains fragrance

In addition to the salicylic acid, this cleanser contains willow bark water, tea tree oil, evening primrose extract, and other soothing skincare ingredients.

Water, Glycerin, Myristic Acid, Stearic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Lauric Acid, Butylene Glycol, Glycol Distearate, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Salicylic Acid, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Melaleuca Alternigolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water, Saccharomyces Ferment, Cryptomeria Japonica Leaf Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Leaf Extract, Pinus Palustris Leaf Extract, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Flower Extract, Pueraria Lobata Root Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ethyl Hexanediol, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Over-the-counter Acne Treatments"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.

10. 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.

11. Gel Cleanser

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

COSRX Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

This gentle gel cleanser is great for all skin types. It effectively cleans and restores the skin to its optimal pH level without irritating or drying it out.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Dispense the cleanser into your palms, and then gently massage it into wet skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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This is an excellent daily cleanser, because it is gentle and moisturizing, but still effectively works to remove oil, dirt, and debris from the skin. It has a slightly acidic pH level, which helps restore the skin to an optimal pH level so that it is healthy and soothed.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Moisturizing
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • Contains fragrant essential oils

Some of the key ingredients in this cleanser include evening primrose extract, which soothes and hydrates, as well as tea tree oil, which calms inflamed skin. It also contains betaine salicylate, which is a gentle chemical exfoliant.

Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Polysorbate 20, Styrax Japonicus Branch/Fruit/Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Saccharomyces Ferment, Cryptomeria Japonica Leaf Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Leaf Extract, Pinus Palustris Leaf Extract, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Flower Extract, Pueraria Lobata Root Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Allantoin, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Betaine Salicylate, Citric Acid, Ethyl Hexanediol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Benzoate, Disodium EDTA

12. 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

13. 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.
See on Amazon

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.

14. Foaming Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

This foaming cleanser is gentle and non-irritating on the skin, but still effectively removes dirt, debris, and excess oil without stripping it.

Skin types: Normal, Oily and Combination
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet the skin with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into the skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

This cleanser is one of the best CeraVe products for oilier skin types, because it cleanses the skin without stripping it of its natural moisture. Maintaining the skin’s moisture is vital, as products that dry out the skin can actually trigger the skin to produce more oil. This cleanser allows you to protect your skin while still cleansing away excess oil, dirt, and debris.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Non-irritating
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • If you’re acne-prone, this cleanser doesn’t contain any active acne-fighting ingredients

This daily foaming gel cleanser contains hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and three essential ceramides. These ingredients help ensure the cleanser doesn’t strip the skin of its natural moisture. They also help calm and soothe the skin.

Aqua / Water / Eau, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Peg-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Niacinamide, Peg-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl, Taurate, Propylene Glycol, Ceramide Np, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide Eop, Carbomer, Methylparaben, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cholesterol, Disodium Edta, Propylparaben, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium Edta, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum

  1. American Academy of Dermatology. "How to control oily skin"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser

Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser

Paula's Choice Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser

Those with particularly oily skin will benefit from this gentle cream-to-foam cleanser, which effectively cleanses and removes excess oil to reduce shine without drying out the skin.

Skin types: Oily
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

Oily skin needs a cleanser that effectively cleans without stripping the skin of its natural oils. This is because skin that is stripped can actually end up producing even more oil. This is one of the best Paula’s Choice cleansers for oily skin, because it removes excess oil but is still gentle enough to maintain the right hydration balance.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Gentle

Cons

  • May be drying for some skin types

This cleanser contains ingredients that hydrate and soothe the skin to keep it balanced, including glycerin, sunflower seed oil, and aloe.

Water (Aqua), Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (cleansing), Sodium Lauroamphoacetate (cleansing), Stearic Acid (texture-enhancing), Glycerin (hydration/skin replenishing), Glycol Distearate (texture-enhancing), Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (sunflower oil/non-fragrant oil/antioxidant), Acrylates Copolymer (texture-enhancing), Cetearyl Alcohol (texture-enhancing), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (hydration/skin-soothing), Sodium Chloride (stabilizer), Sodium Hydroxide (pH balancing), Xanthan Gum (texture-enhancing), Caprylyl Glycol (preservative), Hexylene Glycol (preservative), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

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

    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.

18. Resist Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser

Paula’s Choice Resist Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser

Paula's Choice Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Paula’s Choice Resist Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser

This skin-softening cleanser is an excellent choice for those with drier skin, because it effectively cleanses without leaving the skin feeling tight or dry.

Skin types: Normal, Dry and Combination
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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Everyone needs to cleanse their skin daily, but it can be difficult for those with dry skin to find a cleanser that doesn’t leave the skin feeling drier. This Paula’s Choice cleanser contains skin-restoring ingredients that maintain the skin’s barrier so that it feels soft, hydrated, and clean.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Gentle
  • Moisturizing

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

The hydrating and soothing ingredients in this gentle cleanser include green tea extract, matricaria flower extract, and glycerin.

Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (emollient/texture-enhancing), Decyl Glucoside (cleansing), Glycerin (hydration/skin replenishing), PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate (cleansing), PPG-20 Methyl Glucose Ether (texture-enhancing), Methyl Gluceth-20 (hydration/texture-enhancing),Glyceryl Stearate (texture-enhancing), Stearyl Alcohol (texture-enhancing), Polyacrylamide (texture-enhancing), Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract (green tea extract/antioxidant), Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract (skin-soothing), Sapindus Mukurossi Peel Extract (soapberry extract, cleansing), Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate (cleansing), C13-14 Isoparaffin (texture-enhancing), Laureth-7 (texture-enhancing), Xanthan Gum (texture-enhancing), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Citric Acid (pH adjuster), Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol (preservatives), Ethylhexylglycerin.

