Just like the rest of your body, your face deserves a proper cleansing routine. But, if you’ve been sticking to a regimen of light, soap-free rinsing due to sensitivity, we found the best face washes for sensitive skin to elevate your cleanse without over-stripping your skin of moisture in the process.
Daily sudsing up whisks away excess sebum and dirt while, ideally, rehydrating skin at the same time. Frustratingly though, for those with sensitive skin types, this isn’t always the case. In fact, it’s usually far from it, seeing as so many cleansers on the market are simply too harsh, stripping, or filled with unnecessary chemicals and fragrances that can cause adverse reactions. These reactions often result in redness, flaking, discomfort, and in some instances, even full-fledged allergic rashes.
“You want to use gentle, hydrating cleansers that remove impurities without stripping the skin barrier of all its natural moisturizing factors,” explains Washington, D.C.-based dermatologist, Adam Friedman, MD, in regards to what to look for in a cleanser if you have finicky skin. “Go for cleansers with humectants, which help keep water in the skin.”
You’ll also want to make sure a product’s ingredient list is as short as possible, according to NYC-based board-certified dermatologist Brandith Irwin, MD. “For sensitive skin, specifically, you want products that are free of artificial fragrances, parabens, and phthalates,” she says. In regards to specific ingredients, “hyaluronic acid and ceramides, which won’t strip the skin of moisture and cause dryness,” are key factors that won’t let you (or your skin) down.
Luckily, more and more brands — high-end, affordable, and in-between — are now creating thoughtfully-formulated cleansers that specifically cater to sensitive skin (can I get a “hallelujah?”). To find out which gels, balms, and bars are worth your precious pennies, Allure consulted several dermatologists for their expert picks. Scroll to find your new favorite face wash for that sensitive skin of yours.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Tata Harper Superkind Fragrance-Free Softening Cleanser, $88
- Cushiony, Comforting Texture: La Mer The Cleansing Foam, $95
- Soap-Free Luxury: Chanel L’eau De Mousse Anti-Pollution Water-to-Foam Cleanser, $55
- Intensive, Not Irritating: SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser, $36
- Best Drugstore: Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser, $10
- Redness Relief: Eau Thermale Avène Antirougeurs Clean Refreshing Cleansing Lotion, $32