13 Best Face Washes & Cleansers, Reviewed By Editors

Figuring out which one of the many best cleansers (or face washes) meets your skin’s needs is far from an easy task, namely because of the sheer number of options available. Seriously: there are foams, oils, lotions, balms and micellar waters – and every one of them works in a slightly different way when it comes to cleansing your face from the grime and removing makeup.

Not to mention, what works for one person might not work for you and your skincare routine. In other words, it can take some trial and error to get it right. Some are made to be more gentle and moisturising, meanwhile others are intended to be used as more of a deep cleanse. In an ideal scenario, you want a cleanser that does the job without stripping your skin of all the sebum, which in turn could result in an excessive production of oils.

But besides the type the cleanser, you’ll also need to consider their active ingredients. And similar to any other skincare product, you also need to consider your skin type and any skin-related concerns such as eczema and rosacea. For example, if your skin is on the drier side, you’d probably benefit from some extra hyaluronic acid or ceramides. If you’re susceptible to breakouts and have acne-prone skin, keep an eye out for salicylic acid. For a deep clean, a charcoal or clay cleanser can help to draw out and mop up excess sebum, and for brightening, vitamin C will help keep skin feeling good as new.

Best cleansers at a glance:

  1. Best hydrating cleanser: Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser, £27, Cult Beauty
  2. Best affordable cleanser: e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Daily Cleanser, £6, Boots
  3. Best cleanser for sensitive skin: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, WAS £25 NOW £15, Amazon
  4. Best gentle cleanser: Byoma Creamy Jelly Cleanser, £9.99, Cult Beauty

Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser

e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Daily Cleanser

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser Wash

Byoma Creamy Jelly Cleanser

Now we’ve got the ingredients nailed, let’s get to the FAQs. How do you figure out which type of cleanser will be best? Is it true that cleansing foams dry out skin? Does the micellar water you use as a makeup remover count as a cleanser? And is a cleansing balm too heavy for oily skin types?

We’ve put together a guide below to help you work out the best cleanser for you and we’ve included a full edit of all the best options to boot. Below, you’ll find our personal favourites, cult classics and some new launches to fit any budgets, preference or skin type. So scroll down and say hello to fresher skin.

Micellar water

Micellar water is formed from little micelles (spheres of mild surfactants combined with purified water), which attract all the makeup, excess oil and daily grime on the surface of your skin – like a magnet – leaving it clean and refreshed. It can work on all skin types, even sensitive, as it’s gentle but mighty. They’re perfect if you prefer to remove your makeup with cotton pads (reusable, of course), and they work as a great first step in a double cleansing routine since they’re perfect for removing makeup before you go in with a deeper, second cleanse.

Foaming cleansers

Foams have long been denounced as a skin-sapper and advised against for dry skin types. Foaming products require foaming agents, all of which can be higher in alkaline than the skin (which tends to be between 4.5 to 5.5 on the pH scale). Most foams are approximately 6, making them too harsh and stripping for some.


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