Best Face Cleanser for Men
If you’re looking to up your skincare routine and give your face the love it deserves, then a facial cleanser is a great place to start.
Get the right facial cleanser, and you will notice the benefits almost immediately.
Youthful, hydrated skin is universally desirable, and becomes more so with time, so whatever point in life you’re currently in, a facial cleanser can be a wise and inexpensive investment to make.
Let’s dive into our top face cleanser picks for guys. Here they are…
👑 Our Pick for Best Overall
⭐ Our Other Face Cleanser for Men
- Best of the Best: Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser
- Runner Up: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Liquid Neutrogena Facial Cleanser
Best Face Cleanser for Men Reviews
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser (👑 Best of the Best)
The best face cleanser for men has to be the hydrating facial cleanser from CeraVe. This facial cleanser has been developed by a brand that’s dedicated to making high quality skincare products. CeraVe works closely with dermatologists to ensure each of its products lives up to high standards. The brand has received more Seal of Acceptance awards from the National Eczema Association than all other skincare brands, which says a lot about its commitment to finding solutions for all types of skin.
As for the facial cleanser itself, it’s formulated using a whole host of healthy and hydrating ingredients. Some of the ingredients the lotion uses include the powerful humectant hyaluronic acid, skin-protecting ceramides, and moisturising glycerol. This powerful combination of ingredients provides your skin with everything it needs to shine, in the face of free radicals and environmental pollutants. This facial cleanser lasts for up to 24 hours after application, and won’t leave an unflattering greasy layer like some skincare products do.
As a non-foaming cleanser, this lotion feels incredibly smooth and is pleasant to apply to the skin. It’s also suitable for sensitive and dry skin, which makes sense given the brand’s collaboration with dermatologists and its countless National Eczema Association awards. The way this is ensured is through the avoidance of ingredients which contain parabens, fragrance, soap, irritants, and any harmful chemicals that are present in many skincare products.
One reason to trust this facial cleanser from CeraVe over the competition is the inclusion of the 3 vital ceramides that the skin needs to thrive. The brand uses ceramides in all of its skincare products, and for good reason. Ceramides occur naturally in the skin, and are responsible for half of the skin barrier lipids. That makes them absolutely essential in the fight against free radicals and environmental damage. The ceramides in the facial cleanser can help restore the natural barrier between your skin and the world around, so that you don’t have to worry as much about pollutants and harmful chemicals damaging it.
This facial cleanser is perfect for use, day or night, and can also be used as a hand and body wash. It’s also incredibly easy to dispense given the design of the bottle, so you don’t need to worry about parting with more of the cleanser than you anticipated.
- 19 fl oz or 16 fl oz dispenser
- Free from parabens, fragrances, and soaps
- Certified by the National Eczema Association.
- Made with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin.
- Suitable for all skin types
- Can be used as a body and hand wash
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (🥈 Runner Up)
Cetaphil is another reliable top skincare brand, and one that has been recommended by dermatologists for over 70 years. That’s why it should come as no surprising that its gentle skin cleanser is an excellent facial cleanser worthy of your consideration.
Much like CeraVe’s facial cleanser, this product by Cetaphil comes in a handy dispenser which makes applying the product a breeze. The convenience doesn’t end there though, this cleanser from Cetaphil is available in many different sizes, which gives you a variety of options. This means if you want a travel-friendly cleanser to take with you and ensure you adhere to your skincare routine even while away from home, you can. Likewise, if you want a large dispenser at home that you only need to buy once every few months, then you have that option too.
Using this skin cleanser on a daily basis is a great way to hydrate and soothe the skin, even if you have a sensitive complexion. It’s effective for those with sensitive skin because it is pH balanced, fragrance-free, and hypoallergenic. As a result, you aren’t likely to experience any kind of irritation or breakouts from using this product.
- Available in many sizes
- Ideal for all skin types
- pH balanced, fragrance free, and hypoallergenic
- Includes avobenzone, octocrylene, and glycerin.
Liquid Neutrogena Facial Cleanser (🍃 Best for Sensitive Skin)
The best facial cleanser for sensitive skin, Liquid Neutrogena’s cleanser is the perfect option if you’re worried about bad reactions or irritation.
Buying skincare products that work well with sensitive skin can be challenging, but fortunately, there are facial cleansers like this one from Neutrogena which are formulated specifically for this type of skin. What makes it suitable for sensitive skin is the hypoallergenic formula which is both oil-free and non-comedogenic. As a mild face wash, this product doesn’t contain any harsh detergents and is free from fragrance too. All of this makes it a solid option for sensitive skin.
