The Best Face Wash for Men in 2023

Men’s face wash

We rounded up the best face wash because skincare is never one-size-fits-all. For instance, what works on “normal” skin can be harsh, drying, and irritating on the more sensitive folks. The best face wash for sensitive skin is going to be gentler, with soothing ingredients that preserve the skin’s precious balance.

While it’s tempting to reach for a heavy duty cleanser (perhaps you live for that “tight” feeling, the telltale sensation of your skin being pulled across your cheekbones as you scrub it down) those formulas will only hurt your skin in the long run. These picks, on the other hand, are as gentle as a lamb. They range from on-the-go wipes to milky washes, from pore-clearing powders to oil-eliminating wonders. Which means there’s bound to be an option here that’s right for your skin type, ridding your moneymaker of unwanted impurities. (And once you’ve locked down the face wash that’s right for your skincare routine, why not pick out a moisturizer and some UV-blocking sunscreen too?)

How Often Should You Really Wash Your Face?

In most cases, we’d recommend washing your face twice a day: once in the morning, to remove any built up dirt and oils you might have trapped while sleeping on the pillowcase you keep forgetting to wash, and again in the evening to take away the sweat and grime from the day (along with your trusty SPF). That said, if your skin is particularly sensitive or runs extremely dry especially in the cooler months, keeping your skin hydrated is going to be key in reducing irritation and inflammation so you can get away with a light cleanse in the morning (or forgo it altogether as long as you do a thorough clean at night).

As for the best place to wipe the slate clean? You can suds up in the shower but you make sure your hair is rinsed of any shampoo and conditioner before you do so it doesn’t run all over your face and cause an annoying breakout. The sink is a better option—but when you’re in a rush, do what you gotta do.

Ingredients to Look Out For

The whole point of washing your face is to remove unwanted oils and dirt so that you can minimize breakouts and allow the following serums and moisturizers you layer on to really penetrate the epidermis. But too much of a good thing can actually have the opposite effect. To make sure you’re cleaning and not stripping your face of necessary moisture look out for cleansers that have hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalane, shea butter and non comedogenic oils (rosehip, almond, jojoba are good ones to have on your radar).

The Best Face Wash, at a Glance

The Best Face Wash, Period

Philosophy purity made simple one-step facial cleanser

Philosophy’s ridiculously popular cleanser—seriously, read the reviews—remains a hallmark of eco-conscious skin care for a reason. Its secret sauce? The brand’s meadowfoam seed oil, an antioxidant-rich formula suitable for all skin types and sourced from the imprint’s extensive roster of environmentally-minded suppliers.

The Best Gentle Face Wash

Caldera + Lab the clean slate cleanser

A Grooming Award-winning cleanser nabbed top honors for its uncanny ability to clean your mug without causing irritation or uncomfortable tightness.

The Best Face Wash for Dry Skin

Eadem Dew Dream cleansing balm

If your skin depends on every last drop of moisture to stay soft and radiant, a cleansing balm could be the key to getting a deep clean without stripping you dry. Eadem’s Dew Dream starts off as a gel-like balm packed with soothing tiger grass and skin plumping fatty acids and antioxidants that, with  the heat of your hands, transitions into an oil that’s equipped to trap all the dirt you’ve somehow managed to accumulate by staying indoors. Once you’ve sufficiently slicked up, add water to emulsify the oil then rinse away.

The Best Face Wash for Fighting Oil

Kiehl’s foaming calendula cleanser

This calendula-enriched, creamy-gel cleanser soothes and strengthens the skin while it washes away grease. It’s formulated for oily skin (and as you may know, men have oily skin more often than not). But to flush out all that extra grime, you need a cleanser that balances and soothes the skin instead of stripping it of its moisture entirely. Kiehl’s and its calendula cleanser are the solution for that.

The Best Drugstore Face Wash

Cetaphil daily facial cleanser

It’s easy to be skeptical of mass-produced skincare, but sometimes the most affordable option is also one of the simplest and most effective. This hypoallergenic cleanser is totally free of soaps and dyes—so cleanse in the morning, cleanse in the evening, cleanse after the gym. This is one drugstore staple that won’t dry you out.

The Dermatologist’s Pick

Revision Skincare gentle cleansing lotion

One of the dermatologists I trust most with product recommendations, Dr. Heather Rogers of Modern Dermatology, recs Revision’s gentle cleansing lotion to most patients with sensitive skin. It uses apple amino acids to lift oil, then soothes and moisturizes with chamomile and algae extracts.

