We Researched the Best Face Washes for Men—Here Are Our Top Picks

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Byrdie / Sabrina Jiang

Cleansing is the first and arguably most crucial step in the skincare process. It prepares your skin to take on active ingredients contained in the rest of your routine. In today's market, there's an abundance of face washes to choose from. Understandably, guys can get overwhelmed. Skincare is still a new concept for many, but that doesn't mean it has to be complicated. 

The key to choosing the proper face wash for men lies in understanding what your skin needs. Perhaps you're looking for hydration, or you might require balance. There are formulas for every skin type that address particular concerns. No matter what your budget is, there are options for you.

To that end, here are the best face washes for men. 

What to Look For

Skin-Type Specific Formulas

Choosing the correct face wash for you depends on your skin type. For instance, if you are acne-prone, you may want to look for formulas that include acne-busting ingredients like salicylic acid or willow bark. If you have dry skin, moisturizing oils and creamier formulas might be best. Some face washes can help fight signs of aging, while others might be made for sensitive skin. Check labels for these claims that suit your specific needs.

Non-Stripping or Irritating Ingredients

The key to face wash is to remove dirt, bacteria, pollution, and dead skin cells without destroying your skin's natural balance and hydration. Surfactants in face wash dissolve in water and help remove dirt and oils on the skin. However, some surfactants are more stripping than others. Surfactants can bind to keratin and cause protein denaturation, which damages the cell membrane of keratinocytes. Surfactants that may be best avoided include sulfates, with the most common being sodium lauryl sulfate.

Hydrating Qualities

Since face wash, despite your best efforts, can remove some of the natural oils and moisture from your skin's surface, it's best to choose a product that offers hydrating qualities to counteract dryness. Depending on your skin type and needs, there are plenty of options to choose from. Oils, creams, and butters may be helpful for dryer skin types, while gels, glycerine, and hyaluronic acid are likely best for oilier skin types.

Best Overall

Evolve Organic Beauty Daily Detox Facial Wash

Evolve Organic Beauty Daily Detox Facial Wash

Courtesy of Credo beauty

What We Like
  • Light, foaming texture

  • Gently exfoliates

  • Balanced formula

What We Don't Like
  • Could be more hydrating

If you're looking for an affordable grown-up face wash with natural ingredients, you'll find that and more in this green beauty favorite. This face wash promises to help keep the skin balanced while gently exfoliating using papaya enzymes. The formula is lightly foaming but doesn't tend to dry out the skin. This cleanser works for all skin types but can be especially beneficial for combination skin.

Active Ingredients: Moringa, goji, and papaya extracts | Skin Type: Balanced, combination | Benefits: Exfoliates, balances | Size: 3.4 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for All Skin Types

Paula's Choice Skincare Defense Hydrating Gel-to-Cream Cleanser

Paula’s Choice Hydrating Gel to Cream Cleanser

Courtesy of Paula's Choice 

What We Like
  • Addresses blue light

  • Gel-to-cream texture

  • Skin feels clean

What We Don't Like
  • A tad drying

Part of the brand’s Defense line, this cleanser claims to double as anti-pollution skincare. It may address blue light damage caused by daily exposure to phone and computer screens. It comes in a mild formula that breaks down surface oils and impurities.

Active Ingredients: Amino acids, lactic acid | Skin Type: Oily, combination | Benefits: Reduces excess oil, removes pollutants | Size: 6.7 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Oily Skin

(MALIN+GOETZ) Grapefruit Face Cleanser

Malin + Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser

Courtesy of Malin + Goetz 

What We Like
  • Cleanses and tones

  • A little goes a long way

  • Light, pleasant scent

What We Don't Like
  • Leaves skin feeling a little tight

While it's suitable for all skin types, it'll work exceptionally well for oily skin. You'll get a deep cleanse that won't leave you feeling dry. This is a foaming cleanser without harsh ingredients. Grapefruit extract and amino acids are meant to help keep skin balanced. This can be used as part of your day or nighttime regimes. 

Active Ingredients: Grapefruit peel oil, amino acids | Skin Type: Oily | Benefits: Cleanses, balances | Size: 8 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Dry Skin

Aesop Purifying Facial Cream Cleanser

Aesop Purifying Cream Cleanser

 Courtesy of Aesop

What We Like
  • Multipurpose

  • Non-drying

  • Light, pleasant scent

What We Don't Like
  • Contains methylisothiazolinone

Aesop’s light and aromatic cleanser is ideal for those in need of hydration. This foam-free formula may leave the skin looking and feeling more supple and smooth. The cream also works to help remove makeup and product buildup. It doubles as a purifying and hydrating mask if you leave it on for 10 minutes.

