Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash
Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash

Best face wash

Water-soluble Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash draws expert raves for being gentle yet effective on all skin types, without stripping your skin's natural oils. It's so gentle you can use it multiple times a day if you need to; it lathers up nicely, does a great job of removing makeup, then rinses away cleanly -- and it's a great value too.
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Olay 4-in-1 Daily Facial Cloths
Olay 4-in-1 Daily Facial Cloths

Best cleansing cloths

Olay's 4-in-1 Daily Facial Cloths cleansing wipes are gentle enough for almost all skin types and remove all but the very toughest waterproof mascaras. You never have to worry about these wipes drying out because they come dry; you wet them just before use. One side is smooth for cleansing, while the other has microbeads for gentle exfoliation.
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Clarisonic Aria
Clarisonic Aria

Best facial brush

The Clarisonic Aria earns its top spot in the skin brush listings with three speeds, interchangeable brush heads that rotate 300 times per second, and USB/wall socket recharging. Experts and users alike say the Aria is very gentle and, with regular use, will make your skin glow. Many users with acne say it helps prevent breakouts too.
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CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

Best facial cleanser for sensitive skin

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is the very gentlest face wash for dry, sensitive or rosacea-affected skin. It's free of artificial fragrance and other common irritants, and contains several beneficial ingredients that'll leave your skin feeling soft and fresh, including ceramides, glycerin and hyaluronic acid. Its non-lathering formula looks -- and feels -- much like a lotion.
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Phisoderm Anti-Blemish Gel Cleanser
Phisoderm Anti-Blemish Gel Cleanser

Best acne face wash

Phisoderm Anti-Blemish Gel Cleanser is tough on blemishes, but gentler on your face than most other acne washes. Users appreciate its light, gel-like consistency and a pleasant, light scent -- much nicer than the heavy, medicinal smells some expect. This cleanser also does a good job of removing makeup.
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Philosophy the Microdelivery Daily Exfoliating Wash
Philosophy the Microdelivery Daily Exfoliating Wash

Best facial scrub

Philosophy the Microdelivery Daily Exfoliating Wash strikes the best balance we've found between gentleness and scrubbing action, with tiny microbeads that reviewers say feel a bit like sand. The wash's overall texture is light and creamy, and it's gentle enough for regular use on all but the most sensitive or acne-prone skin.
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Est. $30 for 8 oz. Estimated Price
Yes to Cucumbers Gentle Milk Cleanser
Yes to Cucumbers Gentle Milk Cleanser

Best natural face wash

Yes to Cucumbers Gentle Milk Cleanser is 98 percent natural and free of parabens, phthalates and harsh detergents. Reviewers say it provides a light, soothing facial cleanse for almost every skin type, including dry and sensitive skin. It rinses clean and won't strip your skin of its natural moisture.
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COMPARE PRODUCTS
See a side-by-side comparison of key features, product specs, and prices.

Facial Cleansers Runners Up:

Philosophy Purity Made Simple Est. $28 for 8 oz.

5 picks including: About.com, Amazon.com…

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser Est. $8.50 for 8 oz.

5 picks including: Drugstore.com, Real Simple…

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Est. $6 for 6 oz.

3 picks including: About.com, Elle…

Neutrogena Clear Pore Daily Scrub Est. $7.50 for 4.2 oz.

2 picks including: Amazon.com, MakeupAlley.com…

Basis Cleaner Clean Face Wash Est. $4.50 for 6 oz.

2 picks including: Amazon.com, Drugstore.com…

Olay Fresh Effects Powered Contour Cleansing System Est. $12

1 pick including: Amazon.com, Drugstore.com…

There's a good facial cleanser for every skin type -- and every budget

The best facial cleansers are strong enough to remove dirt, oil and makeup, but gentle enough not to strip away your skin's natural moisture. The best choice for most skin types is a gentle, water-soluble cleanser that rinses cleanly away. However, those with dry skin may do best with a creamier, lotion-like cleanser, even if it doesn't lather as much. Those with very sensitive skin should avoid irritants like artificial fragrances, dyes and harsh detergents; instead, opt for gentle, soothing ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid.

You don't need to pay a high price for a great cleanser. With many of the product lines we've evaluated, it's true that you get what you pay for -- but in the case of high-end department store cleansers or doctor-endorsed face washes, you're paying for fancy labeling and big names on what usually turns out to be the same ingredients you'll find in drugstore brands. And believe it or not, those drugstore brands -- with an average price of about $1 per ounce -- beat out their pricier competitors in just about every category of this report.

It may still be tempting to pay extra for a cleanser line that's created (or endorsed for profit) by a doctor or dermatologist. But the American Medical Association has issued guidelines advising physicians not to sell health-related products for profit because it creates a conflict of interest.

Also, in her highly acclaimed book, "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me," skin care expert Paula Begoun points out that the phrases "dermatologist-tested" and "dermatologist-approved" are meaningless because there's no standard for what they mean. Often, they only indicate that one or two dermatologists tried a skin care product at the manufacturer's request and liked how it felt. How well a face wash actually cleans, how it feels on your face and how it leaves your skin feeling afterward remain the ultimate arbiters of which product really is best.

We've named the top cleansers in seven important categories. No two women have the same type of skin, and there is no one-size-fits-all facial cleanser either. Some people may want a cleanser that also removes makeup well. Other need something to handle, or prevent, acne breakouts. Those with very sensitive skin may need an all-natural product with absolutely no chemicals, dyes or fragrances. Convenience is important as well, which is why we've noted how well each of these products travel. Nothing is more annoying than opening your suitcase after a long flight only to find your face wash has leaked all over your clothes.

ConsumerSearch editors evaluated dozens of expert reviews, tests and roundups, as well as hundreds of user reviews to find the best face cleansing products. Here you will find the top facial cleansers for those with sensitive skin, the acne prone and some general use facial products that are guaranteed to give you a beautiful glow.

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