We'll go ahead and say it. Cleansers just don't feel like the most exciting step in our skincare routine. But, of course, they're probably the most important. After all, cleansers are what rid our complexions of a day's or night's worth of grime, grease, and buildup. And if we're not nixing those things, then the lusty products we do so dearly love will ultimately yield little benefit. (Truly, a strategic and effective skincare routine is kind of like the circle of life and everything seems to come full circle.)
That being said, in today's world of limitless product options, shopping for something as seemingly basic as a cleanser can start to feel a little bit Mount Everest–y in tediousness and effort. And with countless different formulas—powders, gels, oils, creams, balms, botanical lava infused fairy fuel (just kidding)—it's hard to know where to start. However, since many of us are still dealing with bitter temperatures (and inevitably parched, chaffed, and dry complexions), we wanted to focus on cream cleansers.
More specifically, we wanted to know which cream cleansers are the best.
So, what are seven skincare-obsessed product junkies who write about beauty for a living to do? Perform an inventory check of our own vanities and bathroom cabinets, of course. And, as it turns out, Team Byrdie is actually pretty partial where cream cleansers are concerned. (We just kind of forgot how much we love them!) Ahead, discover the nine best cream cleansers Byrdie editors consistently hoard atop our bathroom vanities.
According to managing editor Lindsey Metrus, this radiance-enhancing cream cleanser (strategically infused with papaya enzymes and algae extract) is her number one go-to for her sensitive skin. (She told me her mom, who looks 10 years younger than her true age, actually introduced her to the formula.) Additionally, renewing agents like starflower oils and apricot supplement the skin barrier for hydration and improved elasticity.
According to features editor Amanda Montell, this hydrating pick from dermatologist-favored brand Avène is great for those looking to pack some moisture into their cleansing routine. Ultra-soothing and without any of the dreaded "tightness" that can sometimes haunt our complexions post-wash, this non-greasy formula is noncomedogenic and thus safe for even blemish-prone skin types.
Amanda's other favorite creamy cleanser: this nutrition-packed option from celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau. Enriched with skin-glowing ingredients galore (think niacinamide, green tea leaf extract, a stabilized form of vitamin C, vitamin E, and mugwort extract), it luxuriously melts away makeup, debris, and cell buildup while easing any type of irritation or dryness. Expect radiant and dewy results.
Even though assistant editor Maya Allen told me she's had a "tumultuous journey with cleansers," when it comes to a creamier pick for her self-described breakout-prone skin, she's found love with Sunday Riley's clay-based formula. Thanks to oil-discouraging ingredients like French green clay that work well with her smaller pores, the formula keeps her skin clear, nourished, and luminous.
Already a cult-favorite product in the UK, this rich cream cleanser from Liz Earle makes Editorial Director Faith Xue's best list. Why? It instantly removes unavoidable daily buildup like makeup and environmental pollutants while imparting a healthy, sparkling-clean result.
Whenever I'm in personal want of advice where an effortlessly glowy complexion is concerned, I turn to wellness editor Victoria Hoff (who, unbeknownst to me given her enviably dewy skin, actually veers dry on the skin type spectrum). So, what's her cream cleanser of choice? Eve Lom's cult-loved and very much iconic cleanser, which is addicting not only in part to the ritual of it but also the luxe ingredient list. (Think dreamy oils like Egyptian chamomile, eucalyptus oil, clove, and hops.)
Though it's more of a cleansing milk rather than your typical cream cleanser per se, senior editor Hallie Gould still applauds this French favorite for its multitasking cleansing abilities. (And yes, it's still very much creamy and nourishing in consistency, so we're willing to bend here.) A wonderful option for all skin types, it's also a pro at removing makeup and will never leave a trace of oil in its wake.
Back when I was in a back-and-forth war with a frustrating cycle of consistent breakouts, this ultra-simple creamy cleanser from Origins was my favorite option to keep my finicky face in check—not too dry, not too oily, but just right. Smartly formulated with bergamot, spearmint, lavender, it's also a refreshing nightcap prior to hitting the sheets.
Another personal favorite? This signature foaming cream cleanser from Korres, which boasts soothing greek yogurt rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins galore. Thanks to the calming cream-to-foam design, makeup slips easily off the face, and if used at night, it tucks skin into bed with bacterial fighting goods like honeysuckle.
And there you have it—nine editor-approved cream face washes so you can cleanse to your heart's content.