Washing your face should be a daily grooming chore for every man. But what exactly do you use to keep that moneymaker looking clean and fresh? Soap? Please say no. Several types of soaps can be harsh on skin and strip away the acid mantle, which causes dryness. To better protect the sensitive skin on your face, you’ll want to invest in some of the best men’s faces washes available.
Every face wash is formulated differently, meaning some work great for specific skin types, while others are made to tame or treat certain skin conditions such as acne, comedo (e.g. clogged hair follicles) and eczema. It’s all in the ingredients, which you should always read before adding any face wash to your Amazon cart.
Here are some of the ingredients we look for: antioxidants (inflammation relief), essential oils (antibacterial), hyaluronic acid (hydration), peptides (firmness), retinol (anti-wrinkles), salicylic acid (acne prevention) and Vitamin C (skin glow).
Any face wash containing parabens, fragrances, SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate), and formaldehyde is a no-go, especially if they appear closer to the front of the ingredients list. This indicates there is a high percentage of them in the formula, which also makes them more harmful to your skin.
Let’s take a brief look into this growing skin care category, along with SPY’s ranking of the best face washes for men.
Face Washes vs. Face Cleansers
It’s easy to get these two skin care products confused, especially when a Google search often spits out thousands of selections and categorizes them as the same. Face washes and face cleansers do perform the same common job of cleaning your face. At the same time, they are unique in their own ways. Ultimately, choosing the right grooming product for you will leave your face looking and feeling its best.
Here is how the two differ in terms of their skin care benefits.
- Cleanse pores better and remove deeper-seated debris
- Feel more refreshing
- Produce a matte look
- Perfect for oily skin
- Gentler on the face
- Highly moisturizing
- Suitable for daily use
You really can’t go wrong with having either one, though if you’re just getting acclimated to this whole facial skin care thing and want to go the more affordable route, pick up a face wash. If you have more sensitive skin, then choose facial cleansers or face wash designed for sensitive skin.
To help with your search, we’ve listed the best face washes for men across every major category, price point and skin type. We’ve also factored critical acclaim, consumer reviews and our own testing into the equation.
1. Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash
Brand recognition counts for a lot in the skin care industry, where word-of-mouth and positive reviews make all the difference. Should you want a face wash with superb performance and excellent reviews across the board, make it this one from Kiehl’s. This blue-green liquid is loaded with skin-friendly ingredients including glycerin, caffeine and menthol, which has a light minty scent and provides a nice cooling effect. It also helps prep skin for shaving. Overall, the Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash is an all-around performer that easily removes impurities from the face to achieve a supple, healthy appearance after every wash.
2. Brickell Purifying Charcoal Face Wash
BEST NATURAL FACE WASH
In recent years, many men have discovered the benefits of natural skin care, and there are a lot of great products featuring simple formulas that are extremely effective on most skin types. Brickell’s grooming products are coveted for the same reason. Case in point: this Purifying Charcoal Face Wash. This popular men’s face wash has almost 800 five-star reviews on Amazon thanks to its reasonable price and natural ingredients. A top seller on most popular online retailers, this men’s face wash blends activated charcoal with peppermint, eucalyptus, olive oil and aloe vera to rid pores of dirt and excess oil. The charcoal itself has a subtle abrasiveness that feels comforting when rubbed gently on the face. We also love the stimulating effect it produces that leaves skin feeling invigorated, but more importantly, refreshed.
3. Oars + Alps Natural Solid Face Wash
BEST TRAVEL FACE WASH
What is your first line of defense from free radicals? Your face. Whether it’s riding on an airplane or commuting through busy on-foot traffic, your mug is constantly exposed to these unstable atoms, which damage cells and cause signs of aging. Oars + Alps developed this tiny face wash stick so you can carry it everywhere when your skin starts to act up. The roll-on applicator spreads across wet surfaces smoothly, giving your face proper hydration, while also employing tiny activated charcoal particles that pull oils and toxins from your pores. It’s a remarkable quick fix for when your skin feels stressed throughout the day. The portable design also makes it an ideal EDC item.
