Some things in life are better dirty: martinis, minds... But faces? Not so much. Yet finding a facial wash that does everything you want it to, i.e., cleanse without stripping, is tougher than it should be. So we did the dirty work, and hunted down 9 that get the job done.
Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser
This gel cleanser smells like strawberries, so much so that you might be tempted to test whether it tastes as good as it smells (it doesn’t). Good news, though: Its ingredient line-up is as pure as your Whole Foods shopping list, so at least you don’t have to worry that you’ve poisoned yourself in the process. As for how well it works, it’s incredibly gentle and rinses makeup off cleanly and thoroughly.
CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
This super-bargain of a face wash ($1 an ounce!) cleanses away makeup, pollution and other environmental filth, then gets down to business repairing skin’s moisture barrier by tag-teaming ceramides and hyaluronic acid—both of which help skin glom onto moisture, which, of course, results in more hydrated skin for the long haul.
Tatcha Pure One Step Cleansing Oil
It’s time to make this clear once and for all: Just like eating fat doesn’t make you fat (you can thank sugar for that), putting oil on your skin won’t make it oily or cause any other breakout-related consequences. In fact, Tatcha’s cleansing oil is among most skin-soothing cleansers out there, managing to take a tough stance against mascara and lipsticks but also being so gentle that it leaves skin better for having met it.
Yes to Coconut Ultra Hydrating Melting Cleanser
This one smells like coconuts, which is reason enough to consider it a favorite, but it also makes the whole act of washing your face a little more pleasant by melting into skin—and melting off makeup—when rubbed on.
Fresh Rose Cleansing Foam
No matter how matte your lipstick or how smoked-out your eyes, a pump of this rosewater-infused face wash will foam it all off while leaving skin as close as humanly possible to the flower petals on the ingredients label.
Biore Charcoal! Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser
Charcoal doesn’t really seem like the kind of thing to get all excited about, so I kind of love how enthusiastic that exclamation mark after the word is on this label. But in fact, there is good reason for the enthusiasm. Nothing’s better at pulling out impurities without irritating skin, leaving pores clean and clear.
RMS Beauty The Ultimate Makeup Remover Wipes
When it comes to washing my face, I’m shamefully lazy. And for this reason love how face wipes let me wash my face from comfort of my bed when I just can’t muster the energy to take a 30-second trip to the bathroom and wash off the day. That said, face wipes never actually seem to do much, leaving behind tinted sunscreen, mascara, etc. etc. etc. These, though, are totally different. They contain just a single ingredient—coconut oil—and remove everything in a couple swipes, no rinsing required.
Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial
Technically, this one’s for the dudes, but in the name of gender neutrality, we’re adding it to our list. It’s a bit like a mask-cleanser hybrid: exfoliating with glycolic acid, preventing skin eruptions with volcanic ash, and washing away dirt, makeup, and oil in a single go.
Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser
When you have rosacea, testing out new facial cleansers is a crap shoot. You might stumble on one one-in-100 product that does no harm, but the far more likely scenario is that you’ll rinse off dirt and makeup and wash on flushing and redness. This 99% natural stuff, though, is as gentle as it is thick and creamy, and in my experience, doesn’t trigger rosacea.
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