Facial Cleaners: Expert and User Reviews

In this report

Facial Cleansers: Ratings of Sources

1. PaulasChoice.com Beautypedia Reviews: Cleansers, Paula Begoun, As of April 2016
Credibility:
Skincare expert Paula Begoun, author of the highly acclaimed book "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me," reviews thousands of skin care and makeup products. Her research sources include medical journals, cosmetic industry reports and the Food and Drug Administration. She also issues a star rating for each product reviewed; we select only those products that receive a rating of 5 stars out of 5 within the last two years.
2. InStyle Best Beauty Buys: Skin, Editors of InStyle.com, Not Dated
Credibility:
The editors of InStyle.com issue "Best Beauty Buy" awards every year in a number of categories including skincare, which in turn has several sub-categories that address facial washes along with scrubs, peels, masks and even self-tanners. Each winning product gets a short blurb and a comment from a big-city dermatologist, covering issues like scent, performance and feel.
3. TotalBeauty.com 17 Best Face Cleansers, Lila Glick, Not Dated
Credibility:
The editors of TotalBeauty.com poll their readers and, based on their feedback, select the 17 best face cleansers. Each cleanser is assigned a comparative rating out of 10 possible; the editors also provide reader quotes to illustrate what they loved so much about each product. Drugstore products receive equal play next to more upscale products that sometimes retail for four times as much.
4. Ulta.com Cleansers, Contributors to Ulta.com, As of April 2016
Credibility:
Ulta.com is the very best source of user reviews we found; many of the face washes have several hundred user reviews at least, sometimes in the thousands. Star ratings are displayed on the product listings, but you have to click through to see how many reviews each product actually has. We selected stand-out products that received an average score of at least 4.5 stars after 100 or more user reviews.
5. Sephora.com Face Wash & Cleanser, Contributors to Sephora.com, As of April 2016
Credibility:
Sephora.com is also an excellent source of user reviews, with many of their plentiful product listings receiving dozens -- if not hundreds -- of comments. Star ratings are shown in each product listing but the number of reviews is not, which makes it challenging to gauge the true relevancy of each product's score. We selected items that receive a hundred or more user reviews and an average score of 4.5 stars or better.
6. Amazon.com Cleansers: 4 Stars & Up, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2016
Credibility:
Amazon.com lists hundreds of facial cleansers for sale; some of them have more than a thousand user reviews. Consumers tend to passionate and pointed in the comments they post here. We selected those products that have a 4.5-star or better average score after at least 50 user reviews. Amazon.com also sells facial cleansing brushes, although they're listed in a separate category.
7. RealSimple.com The Best Facial Cleansers, Jenny Jin, Not Dated
Credibility:
The author lists six of the best facial cleansers in several categories, including sensitive skin, dry skin, oily skin, natural ingredients and "most indulgent." She doesn't detail how the products were tested, but does include tester comments in each product's short review, so it's clear that some sort of hands-on handling was involved. However, we miss the inclusion of any drawbacks to create a more balanced review.
8. Allure The 9 Best Face Washes for Dry Winter Skin, Kristie Dash, Not Dated
Credibility:
The author and a consulting dermatologist call out their nine favorite facial washes for combatting dry winter skin. Each product gets a short review, with a few comments that strong imply hands-on testing, although the testers are never identified. Each review also includes a short comment from the dermatologist.
9. About.com My Tops Picks for Every Skin Type, Julyne Derrick, Not Dated
Credibility:
Julyne Derrick, About.com's expert on beauty, offers a dozen picks for the best facial cleanser according to your skin type. The list was updated at some point in 2015 and, although she doesn't assign objective ratings or appear to have tested every single product herself, she's drawing on a solid base of reader feedback, ingredients analysis, and of course her own expertise with beauty products.
10. GQ Magazine The Exact Right Face Wash for Your Skin Type, Reginald Christian, Aug. 27, 2015
Credibility:
GQ.com offers one of the few facial cleanser roundups that's not only targeted at man-friendly products, but also breaks them down by skin type. They even explain the basics of what each skin type means. Every product receives a short blurb on how it works, although we can't tell if they've been subjected to hands-on testing.
11. AskMen.com Best Facial Cleansers and Tools, Andrew Villagomez, Not Dated
Credibility:
The author urges men to go further than soap and water, briefly explaining the use of cleansers, face washes and scrubs. Each of the man-specific products he selects receives a brief evaluation of its scent and effects on your skin; however, it's not clear if any hands-on testing was conducted.