Cleansing your skin is one of the most important steps in your skincare routine, but is easily overshadowed by fancy serums, complex tools and luxurious treatments that follow. A quality face wash acts as the foundation for a highly effective regimen because it removes impurities and grime from the skin to allow other products to penetrate more deeply. A good cleanser sets the stage for clean, refreshed skin without making skin feel dry, irritated or tight, but not all cleansers are created equal.
Check out our tips below for how to pick the best face wash - and for our favorite simple, safe and effective skin solution, shop our Pristine Clean Facial Cleanser.
Keep It Simple: With so many cleansers and claims to sift through in the aisle, it’s easy to pick up a product with harsh or unnecessary ingredients that could strip or irritate your skin, like sulfates. Additionally, don’t be distracted by products designed specifically for women or for men because the functionality of a cleanser is essentially gender neutral. We recommend prioritizing cleansers that are gentle, sulfate free and unscented or fragrance free—no frills, colors, additives or flashy ingredients required.
It’s All About Balance: Many soaps and surfactants contain Ph levels that are too high for your skin which can lead to tight, dry, irritated skin (ahem, bar soap). Your skin’s pH is around 5.5 so maintaining this balance is key for clear, soft skin. Look for products with similar or slightly lower pH levels or packaging that claims “pH balanced”. Citric acid is also a key ingredient that helps to manage pH.
Know Your Skin Type: Identify your unique skin type to help guide the key product attributes to look for and avoid when purchasing a cleanser:
- Oily Skin: Look for gel-based cleansers that can help manage excess oil without drying skin out.
- Dry Skin: Avoid alcohol and sulfates, and look for cleansers formulated with emollients that help skin retain moisture like coconut oil or glycerin.
- Sensitive Skin: Avoid fragrances, dyes and parabens and opt for gentle, lightweight formulas.
- Combination: Seek out more mild, balanced gel cleansers, formulated without soap or alcohol.
- Normal Skin: Likely to react favorable to a wide range of cleansers
Consult the Experts: When in doubt, consult with your dermatologist on the right cleanser for your skin. In the meantime, you can always look for products that are dermatologist tested or dermatologist recommended and trust that these cleansers are verified by skin experts to be gentle and effective on most if not all skin types.
Don’t just settle for the soap status quo—do the research and invest in a cleanser curated specifically for you!