Even if you’re not out and about as much as usual these days, you don’t want your coworkers to be distracted by your breakout on the next Zoom call. We know that it can be a struggle to find the best face wash for your skin type without drying out your wallet.
Brittney Powell, a skincare blogger at The Blushing Bliss, knows that routine well and has tried many different acne-targeting face washes to no avail.
“Previous cleansers I’ve tried that didn’t work [include] Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, Murad Acne Cleanser, Cetaphil, Cerave, Kate Sommerville Eradikate Cleanser, Clean & Clear Triple Clear, and Clean & Clear Continuous Control,” Powell tells me.
“Depending on how specific you break it down, there are either 4 types of skin or up to 16 (a belief made popular by Dr. Leslie Baumann, a trusted dermatologist in the beauty space), but at the end of the day, I’m a believer in 4 types: dry, oily, combination, or normal skin,” says Todd Minars, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology, University of Miami School of Medicine. “One thing to keep in mind is that there are A LOT of skin types and some of them do require different approaches, which is why I like to recommend acne sufferers at least consult with a board-certified dermatologist.”
While you surely won’t avoid trial-and-error entirely, given that your skin is unique, there are thankfully some budget-friendly options to check out before considering a larger spend.
Best for Men: Clinique Charcoal
“Great daily face wash. This is a very gentle and effective face wash. My skin never feels dried out or irritated after I use this product. I have tried several face washes in the past from different companies, this is by far my favorite. It’s hard to describe what makes it so good, but my skin seems to do very well when I use this,” says Joe from New Mexico.
“I’ve tried multiple charcoal cleansers and this is the absolute best one. I use this religiously and it deep cleans my skin without irritation. Clinique does it again with this one!” says Brando from Tempe, Arizona.
Best for Acne: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser
The La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin is made with salicylic acid to target oil and gently exfoliate while preventing acne breakouts. This oil-free formula also helps with blackheads and whiteheads. Though this product helps with acne-prone skin, it’s also suited for sensitive skin. And note that this cleanser is paraben-free and dermatologist and allergy-tested.
Best Drugstore Face Wash: Neutrogena Ultra Gentle
Not all of us have purely oily or dry skin. For some people, their skin falls somewhere in the middle. Whether you suffer from eczema or prefer a hypoallergenic formula, the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle is a great choice. Available in both creamy and foaming formulas, this product was developed by dermatologists to include minimal ingredients, reducing the chance of possible skin irritation.
Formulated with nourishing polyglycerin, this face wash is ideal for those with dry and sensitive skin and makes a great addition to your daily skincare routine.
“This face wash is light and smells great. It [feels] good on my skin and, actually, works perfect[ly] as a shaving cream because it’s frothy and doesn’t have [a] strong chemical smell like most shaving creams. Feels like a clean, deep clean but with a light scent. Fantastic!!!” says Craig, an Amazon customer.
“My go-to recommendations for nearly all patients looking to improve the appearance of their skin or help control acne are Cetaphil and Vanicream (the original versions for each brand),” Dr. Minars tells me.
According to Dr. Minars, these non-drying products are hugely beneficial since dryness helps contribute to skin issues. They also don’t have pesky dyes or fragrances.
“Having your products free from colors and fragrances is particularly important for those patients with sensitive skin types, as those elements can irritate and flare up their issues.”
Best for Oily Skin: Clinique All About Clean Rinse-Off Cleanser
Online Only Purchase $29.50 of Clinique products and get the Clinique Sunny Staples Kit for $35 (valid thru 8/28/21 or while quantities last). Free gift with purchase
The Clinique’s All About Clean Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser is a cream-mousse cleanser that gently wipes away makeup. It also rinses away pollution, dirt, and excess oil gently and effectively. Plus, it’s non-drying and non-stripping. Note that the tube and cap are made from post-consumer recycled material as well as plant-derived plastic.
This story was originally published by Chaya Milchtein on 09/10/2020 and updated by Juliana Clark with new information on 07/07/2021.