A good cleanser is the foundation of any skincare routine, and finding the perfect one for your skin can be tricky. Below is a round up of my fave clean cleansers that are sure to fit every skin type and budget.
Type: Foaming Gel
They Say: Cleanse is a multi-functional foaming gel cleanser that brightens, exfoliates, and clarifies your skin every time you wash your face.
Best For: Any skin type, but especially as a first cleanser for teens and pre-teens. Also a great choice for those wanting to transition into a clean routine but aren’t sure where to start.
I Say: This has been a fav for me for a while now. It’s a small Colorado company with a formulation that’s so effective and so elegant that I keep coming back to it over and again. It completely cleanses my skin without leaving it dry while also removing all traces of makeup- even mascara. It smells bright and fresh and the formulation is light and feels great on the skin. I always use a foaming gel in the morning because I like a fresh face and a lotion or cream formula at night. This is also part of their collection that’s great for someone who wants a simple routine or tweens diving into their first skincare. My girls use and love this cleanser as well as their hydrators.
Pacifica Vegan Ceramide Extra Gentle Face Wash
Type: Creamy Gel That Transforms into a Light Foam
They Say: This sulfate-free light foaming cleanser harnesses the power of plants and phytonutrients to gently cleanse without stripping your beautiful skin.
Best For: Sensitive or reactive skin. It’s fragrance and sulfate-free and very gentle. This is also a great one for anyone who wants more from their cleanser since it literally feels like a cloud.
I Say: The feel of this cleanser is completely unique. It supports your skin’s moisture barrier by not stripping and soothes skin with marshmallow root extract and calendula. It feels so fluffy and leaves my skin really soft. It does remove light makeup but not mascara all the way, so I follow up with a micellar water to remove excess when I use this to cleanse. If your skin is reactive, or sensitive, or you don’t like scents in your skincare, this is a great pick for you. Also good if you’re using retinol or something that leaves your skin dry or flakey since it maintains moisture.
Type: Pudding (their word)
They Say: Our cushy, luscious pudding frees you of the day’s pollutants, infusing skin with enzymes as it plumps, softens, and revives circulatory rhythm to restore optimal hydration and luminance.
Best For: Someone who wants a totally luxurious experience and something different. It also works for someone who is dry since it leaves your skin feeling hydrated, not squeaky clean, you’ll feel moisture left behind.
I Say: I’ve bought this a few times now and it’s so unique and makes cleansing feel like a spa ritual. It’s a base of kaolin white clay and honey, combined with plant oils and extracts. It smells like vanilla, chocolate, and warm orange, sort of like a fall dessert. I massage it in, and then leave it on for about 10 minutes as a mask before washing it off in the shower. It really does leave my skin glowing and soft. The downside is the price and the one year shelf life which I find I can get about 17 months out of. It does eventually dry out and become unusable, so you really have to use it up. I do love May Lindstrom though, the thoughtful formulations and heavy glass jars always feel like such an experience every time I use them. I’m just not sure the price is worth it for a cleanser when there are so many incredible clean options that work as well, if not better for a lot less.
True Botanicals Nourishing Cleanser
Price: $48 but $40 if you have their subscription service
They Say: Our face wash is perfect for skin that is showing signs of aging or is prone to dryness. Naturally scented with grapefruit, lavender, vetiver and jasmine.
Best For: All skin types but anyone dry would especially appreciate how hydrated it leaves skin after cleansing and its non-stripping nature.
I Say: I was sent a package from True Botanicals and was totally surprised by this cleanser. It is incredible and has a cream consistency that smoothes over the skin like a moisturizer but it powerfully breaks down makeup, dirt, and sunscreen so easily all while maintaining the skin’s moisture balance. I found myself using it day and night until it was gone because the pump is so easy to use and worked so well. I also love the scent which is grapefruit, lavender, and jasmine which lingers slightly after I wash it away.
Ursa Major Making Moves Milky Cleanser
Type: Milk with a light lotion feel.
They Say: An easy-rinsing, enzyme-powered facial milk for clean, hydrated skin. Breeze through your daily cleanse with this refreshing, non-foaming, enzyme-powered facial milk. No let-downs here: get a full-on clean, with enough hydration for even the driest skin – and a totally residue-free rinse that will leave you feeling renewed, nourished and oh-so-comfortable in your skin.
Best For: Anyone who likes a milky cleanser that’s easy to use. It would also work well for men, and anyone who wants clean skin without any fuss. Also a nice transition from Cetaphil which people start using in their 20’s and apparently never stop.
I Say: Making Moves works amazingly well to cleanse the skin and feels almost invisible without a detectable scent. It feels neutral, comfortable, and easy. It’s as light as it is hard-working, it’s nice to have a cleanser that can flex its muscles without showing off.
Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser
Type: Gel/ Foaming
They Say: Our bestselling cleanser washes away impurities to leave skin soft, refreshed, and luminous. A blend of ingredients- including lycopene (from tomatoes) and hydrolyzed wheat protein – make it ideal for cleansing, hydrating, tightening, firming, and complexion control.
Best For: All skin types, but especially those who love a clean feeling post-cleanse and would enjoy the yummy light strawberry scent.
I Say: This cleanser is so incredible. I love love love the strawberry scent and how the thick gel foams up washing away everything including makeup and sunscreen. You can leave it on for a few minutes for a quick brightening treatment before washing it away letting the strawberry seed oil and tomato extracts do their thing. It feels so good on the skin and washes away completely leaving my face feeling comfortable and clean. Come for the strawberry scent but stay for the effectiveness and ease. It’s their best-seller for a reason. I received a travel-sized sample and bought a larger size before it was out.
They Say: Prevent breakouts and reduce the appearance of blemishes with this plant-based probiotic cleanser. The vegan gel, made with organic algae, is gentle enough to use in the morning and at night, but still leaves skin feeling clean and clear.
Best For: Normal to Combo
I Say: I was sent this cleanser recently from Heyday and was so blown away. It’s a thick, non-foaming gel that holds up and doesn’t break down as you cleanse. Undaria Seaweed mineralizes the skin. Bentonite clay works to remove surface impurities, Lactic Acid gently exfoliates skin while Glycerin and Plant Oils hydrate and soothe. It feels like a skin treatment and not just a cleanser and smells zesty and fresh. I love how one pump gives you just the right amount and the frosted glass bottle makes using it feel like a spa experience. This is another that I’ll gladly buy again.