This article was published in partnership with Blu Atlas.
Face washes are one of the most crucial components of anyone’s skincare routine. Since they’re the first skincare product we use morning and night, they build the basis for the rest of our routine to work efficiently. So with that comes great responsibility—a good face wash needs to do more than just cleanse dirt and oil. It needs to set the skin up for future success, whether that’s through added hydration, moisture barrier repair, zapping zits, or supplying the skin with anti-aging antioxidants.
Below, we’ve found the 22 best face washes on the market in 2022. All of which will give your skin the deep, satisfying clean it deserves, without stripping or drying it out. Each wash also packs its own unique punch. From exfoliating cleansers to blemish busters, our list is guaranteed to have at least one face wash your skin will fall in love with.
1. Blu Atlas Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser
We can’t get enough of Blu Atlas’ Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser—so it’s no wonder that it’s our pick for the best face wash of 2022.
The formula is gentle enough for daily use, but it’s also exfoliating, so you get that satisfying clean feeling every time. This face cleanser has just eleven ingredients (yes, you heard that right) to ensure skin receives a concentrated dose of the ingredients that count.
Volcanic ash is the star ingredient in this cleanser as its ultra-fine, uber absorbent particles remove excess oil and impurities from the skin, so pores look instantly tighter and clearer. Lactobacillus ferment filtrate calms and soothes skin to avoid any irritation. It also balances and strengthens the skin for ultimate health.
2. Youth to the People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser
Youth to the People’s Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser has remained one of the best face washes on the market since the brand’s initial launch in 2015. This gentle daily cleanser refreshes skin with a superfood-packed formula that includes ingredients like kale, spinach, green tea, and loads of skin-healthy vitamins.
The face wash is lightweight with a cooling gel consistency that is great for all skin types (from normal to oily to sensitive). Spinach supplies the cleanser with natural moisturizing benefits while antioxidant-rich kale provides skin with a lovely dose of vitamins C and E. Anti-inflammatory green tea is always a bonus, especially in skincare, since it packs the skin with its antioxidant and soothing properties.
For a simple yet elegant formula, there’s the Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Facial Cleanser by La Roche-Posay. This French drugstore skincare brand is a favorite among dermatologists because the formulas are backed by skin science and are safe for sensitive skin.
With their hydrating creamy cleanser, you’ll experience smoother, more moisturized skin thanks to ingredients like ceramides that lock in moisture and niacinamide, which calms irritation and strengthens skin. The brand’s coveted prebiotic thermal water also makes an appearance to hydrate, soothe, and protect skin with beneficial antioxidants. Because the formula is milky and moisturizing, it’s best for those with normal, dry, or sensitive skin.
If brighter, clearer skin is your goal, then this Brightening Facial Wash by Revision Skincare is an instant add to cart. Brimming with brightening ingredients, moisture boosters, natural exfoliators, and protective antioxidants, this face wash formula is one of the best.
Key ingredients include salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid that goes deep into the skin to unclog pores and prevent future breakouts. Glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, exfoliates surface dead skin cells for smoother texture and brighter tone. Additional skin brightening ingredients like vitamin C, licorice extract, and lily extract do their magic to brighten and even skin tone naturally. The formula also contains moisturizing and hydrating ingredients like vitamin E, so skin doesn’t become dry or irritated.
5. Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip French Green Clay Cleanser
Warning: You might become obsessed with this cleanser. Full of nourishing and detoxifying natural clays (like French green clay, bentonite, and white kaolin), Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip Cleanser is fantastic at cleaning and tightening pores without stripping the skin of its natural moisture.
Skin softening ingredients like rice and olive oil esters also ensure skin stays balanced and nourished so that all skin types can enjoy the benefits of these natural clays.
Neroli extract gives the cleanser a spa-like scent that also happens to be soothing and brightening for the skin. Use this as your daily cleanser and leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing for a mini face mask session.
Acne-prone skin needs a face cleanser that will go to work on treating and preventing breakouts. Enter Murad’s Acne Control Clarifying Cleansers. This is without a doubt one of the best acne face washes on our list because it works for all skin types and targets acne with proven blemish-busting ingredients like salicylic acid.
At a concentration of 1.5-percent, encapsulated salicylic acid immediately treats acne by going deep into the pores to tackle excess oil and congestion. And because it’s encapsulated, the salicylic acid will continue to work for hours on the skin, even after you’ve washed it off. Soothing ingredients like green tea extract calm redness and inflammation, while black cohosh root extract ensures skin stays moisturized.
For a fuss-free face wash that does the job but also leaves skin feeling incredibly nourished, there’s CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser. This best-selling face wash—seriously, it has over 69,000 positive reviews on Amazon alone—is beloved for its simple yet effective approach to skincare.