4. Beast Yawp Exfoliating Face Wash
BEST EXFOLIATING FACE WASH
Any face wash that can remove dirt and exfoliate dead skin cells at the same time deserves a closer look. Beast’s 2-in-1 wash is a solid pickup for guys who want to maintain a radiant look by improving their skin’s texture and tone. Beast (formerly known as Tame the Beast) uses natural, biodegradable jojoba beads to create a gentle scrubbing effect that does a great job of clearing up skin. And unlike some exfoliating scrubs and face washes, the overall abrasiveness is mild. The inclusion of caffeine and peppermint calms inflammation and helps reduce wrinkles as well.
5. Pacifica Beauty Coconut Milk Cream to Foam Face Wash
It’s been said that men’s skincare products are formulated differently than women’s due to men having tougher, oilier skin. However, men and women’s skin both react positively to many of the same vitamins and natural ingredients. That’s why Pacifica doesn’t discriminate and sells one of the most creamy, soothing face washes that you and the missus can share in the shower. While marketed for its makeup removal capabilities, it’s suited for all skin types and has the pleasant texture of a lotion. Once activated into a foam, this 100% vegan formula puts its de-stressing properties to work and rinses off free radicals. The smell of coconut and vanilla is a sweet bonus that serves as a delightful wakeup call during rough mornings.
6. Bulldog Sensitive Face Wash
BEST FACE WASH FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
Finding a top-of-the-line face wash can be a daunting task for guys who have sensitive skin. Bulldog grants a sigh of relief with its effective and super-affordable solution that’s made with natural ingredients and is very gentle on the face. It’s a non-drying formula that uses essential oils and green tea to retain a high level of moisture and keep skin looking good, even in the toughest conditions. The cleansing properties in this face wash have a strong presence as well, ridding the skin surface of unwanted debris with ease.
7. Peter Thomas Roth Acne Clearing Wash
BEST ACNE-CLEARING FACE WASH
Acne is tough to treat and requires powerful formulas to get the job done. That is Peter Thomas Roth’s specialty. The luxury skin care brand doesn’t skimp on potent ingredients, using maximum strength salicylic acid (2%) to suppress the breakout cycle. Judging by the product’s glowing reviews across lifestyle sites and online retailers, it’s a highly effective solution that does away with excess oil without damaging the skin barrier. PTR added vitamin B5 to the mix as well, which helps condition and nourish the look of men’s skin. It’s a bit more expensive than some of the other face washes on this list, but well worth the investment for a crater-free kisser.
8. Hawkins & Brimble Face Wash
The first step of any shaving routine is readying your face. That means cleaning it before sending a sharp razor across it. A hot shower helps, but what you really need is a hard-working face wash to remove all dirt or debris, so as not to dull the blades and cause nicks. Hawkins & Brimble has a noteworthy option with naturally derived ingredients that cleanse and nourish the skin before you shave. Aloe vera and ginseng naturally calm down inflamed areas, while salicylic acid penetrates the pores to dissolve dead skin cells.
9. Jack Black All-Over Wash
Say it with us: Body washes are not formulated for use on the face. That being said, premium men’s skin care brand Jack Black figured out a way to create a wash that is gentle and cleansing all over your body. This 3-in-1 offering saves you plenty of room in the shower caddy and is rich in panthenol — a moisturizing agent that improves hydration, reduces inflammation and heals epidermal wounds quickly. It’s marketed for all skin types, though the manly, botanical fragrance might be a bit much for sensitive skin types. Nonetheless, it’s a great option for dudes who want one product that can manage multiple grooming tasks at once.
10. Every Man Jack Natural Menthol Face Wash
BEST BUDGET FACE WASH
Reupping on face wash every month becomes a costly expense, so if you’re trying to save money and score a quality face wash for cheap, give Every Man Jack’s latest release a shot. The company’s Natural Menthol Face Wash features natural ingredients and a generous dose of menthol to cleanse, moisturize and soothe skin. It has coconut-derived surfactants that help degrease and emulsify oils, making it simpler to rinse off impurities. Marine extracts can also be found in the formula, which contain anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant content to yield firmer, more youthful results.