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The 14 Best Face Washes — Clean & Natural Cleansers

Alexandra Engler
Author:
Updated on September 28, 2022
Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
By Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com.
Last updated on September 28, 2022
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

Ah, face washes: The backbone of the beauty routine, the unsung hero. Serums and oils tend to get all the attention and adoration for their potent actives. Toners and essences are trendy. Masks are Instagram's favorite. But cleansers? They're always there, ready to help you wash off the day. And lately, they've started to get a bit more love themselves.

Now there are innovative textures with benefits that go well beyond "removing makeup." Need more proof? Below you'll find the best clean options out there, no matter your need. 

How we picked

Ingredients

We searched high and low for the cleanest and most effective facial cleansers on the market. These formulas contain natural skin-boosting ingredients to help you maintain healthy skin during and post-wash.

Variety

Everyone's skin is different, so we chose a few options for each skin type. Some of these cleansers are best for oily and acne-prone skin, while others benefit dry or sensitive skin. We'll call this out in the side bar.

Tried + tested

Our beauty team has tested a number of these products. When that wasn’t possible, we searched authenticated customer reviews to bring you accurate information about the sensorial experience.

Affordability

We know that everyone has a different skin care budget, which is why we offer a few products to fit each one without compromising on quality.

Our picks for the best face washes of 2022:

Best for acne-prone skin: Caudalie Vinopure Pore Purifying Gel Cleanser

Pro

  • Helps ease breakouts

Con

  • Contains fragrance (for those who try to avoid it)
Considerations: VeganCruelty-freeGood for acne-prone skin
Standout ingredients: Salicylic acidGrape extractLavender essential oil

This foaming gel is ideal for those with breakout-prone skin: It's made with a natural salicylic acid, to break up oil and clean out pores. Then their organic essential oil complex and grapeseed polyphenols act as an antioxidant and antibacterial agent to reduce the look of existing breakouts while treating future ones.

Best balancing: Cocokind Oil to Milk Cleanser

Pro

  • Contains prebiotics

Con

  • May not rinse all the way clean
Considerations: VeganCruelty-free
Standout ingredients: Sunflower seed oilGrape seed oilFermented oat

"Transforming" cleansers are a relatively new sensation: They start off one texture and evolve into a brand-new one with motion or water. This starts off as a silky, thick oil that melts makeup and dirt, then transforms into a milky-like liquid. Plus, it's pH is formulated at the ideal 5.25, so it won't disrupt your microbiome or strip skin.

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Best oil control: Holifrog Shasta AHA Acid Wash

Pro

  • Gently exfoliates

Con

  • May irritate hypersensitive skin
Considerations: VeganCruelty-freeGood for acne-prone skinGood for oily skin
Standout ingredients: Mandelic acidGlycolic acidAloe veraLactic acid

This face-wash-first line has four washes for everything from dry skin to breakout-prone skin. This one comes with AHAs to treat texture, tone, and pores, but they also have a cream, oil, and gel. They recommend a one-minute wash in the morning, and a two-minute wash at night (with a double-cleanse, depending on necessity).

Best oil: One Love Organics Botanical B Enzyme Cleansing Oil

Pro

  • Cleanses without stripping

Con

  • Pricey
Considerations: Cruelty-freeGood for dry skin
Standout ingredients: Sunflower seed oilPapaya seed oilPumpkin seed oil

Oil cleansing, and double cleansing, hit fever pitch a few years ago, but it is a mainstay in the organic and natural world. This oil keeps your pH balanced, too. Always apply oils to dry skin first, and then add water to wash it off. Or use it with a cotton pad to remove stubborn eye makeup.

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Best brightening: Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser

Pro

  • Rich in antioxidants

Con

  • Strawberry scent (for those who prefer unscented)
Considerations: VeganCruelty-freeGood for oily skinGood for sensitive skin
Standout ingredients: Strawberry seed oilTomato extract

A personal favorite cleanser, this works for all skin types, from sensitive to oily. Its primary focus is for those who just want to amp up tone, for that glowy, just-rested skin. Many brightening cleansers tend to use strong exfoliants to encourage cell turnover, but this is deeply nurturing if you're not looking for a scrub or acid.

Best gel: 27 Rosiers Fight Grime

Pro

  • Gently exfoliates

Con

  • Contains fragrance (for those who try to avoid it)
Considerations: VeganCruelty-freeGood for oily skinGood for sensitive skin
Standout ingredients: Moringa extractAHAsAloe extract

This new gender-neutral, nontoxic line is all about sensations, meaning every product has the most delightful texture. This gel cleanser has just enough slip and is lightly foaming. But at its core is an aloe vera, ashwagandha, calendula, and chamomile complex, so it's incredibly soothing, too.

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Best for dry skin: Pai Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil

Pro

  • Removes makeup with ease

Con

  • Pricey
Considerations: VeganCruelty-freeGood for sensitive skinGood for dry skin
Standout ingredients: Sunflower seed oilRosehip seed oilOlive fruit oil

Perfect for dry and sensitive skin, this oil is made with a blend of olive, castor, rosehip, and sunflower seed oils. It's lightweight, yet nurturing. Simply apply and it will melt into skin, makeup, and SPF to help rinse them off. Use it with one of their muslin cloths for a little exfoliation.