Anyone can use this cleanser (no matter your age, skin type, skin tone, or gender) for deeply cleaned skin that doesn’t feel stripped or dry. Three essential ceramides in the formula ensure the skin’s moisture barrier is healthy, while hyaluronic acid draws in water from the environment, so skin is plump and well hydrated.
Korean skincare brands continue to take over the beauty world in 2022 with their innovative formulas and exceptional ingredients. KraveBeauty’s Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser has made waves in the Korean skincare market. It has a jelly-like texture that emulsifies with water into a silky, milky wash that cleanses away dirt, oil, and debris.
With green tea leaf water as its first ingredient, the wash is ultra-hydrating, soothing, and gives skin a potent concentration of antioxidants. Other nourishing ingredients like hemp seed oil, oat kernel extract, and Panthenol (aka vitamin B5) leave skin feeling healthier and more hydrated than before you washed your face, which is why it’s on our top 22 list.
9. Eminence Organic Skin Care Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser
It’s no secret that some face washes on the market can be overly drying and stripping of your skin’s essential moisture barrier. And it also shouldn’t be a secret that those are the types of cleansers to avoid. Instead, opt for something nourishing like Eminence Organic’s Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser. Bursting with skin-healthy ingredients like vitamins, astringents, and antioxidants, this face wash is designed to transform breakout-prone skin into clear and radiant skin.
The formula contains unique yet well-known ingredients like cucumber juice (to tone and purify pores), yogurt (to gently exfoliate and moisturize), and sweet almond milk (to soften and nourish skin). Natural acne-fighting ingredients tea tree oil and willow bark extract control oil production and prevent breakouts, while antioxidants like Coenzyme Q10 prevent premature aging.
This award-winning cleanser by Skinfix solves the irritating skin issues that a traditional foam cleanser can cause with its lightly foaming, sulfate-free formula that’s packed with nourishing, hydrating ingredients. The face wash is pH-balanced (so it won’t upset your skin’s delicate balance) and fragrance-free, making it suitable for even dry or sensitive skin types. Coconut-derived cleansers gently froth and cleanse the skin.
A hydrating triple-lipid complex strengthens the skin barrier by restoring ceramide and fatty acid levels. A visibly plumping seaweed hyaluronate blend draws in water for hydrated, bouncy skin, while aloe vera leaf juice moisturizes and nourishes with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
11. Well People Juice Cleanse Soothing Aloe Face Cleanser
A juice cleanse for healthy skin that doesn’t require actually drinking juice? Sign us up! In Well People’s Juice Cleanse Soothing Aloe Face Cleanser, a gentle gel formula rinses away dirt, oil, and pollution so all skin types can rock a healthy, hydrated complexion.
Plant-based ingredients like aloe vera (soothes and moisturizes), broccoli seed oil (brightens and smooths), and pelargonium graveolens flower oil (tightens and renews) pack skin with hydration and skin-brightening benefits. The vegan, cruelty-free formula is great for anyone looking for a gentle, nourishing daily cleanser that harnesses the power of plants.
The benefits of rice water for skin and hair cannot be overlooked. The centuries-old Japanese technique of using the milky leftover water of rinsed rice is a cherished beauty ritual, one that packs the skin with nourishing vitamins like A, B2, B12, and E.
To embody the benefits of rice water, Tatcha’s The Rice Wash combines rice ferment filtrate with other nourishing ingredients to create a hydrating wash that targets dryness. Key ingredients include a curated blend of Japanese algae that nourish and soften skin, hyaluronic acid to smooth and hydrate, and Tatcha’s signature Hadasei-3, a trio of fermented Japanese superfoods that plump skin and promote a more youthful appearance.
13. Pai Skincare Light Work Rosehip Fruit Extract Cleansing Oil
Cleansing oils make great first cleanses to break down dirt, oil, makeup, and sunscreen before you jump into a cream or gel cleanser. They’re also ultra-nourishing for those times when your skin feels super dry or sensitive. Pai’s Light Work Cleansing Oil soothes skin and melts away impurities with a nourishing base of olive, sunflower, and castor oils.
Rosehip fruit extract comes in hot to give skin a potent dose of glow-boosting omega fatty acids and antioxidants that defend skin from environmental damage. Additional oils and extracts from jasmine, lime, orange, and basil calm and brighten skin while also giving this wash a grounding, aromatic scent.
14. Botanic Tree Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser
Instead of using a separate exfoliator in your skincare routine, get the best of a deep clean and satisfying exfoliation with Botanic Tree’s Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser. With over 13,000 positive ratings, this exfoliating cleanser is definitely one to try. It targets dark spots, dullness, and blemishes with a ten-percent glycolic and salicylic acid concentration that buff away dead skin cells, dissolve excess sebum, treat acne, and even skin tone.