The key ingredient in this facial cleanser is glycerin. Glycerin is a humectant, which means it draws water to the top layer of the skin, or the epidermis. As a result, after application your skin will start to appear much more hydrated, and healthier too. Glycerin is also able to cleanse your face of dirt and oil, so it’s a good ingredient to have in a night time facial cleanser.
Another important ingredient which makes up this facial cleanser is Retinyl Palmitate, which is more commonly known as vitamin A. The topical application of Retinyl Palmitate has several benefits.
The first is that the natural enzymes of your skin will break it down and convert it to retinol. Retinol should sound familiar as it’s used in a large number of anti-aging skincare products since it promotes the growth of new skin cells.
Vitamin A will also help make your skin look more firm and smooth, as well as giving you that sun-kissed glow that most people seek. It can also act as a protective agent against UV exposure, which is great if you spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun.
- 8 fl oz bottle
- No harsh detergents, fragrances, or comedogenicos
- Includes glycerin and vitamin A
- Dermatologically tested
Why You Need a Facial Cleanser
There are some cosmetic products that aren’t necessary in day to day life.
For men, the majority of cosmetic products probably fall into this category.
However, there are a few skincare products that are well worth including in your daily grooming routine, as they will keep you looking young and healthy even into your later years.
There are a whole host of reasons why a facial cleanser should be an essential part of your daily skincare routine, and we’ll touch upon the most important ones now.
To Clear Debris
If you sweat a lot because you workout regularly, or you spend a lot of time working outdoors or even just walking around a city, then your face is exposed to a lot of debris and dirt.
You might not even realise it, but your skin is collecting dirt and free radicals all the time while you are outside, and it’s a constant struggle for your skin barrier to keep everything at bay.
If you want to protect your skin as best you can, then you need the assistance of a facial cleanser to clear away debris and remove build up.
Anything from dirt and oil to pollutants in the air can build up on your face throughout the day, and lead to unhealthy looking skin.
If you want to rid your face of this undesirable debris, then your best bet is to use a facial cleanser day and night.
To Hydrate Your Skin
If you want healthy-looking skin, you need to keep it hydrated.
While the skin can do a great job of producing natural oils, you can give it a helping hand by moisturizing it with a great facial cleanser to keep it well hydrated.
This is especially important if you have oily or dry skin, as you will likely need some type of skincare routine to restore the balance and keep your skin looking smooth and youthful.
Hydration can come in the form of humectants such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which work to draw water to the outer layer of skin from deeper down.
To Protect your Skin
Ingredients like ceramides are especially important for upholding your skin barrier and preventing future harm from free radicals and pollutants in the air.
The pores on your skin need regular cleansing if you are to lower the possibility of developing acne and suffering from other skin conditions.
This is due to excessive build up of dirt, sweat, and dead skin cells.
Ultimate Guide to Facial Cleansers for Men
Picking out the right products to add to your daily skincare routine is no easy task.
With all of the face washes, face cleansers, and other moisturizers on the market, it can be challenging to figure out exactly what it is you need and what will serve you well.
When it comes to cleansers, there are a series of key factors that should play a significant role in your decision-making process, from the type of skin you have to the lifestyle you lead.
Then there are ingredients which will do you good, and ingredients which you should steer well clear of.
We’ll cover all of these factors in this guide, and more.
Knowing what type of skin you have, if you don’t already, is a crucial step if you want to figure out which facial cleansers are most suitable for you.
There are 4 main types of skin, so find out which one seems most like yours, and you’ll be in a much better position to pick out the perfect facial cleanser for the first time.
Normal skin is one of those instances where normal is actually an objectively positive thing.
To have normal skin, means you are free to choose pretty much any skincare products you like the look of.
It essentially means that you have skin that is neither excessively oily, nor is it very dry or sensitive.
The caveat is that some skincare products will be geared towards the other skin types, and might be less suitable for your skin.
You also might have what is known as combination skin, which refers to the face that suffers from an oily T-zone.
This means your cheeks and forehead can have great healthy skin, but the area around your nose can be very oily, and as such, you’ll need to be careful when selecting a facial cleanser to use.
Oily skin is the type of skin that may seem shiny at a distance, and have a smooth coating of oil which is noticeable when you run your fingers around your face.
The skin naturally produces oil, so this is something to be concerned about, it’s just that some of us produce more than others which leads to having predominantly oily skin.