Active Ingredients: Rosa canina fruit oil, evening primrose oil | Skin Type: Balanced, dry | Benefits: Purifies, polishes | Size: 3.6 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Combination Skin

Susanne Kauffman Cleansing Gel

Susanne Kauffman Cleansing Gel

 Courtesy of Net-A-Porter

What We Like
  • Unique packaging

  • Calms redness

  • Made with sugar and other natural ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

This is a good option for all skin types but works well with combination to oily skin. It's popular among celebrities but offers more than just hype. It uses alpine herbs and biodegradable ingredients meant to provide a soothing mild cleanse. This is an excellent cleanser for treating occasional breakouts and inflammation.

Active Ingredients: Ribwort plantain extract, rosa canina oil | Skin Type: Oily, combination | Benefits: Soothes, hydrates | Size: 3.4 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Anti-Aging

Grown Alchemist Hydra+ Oil-Gel Facial Cleanser

Grown Alchemist Hydra Oil-Gel Facial Cleanser

 Courtesy of Neiman Marcus

What We Like
  • Milky texture

  • Contains antioxidants

  • A little goes a long way

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive for a small bottle

It’s never too early to defend your skin against the signs of aging. This gel to milky cleanser gently washes away surface impurities. It has an impressive list of ingredients like squalane and a host of antioxidants and fatty acids, all working to potentially address the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It's also hydrating, which supports healthy, glowing skin.

Active Ingredients: Willow bark extract, aloe, plant extracts | Skin Type: Balanced, combination | Benefits: Calms, soothes | Size: 1.7 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Dark Skin

Urban Skin Rx Clear Skin Cleansing Bar

Urban Skin RX Clear Skin Cleansing Bar

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Helps fade dark spots

  • Reasonably priced

What We Don't Like
  • Could be more hydrating

This treatment cleanser is a favorite for darker skin tones, formulated to address common issues such as oily skin and uneven tone. It also exfoliates and can be worn as a five-minute mask—actives like niacinamide and salicylic acid help improve the appearance of the skin over time. The bar comes enclosed in a jar for convenient application and storage.

Active Ingredients: Sulfur, salicylic acid | Skin Type: Oily, combination | Benefits: Exfoliates, helps treat and prevent acne | Size: 2 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best With Charcoal

Boscia Detoxifying Black Charcoal Cleanser

4.5
Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser

 Courtesy of Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Deeply cleanses without stripping

  • A little goes a long way

  • Calming, natural fragrance

What We Don't Like
  • Could be more hydrating

Another great pick for men who are more on the oily side is this warming gel cleanser. It uses charcoal to meant to help deep clean, balance, and reduce the appearance of pores. It can also be used as part of a double cleanse routine. Like all Boscia products, this is vegan and free of any artificial fragrances.

Active Ingredients: Glycolic acid, charcoal powder, licorice extract | Skin Type: Oily, combination | Benefits: Exfoliates, balances, reduces appearance of pores | Size: 5 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

What Our Testers Say

"The Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser is ideal for the oily-to-combination-skinned who need a little something extra to balance out and calm their overactive skin. Great for both everyday usage as well as a deep treatment a few times a week, this detox cleanser delivers fresh, balanced, poreless skin." — Bryan Levandowski, Product Tester

Best Micellar Water

Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water

Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water

 Courtesy of Caudalie 

What We Like
  • Skin feels soft and moisturized

  • Doesn't leave a residue

  • Made with organic ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for oily skin

If you're already double cleansing, then you might be familiar with micellar water. It's a staple of the multi-step skincare process. This no-rinse cleanser can be used to remove product residue, dirt, and oil. Caudalie's grape water, chamomile, and glycerin formula promises to draw moisture back into the skin. This makes this micellar water a go-to for beauty and skincare enthusiasts.

Active Ingredients: Grape water, chamomile extract | Skin Type: Dry, balanced | Benefits: Hydrates, reduces redness, removes makeup | Size: 6.7 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Cleansing Balm

La Bella Figura The Clean Slate Rinsable Cleansing Concentrate

La Bella Figura The Clean Slate

 Courtesy of La Bella Figure

What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Made with organic ingredients

  • Nourishing formula

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive for a small bottle

This buttery balm provides a deep cleanse without stripping the skin. Created by a brand dedicated to green skincare and beauty, it contains primarily organic ingredients. This balm offers a proper cleanse while providing a healthy and hydrated glow. It makes a tremendous clarifying pre-shower stream mask.