Other plant-based ingredients like tea tree oil and willow bark extract help treat acne, while bamboo and shea butter heal and restore the skin. Lather this wash onto slightly damp skin and leave it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing to get the best of its exfoliating effects.
For those looking for a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser that keeps skin hydrated and balanced—look no further. First Aid Beauty’s Pure Skin Face Cleanser is very effective, thanks to its pH-balanced formula that removes dirt, oil, and grime without leaving the skin feeling tight and dry.
The lightweight creamy texture soothes dryness and redness with ingredients like aloe vera, allantoin, and glycerin. Coconut cleansers make sure skin stays nice and clean, while plant-based ingredients like licorice root calm redness and brighten the skin tone.
From Paula’s Choice RESIST line comes the brand’s Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser. If a foaming face wash is your thing, you’ll love the way this cleanser uses gentle surfactants to cleanse away dirt and oil. It gives you all the sudsy satisfaction of a foam face wash without the harsh chemicals that strip your skin and cause dryness.
Hydrating and nourishing ingredients like aloe vera, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid ensure skin is plump and moisturized. Other beneficial elements like glycerin and sunflower seed oil relieve dryness and prevent premature signs of aging.
We don’t typically recommend people with dry skin to reach for a foaming cleanser, but this option is great for those with normal, oily, combination, or acne-prone skin.
Wave goodbye to clogged pores with Typology’s Purifying Cleansing Gel. As one of the best face washes on our list for combination and oily skin types, this cleansing solution removes pollution, dirt, and oil from the surface of the skin.
Plus, it’s packed with blemish-fighting actives like zinc and bamboo. Zinc PCA targets inflammation, excess sebum production, and acne-causing bacteria, while natural bamboo extract absorbs oil. Other natural ingredients like prebiotic inulin hydrate and balance the skin’s microbiome, and eucalyptus oil prevents future breakouts with its antibacterial prowess.
One of the most innovative formulas on our list comes from Humanrace. Their Rice Powder Cleanser comes in a gentle powder to foam formula that lets you control how much active product you get. Rice powder acts as a mild exfoliant on the skin to soften and buff away dead skin cells without causing micro-tears and future skin damage like other physical exfoliants can.
A blend of fruit-derived alpha hydroxy acids gives your skin another gentle hit of exfoliation while purifying kaolin clay balances and cleans. Snow mushroom extract moisturizes even the deepest layers of skin, so skin feels supple and soft. The final star of the show is geranium extract, which acts as an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent that instantly makes skin brighter and clearer.
Target redness and sensitivity with this soothing Facial Wash by PCA Skin. Ideal for normal, sensitive, and rosacea-prone skin, this no-nonsense face wash effectively cleanses skin from dirt, oil, and pollutants while maintaining balance and moisture.
Lactic acid provides a gentle form of chemical exfoliation, helping smooth fine lines and reduce the appearance of dark spots while also hydrating and firming the skin. Allantoin moisturizes and soothes skin, aloe vera leaf juice hydrates and heals, and konjac root powder provides a light amount of exfoliation that benefits even the most sensitive skin types.
Our skin’s natural moisture barrier regulates what comes in and what goes out of the skin. It’s what blocks out harmful pollutants and bacteria and keeps in beneficial hydration. When the skin barrier is compromised and stripped (sometimes from using a face wash that’s too harsh), you’ll experience concerns like dryness, redness, itchiness, and flaking.
To prevent said skin problems, The Nue Co. created their Barrier Culture Cleanser. Protective of the skin’s preferred pH levels, this soap-free cleanser uses gentle surfactants (like those derived from apple amino acids) to clean the skin. Additional microbiome-friendly ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and squalane hydrate, strengthen, and protect the skin against environmental stressors.
This best-selling cleanser by Korres revives skin’s brightness and moisture with superfoods that support a thriving skin microbiome. Ideal for treating skin concerns like dryness, redness, and sensitivity, this creamy foaming cleanser doesn’t use harsh surfactants to clean skin. It instead relies on gentle coconut-derived emulsifiers to wash away the day.
Greek yogurt is in part what makes this cleanser so creamy and nourishing, but it also boosts skin’s radiance with naturally exfoliating lactic acid. Other notable ingredients include mineral-rich sea water that hydrates and minimizes the appearance of pores, amaranth seed that is packed with skin-loving nutrients, and hydrolyzed rice protein that increases skin’s moisture retention and calms irritation.
