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Face wash is the first step to a good skincare routine – it’s designed to get rid of the daily grime that accumulates on the face and leave you feeling fresh and clean without over-drying your skin. When picking out a face wash, it’s crucial you choose one that’s right for your skin type. Why? Because different types of skin have different needs and will determine the key ingredients used in product formulas.
For example, the key ingredients often found in products for oily skin include charcoal, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid. These are all gentle exfoliators that soak up or regulate excess oil. You will notice these pop up several times as you read through our recommended products.
How do you know what skin type you have? Well, the four common skin types are dry skin, normal skin, oily skin, and combination skin. If you are reading this, there is already a good chance you either have oily or combination skin. Oily skin is easy to detect by the extra sheen it tends to get – one that dry and normal skin lacks. It’s also more likely to experience blemishes, due to the excess oil mixing with bacteria, dirt, and debris and ultimately blocking your pores.
Therefore, picking the proper face wash is especially important for those of us with oily skin. We need a deep clean that won’t strip our skin. Over-cleansing can lead to the skin overcompensating in the form of excess oil production in its attempt to restore its moisture balance. Combination skin is different from oily skin because people with that skin type tend to only have a shiny t-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) but have dry skin on their cheeks and around their jawline. They may have to mix and match their skincare products in order to properly take care of the different zones.
This list is designed for those of us who want to control our skin’s excess oil and tone down that too-bright facial shine without completely stripping our skin of moisture – an act that could potentially make the problem worse.
With so many face washes available on the market, we want to help you choose the best one for you. Read on for our personal list of the top 16 best face washes for oily skin.
Blu Atlas’s Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser is number one on our list of the best face washes for oily skin. Blu Atlas is a luxury skincare brand whose products are made in New York and formulated with the help of dermatologists. Blu Atlas is dedicated to creating science-backed, premium products for the modern man.
They have created a daily face wash that deeply cleans while maintaining your skin’s delicate pH balance – perfect for oily skin.
The volcanic ash (bentonite) in this formula contains highly absorbent fine particles that help remove excess oil from your skin. The ash also helps to draw out impurities from the pores, leaving them looking tighter. The second key ingredient, Lactobacillus ferment filtrate, has been proven to soothe the skin, helping to strengthen the skin’s microbiome and fight against environmental aggressors.
If you are looking for an all-around fantastic face wash for oily skin, Blu Atlas Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser is set to become your new favorite. It is made using all-natural ingredients and no artificial fragrances. As a bonus, although it’s targeted at men, this face wash is unisex, so the ladies in your life can also enjoy all the benefits!
2. Kiehl’s Oil Eliminator Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Face Wash For Men
Kiehl’s is a household name in the skincare industry for a reason – drawing on their humble beginnings as an apothecary in New York City 170 years ago, the brand continues to use nature-inspired and scientifically proven formulas in all of its products. While a large portion of their range is unisex, they do have a dedicated skincare range formulated especially for men – including this Oil Eliminator Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Face Wash.
This product is a two-in-one cleanser and exfoliator. It deeply cleanses and washes away sweat, dirt, and oil and helps to minimize pores, while physically exfoliating the skin. This facial wash is formulated with two key naturally derived ingredients – calendula and apricot kernels. Calendula is a flowering plant with a long history of being used in skincare and cosmetics. Calendula petals and extracts are known to be effective in reducing sensitivity and soothing irritation and are often used in skincare products targeting blemish-prone, oily skin. The apricot kernels in the scrub are derived from crushed apricot seeds and act as a gentle exfoliant, targeting those stubborn impurities that can build up due to daily pollution.
An excellent alternative to the chemical exfoliants mentioned elsewhere in this article, this face wash and physical exfoliant is okay to use on a daily basis. It will leave your skin feeling smooth and looking great, all thanks to the power of natural ingredients.
3. Jack Black Deep Dive® Glycolic Facial Cleanser
Jack Black is an American brand that creates luxury skincare products especially for men. Their Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser is a clay-based cleanser that’s excellent for oily skin and doubles as a face mask for those days when you need a little extra oil control.
