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Only someone as obsessed with beauty as us would have so many thoughts about washcloths. We spend a lot on our skincare routines and pay serious attention to the ingredients we use, so why not put a little thought into the washcloth that comes with it?
Thankfully, the rest of the beauty industry is in a similar mindset, and there are a plethora of washcloth options out there for every skincare concern. From makeup-removing microfiber to antibacterial options, here we’ve curated the top options on the market, plus some intel on how to use them, and what they can do for your complexion.
Keep scrolling to shop for the best washcloths for the face.
Best Overall: Resorè Face Towel
Material: Bamboo, cotton | Absorbency: Moderate to high | Machine Washable: Yes | Colors: White
This chic new brand is backed by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Melanie Grant, so you know it’s going to be good. The towels are made using Silverbac™ and Lyocell™, two actives proven to prevent the spread and incubation of bacteria (meaning you can get away with washing them less, as well). Aside from this, they’re incredibly plush and soft, making for a luxurious cleansing experience. Try it out if you’re sensitive or prone to acne.
Best Drugstore: Josh Rosebrook Organic Cotton Washcloths
Material: Cotton | Absorbency: Moderate | Machine Washable: Yes | Colors: White
Simple and soft, these classic washcloths from Josh Rosebrook are a great all-rounder option. Handmade in Turkey by native artisans using organic cotton and a 400-year-old weaving technique, these cloths are free from all bleach and dyes, so they are suited to the most sensitive skin types (even babies).
Best for Makeup Removal: Makeup Eraser The Original MakeUp Eraser
Material: Polyester | Absorbency: Moderate | Machine Washable: Yes | Colors: Pink, black, blue, orange, yellow, red, purple
Best Value: LORAN Luxury Bamboo Facial Washcloths
Material: Bamboo | Absorbency: Moderate to high | Machine Washable: Yes | Colors: White
Six eco-friendly washcloths at an affordable price point? It’s a yes from us. These bamboo ones from Loran are also incredibly soft, dye-free, and work to inhibit the growth of bacteria. One for (almost) every day of the week.
Best for Heavy Makeup: Parachute Makeup Towel Set
Material: Turkish cotton | Absorbency: Moderate | Machine Washable: Yes | Colors: Black
If you’re sick of makeup-stained white washcloths (and honestly, who isn’t), this extra-cute set from Parachute is here to solve your problems. Made from Turkish cotton, they’re soft and gentle on the skin—plus the black shade means they’ll look brand new forever.
Best Muslin: Eve Lom Muslin Cloth - 3 Pack
Material: Muslin cotton | Absorbency: Low | Machine Washable: Yes | Colors: White
We first fell in love with muslin cloths when using them alongside Eve Lom’s iconic Cleansing Balm—and it’s been love ever since. Lightweight and fast-drying, these muslins are excellent when it comes to removing balm or oil cleansers.
Best Reusable: Face Halo Original - Reusable Makeup Remover - Pack of 3
Material: Microfiber | Absorbency: Light to moderate | Machine Washable: Yes | Colors: White, black, red
These microfibre discs from Face Halo are a team Byrdie favorite for so many reasons. Firstly, the tiny microfibers they’re made up of work to lift and remove makeup—so they’re brilliant as a first cleanse. They also work with balm cleansers to take off a face mask or alongside micellar water. The best feature though is that they can be washed and reused up to 100 times—sustainable beauty at its finest.
Best for Using With Creamy Cleansers: Boscia Konjac Cleansing Sponge
Material: Konjac root | Absorbency: Low | Machine Washable: No | Colors: White
Konjac is a starchy root vegetable that interestingly makes for a pretty innovative cleansing sponge. Soft and bouncy, this one from Boscia gently cleanses the skin while offering a mild form of exfoliation. Try it with a creamy cleanser for super-soft skin or to remove your favorite clay mask.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Tatcha Kinu Pure Silk Polishing Face Cloth
Material: Silk | Absorbency: Low | Machine Washable: Yes | Colors: Purple
The Tatcha Kinu Polishing Face Cloth is the crème de la crème of washcloths. As the name suggests, it’s made up of 100% pure silk, so it’s ace for really sensitive, dry, or mature skin types. It can be used dry to gently buff the skin or damp to remove cleanser, makeup, and the like.
