The 10 Best Cleansers For Every Skin Type and Occasion
Cleansing your face is the most important thing you can do for your skin.
Finding the best beauty products has never been easier thanks to this weekly curated list—Pia's Picks. As the Senior Beauty Editor at HelloGiggles, I test and examine the latest skincare, makeup, hair, and nail products, so I can confidently recommend the best ones to you.
Cleansing is the single most important thing you can do for your skin. It's more important than wearing sunscreen every day and applying moisturizer—which you still should do—because for your skin to thrive, it needs to be cleansed of daily debris and buildup. However, cleansers aren't one-size-fits-all, and like all other skincare, you need to choose one for your skin type to see the best results. That's why we've broken down cleansers by categories (both by skin type and occasion) and included dermatologists' picks. Below, the best cleansers of 2020:
Best cleanser for dry skin: CeraVe Hydrating Face Wash
Shop it! $14.64, amazon.com
This drugstore favorite is packed with skin-friendly ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which work to hydrate the skin and lock moisture in. If your skin tends to lean on the drier side, this cleanser is like drinking a cup of water for your skin.
Best cleanser for oily skin: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water
Shop it! $6.78, amazon.com
Michelle Green, M.D., recommends this oil-free micellar cleansing water for people with oily skin. “The tiny micelle particles in this cleanser attach to oil, bacteria, and dirt, gently cleansing the skin while leaving it hydrated,” she says.
Best cleanser for combination skin: Philosophy Purity Facial Cleanser
Shop it! $36, amazon.com
Combination skin can sometimes be seen as the most difficult skin type to treat for its complexity, but this multitasking cleanser effectively cleanses the skin without stripping it of its natural oils or over-hydrating it. Plus, the natural oils found in the formula will leave your skin feeling soft, balanced, and fresh.
Best cleanser for normal skin: Youth to The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser
Shop it! $36, sephora.com
If you're looking for a cleanser that's clean and eco-friendly, look no further. This cleanser is packed with antioxidants and superfoods, like green tea and kale, that make normal skin thrive and maintain its natural glow. Think of it like drinking a green juice, but for your skin. Plus, the brand's glass container can be refilled at a select amount of stores to encourage a more sustainable lifestyle.
Best cleanser for acne-prone skin: CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser
Shop it! $13.99, ulta.com
This cleanser is non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores), non-drying, and non-irritating—all especially great benefits for those with acne-prone skin. In addition to the salicylic acid, the formula also has ceramides, which act as protectants for the skin and help retain moisture.
Best anti-aging cleanser: Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
Shop it! $64, amazon.com
If you're looking to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, this cleansing balm uses luxurious oils that make cleansing your skin feel like a high-end ritual. It uses elderberry flower, algae, and starflower to boost the skin's natural collagen production. And since it's a balm, you won't be tugging at your skin, which can speed up signs of aging.
Best travel cleanser: Pure Aura Paper Cloud Cleansing Foam
Shop it! $9.99, amazon.com
These little faces are more than meet the eye—they activate under water and turn into a foaming gel formula that effectively cleanses the skin. This cleanser is available for three skin types: dry, oil, and combination. I use it every time I travel.
Best cleansing oil: DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
Shop it! $28, ulta.com
Formulated with olive oil, rosemary leaf oil, and vitamin E, this cult-classic cleansing oil is packed with antioxidants that help strengthen the skin’s natural barrier and protect it from free radicals. It works well with all skin types, even the very sensitive, and you can also use it as an effective makeup brush cleanser, too—the convenience!
Best cleansing gel: Honest Beauty Gel to Milk Cleanser
Shop it! $12, amazon.com
This clean beauty buy won a 2020 Beauty Crush Award for its super-sensitive formula that works on all skin types. It's very good for sensitive skin thanks to its gentle ingredients like rose oil.
Best cleansing balm: Pond's Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm
Shop it! $9.98, amazon.com
This isn't your mom's old-school Pond's cold cream. This cleansing balm uses a blend of oils to efficiently, yet gently, slough away build-up and cleanse your skin. After using it, your skin will feel soft and supple.