While the benefits of washing your face are clear, determining the best cleanser for your skin isn’t as obvious. There is a dizzying amount of options and types of cleansers: from gels to foams to oils to creams to micellar waters. The right cleanser for you depends on your skin type and budget. 

In this article: La Mer Cleansing Gel, Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser and CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser.

Cream facial cleansers 

Cream facial cleansers are the most hydrating cleansers and are appropriate for normal, dry and mature skin. Their consistency is thick, creamy and loaded with moisturizing agents such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid. Cream cleansers are effective at removing makeup but may not always provide a deep cleanse. 

Gel facial cleansers 

For combination or oily skin, a cleansing gel offers a gel-like, thin consistency that won’t clog pores. Many feature acne-combatting ingredients and effectively dissolve excess oil without over-stripping the skin of its natural oil. However, gel cleanser doesn’t lather when used like other cleansers. 

Foaming facial cleansers

Cleansing foams are great for oily, normal or combination skin. Once dispensed, the liquid cleansers turn into a fluffy foam that penetrates dirt, oil and makeup. While they can cut through the grime, some foaming cleansers can leave skin feeling too dry or irritated, as they often contain sulfates.   

Micellar cleansing waters 

For no-fuss cleansing, a micellar cleansing water doesn’t require rinsing. The purified water contains micelles, which are tiny oil particles that attract dirt, makeup and oil. Using a cotton pad or ball, you simply swipe your face with the liquid without needing additional water.  Many micellar cleansers are formulated for sensitive skin. 

Oil facial cleansers 

For dry, normal or mature skin, oil cleansers leave skin feeling soft and hydrated. Like micellar water, the oil in the cleanser bonds to grime, makeup (including waterproof makeup) and excess oil in your skin and then is wiped away with a damp washcloth. Oily skin types can also benefit from oil cleansers but only if they don’t make your skin break out. 

Bar facial cleansers 

If you prefer the simplicity of bar soap, a facial cleansing bar is formulated for the delicate skin on your face. A clear, fragrance-free glycerin bar is non-irritating for sensitive skin. There are also bars specially formulated for oily or acne-prone skin. As bars can be drying, look for one with moisturizing ingredients.  

Best luxury facial cleansers 

Best La Mer Cleansing Gel

La Mer Cleansing Gel 

Containing a “miracle broth” of sea kelp and minerals, this luxurious formula lightly lathers the skin for a gentle cleanse. A little cleanser goes a long way and leaves skin feeling soft as though you just had a facial. 

Sold by Amazon and Sephora

Best Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser 

This high-end cleanser exfoliates the skin with contains BHA and ground apricot seeds to naturally sloth off dead skin and leave your face radiant and glowing. Gentle enough to use daily, it smooths out uneven texture and unclogs pores. 

Sold by Amazon and Sephora 

Best L'Occitane Immortelle Precious Gentle Face Cleansing Foam

L’Occitane Immortelle Precious Gentle Face Cleansing Foam

This lightweight foaming cleanser uses essential oils and other delicious-smelling natural ingredients to clean and clarify your skin. Your skin will feel soft afterward and your pores noticeably minimized with twice daily cleansing. 

Sold by Amazon

Best Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel

Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel

This skin-brightening cleanser contains glycolic and salicylic acid to slough off dead skin and reveal radiant, glowing skin. While formulated for mature skin, acne-prone skin can also benefit from this powerful cleanser. 

Sold by Sephora 

Best budget-friendly facial cleansers 

Best CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

For normal to oily skin, this fragrance-free cleanser comes in a value size and can be used twice daily without over-drying the skin. It’s formulated with ceramides, which add a protective moisture barrier to your skin. 

Sold by Amazon and Ulta Beauty

Best Neutrogena Foaming Facial Cleanser

Neutrogena Foaming Facial Cleanser

Appropriate for all skin types, this dermatologist-tested and approved cleanser is free of harsh detergents and alcohol. Plus, it’s oil-free and noncomedogenic, so it won’t make you break out. The foam can remove waterproof makeup. 

Sold by Amazon 

Best Neutrogena Original Fragrance-Free Facial Cleansing Bar

Neutrogena Original Fragrance-Free Facial Cleansing Bar

This low-cost glycerin bar lathers up generously and cuts through oil and grime without over-drying the skin. It’s hypoallergenic and doesn’t leave behind any residue that could clog pores. Even with twice-a-day use, it lasts a long time. 

Sold by Amazon 

Best CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar

For dry skin, this moisture-rich bar won’t dry out your skin. It contains hydrating ingredients, including ceramides that lock in moisture. It’s dermatologist approved for people with eczema and is fragrance-free to boot. 

Sold by Amazon

Best midrange facial cleansers 

Best Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel

Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel

This fruity cleansing gel contains AHA for daily exfoliation that leaves skin feeling smooth. It contains grapefruit and papaya extracts to brighten dull skin. Plus, it’s a cult favorite. 

Sold by Sephora and Amazon 

Best Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water

Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water 

This micellar water does double duty by removing makeup and cleansing the face. It’s formulated with sensitive skin in mind and leaves a light, pleasant scent and no residue. 

Sold by Amazon and iHerb

Best Clinique All About Clean Liquid Facial Soap

Clinique All About Clean Liquid Facial Soap

This mild cleanser is simple and leaves skin feeling refreshed and slightly tingly. The cleanser is effective yet gentle. It comes in three formulations: extra-mild for dry skin, mild for normal or combination skin and oily for combination or oily skin.

Sold by Amazon, Sephora and Ulta Beauty 

Best La Roche-Posay Toleriana Purifying Foaming Facial Cleanser

La Roche-Posay Toleriana Purifying Foaming Facial Cleanser 

This foaming cleanser is appropriate for sensitive, normal and combination skin. It works wonders on oily to extremely oily skin. People with eczema claim to have success with this dermatologist-recommended formula.  

Sold by Amazon and Ulta Beauty 

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