More Face Washes We Love

Caudalie Vinoclean gentle foam cleanser

The star ingrediant in this gentle yet very effective cleanser is grape water. Chock full of antioxidants, it’s nature’s answer for boosting hydration and giving your skin that “lit from within” glow.

IS clinical cleansing complex
Your skin care routine should include more than washing your face. But when shit hits the fan (read: your roving apothecary of beauty products explodes in your duffel) or you’re in a pinch, iS’s cleansing complex offers a pretty close approximation of the whole shebang with exfoliating willow bark and restorative antioxidants.
Klur Gentle Matter cleanser

If your skin can’t tolerate even the faintest whif of fragrance, then this soothing cleanser is for you. Plant-based and infused with green tea, coconut milk and sweet almond oil, Gentle Matter won’t foam up as it gently lifts away dirt and grime revealing soft, clean skin.

Tatcha rice wash skin-softening cleanser

For those who like the sensation of a deep scrub, Tatcha’s rice cleanser starts off slightly grainy before quickly transforming into a ultra-soft foam while it works to lift away the day’s buildup. The result is clean smooth skin.

Ursa Major Fantastic face wash

A high-foaming, sulfate-free cleanser that manages to gently, yet effectively, remove all the gunk your face without drying you out? Sign us up. A little bit goes a long way so you’ll be set long into the new year, while a minute dose of AHA exfoliation helps to keep your skin extra smooth over time.

The Ordinary squalane cleanser

You get what you pay for, in this case a solid cleanser that won’t strip your skin but will remove the layers of sunscreen and fancy serums you’ve managed to sweat through in the last twelve hours.

Originas Checks and Balaces frothy face wash

A surefire way to kickstart your morning is by slathering this frothy, minty concoction that will leave your skin feeling squeaky clean and invigorated.

Krave matcha hemp cleanser

Matcha isn’t just for amped up coffee-drinkers looking for a change of pace. The antioxidant-rich leaf calms down inflammation and is packed with vitamin E, which is great for cell repair and keeping your skin barrier nicely moisturized.

Fulton & Roark aftershave cloths

Part cleanser, part toner, these cloths gently balance the skin after each shave. They disinfect and clean pores with the help of tea tree oil and witch hazel, while soothing sensitivities with eucalyptus. You can pack them for one-offs to the gym or for a midday refresh, even if you aren’t shaving.

Neutrogena Hydroboost cleanser

Your favorite high school cleanser is now better than ever. Formulated with hyaluronic acid, Hydroboost actively adds in hydration while making sure your skin is clean of the excess sludge that led to those greasy yearbook photos.

Murad clarifying cleanser

Acne-prone folks, you should be exfoliating too. Murad’s cleanser helps vanish existing blemishes and prevent more of ’em from cropping up down the line, soothing your skin in the process.

Avène Antirougeurs cleanser

A frothy, pillowy face wash that erases redness like felt on a whiteboard.

Humanrace rice powder cleanser

A powder cleanser is a great alternative for traveling or if you like to change the consistency of your cleanser depending on the day– a thicker mix for when your skin is feeling particularly sluggish, more water when your skin needs a gentler cleanse. Formulated with hydrating snow mushroom, detoxifying kaolin clay and rice particles, this power cleanser will (gently) buff your skin back to life.

The Inkey List salicylic acid acne + pore cleanser
The pimple-clearing miracle we can’t get enough of, thanks to its strategic use of salicylic acid and that sweet, sweet price.
Fresh soy face cleanser

Fresh’s cult-loved, fragrance-free cleanser comes full of soothing ingredients like aloe vera to protect your skin from the grating irritants of the great outdoors.

La Roche-Posay hydrating gentle cleanser

France’s gentlest cleanser (well, probably) derives its certain je ne sais quoi from glycerin, a humectant that’ll keep your skin looking hydrated but not oily.

Dermalogica ultracalming cleanser

If you like your face wash the way you like your water (that is, with a refreshing splash of mint and lavender), Dermalogica’s cleanser is for you. The brand’s soft, creamy formula lathers on easy and will leave your skin feeling soothed post-application.

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Adam Regan
Adam Regan
Deputy Editor

Features and account management. 3 years media experience. Previously covered features for online and print editions.


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