Best bar: Osmia Rose Clay Facial Soap

Pro

  • Sustainable option

Con

  • Not the best for dry skin
Considerations: VeganCruelty-freeGood for sensitive skinGood for dry skin
Standout ingredients: French pink clayCoconut milkAvocado oil


This is made with two types of clay: Australian pink and kaolin to help lift off impurities. Then it's layered in with coconut milk for a gentle lather, while wild-harvested mango butter and cold-pressed, organic avocado oil nurture dry skin. The slight rose scent comes from the organic oil blend.

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Best exfoliating: Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser

Pro

  • Gently exfoliates

Con

  • Pricey
Considerations: VeganCruelty-freeGood for acne-prone skinGood for oily skin
Standout ingredients: Sunflower seed oilPink clayPomegranate enzymes

If you want a proper exfoliation, look no further. This cult-classic wash has both physical and chemical exfoliators. The apricot microspheres and BHAs work together to really lift off dead skin cells and the like. But the base is an organic aloe, so it's soothing as well.

Best balm: Farmacy Green Clean Cleansing Balm

Pro

  • Removes makeup easily

Con

  • Requires double-cleanse
Considerations: VeganCruelty-freeGood for sensitive skinGood for dry skin
Standout ingredients: Sunflower seed oilPapaya enzymeTurmeric

As far as cleansing balms go, this is going to give you the most results. This cream is made with sunflower and ginger root oils to get off makeup, waterproof included. Turmeric and moringa extract go a step further and rid pores of SPF and pollution. Then the papaya enzymes act as a natural, yet gentle, exfoliant.

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Best gentle wash: Symbiome The Renewal Daily Cleanser

Pro

  • Simple, clean ingredient list

Con

  • Pricey
Considerations: VeganCruelty-freeGood for sensitive skinGood for dry skinFragrance-free
Standout ingredients: Croton Cajucara (Sanoma) Leaf OilGlycerinOenocarpus Bataua (Seje) Fruit Oil

This eco-friendly gel-to-milk daily cleanser has exactly 7 ingredients, keeping things simple, yet effective. Seje fruit extract is packed with omega fatty acids that keep skin moisturized rather than stripped. Glycerin, a more underrated humectant, helps pull water into the skin for lasting hydration. The rest of the blend is rich with antioxidants, providing an army of free-radical fighters.

Best for sensitive skin: Naturium Multi-Calm Cream Cleanser

Pro

  • Affordable

Con

  • Not the best pick for oily skin
Considerations: VeganCruelty-freeGood for acne-prone skinGood for sensitive skinGood for dry skin
Standout ingredients: CalendulaSqualaneNiacinamide

If you need a budget-friendly daily cleanser, this might be the best bang for your buck. This no-foam cleanser calms the skin while cleansing, making it especially beneficial for those with sensitive skin. If you tend to feel dry post-cleanse, this cream wash will be a dream come true.

Best micellar: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water

Pro

  • Affordable

Con

  • Requires second cleanse at night
Considerations: VeganCruelty-freeGood for acne-prone skinGood for oily skin
Standout ingredients: GlycerinMicellar water

As far as Micellar water, the trendy cleansing agent of late, this is going to be your go-to. Not only do you get a lot of it at a very affordable price, but you can pick it up almost anywhere. At night start with the water to remove makeup and then follow with a proper cleanse, or use it alone in the morning.

Best milk: Savor Beauty Jasmine Milk Cleanser

Pro

  • Calming aroma

Con

  • Pricey
Considerations: VeganCruelty-freeGood for dry skin
Standout ingredients: Rose waterJasmineSafflower oil

If you enjoy a scented cleanser, this one will be your next favorite. A blend of jasmine, neroli, and rose gives a calming scent, perfect for a few moments of mindfulness at the end of your day. Aloe vera extract boosts hydration while rose water extracts help soothe complexion and provide an antioxidant boost.

mbg’s review process

At mbg, high standards are earned—and there are no shortcuts. Our beauty editors stay up to date on the latest ingredient research and innovation. It's a dynamic, continuously evolving space, and it's important we look into the science so we can make informed choices about which formulas earn our stamp of approval (figuratively speaking).

Our high standards also come from testing products—many, many products. Our editors and writers rigorously test and research the products featured in our roundups to offer you the best, most informed recommendations. When we write reviews, you can trust we spend quality time with the formulas: We don't simply rave about products we've slathered on the back of our hand. We endorse products we've tried and loved. 

Learn more about our testing process and clean beauty standards here

The takeaway.

While face cleansers are typically overlooked, they really are the backbone of your evening skin care routine. After all, whether your skin is covered in makeup, SPF, or sweat, it's your cleanser that will wash it all away. And if you're unsure which to choose, start by figuring out your skin type and go from there.

Want to turn your passion for wellbeing into a fulfilling career? Become a Certified Health Coach! Learn more here.

Meet The Experts

Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com.