22. The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Acne + Pore Cleanser
Some of the best cleansers on the market are also (thank goodness) affordable. Enter the Inkey List’s Salicylic Acid Cleanser. To target oiliness, pore size, and acne, this lightweight cleanser uses a potent concentration of salicylic acid to go deep into the pores and clear away excess oil and dead skin cell buildup.
Blemish-busting zinc also makes an appearance to reduce sebum and calm inflammation that leads to worsened acne. Soothing allantoin also helps soothe redness and irritation, so skin looks brighter and clearer in no time. And at just under $10, there’s no reason not to give this best-selling face wash a try.
You should use a face wash at least once a day. While you don’t have to wash your face in the morning, though you can if your skin feels oily or you just worked out, it is essential that you cleanse your face at night. Washing your face at night will ensure that the rest of your skincare products (like moisturizer) have a clean base to work on and that you’ve cleansed away the potentially harmful pollutants, bacteria, dirt, and oils that have accumulated on your skin throughout the day.
You can also choose to double cleanse at night—which is essentially cleansing twice, typically with an oil-based cleanser first. This is particularly beneficial for those wearing makeup or sunscreen during the day since it might take a second cleanser to thoroughly remove those heavier products.
Should I Use a Gel, Cream, or Oil-Based Face Wash?
The type of face wash you choose depends primarily on skin type and personal preference. In general, those with drier, more sensitive skin will want to go for a cream or oil-based cleanser. Face washes with gel consistencies tend to be a favorite amongst normal, combination, or oily skin types.
Does My Face Wash Need to Be Fragrance-Free?
In general, no! Fragrance, whether it’s synthetic or from natural sources like essential oils, can add to the experience of using a face cleanser. And it might be (in part) why a face wash becomes one of your favorite products.
However, some people are sensitive to fragrances, even if they are naturally derived. So dermatologists often recommend that those with sensitive skin or allergies to certain fragrances ditch scent altogether and look for a cleanser labeled fragrance-free.
The Best Ingredients to Look for in a Face Wash
Aloe vera is a skincare ingredient we all know and love, even if it’s only for its ability to soothe a nasty sunburn. When it comes to face wash, aloe vera is a perfect ingredient to look for because it boasts a wide array of skin benefits. For one, aloe vera is incredibly moisturizing (which is in part why it helps heal a sunburn so quickly). The natural moisturizer aids in skin hydration and helps our skin retain that moisture, which is essential when using a water-based product like a face cleanser.
Glycerin is a common skincare ingredient you’ll find in loads of different products—and for good reason. Glycerin is fantastic for the skin because it’s a humectant, meaning it draws in hydration to the skin to relieve dryness and rejuvenate the complexion. It also helps soften skin: which who wouldn’t want?
Hyaluronic acid is another humectant, like glycerin, that helps keep skin healthy and hydrated. This affordable ingredient is one of the best around because it instantly plumps skin cells, so not only does your skin feel softer and smoother, it also looks younger with less noticeable fine lines and wrinkles.
Pre and Probiotics:
As some of the newer ingredients on this list, pre and probiotics are gaining popularity in the skincare world thanks to their ability to calm and balance the skin. We love seeing them in face cleansers because they promote a healthy skin microbiome that is less prone to dryness, acne breakouts, inflammation, and irritation.
Gentle Cleansing Agents:
The years of super harsh chemicals and skin-stripping surfactants are over. So our skin is free to rejoice and rejuvenate with the more gentle cleansing agents of 2022. The best face washes will use mild surfactants like those derived from coconuts or amino acids to nourish while supplying the skin with a satisfying clean.
AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids):
Alpha hydroxy acids (like glycolic and lactic acids) are great in face cleansers because they offer a gentle form of exfoliation. Because it’s in a wash-off treatment, you get the benefits of brighter skin, less noticeable fine lines and wrinkles, less pigmented dark spots, and smoother skin without the potential irritating factors a leave-on product can trigger.
Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that is amazing for blemished, acne-prone skin. Unlike AHAs that do their work on the top layers of skin, salicylic acid is oil-soluble, so it goes deep into the pores to break down dead skin cell buildup and excess oil that cause clogged pores and pimples. Look for this superstar ingredient if you have acne-prone skin or are looking for a preventative acne treatment wash.
You’ll often see allantoin in face cleanser formulas because it is incredibly calming and moisturizing for the skin. As an anti-irritant, it soothes any sensitivity or skin agitation and promotes wound healing, getting skin back to a healthier state.
Green tea (often listed as Camellia sinensis extract) is another fantastic skincare ingredient to look for in a face cleanser. The benefits of green tea for the skin include adding in healthy hydration, supplying protective antioxidants, calming redness and inflammation, and promoting a youthful complexion.