The face wash includes Kaolin clay, a natural ingredient that works to draw out impurities like dirt. The clay’s natural absorption properties also help to capture excess oil and keep that shine under control. Antioxidant-rich volcanic ash has been added as a physical exfoliant to help smooth the skin’s surface.
Glycolic acid, which is mentioned in the product name, is a very effective chemical exfoliant for extra deep cleaning, removing old skin cell buildup for noticeably softer and clearer skin. For those of us who shave frequently, this powerful ingredient also helps to prevent nasty ingrown hairs.
To use this cleanser as a mask, simply apply an even amount onto a dry face using a circular motion. Avoid the eye and lips area and allow to dry for around 5 minutes. Then rinse and enjoy your smooth, soft, and shine-free skin. To use this face wash as a cleanser, apply a small amount to wet hands, work into a creamy lather, and apply to a slightly damp face using a circular motion. Immediately rinse. If you want a practical, no-nonsense product that works, Jack Black’s Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser might be the one for you.
4. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser for Oily Skin
La Roche-Posay is a renowned French skincare brand named after the town where the therapeutic spring
It is formulated with zinc pidolate, an antibacterial astringent that helps suppress sebum secretion. The key ingredient, however, is La Roche-Posay’s Thermal Spring
This face wash has a clear and refreshing texture that lathers from a gel to a foam and is gentle enough for daily use. Once only available to purchase from French pharmacies but now available around the world, this thermal-
5. L’Oréal Men’s Expert Hydra Energetic Charcoal Cream Cleanser
This product is perfect if you want to try one of the best face washes for oily skin without breaking the bank. Those of us who work in big cities will know that a day out using public transport to get to the office and being surrounded by the traffic fumes of the city can leave you feeling less than fresh. Skincare and beauty powerhouse L’Oréal has created this cleanser for men to help fight five problems that are caused by daily city grime: oily skin, clogged pores, stickiness, dirt, and dullness.
The star ingredient, charcoal, acts like a magnet to draw out and absorb excess oil and trap impurities and surface dirt from city pollution. Don’t be alarmed when you first use it – the thick textured black liquid that comes out of the bottle quickly works into a rich, white, foamy lather with a fresh masculine fragrance. Best applied with extra attention to the areas of the face that tend to produce the most oil – the forehead, nose, and chin – this face wash will leave your skin feeling fresh and clean. City grime be gone!
6. Ole Henriksen Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser
One of the pricier cleansers on our list, the Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser was created by founder Ole Henriksen as part of the brand’s wider “Balance Collection.” His mission is to create the products he wished he had in his youth when he struggled with cystic acne and oily skin.
This face wash will invigorate your senses with its fresh eucalyptus and peppermint scent. It is made with Ole Henriksen’s Green Fusion Complex™, a unique blend of active botanicals, including green tea, eucalyptus, algae (kelp), and Irish moss extracts, which help to mattify the skin by absorbing excess oil and reduce the look of pores.
The second super ingredient is neem seed oil, a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine; it is used to balance oil production, treat pimples, and even increase the levels of collagen in the skin. Rounding off the ingredients list are glycolic and lactic acids (AHAs), which help lift and loosen the dead skin cells that clog pores.
On top of all that, this cleanser won’t clog your pores and will not leave your skin feeling stripped. Ole Henriksen Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser is perfect if you want a deep-cleaning, shine-fighting face wash and also have a little money to splurge.
7. CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
CeraVe’s Foaming Facial Cleanser is ideal for removing excess oil and dirt. When choosing a facial cleanser for oily skin, it’s good to look for something that will thoroughly cleanse but contains ingredients that help maintain a good moisture balance and won’t disrupt your skin’s barrier. Otherwise, the result could be dry and tight skin, leading to excess oil production.
Developed with dermatologists, CeraVe’s Foaming Facial Cleanser does just that and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Containing a blend of three essential ceramides identical to those found naturally in your skin, this face wash helps maintain the skin’s natural barrier – keeping moisture in and harmful elements out.
Hyaluronic acid helps maintain your skin’s moisture levels while Niacinamide helps calm your skin and can regulate excess oil production. If you are looking for a new product to try, this fragrance-free, refreshing foaming face wash is an affordable and effective way to cleanse and care for your oily skin.