Active Ingredients: Cupuacu butter, camellia seed oil | Skin Type: Dry, balanced | Benefits: Removes buildup, hydrates | Size: 1 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best No Frills

Homme Face Daily Face Wash

Homme Face Daily Face Wash

Courtesy of HommeFace

What We Like
  • Soothes sensitive skin

  • Non-drying

  • Balanced formula

What We Don't Like
  • Could be more hydrating

As the name might suggest, this brand was created with men’s skin in mind. This refreshing cleanser is soothing, making it an excellent option for frequent shavers. Tea tree and lavender add to its skin calming effect. This is an ideal cleanser for anyone looking for a more neutral daily wash, all for a price that won’t break the bank.

Active Ingredients: Hydrolyzed collagen, witch hazel extract, tea tree leaf extract | Skin Type: Oily, combination | Benefits: Reduces excess oil, balances, helps treat and prevent acne | Size: 4.2 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Investment

Dr. Barbara Sturm Enzyme Cleanser

Dr. Barbara Sterm Enzyme Cleanser

 Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Cleanses and exfoliates

  • Simple formula

  • Skin feels smooth and refreshed

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

In this formula, ascorbic acid and enzymes promise to resurface and hydrate. It comes in a powder form that’s activated by water. This helps to prepare the skin for other products and treatments. It offers a deep cleanse that removes dead skin. This means it may be used as a mild weekly exfoliant. It also comes in a formula specifically for darker skin tones.

Active Ingredients: Enzyme subtillisin, enzyme lipase | Skin Type: Oily, combination | Benefits: Exfoliates, cleanses | Size: 2.6 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Budget

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • pH-balanced

  • Helps keep pores clear

  • Calms redness

What We Don't Like
  • Could be more hydrating

COSRX is an affordable Korean beauty brand that is leading the pack. This soothing cleanser is ideal for overactive skin. It contains tea tree and BHAs meant to help clarify and improve the appearance of the skin. This is a great cleanser for anyone looking for a simple yet effective daily face wash.

Active Ingredients: Tea tree oil, beta hydroxy acid | Skin Type: Oily, combination | Benefits: Reduces excess oil, reduces appearance of pores | Size: 5 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Gentle

Arcadian Banana Face Wash

Arcadian Banana Face Wash

 Courtesy of Arcadian 

What We Like
  • Soothes sensitive skin

  • Hydrating formula

  • Recyclable packaging

What We Don't Like
  • Not for deep cleansing

You might prefer an uncomplicated cleanser that doesn't sacrifice quality—if so, this one is for you. The formula is fragrance-free and suitable for sensitive skin. It's also vegan and cruelty-free. It's gentle enough for daily use and keeps the skin hydrated—ingredients like organic aloe leaf juice and witch hazel help soothe the skin.

Active Ingredients: Aloe leaf juice, argan oil | Skin Type: Dry, balanced | Benefits: Exfoliates, hydrates | Size: 8 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

FAQ
  • Should males use face wash?

    Despite fewer men wearing makeup, it is still crucial for men to use facewash. Pollution, dirt, grime, dead skin cells, and oils can get into pores through the day and lead to clogging. Hair products can also irritate and clog pores when they run onto skin or seep down during sweating.

  • How do I choose a face wash?

    Choose a facewash that is meant for your skin type and needs. Look for products that are designed to treat your concerns such as acne and oil control, fine lines and wrinkles, dryness, or sensitivity. It's wise to choose a face wash that also offers hydrating qualities.

  • Are face washes good for skin?

    Face wash can be very good for your skin if you choose wisely. Avoid products that strip the skin, such as soaps and sulfates. Choose gentle face washes that offer hydration and ingredients that boost the quality of your skin while addressing your specific needs and skin type.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Decker A, Graber EM. Over-the-counter acne treatments: a reviewJ Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012;5(5):32-40.

  2. Mukhopadhyay P. Cleansers and their role in various dermatological disordersIndian J Dermatol. 2011;56(1):2-6. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.77542

  3. Dong K, Goyarts EC, Pelle E, Trivero J, Pernodet N. Blue light disrupts the circadian rhythm and create damage in skin cellsInt J Cosmet Sci. 2019;41(6):558-562. doi:10.1111/ics.12572

  4. Levin J, Momin SB. How much do we really know about our favorite cosmeceutical ingredients?J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010;3(2):22-41.

  5. Chularojanamontri L, Tuchinda P, Kulthanan K, Pongparit K. Moisturizers for acne: what are their constituents?J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014;7(5):36-44.

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