A Beauty Editor’s Favorite Face Wash That She Can’t Get Enough Of

Cleansing is the backbone of any skin care routine. They are also a deeply under-appreciated item; we usually don’t give it a passing thought, instead giving our attention to the other big ticket items, like active-packed serums or dense creams. 

Without face cleansers, your other products won’t work. Products need to be applied on fresh, clean skin: Serums can’t treat skin issues or ailments if they’re not able to penetrate the stratum corneum into the epidermis. Moisturizers can’t hydrate when there’s gunk and excess dead skin cells in the way. 

Not to mention, without cleansers, dirt, oil, and pollution will wreak havoc. For those with acne prone skin, this is obvious: If you are no stranger to blemishes, the idea of not washing your face may send a cold shiver down your spine. But even if you’re blessed with a perennially clear complexion, all that debris still collects, irritating skin, triggering free radical damage and oxidative stress It may be invisible, but it’s there and will lead to dark spots, fine lines, and other signs of premature aging. 

Now for why it’s underappreciated (and even misunderstood): For so long—and well, currently—so many skin care experts and dermatologists’ advice tends to go as follows: You don’t need to care as much about face wash as it’s a rinse off product and thus isn’t on your skin long enough for actives to really get to work. Now, this technically is true. You’re better off utilizing high-powered and potent actives in serums or creams, as they actually sit on the skin giving them time to work their magic on your skin cells.  

However, with this advice some things are lost in translation. Just because it’s a wash off product, doesn’t mean that it’s somehow inconsequential. Poorly formulated face washes can be hugely detrimental to your skin barrier function and skin microflora; once this happens, it doesn’t much matter what else you’re doing to your routine, you’re in the red (sometimes literally as a damaged microbiome can cause flushing for some skin tones, as well as flaky or scaly patches). This is why you need to be just as smart about finding a face wash—that works for your lifestyle, skin type, and is non-striping—as you do anything else in your routine. 

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