8. Skinfix Acne+ 2% BHA Cleanser
The self-professed skin nerds at Skinfix have created a cleanser for acne-prone skin that certainly packs a punch! A negative side effect that comes with having oily skin is being more likely to have acne, which means dealing with all the side effects this can bring. This powerful face wash resurfaces the skin on multiple levels, reduces the size of blemishes, calms redness, and minimizes oil and sebum production! It is allergy tested and non-comedogenic, so it’s perfect for sensitive and irritated skin.
Effective at targeting multiple forms of acne, this cleanser contains active ingredients that help to kill bacteria, wash away old skin cells, and deep clean excess sebum. Skinfix Acne+ 2% BHA Cleanser is made with three types of acids. 2% salicylic acid (BHA) goes deep and decongests pores by eliminating excess oil, surface dirt, and impurities. 3% glycolic acid (AHA) exfoliates the surface of the skin, leaving it smooth and getting rid of old skin cells that can clog pores. 1% azelaic acid fights acne-causing bacteria and crucially helps to diminish the appearance of post-acne scars and hyperpigmentation. The addition of 2% niacinamide visibly minimizes pores, while green tea and zinc help calm inflammation.
Though it contains many hard-hitting ingredients, it is intended for daily use and keeps the skin’s pH levels and skin microbiome in balance. This cleanser might be the one for you if you have stubborn acne, blemishes, or post-acne scarring.
9. Murad Clarifying Cleanser
This clarifying face wash for oily and sensitive skin dissolves oil, cleans pores, and treats acne – continuing to do so to prevent breakouts even after rinsing! This cleanser is formulated with not one but two types of salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is an ingredient often found in anti-acne skincare that helps clear up blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. It stimulates cell turnover, exfoliating away old, dull skin cells to reveal a fresh complexion and, in turn, helps your skin absorb other products.
One of the types of salicylic acid in Murad’s Clarifying cleanser is a free form that starts to treat blemishes immediately. At the same time, the other is an encapsulated form that continues to do so over time after you rinse the cleanser off.
This face wash also contains green tea extract, which helps to calm and soothe irritated skin, revealing a clearer and healthier-looking complexion. Acne and oily skin often occur together – if that’s the case for you, then this face wash with a continuous treatment for breakouts might be the one to try.
10. Lush Aqua Marina Face And Body Cleanser
Originating in the UK, Lush is an ethical skincare and cosmetics brand dedicated to creating ethical products. Created using fresh, vegetarian-only ingredients and made with no animal testing, the Aqua Marina Face And Body Cleanser from Lush will transport you straight to the seaside – even if it’s the middle of winter.
This creamy cleanser is made with a kaolin clay base, which absorbs excess oil. It is packed with calamine powder, which calms sensitive skin and treats the itchiness and inflammation of minor skin conditions.
The added nori seaweed is nutrient-rich, nourishing, and softening to the skin, while the sprinkle of sea salt very gently exfoliates the skin. It has a relaxing and uplifting scent that will remind you of summer days by the sea layered over herbal undertones of patchouli oil.
This refreshing face wash can also be used on the body, making it an easy traveling companion. If purchasing this cleanser, be aware that this product may have a shorter shelf life than usual due to Lush’s use of fresh ingredients.
11. Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel
Dermalogica special cleansing gel is the company’s best-selling cleanser – a soap-free, foaming face wash packed full of soothing ingredients. This product can be used for all skin types but is particularly recommended for those who are trying to target oiliness and breakouts.
The lightweight gel formula turns into a refreshing lather due to the addition of Quillaja Saponaria extract. Also known as soapbark, this tree’s extract is a naturally foaming ingredient that rinses away debris and leaves the skin feeling fresh and clean.
The next key ingredient, lavender, soothes and calms the skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Added balm mint and aloe vera help to cool, soften, and hydrate the skin – allowing the cleanser to do its magic without disturbing the skin’s natural moisture balance. If you have skin that is easily irritated and prone to inflammation, give this mild face wash a try.
