I have often been asked, “what is your favorite facial cleanser?” This is a complicated question for me to answer since I try so many. However, there are some that are clearly better than others. Now that I’m well into my 40’s I care about anti-aging benefits and don’t want a facial cleanser that strips my skin. Even though I remove all of my makeup with a facial wipe before I wash my face, I still want a cleanser that removes all traces of makeup and deeply cleans my pores. (I ask a lot, I know). I also have sensitive skin so I prefer gentle cleansers. I am of the belief you should not skimp on skincare products. So I don’t mention a lot of drugstore options, but many of these cleansers come in under $40.
1. ALPESSENCE Gel Cleaner, $99
ALPESSENCE is a translucent gel cleanser that rocks my world because it is extremely gentle and does not dry out my skin. This Swiss luxury line of skin care products uses cutting-edge anti-aging technology to provide visible results. With a commitment to not add artificial ingredients or conduct animal testing you can trust this line to provide quality skin care. I can’t wait to try more from ALPESSENCE.
Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare Purify – Enzyme Cleanser (formerly Purify Exfoliating Cleanser) is ideal for those of us with aging skin who still get some breakouts. It refines and removes dirt, oil, makeup and dead skin cells to refresh skin. Lemon oil acts as a natural astringent to tone and tighten for a smoother complexion while grapefruit oil helps dry out excess oil that can clog pores and cause blemishes.
So many women I know adore this wash! If you are looking for a glycolic acid cleanser this is one you need to try. It gently and effectively exfoliates cellular build-up and residue caused by pollution, make-up and excessive surface oils, leaving skin clean and radiant. This soap free, oil free, pH balanced, buffered glycolic acid cleanser is enhanced by free radical fighting antioxidants. It works for all skin types except maybe super sensitive and is allergy tested, hypoallergenic, non-drying, non comedogenic, soap free, oil free, fragrance free, dye free and animal testing free.
4. Orlane Gentle Cleansing Foam, $75
You have to love a cleanser that removes make-up and eye makeup in one step. Apple amino acids soften the skin and gently exfoliates the face so it looks fresh, radiant and pure. Nebedey extract traps and eliminates the damaging effects of pollution during cleansing. It also further protects by preventing these particles from adhering to the skin.
5. Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Foam, $36
This super gentle and mild cleansing foam removes impurities from your skin without tightness. The rich, non-stripping formula lathers really well and removes pore-clogging impurities without irritation or drying. Dokudami soothes for soft, clean skin while Japanese apricot hydrates, leaving skin luxuriously moisturized and radiant.
This melting cleanser is a powerful combination of alguronic acid (a patented anti-aging breakthrough) and microalgae oil which is nourishing. This transforming cleanser melts into a silky oil to gently and effectively lift away all traces of long-wearing makeup. When combined with water, the lightweight oil turns into a milky emulsion and rinses clean to wash away impurities leaving skin beautifully cleansed, soft and radiant looking.
I am loving this new cleansing oil from Kiehl’s that much like the one mentioned above starts as a lightweight oil and emulsifies with a little water to a cleansing milk! It gently dissolves even the hardest-to-remove makeup (like mascara) and impurities without over drying, leaving skin clean and replenished.
This is my favorite drugstore cleanser at the moment. For $20 you get the cleanser and the intense moisture anti-aging cream! They say the cleanser is the bonus but it’s actually the other way around. This pharmacist created and dermatologist approved skincare regimen is gentle and effective. The wash is super gentle and leaves skin really soft. Better yet the products are Paraben-free, gluten free, non GMO, vegan, fragrance free, contain no irritants or harsh chemicals and not tested on animals. Not many drugstore brands can claim the same.
9. Dr. Jeannette Graf Collagen Cleanser, $21.50
This is one of my all-time favorite cleansers and I still can’t believe the price! It works better than many cleansers I’ve tried that cost 4 times more. Our facial skin gets covered in makeup, clogged with pollutants and God knows what else (I can’t even think about it) during the course of a day. This gentle cleanser removes removes makeup, oil, dirt and other impurities leaving it feeling pampered and softer than a baby’s you know what. It’s perfect for all skin types, but particularly aging skin.
10. Clinique Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser, $20
This cream-mousse lathers like nobody’s business and washes away makeup and sunscreen. It leaves your skin feeling moist, clean and fresh. It’s best for those with dry combination and combination oily skin.
11. Juara Rice Facial Cleanser, $29
This sulfate-free, lightly foaming cleanser melts away dirt, oil and makeup without stripping your skin. Your skin not only feels clean, but soft.
12. Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash, $36
I swear I adore every Kate Somerville product I have ever tried – they never disappoint. Sure they cost a bit more, but they deliver. This delicate gel cleanser for sensitive and aging skin calms and conditions with rich botanicals and subtle notes of lavender which soothes and heals. It’s sulfate free too.
BONUS: Dew Puff Konjac Sponge, Asian Clay, $7
This sponge isn’t a face wash (obviously) but I had to add it because I adore it. Dew Puff facial sponges are made from the root of konjac, which is a plant native to Asia. Konjac has long been regarded for its health and medicinal properties as it has the natural ability to break down dirt and promote circulation. Dew Puff with Asian Clay is 100% chemical free and is ideal for aging skin and helps stimulate skin cells white absorbing impurities below the pore level. It leaves tired skin looking radiant and renewed. It super soft so it’s gentle enough for every day use. You can just use it with water, but I use it once a day with one of the washes mentioned above.
-Lauren Dimet Waters