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

    Accessed Aug. 5, 2021.

19. Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser

Paula’s Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser

Paula's Choice Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Paula’s Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser

This salicylic acid cleanser is one of the best Paula’s Choice cleansers for acne. It removes excess oil and pore-clogging debris without drying out the skin or causing any redness.

Skin types: Normal, Oily and Combination
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 gel cleanser contains the chemical exfoliator salicylic acid, which is a beta-hydroxy acid (or BHA). Salicylic acid sheds excess skin cells and decongests pores to fight acne and blackheads, leading to a clearer complexion.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-drying

Cons

  • May irritate sensitive skin

This cleanser has a 0.5% concentration of salicylic acid. The low concentration helps clear the skin of excess oil and debris without irritating it.

Salicylic Acid 0.5% (anti-acne), Water (Aqua), Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate (cleansing agent), Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Copolymer (texture enhancer), Glycerin (skin-replenishing), PEG-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate (cleansing agent/solubilizer), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (cleansing agent), Arginine (amino acid/skin-softening), Butylene Glycol (hydration/slip agent), PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate (emollient/emulsifier), Panthenol (vitamin B5/hydration), Disodium EDTA (chelating agent), Citric Acid (pH adjuster), PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil (cleansing agent/solubilizer), Sodium Citrate (chelating agent), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Caprylyl Glycol (preservative), Chlorphenesin (preservative).

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Over-the-counter Acne Treatments"

    Accessed Aug. 5, 2021.

20. 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.

21. Acne Foaming Wash 10% Maximum Strength

PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash 10% Maximum Strength

PanOxyl Face Wash for Acne

PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash 10% Maximum Strength

This foaming benzoyl peroxide cleanser is excellent for fighting acne on both the face and body.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Acne
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Gently massage the cleanser into the face, as well as any other areas of the body that are prone to acne (like the back or chest). Rinse with lukewarm water.
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This foaming cleanser contains a 10% concentration of benzoyl peroxide. This high concentration helps kill acne-causing bacteria on the skin while also unclogging pores to treat current breakouts and prevent new blemishes from forming.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic

Cons

  • May irritate the skin

For the best results, this cleanser should be used on a regular basis as part of an effective skincare routine to keep breakouts at bay.

Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide (10%) Inactive Ingredients: Carbomer Homopolymer Type C, Carbomer Interpolymer Type A, Decyl Glucoside, Dimethicone, Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, Glycerin, Palmitic Acid, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Polyoxyl 40 Stearate, Propanediol, Purified Water, Silica, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate, Sorbitan Stearate, Stearic Acid, t-Butyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Benzoyl Peroxide"

    Accessed Sep. 1, 2021.

22. Pigmentclar Brightening Deep Cleanser

La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Brightening Deep Cleanser

La Roche-Posay Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Brightening Deep Cleanser

This foaming cream cleanser contains exfoliating lipo-hydroxy acid, which works to remove impurities from the skin and brighten overall skin tone.

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.
See on Amazon

Lipo-hydroxy acid (which is a derivative of salicylic acid) is a gentle chemical exfoliator that is well-tolerated by most, and great for acne-prone skin and acne scars. It is exfoliating and known to stimulate collagen and elastin production (which is great for anti-aging and evening out skin tone and texture), and also has anti-acne properties. While this acid will be most effective when applied as a leave-on treatment, this cleanser can still contribute towards lightening post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Dermatologist tested

Cons

  • Contains fragrance

In addition to the lipo-hydroxy acid, this cleanser contains glycerin, which helps keep the skin moisturized.

Aqua / Water, Glycerin, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Glyceryl Stearate Se, Stearic Acid, Lauric Acid, Palmitic Acid, Coco-Glucoside, Parfum / Fragrance, Tetrasodium Edta, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "The Use of Lipohydroxy Acid in Skin Care and Acne Treatment"

    Accessed Jul. 30, 2021.

FAQs

What is the best drugstore face wash for acne?

If you have acne, the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Acne Face Wash, the COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser, and the Paula’s Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser are all excellent options for you. These cleansers all contain salicylic acid, a chemical exfoliant that unclogs pores and fights acne. Another great option is the PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash 10% Maximum Strength, which contains benzoyl peroxide, a skincare ingredient that kills acne-causing bacteria and unclogs pores.

How do I choose a good face wash?

When picking out a face wash, you should consider your skin type, as well as any skin concerns you may have. From there, you can look for products that are formulated for your skin type that may address your concerns. For example, if you are acne-prone and have oily skin, you’ll want to choose a face wash that targets those needs. As another example, if you have dry skin, you’ll want a hydrating cleanser that won’t strip your skin of its natural oils.

How often should I use face wash?

You should wash your face one to two times everyday. If you only wash your face once a day, it should be at the end of the day in order to cleanse away any sweat, dirt, sebum, and debris. Many people will also cleanse their face in the morning to create a clean canvas to apply their skincare products to. This is especially important for people who workout and break a sweat in the morning. However, some people are fine just cleansing at night. You should also avoid cleansing more than two times per day, because over cleansing can strip the skin of its natural oils and lead to irritation.

The Bottom Line

Drugstores often carry a variety of brands with great products for all skin types. If you need a new cleanser, you’ll undoubtedly find an option that works well for you at your local drugstore.