Combination skin is a difficult skin type to manage, but the right face wash will make all the difference.
If you have combination skin, continue reading to learn more about this skin type, as well as the best face washes for combination skin.
What is Combination Skin?
Combination skin is a skin type where some areas of the face are dry, while others are oily.
Typically, oilier areas exist around the nose and forehead, while drier areas tend to be around the cheeks and mouth.
Combination skin is tricky to take care of, since there are two dramatically different issues that need to be addressed.
However, a well-formulated face wash will help achieve balance by effectively cleansing the skin to get rid of excess oil, without over-drying it.
How to Choose the Right Face Wash
Learning what to look for when choosing a face wash for combination skin will help you decide.
Consider these factors:
- Avoid heavily fragranced face washes, as these may irritate the skin.
- Look for gentle formulas that remove debris without stripping the skin (which can trigger oil production).
- Make sure the face wash you’re using doesn’t make your skin feel overly tight or dry
Types of Face Washes
You’ll find a variety of types of face washes on the market.
Some of the most common are:
- oil formulas
But you’ll also find micellar waters, clay cleansers, bar soaps, and more.
The best face washes for combination skin will typically use a gel or foaming formula.
These formulas are superior for combination skin as they remove excess oil and debris from the skin without drying it out.
Best Face Washes for Combination Skin
Looking for a cleanser that cleanses effectively without exacerbating dry spots? If so, these are some of the best face washes for combination skin.
1. Best Overall: Paula’s Choice Resist Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser
Overall, this is the best face wash for combination skin. The gentle formula helps balance moisture levels while still removing debris and excess oil from the skin. It has a cream-to-foam consistency, and the product contains replenishing ingredients that soothe and protect the skin’s barrier.
2. Best for Acne: Sebamed Clear Face Cleansing Foam
Many people with combination skin are acne-prone, particularly in oily areas that are more susceptible to clogged pores. This gentle foaming cleanser helps to rid the skin of excess oil that clogs pores and causes breakouts, while also fighting pimple-causing bacteria. It is also ultra-hydrating, so it won’t strip moisture from areas of the skin that are more prone to dryness.
3. Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Daily Facial Cleanser
This Neutrogena cleanser is budget-friendly and one of the best face washes for combination skin, as it gently sweeps away dirt, bacteria, and oil while hydrating the skin. It is hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores. The formula is free of oil, soap, fragrances, parabens, and irritating essential oils.
4. Best Natural: Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced Perfectly Natural Cleansing Gel
This option from Paula’s Choice is the best face wash for combination skin if you’re looking for a more natural approach. The gel cleanser cleanses away impurities, but doesn’t leave the skin feeling dry, tight, or flaky. It has 98% natural ingredients, all of which are non-fragrant. Additionally, none of the ingredients in this cleanser are derived from animals.
5. Best Luxury: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser
La Roche-Posay has created an oil-free cream cleanser that is perfect for combination skin. It contains prebiotic thermal water, ceramide-3, niacinamide, and glycerin. These ingredients effectively cleanse the skin while moisturizing and maintaining the skin’s protective barrier and pH level. The product is non-comedogenic and allergy tested, and free of fragrances, soap, sulfates, and parabens.
6. Best Sensitive: CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
If your combination skin skews towards being more sensitive, this CeraVe cleanser is the best choice for you. This cleanser contains a patented delivery system that releases moisturizing ingredients (including hydrating ceramides and hyaluronic acid) to the skin for 24 hours. The formula is non-comedogenic and fragrance free, which means it won’t clog pores or irritate sensitive skin.
7. Best Korean: COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
This gel cleanser from Korean brand COSRX has a gentle formula that cleanses the skin without irritating or drying it out. The low pH level of the cleanser helps to restore the skin to its optimal pH level and protect it from irritants. This dermatologist-tested formula is free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and alcohol, and is vegan and cruelty-free.
8. Best for Men: Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
It should be noted that both men and women can use this cleanser (or any of the cleansers mentioned above), as there isn’t a major difference between men and women’s skin. Men should also keep in mind that many products specifically marketed as being “for men” are often heavily fragranced. Fragrances should be avoided, since they can irritate the skin.
However, for men, this is one of the best face washes for combination skin, due to the performance and the neutral appearance of the bottle. The foaming formula is non-irritating, and effectively cleanses the skin without over-drying.
How to Use a Face Wash
These face washing tips were provided by the American Academy of Dermatology:
- Start by wetting your face with lukewarm water
- Dispense the cleanser into your hands – about a dime-size for gel or cream cleansers, or one pump for foam cleansers.
- Gently massage the cleanser into your face, using circular motions.
- After about 20 to 30 seconds, thoroughly rinse the cleanser with lukewarm water
- Gently pat dry
Lastly, follow-up with your favorite moisturizer and sunscreen.
Other Recommended Products for Combination Skin
Looking to complete your skincare routine? Consider these favorites:
- Toners for Combination Skin
- Exfoliators for Combination Skin
- Serums for Combination Skin
- Moisturizers for Combination Skin
- Sunscreens for Combination Skin
What ingredients should you look for in a face wash for combination skin?
For the most part, its more about the overall formula than the individual ingredients. It is the entire composition of ingredients that create the final texture of the face wash. Therefore, look for products that are gel or foam formulas, or ones that specifically mention combination skin. Lastly, make sure to avoid products that contain heavy fragrance and alcohol - as those can irritate the skin.
How often should you wash combination skin?
This will depend on your skin’s unique needs and your lifestyle. Some people will need to cleanse both morning and night, especially if they workout in the morning. However, others will be fine with just washing their face in the evening.
Stick to once or twice a day, and then determine if you should make changes to your routine. Remember to always wash off makeup and sunscreen at the end of the day. It is also important to wash your face as soon as possible after working out, as sweat can contribute to breakouts.
How many times a day should you wash combination skin?
Some people with combination skin will be able to only wash their face once at night, whereas others will need to wash their skin both in the morning and at night. In general, avoid washing your face more than twice in a day, as this may irritate and strip the skin. However, if you've sweated heavily in the middle of the day, you should wash your face as soon as possible, even if that means washing your face three times that day.
The Bottom Line
The right face wash will make the world of difference for this difficult skin type. By using one of the best face washes for combination skin, you’ll be confident that you are effectively cleansing your skin and getting rid of excess oil without drying or irritating any less hydrated spots.