As a result, you may have large pores which make it harder to find the perfect skincare products, and may have caused breakouts in the past.
The worst thing you can do if you have oily skin is buy an oil-based skincare product. Adding more oil to skin that already produces an excessive amount isn’t going to do you any favors.
If you have oily skin you’ll want to find a cleanser that can handle the oil on your face, without going as far as to dry out your face and lead to flaking or peeling.
Speaking of flaking and peeling, next up it’s dry skin.
You’ll know you have dry skin if the words flaking and peeling cause a visceral reaction, and make you want to itch your face.
Dry skin tends to be flaky, and rarely gives your face the appearance of being shiny, as the oils produced aren’t as plentiful.
It goes without saying that if you have dry skin, you’re going to want to find a cleanser that has plenty of moisturising ingredients in it to hydrate the skin.
Some of the best hydrating ingredients include hyaluronic acid and glycerin.
Sensitive skin is the trickiest skin type to buy skincare products for, and can be the source of many headaches due to frequent outbreaks and irritation.
The way you know you have sensitive skin, is if your face tends to swell up, feel irritated, or get inflamed after using various skincare products.
For men, if when you shave and use aftershave your skin appears red and irritated, you could very well have sensitive skin.
The best facial cleansers for men with sensitive skin are those which can soothe the skin as well as keep it healthy and hydrated.
Believe it or not, the lifestyle you lead can also have a significant impact on the type of facial cleanser you should use.
By lifestyle, I’m not necessarily referring to whether or not you smoke, or how often you watch TV, but more so to how active you are in your day to day life and where you live.
If your daily routine includes some form of exercise, or you work up a sweat somehow, then that will affect what type of facial cleanser is best for your skin.
If you spend a lot of time dripping sweat, then you need to find a facial cleanser that’s capable of cleaning out your pores and removing dirt and excess moisture from your skin.
The last thing you want is a facial cleanser that will exacerbate the issue and bury dirt deeper into your pores and leave your skin looking oily and dirty.
Another important lifestyle factor is where you spend the majority of your time during the day.
If you live in the city, then you are most likely exposed to pollution from cars or factories on a fairly regular basis. As you can imagine, this can lead to damage to the skin in the form of free radicals.
Likewise, if your job involves working outdoors with your hands, then you may be unknowingly getting your face dirty on a regular basis.
Even if your skin doesn’t appear to be damaged or dirty to the naked eye, free radicals aren’t good for it, so you should do your best to find a facial cleanser that can protect your skin against them.
Facial cleansers with ceramides are especially effective at protecting your face since ceramides make up around 50% of your skin’s barrier.
Ingredients to Look For
The following is a list of ingredients that you’ll find in a great facial cleanser.
Some of them are artificial, while others are natural.
There are benefits to having an all-natural, organic facial cleanser, but there are also a number of artificial ingredients which have been shown to be very effective for hydrating the skin too.
Glycerin is one of the most common ingredients used not only in facial cleansers, but in all cosmetic items.
As such a major ingredient in moisturizing products, it’s clearly recognised to be something which can help keep the skin healthy and hydrated.
Glycerin, which also goes by the name glycerol, is natural despite the strange-sounding name, and is made up of animal fats or vegetable oils.
As a humectant, glycerin works to moisturize the outermost layer of your skin by pulling water from deeper within. Alongside hyaluronic acid, it is considered to be one of the most effective humectants, so it’s clear to see why it’s favored in many moisturizing products.
As for the benefits, glycerin will not only hydrate the outer layer of the skin, but it will also help to preserve the skin barrier and protect from environmental free radicals and irritants.
Retinol is another ingredient with major pedigree in the field of skincare products.
If you haven’t heard of it yet, pay attention, because this is one ingredient that gets more important to use as time goes on.
While it can’t roll back the years, retinol is a powerful anti-aging ingredient that’s used in many anti-aging skincare products.
What this seemingly magic youth elixir does is work to soften fine lines and keep wrinkles at bay. Its original use was to treat acne too, so it has its uses for anyone with sensitive skin.
It’s considered to be one of the best age-preserving ingredients there is, right up there with sunscreen.
Some products, like Liquid Neutrogena, use the ingredient Retinyl Palmitate which can be converted by the skin’s natural enzymes to retinol. Retinyl Palmitate is more commonly known as vitamin A, so keep your eyes peeled for that too.
Hyaluronic acid is the other super effective humectant along with glycerin, and is very popular in moisturizers and cleansers.
