Creating a vegan skin care routine for sensitive skin? Here are our recommendations for the best face washes for sensitive skin.

Our Recommendations

1. Oat Cleansing Balm

The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm

The Inkey List Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm

This calming, gentle cleansing balm helps wash away makeup, sunscreen, and other impurities on the skin without causing irritation. It’s the perfect product to use as the first step in a double cleansing routine.

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, and then follow up with a second cleanser. Alternatively, this can be used as your one and only cleanser if not double cleansing (best suited for drier skin types).
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This affordable cleansing balm contains oat kernel oil and colloidal oatmeal. These ingredients support the skin’s moisture barrier, minimize redness, and soothe irritation, making the balm a particularly great choice for sensitive skin. The thicker consistency of the balm is great for helping to get rid of all traces of makeup and sunscreen from the day.

Pros

  • Gentle and soothing
  • Fragrance-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • Some reviewers complain about the thicker consistency
  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this gentle face wash contains additional oils that hydrate and nourish the skin, including sweet almond oil and sunflower seed oil.

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil, Candelilla Cera (Cire de candelilla), Silica,Sorbitan Stearate, Tribehenin, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Aqua (Water/Eau), Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Lecithin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil

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

    Accessed Nov. 9, 2021.

2. Face Cleanser

First aid beauty Face Cleansers

First Aid Beauty Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser

This fragrance-free face wash is an excellent hydrating, gentle cleanser that is suitable for all skin types, and packed with antioxidants.

Skin types: All Skin Types
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 gentle cleanser effectively cleanses without stripping the skin of its natural oils. It contains additional ingredients that help calm and hydrate the skin, including aloe, glycerin, and allantoin.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Fragrance-free
  • Oil-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Dermatologist tested

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

In addition to the ingredients noted above, this vegan and cruelty-free face wash contains the First Aid Beauty antioxidant booster (a blend of licorice root, feverfew, and white tea extracts) to help fight environmental aggressors.

water/aqua/eau, sodium cocoyl isethionate, glycerin, stearic acid, stearyl alcohol, allantoin, chrysanthemum parthenium (feverfew) extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, tocopherol, ascorbyl palmitate, caprylyl glycol, sodium pca, coco-glucoside, glyceryl oleate, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, hydrogenated palm glycerides citrate, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, lecithin, phenoxyethanol, sodium chloride, disodium edta, citric acid, maltodextrin, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, tetrasodium edta

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

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Pharmacological attribute of Aloe vera: Revalidation through experimental and clinical studies"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.

3. 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, fight signs of aging, 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.
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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.

6. 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

What is the best vegan face wash for sensitive, dry skin?

Two Paula’s Choice cleansers to check out are the Calm Redness Relief Cleanser and the Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser. The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm is also a great choice. 

Is Neutrogena vegan?

No, Neutrogena is not fully vegan or cruelty-free, although some products are made without animal-derived ingredients. 

Is CeraVe vegan?

Like Neutrogena, CeraVe has some vegan products, but the brand is not 100% vegan. CeraVe also tests on animals.

The Bottom Line

If you have sensitive skin, you’ll easily find a vegan cleanser that will work for you. All of our recommended cleansers are specifically formulated for sensitive skin, and free of animal-derived ingredients.