12. Drunk Elephant Juju bar
For the environmentally conscious who like their products to have minimal packaging, this cleanser bar for oily skin will get you months of use. Although it may look like a bar of soap, don’t be fooled. This face wash is gentle on your skin’s pH and won’t leave it feeling dry and squeaky (squeaky clean may be a good thing when you’re doing the dishes, but not when washing your face!).
This multitasking bar produces a creamy lather that deeply cleanses while gently exfoliating old skin cells off the surface of your skin. The Juju Bar contains Virgin Marula Oil, an easily absorbable oil full of antioxidants and omegas 6 and 9, which helps to moisturize and nourish the skin.
Though it may sound counterproductive, oils can be great for oily skin, as if the skin is cleaned too harshly and stripped of all of its natural oils, it will go into overproduction mode and cause an abundance of excess oil. Other key ingredients in the Juju bar are Heilmoor clay – a thermal mud that detoxifies and tones the skin – and bamboo powder in the form of tiny smooth spheres for exfoliation.
Truly a multitasker, you can use the Juju Bar to smooth chapped lips or go further down and use it as a body exfoliator. This cleanser is suitable to use 2 to 3 times per week. To store the bar, keep it in a dish where excess
13. Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel
Mario Badescu’s Enzyme Cleansing Gel is a reasonably priced non-foaming cleanser that will deeply clean and thoroughly remove excess oil and dirt but that is gentle enough for daily use.
This cleanser gently chemically exfoliates the skin with the help of two key ingredients – grapefruit and papaya enzymes. Plant-derived enzymes are gentler and work more slowly than other chemical exfoliates like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), which are much more potent. The grapefruit extract removes unwanted oil and skin, dulling surface impurities, and papaya extract lightly exfoliates and leaves your skin looking bright and refreshed.
If you have been thinking about making the switch from physical scrubs to chemical exfoliants, this lightweight, refreshing cleanser is a perfect place to start your journey.
14. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
This cleanser is a staple for a reason – affordable and extremely gentle, this face wash is perfect for those of us who have oily skin that is also sensitive. Cetaphil has formulated this gel with a blend of niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3), panthenol (a form of vitamin B5), and glycerin to improve the skin’s natural moisture barrier. This is important, as a healthy moisture barrier will repel any irritants in the air – just what you want if you have sensitive skin.
Dermatologically tested, this cleanser will remove excess oil and dirt without making your skin feel uncomfortably tight and dry and stripping it of its natural moisture. There is no soap in this formulation, it is pH neutral, and it won’t leave any residue, which could further inflame any existing irritations. It is also non-comedogenic, which means that it won’t clog your pores. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser is an excellent choice for you if you have sensitive skin or skin conditions, including painful acne.
15. Grown Alchemist Gentle Gel Facial Cleanser
This cleanser is another excellent option for those with sensitive yet oily skin. One of the pricier products on our list, Grown Alchemist’s Gentle Gel Facial Cleanser is full of luxurious botanical ingredients. It will gently remove impurities without stripping the skin, work to reduce the appearance of pores, and rebalance the skin by regulating sebum production. The cold-pressed rose petals tone the skin, while chamomile helps to relieve any build-up of congestion and softens the skin. Willow Bark reduces redness, oiliness, and signs of aging.
This cleanser is also a great option if you are looking for “clean” products. It is vegan, certified organic, made in Australia, and cruelty-, paraben-, and mineral-oil-free. With its chic minimalist packaging, this luxurious cleanser from Grown Alchemist will look good decorating your bathroom vanity while it sorts out your skin – bonus!
16. Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser
Rounding up our list of best face washes for oily skin is Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip Cleanser – one of the most expensive on this list. With its silky-smooth texture and decadent ingredients, this is a luxurious cleanser that your significant other may just want to steal for themselves!
Surface pollution and grime are removed by a blend of four plant-based soaps, while a mixture of green clay, bentonite, and white kaolin pull out dirt and oil from the pores. Rice and olive oil esters help to balance the skin, while the neroli extract helps to leave your skin feeling radiant, smooth and supple. If you want to go all out, treat yourself to the Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser – your skin will love you for it!