If you have dry skin, then it’s almost a necessity to find a facial cleanser that includes this moisturizing ingredient, given how effective it is at hydrating the skin.
Hyaluronic acid is great for keeping the skin smooth and firm, and helping it to retain its natural elasticity.
You may have heard of ceramides because of their inclusion in top skincare brands like CeraVe.
Ceramides are responsible for keeping your skin elastic, and holding skin cells together.
They are also very important for keeping up the barrier of your skin, and preventing damage from pollutants and other free radicals.
Vitamin C isn’t just good for you when you consume it in the form of citrus fruits, but also when applied topically.
Vitamin C can help give you that glow that is commonly associated with plump, healthy skin no matter how old you are.
As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin E is a popular ingredient in many skincare products.
What it does is help prevent signs of aging caused by harmful UV rays, and it can recover the skin from damage afflicted by free radicals.
Ingredients to Avoid
While there are many great ingredients to look for in facial cleansers, there are just as many ingredients you should try to avoid.
Mostly artificial chemicals, these are the ingredients that could end up doing your skin more harm than good.
While aromatherapy is a wonderful thing and we all love an intoxicating fragrance, sometimes having a scented skincare product can be a bad thing.
Well, because unless you know exactly what makes up the fragrance, it could be made up of any number of harmful chemicals.
If you know that the fragrance is a natural result of having lavender in a product, then it’s completely safe.
But if it’s simply listed on the label as ‘fragrance’, then you should be more than a little sceptical.
The worst case scenario of using a facial cleanser with an artificially-made fragrance is that it triggers allergies, or causes severe symptoms like bad headaches and more.
Parabens are ingredients which you’re probably more familiar with because of labels that claim the product is ‘parabens-free’ than because you know what they are.
That’s because these preservatives are wildly common in many skincare products, and unfortunately they are bad news for your skin.
While they do a fantastic job of preventing bacteria from growing inside the product, parabens can mimic estrogen and lead to health complications in some cases.
While parabens aren’t considered dangerous by the FDA, it’s wise to exercise caution when you see that a facial cleanser has parabens in it.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium lauryl sulfate is more than just a mouthful, but it’s a potentially harmful chemical ingredient used in many skincare products.
The issue with this chemical is that it can remove some of the essential natural oils on the skin, which are there to protect it from free radicals.
It can also cause irritation and trigger allergic reactions.
Alcohol is commonly used in skincare products, because it can help bring down the weight and density of a liquid and increase the effectiveness of ingredients such as retinol with regards to penetrating the skin.
However, the means by which it does this isn’t very healthy for the skin. Alcohol essentially brings down the natural barrier of the skin in order for certain ingredients to seep through with ease. While that may be all well and good, it can leave your skin exposed to potentially harmful ingredients.
Alcohol can also dry out the skin and prove to be an irritant too.
Another ingredient that’s almost universally used in skincare products is oil.
Oil by itself isn’t harmful, but petroleum and some mineral oil-derived ingredients aren’t the best things to be applying to your skin.
The wrong types of oil can clog up the pores and cause breakouts. Oftentimes it’s a case of a company choosing to use the most inexpensive oil ingredients when this happens, so make sure you don’t pick a facial cleanser solely on the basis of being affordable.
If you have especially dry skin, you will probably be best served by getting an oil-based facial cleanser, so this won’t be as big a deal for you.
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How to Wash Your Face
Washing your face should be an important part of your daily skincare routine, whether you care a lot about your appearance or not.
While it might seem like a simple task, there are definitely right ways and wrong ways to go about it.
If you’ve ever tried to just foam up some shower gel and apply it to your nose and around your face, you’ll likely know why it’s not a good idea to just throw anything onto your face.
The oils produced by your skin and the type of skin you have can make it so that your face will only react well to certain skincare products, and the application of them is important too.
If you want to get the best out of your face washing routine, heed the following advice.
Generally, it’s a good idea to wash your face at least once a day, but twice a day is best.
Even if you live a very pampered and comfortable life, your face is never completely protected from dirt and sweat, so cleansing it is always a good idea.
The most natural times of day to do so are when you first wake up, and right before you go to bed at night. This should keep your skin looking healthy throughout the day, and making sure you don’t lay your head to rest with dirty, oil-laden skin.
It’s important that you don’t exceed two times a day though, because if you do, you’re inviting irritation and dry skin.
There are a few important steps you need to take before you dive in and dispense the face wash or cleanser.