Best Dual-Purpose: Pai Twin Flyer Cloths
Material: Muslin cotton | Absorbency: Low | Machine Washable: Yes | Colors: White
This dual-sided washcloth from Pai is great because you can flip it around depending on your preferences. On one side there’s muslin, great for gently buffing the skin and removing the last traces of makeup, dirt, and sunscreen. On the other side, there is a softer flannel that won’t irritate the delicate skin around the eyes.
Best for Gentle Exfoliation: Fur Mitt Trio
Material: Cotton, nylon | Absorbency: Moderate | Machine Washable: Yes | Colors: White
We’re obsessed with these mitts from Fur for use on the face and the body. Each one slips over one finger and can be used to buff and refine congested, flaky skin. Pair it with a cleanser to smooth the skin, prevent ingrown hairs, even out texture, and ensure the remainder of your skincare absorbs.
Best Bamboo: Brooklyn Bamboo Washcloths
Material: Bamboo, cotton | Absorbency: Moderate-high | Machine Washable: Yes | Colors: Pink
Bamboo is a great material because it’s antifungal, meaning it won’t smell or encourage the growth of bacteria and mold. They’re not too abrasive, so they won't irritate your skin if you’re also using retinol, AHAs, BHAs, and the like.
For team Byrdie, the unanimous favorites are the Resorè Face Towel (view at Resorè) and the Fur Mitt Trio (view at Violet Grey). Resorè is a standout because apart from being plush and a delight to use, they’re antibacterial and great for the skin. Fur is also at the top of the list because of the innovative shape and how they gently buff and soften even sensitive skin.
What to Look for When Buying a Washcloth
Washcloths are generally made from either cotton, bamboo, muslin, or microfiber. What you choose more or less depends on your skin type and how you want to use the washcloth. Muslin is fast-drying and ever so slightly abrasive, so it can double as a means of exfoliation. Microfibre, on the other hand, is excellent when it comes to makeup removal, whereas cotton is a gentle option that will boost your cleansing routine sans irritation.
Dyes and Bleaches
If you’re using a washcloth on your face, it’s best to buy something made without synthetic dyes and bleaches as they could potentially irritate you.
Finally, it’s important to wash your washcloth after every few uses, so if you’re wanting to use one daily as a part of your cleansing routine, look out for sets of three, five, or more so you’re not caught out before laundry day or tempted to use one that’s less-than-fresh.
How do you use a washcloth to cleanse your face?
A washcloth can fit into your regimen any which way that suits your complexion, but facialist, skin expert, and Resorè ambassador, Melanie Grant suggests using it to really boost your cleansing routine: “Once you’ve really massaged in your cleanser of choice, take a warm, damp washcloth and start in the center of your face, working outwards and finishing with the neck, chest, and shoulders.” Grant also adds that for congested skin, you can try flipping the towel around and giving spots prone to blackheads (like the chin and nose) a final buff once all the cleanser is removed.
More importantly, Grant notes that you should never drag or pull the skin down when using a washcloth. Outside of cleansing, try holding a warm washcloth over your face before a clay mask to soften pores or to remove the said mask.
How do you clean a washcloth for your face?
When cleaning your washcloths, the easiest option is to throw them into the washing machine separately with a gentle detergent. Steer clear from bleaches and fabric softeners as well.
How often should you replace your washcloths for your face?
How often you'll need to replace your washcloths comes down to how often you use it and what it’s made of, but a year is generally a good timeframe. If it loses its absorbency or the texture becomes too rough, swap it out for something softer.
Why Trust Byrdie?
In short, Emily Algar spends a lot of time talking, thinking, experimenting and learning about skincare (washcloths included!). She has also checked in with skincare expert Melanie Grant to explain how to use a washcloth and what they’re good for.