Natural Beauty

Superstar Skin Cleansers

Cleansing is the first step in your skin-care routine, so it’s important to find a cleanser that works for you in order to set the rest of your products up for success.

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+ Join Today!.

A good scrub with a skin cleanser helps remove dirt, grime, sweat, excess oil, makeup, sunscreen, and dead skin cells. It refreshes your skin and lets it breathe. It also creates a clean foundation for you to apply serums, moisturizers, and makeup.

But squeaky clean skin can come with a price. Harsh sulfates, added fragrances, preservatives, and other ingredients formulated into many conventional face washes can damage the skin’s microflora and strip its natural oils, making skin feel tight or irritated. This stripping can also cause a pH imbalance, leading to breakouts.

Instead, choose natural cleansers that clean your face gently and have added benefits according to your skin type. For dry skin, look for a formula that balances a thorough clean with a healthy dose of hydration that locks in natural moisture. Hydrating ingredients include hyaluronic acid and ceramides.

Oily and acne-prone skin requires exfoliating ingredients, such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or alpha hydroxy acids. But don’t wash too aggressively or for too long to avoid red, irritated, angry-looking skin. Sensitive skin needs calming ingredients such as aloe, cucumber, or clay in milky or creamy textures.

While using an oil to cleanse your skin may sound counterintuitive, cleansing oils remove dirt, makeup, sunscreen, and excess oil from the skin when they’re rinsed off. Most importantly, cleansing oils don’t sap the skin of moisture, and they often have few or no harsh cleansing agents, so they work well with all but the oiliest skin types. Don’t just slap on cleansing oil and rinse. Rather, massage the oil into wet or dry skin to stimulate circulation and lymphatic drainage as you cleanse.

Whichever cleanser you choose, remember to wash your face twice a day. In the morning, cleanse to remove sweat and oil from overnight. And in the evening, cleanse your face again to remove any makeup, dirt, and sunscreen left over from the day.

Hydrate while thoroughly cleansing sensitive skin with Acure Seriously Soothing Cleansing Cream. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory peony and chamomile make this sulfate-free formula ideal for reactive skin. Organic argan and coconut oils and sunflower amino acids in this creamy cleanser gently purify pores, leaving your face feeling clean and calm.

Dissolve every trace of makeup and impurities without disrupting the skin’s protective barrier with evanhealy Blue Lavender Cleansing Milk. Dry and sensitive skin will drink up the vitalizing rose geranium hydrosol and steam-distilled essential oils of soothing lavender and blue chamomile. Lightly lathering yucca root, antioxidant gotu kola, and purifying kaolin clay refine pores, while coconut oil and shea butter balance hydration.

Cleanse and quench dry and combination skin with Pacifica Wake Up Beautiful Dream Jelly Face Wash. Quinoa promotes collagen production, mushroom extract moisturizes and reduces puffiness, and antioxidant rose oil and hyaluronic acid hydrate. This sulfate-free jelly cleanser builds into a rich lather that’s powerful enough to remove makeup without over-stripping skin. Can be used morning as well as night.

Smooth dull skin and purify pores with Sukí Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser. Natural sugar and rice flour deeply cleanse, help even skin tone, reduce dry skin build-up and blemishes, lift ingrown hairs, and stimulate cellular renewal. Colloidal oatmeal and Atlantic kelp extract calm, lock in moisture, help restore pH level, and jumpstart collagen production. Oils of lemongrass, lime, and orange peel provide aromatherapy as you scrub.

Melt away makeup, sunscreen, and pollutants with Badger Damascus Rose Cleansing Oil. Dry or delicate skin will glow as organic castor and apricot oils lift impurities, while organic extra virgin olive, sunflower, and jojoba oils replenish essential vitamins, lipids, and fatty acids. Organic rose, lavender, and chamomile oils help even skin tone and leave your skin lightly scented.