- Wash your hands
The very first thing you need to concern yourself with is the cleanliness of your hands.
If the face on your skin gets dirty over the course of the average day, you can only imagine what happens to your hands, given that they touch all kinds of surfaces throughout the day.
Given that they might not be clean, and you don’t want to add dirt to your face as soon as you touch it, a thorough hand washing is appropriate.
As always, nice warm water and hand soap will do the trick.
- Splash your Face
Now to prepare your face for the cleansing routine.
To get the most out of your skincare products, you’re going to want to prepare the skin on the face by splashing it with warm water.
Not too cold, and not too hot.
The great part about this step of the process is that it can feel quite pleasant, especially when temperatures get cooler outside.
Now the important part, the application of your facial cleanser.
- Dispense a small amount
The key thing with face cleanser or face wash is that you don’t need a lot for it to be effective.
A good amount to dispense will look like a small coin in the palm of your hand, but so long as you don’t go crazy it should be fine.
Remember that you are going to rub the cleanser into your hands so you just need enough to work with.
- Rub it in
Now you should rub the cleanser into your hands, so that when you apply it to your face you will achieve an even distribution.
If you just apply the cleanser directly to your face and skip this step, you run the risk of wasting product on a particular spot on your face, and leaving other parts uncovered and unprotected.
Likewise, just because you have a particularly oily or sensitive part of your face, applying a higher concentration of cleanser to it isn’t going to get it any more clean.
- Apply to your face
Now for the fun part.
While it doesn’t need to be an elaborate process, you should take care to rub the product in with circular motions for the best distribution.
Using your own two hands is best, since cloths and sponges can be more damaging than anything else if you aren’t careful.
Also be careful that you aren’t being too rough with the skin by pulling on it too much. Remember, you are trying to be good to your face, not cause further damage or irritation.
It goes without saying, during this process your eyes should be closed, otherwise you might be in for a nasty stinging sensation.
You’re almost there, just a few more steps to complete the facial cleansing routine.
- Rinse your face
Once you’ve thoroughly rubbed the cleanser into your face, you should rinse off your face with warm water again.
This is important since the ingredients will have already penetrated the skin, and you don’t want anything hanging around that could irritate your eyes or get in your mouth.
- Dry off
Drying your face is as simple as grabbing a nearby towel – a clean one – and patting down the skin as gently as you can.
This final step is another overlooked process by many men, but one that should feature in everyone’s skincare routine.
Using a moisturizer is important, as it keeps the skin hydrated and healthy.
If you don’t moisturize regularly, you can’t expect to keep your skin in top shape, so it really is worth making the little extra effort.
There are a whole range of moisturizers out there, all with their own special ingredients and benefits.
We’d recommend using one with retinol or another anti-aging ingredient – not because you look old, but because it’s good to start taking the steps to prevent signs of aging as soon as possible.
To apply your moisturizer, follow the same steps as before, except this time you can leave it on your skin to sink in so no need to wash it off.
You’ll want to make sure that you focus on dry areas of the face as much as possible too so you can get the most out of your moisturizer.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Face Cleansers
What is the best cleanser for my face?
To determine which cleanser is best for your face, there are a few things you need to know.
The most important factor which should influence your purchase is your skin type. If you have sensitive or oily skin for instance, then you’re going to need to find a cleanser that is designed specifically for those skin types, since otherwise they can cause outbreaks or irritation.
You also want to consider your lifestyle, since someone who’s active and sweats a lot will need a different cleanser from someone who isn’t.
What is the best facial cleanser?
CeraVe hydrating facial cleanser is the best in our view, for several reasons.
As a brand which is committed to delivering skincare products that are safe for all skin types, CeraVe has worked closely with dermatologists to create this cleanser which was granted the Seal of Approval by the National Eczema Association.
This facial cleanser mixes powerful ingredients which come together to protect and hydrate the skin. Such ingredients include ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin.
Is face wash and cleanser the same?
While you’d be forgiven for thinking face wash and cleanser are the same product branded in different ways, there are actually a few differences between the two types of skincare products.
What they both do is cleanse and hydrate the face, but that’s where the similarity ends.
While a face wash will foam up, a cleanser will adopt the form of a lotion or milk and won’t foam up when you use it. The latter doesn’t need to be washed off either, as a simple wipe will suffice.
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A Final Word From The Trending Man
It’s tough to figure out what you need for your face with all the face washes and cleansers out there.
What can help though is knowing what type of skin you have, and what you want most from a cleansing product.