As someone who has tried every single face wash on the market (oh, you think I’m joking?!), let me let you in on a little secret: Drugstore face wash gets the job done just as well as the expensive stuff—if not better. Like, sure, the beautiful packaging of $$$ products is nice, but when it comes to my skin, I really just want something that works. But hear me when I say not all drugstore face washes are created equal. So the next time you’re at the store, bypass the other bottles and go straight for one of these 15 best drugstore face washes. And whatever you do, don’t judge it by the packaging, k? Now let’s get into the important stuff:
What drugstore face wash is the best?
The best skincare routine for me likely won’t be the best skincare routine for you, but for the most part, a good place to start for a majority of skin types is with a simple, gentle, sulfate-free cleanser to remove the dirt and grime from the day without stripping your skin. If you’re looking to address anything more specific than washing your face, like getting rid of excess oil or combating a bunch of pimples, you’ll want to look for specific ingredients to target your concerns. For that reason, we’ve broken down the list below by skin type so you can find your absolute perfect match.
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Best Overall Drugstore Face Wash
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
You can’t make a list of the best drugstore skincare products and not put CeraVe at the top. No matter the category, this brand excels in creating effective formulas at impressive price points, and that, my friends, is why this drugstore face wash has more than 57,000 positive ratings on Amazon. The formula uses ceramides and hyaluronic acid to keep the skin hydrated without making it feel tight or stripped.
Best Drugstore Face Wash for Sensitive Skin
La Roche-Posay Hydrating Gentle Cleanser
This milky, creamy cleanser uses a combo of glycerin (a humectant that pulls water into the skin), ceramides (moisturizers that restore the skin barrier), and niacinamide (which also soothe your skin) to help with irritated, angry skin. It’s fragrance-free, oil-free, sulfate-free, soap-free, and pretty much everything you could ask for in a face wash.
Best Gentle Cleanser for Really Dry Skin
Dove DermaSeries Dry Skin Relief Gentle Cleansing Face Wash
Like the label says, this drugstore face wash is for the severely dry, so if you’ve got a seriously itchy sitch on your face, reach for this heavy cream cleanser. More like a dry skin moisturizer than a typical squeaky-clean soap, this non-foaming face wash uses the mildest of ingredients to keep your dry skin feeling comfortable.
Best Drugstore Micellar Water for All Skin Types
Simple Micellar Cleansing Water
Part-makeup remover and part-face wash, this liquid cleanser is strong enough to remove foundation, dirt, and oil at the end of the day, but gentle enough not to leave your skin feeling dry or tight. It’s also packed with vitamin B3 and glycerin to keep your skin super hydrated. Just swipe it over your face with a cotton round or reusable pad, then rinse.
Best Face Wash for Calming Redness
Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser
If you love a foamy face wash, but don’t like the dryness that can come along with the sulfates, try this calming cleanser, which uses gentle surfactants to give you the sudsy experience without drying out your skin. Fragrance-free skincare is key for those with sensitive skin, and not only does this face wash fit the bill, but it also contains soothing feverfew to help calm inflamed, red skin.
Best Face Wash for Stressed Skin
SheaMoisture Cannabis & Witch Hazel Skin Rescue Cream Cleanser
Love your witch hazel toner but need a little more cleansing action? Try this creamy drugstore face wash that contains the soothing and calming ingredient as well as moisturizing vitamin E and hemp seed oil to help strengthen your skin’s barrier, not strip it dry.
Best Gentle Face Wash for the Super Sensitive
Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser
This dermatologist-favorite drugstore face wash has a basic (in the best of ways) ingredients list—think: no fragrance, essential oils, sulfates, soaps, dyes, etc.—that makes it ideal for those with ultra-sensitive, allergic, irritated skin. It’s no wonder why this mild cleanser is one of the most popular eczema products on the internet.
Best Face Wash for Blackheads
Paula’s Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser
Got blackheads and clogged pores? Reach for a lightweight gel cleanser like this one that contains salicylic acid to dissolve dead skin and blockages in your pores. Acne cleansers sometimes get a bad rap for causing irritation and messing up your skin barrier, but this one leaves the skin feeling comfortable, soft, and supple.
Best Drugstore Face Wash for Glowing Skin
Burts Bees Truly Glowing Gel Cleanser
A gel cleanser that works into a light foamy texture like this one is perfect for oily or combination skin, and the hyaluronic acid inside restores hydration as it removes gunk and grime. It’s so good it won a 2021 Cosmo Beauty Award for best everyday face wash. Just sayin’.
Best Face Wash for Dry Skin
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gentle Cleansing Lotion
You already know and love the gel moisturizer of the same name, but have you tried the face wash version yet? It’s super gentle, fragrance-free, hydrating, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic, which is why it’s also one of our fave face washes for sensitive skin.
Best Bar Soap for Oily Skin
Bioré Rose Quartz plus Charcoal Facial Cleansing Bar
Not just any ol’ bar of soap, this cleanser is one of the best bar soaps for managing a super shiny complexion. The charcoal inside this cute little crystal-infused face wash for oily skin helps to soak up excess oil for a matte finish and clear pores.
Best Drugstore Face Wash for Cystic Acne
Differin Daily Deep Cleanser BPO 5%
We all know Differin as the OTC retinoid used as a topical acne treatment, but allow me to introduce you to this acne face wash by the same brand that works particularly well for calming those big, angry, red pimples (aka cystic acne). The 5 percent benzoyl peroxide in the formula reduces oil and kills bacteria all while leaving your skin moisturized and happy.
Best Drugstore Cleanser for Uneven Skin
Alaffia Neem Turmeric Clarifying Facial Cleanser
Need I remind you of all the ways turmeric, the star ingredient in this drugstore face wash, can benefit your skin?! The antioxidant brightens uneven skin, fades dark spots and acne scars, and treats acne while the rich shea butter helps with skin dryness.
Best Drugstore Cleansing Balm
Nyakio Sweet Almond Cleansing Oil Balm
Applies like a cleansing balm but transforms into a cleansing oil, this cleanser melts away waterproof makeup, sebum, dirt—you name it—and leaves your skin soft and replenished, thanks to the sweet almond oil, shea butter, and baobab seed oil. If you have acne-prone skin, use it as step one in your double-cleanse routine, followed by a gentle cleanser.
Best Drugstore Cleanser for Dull Skin
Acure Resurfacing Glycolic & Unicorn Root Cleanser
If your skin’s looking a little dull and lifeless (and if it can handle a little fragrance), this facial exfoliator will help remove dead skin cells without the need for harsh scrubbies. Leave the formula on your skin for a few minutes before washing to allow the glycolic acid and lactic acid plenty of time to get to work.
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