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We all know that the foundation of clear, glowy skin is a great cleanser. Simply washing your face every day makes a big difference, but cleansing your skin of any makeup, dirt, and debris is super important, too. It’s all about finding the right face wash that's packed with ingredients that work for your skin type.
Full disclosure: While we're completely supportive of splurging on beauty products, we believe that if you can find an exquisite product for a fraction of the price, go for it. The real things to consider when it comes to cleansers are the ingredients and your skin’s response—and there really are high-quality face washes for all skin types in your local drugstore. We reached out to top dermatologists and estheticians for the best drugstore face washes, and included with a few of our favorites in the mix, too.
Scroll for the best drugstore face washes available now.
“This cleanser comes from a small town in Toleriane, France, where the thermal spring water comes out of a local natural spring,” explains aesthetician Graceanne Svendsen. “A clinic was made in Toleriane, and the natural thermal spring waters are used to treat patients in the clinic who have rosacea, dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis. This cleanser is a gentle non-comedogenic cleanser that also helps heal skin and is nonirritating for all skin types. It’s made with glycerin. What I love about glycerin is its ability to bind and attract water molecules in the air. It’s one of the most effective humectants for non-oily hydration.”
Say hello to another holy grail drugstore cleanser. Developed with the brand's ceramide trifecta, this gentle yet effective face wash replenishes moisture, restores the skin’s barrier, and uses a unique delivery technology that continuously supplies support to the skin throughout the day. Although the texture is smooth and creamy, almost like a lotion, it does lather well when mixed with water.
Micellar water is composed of micelles, tiny molecules that attract dirt, oil, and other nasties and draw them away from the skin. Board-certified dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum is a fan of this cult-favorite option. “This product cleanses without harsh ingredients and keeps your skin barrier intact and natural,” she explains.
Benzoyl peroxide is an organic acid in the peroxide family that has been used to treat acne because of its keratolytic, moderate comedolytic, and antibacterial properties, which include the reduction of P. acnes and Staph. aureus on the skin.
Nussbaum also recommends reaching for Neutrogena the next time you’re in a drugstore. “I love Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser as it gently cleanses without stripping the skin of lipid barrier,” she explains. “I also love Neutrogena Clear Pore Facial Cleanser/Mask for acne or breakouts as it nips in the bud due to the benzoyl peroxide.”
No need for a double cleanse here. This mild facial cleanser melts makeup away with ease without stripping skin of its natural oils. Ideal for normal to oily skin, this no fuss cleanser smells great and gets extra brownie points for being fair trade.
Cetaphil is a drugstore skincare brand that's beloved by dermatologists and editors alike, and this gentle exfoliating cleanser is no exception. Skin conditioners and vitamins work to hydrate and soften while micro-fine granules polish and exfoliate; it's also hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, so it won't clog your pores. The results? Smooth, clean skin that's soft to the touch. What's not to love about that?
Caffeine is a natural stimulant most commonly found in tea, coffee, and cacao plants. In skincare, it helps to stimulate blood flow and decrease puffiness, as well as works to dissolve fat, which makes it a choice cellulite treatment.
“Cetaphil Foaming Face Wash is an excellent choice for a daily cleanser,” recommends Svendsen. “Most people tolerate this cleanser very nicely, as it is great for makeup removal, sensitive skin, acneic skin, and those looking to do specific lasers or peels. This face wash contains caffeine. One of the interesting aspects of ingredients such as caffeine in skincare is the dilation effect it has on broken blood vessels and redness. Caffeine is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent.”
According to board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman, this product is one of the original cleansing oils and is ultra-popular in Japan. "It's infused with olive oil and vitamin E," she says, "so it's both nourishing and hydrating. It's completely residue-free and doesn't leave a greasy feeling on the skin." Need more convincing? Apparently, one bottle sells every 10 seconds.
When it comes to restoring moisture to aging skin, this antioxidant-rich face wash should be first on your list. Created with blackberry extract, the silky formula intensely hydrates for a softer and more supple canvas. Because it’s non-comedogenic, it also won’t clog your pores. When applying, work the product into a lather first and then massage into wet skin.
This micellar water is a great cleansing option for sensitive skin because it's gentle, first and foremost, but also fragrance- and alcohol-free, too. Plus, no need for excessive rubbing to remove debris—the texture glides on smoothly.
This soap-free cleanser maintains the natural oil balance of your skin with natural spring water. It also controls your skin’s sebum production because it’s formulated with glyceryl laurate, which is why it's our top pick for oily skin types.
If you’re looking to even out discoloration spots or smooth the texture of your skin, this brightening cleanser needs to be your go-to. Its star ingredient is soy, an ingredient that’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine for years to fade dark spots.
Board-certified dermatologist Melissa Levin always recommends a makeup wipe as the first step in your cleansing routine. “If you have oily or acne-prone skin, this gives the additive physical exfoliation, which can help remove oil, makeup, and dirt from the skin,” she says. “I recommend following that up with a proper gentle cleanser to ensure all the makeup is removed. One of my favorites is Differin Balancing Cleanser as a gentle hypoallergenic option.”
Runner-Up, Best for Acne Prone Skin: SheaMoisture Matcha Grean Tea & Probiotics Transforming Clay-to-Cream Cleanser
Green tea is a botanical derived from the leaves and buds of the tea plant Camellia sinensis. The active components of green tea are polyphenols (also called catechins) that are believed to benefit the skin due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
You might know Shea Moisture for their natural hair products, but their skincare should be on your radar for delivering serious results as well. This clay-to-cream cleanser uses a blend of antioxidant-rich matcha green tea and probiotics to be a game changer to sensitive and acne prone skin.
What makes this natural cleanser special is its inclusion of the ingredient daisy extract, a natural skin brightener that can help take dull skin to glowing in just four short weeks. Skin looks and feels more even as dark spots and blemishes are reduced thanks to a multi-fruit complex in the formula. It’s also as natural as a cleanser can get—about 98.6% natural in fact. Free of pesky ingredients like parabens and phthalates, it’s safe to use multiple times a day. We recommend using this product in the morning and before you go to bed.