Make a Splash With the 16 Best Face Washes for Men of All Skin Types

best face wash
Courtesy of Geologie

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In this Editor’s Choice feature, SPY presents the best face wash for men with all skin types. The products that earn our Editor’s Choice badge meet our strictest selection criteria, and we tested dozens of products to bring you this shopping guide. After consulting experts, examining ingredients and testing products on our own faces, we selected the top options from leading skincare brands.

If you’re still washing your face with a bar of soap meant for your body, it’s time for a major upgrade. Using a product that’s been formulated specifically for your face is pretty crucial to your skin health, and finding the best face wash for men for your skin type is an even better idea. So how do you choose the right face wash for men?

“It mostly has to do with whether your skin is oily and breakout-prone or dry,” says Suneel Chilukuri, MD, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Founder of Refresh Dermatology in Houston, Texas. “Simplicity is key when it comes to recommending a cleanser. Men should look for a face wash that is multifunctional. For example, a cleanser that also provides exfoliating benefits or a cleanser built to be used on the go and combines cleansing properties as well as antioxidants and added hydration.”

When Picking the Best Face Wash for Men, It’s All About the Ingredients

To find the best face wash for men, it starts with looking for the right ingredients. “Men should look for ingredients that will balance sebum production and cleanse the skin without over-drying or stripping the skin of its natural barrier,” advises Dr. Chilukuri. “Ingredients such as micellar water, activated charcoal and glycolic acid are good options.”

Then there are ingredients that should be avoided, such as sodium lauryl or Laureth Sulfate, as those are strong detergents that can cause irritation in many skin types. “Even for men, I recommend avoiding aggressive detergents, high levels of surfactants, drying alcohols and synthetic fragrance as they are harsh on most skin types,” Dr. Chilukuri says. “It is also important to be careful with exfoliating washes as some include ingredients that are too abrasive and can actually cause micro-tears in the skin. While men’s skin has more sebum and tends to be thicker than women’s skin, we still need to ensure the proper lipid balance to ensure a healthy barrier function.”

best face wash for men Courtesy of Geologie

For optimal skin health, it’s best to wash your face twice a day, in the morning and at night.

“But if only one time per day is feasible, it is best to wash their face in the evening time before bed,” Dr. Chilukuri says. “Throughout the day we are exposed to dirt, debris and environmental pollutants that will stick to the surface of the skin. To maintain healthy skin, it is imperative to cleanse away the daily pollutants and grime the skin is exposed to daily.”

As for the proper face washing technique, Dr. Chilukuri says the ideal way to cleanse the skin is to wet your hands first and then apply a pea-size amount of the face wash to the palm of the hand and create a lather. Start on the forehead and cheeks, then in circular motions work down to the jawline. Cleanse for one to two minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water. Pat dry with a towel.

Now that you know everything there is to know about washing your face, shop the best face washes for men below.

  

Why Trust SPY When Choosing a Men’s Face Wash?

SPY’s team of shopping writers, product reviewers and grooming experts have tested hundreds, if not thousands, of grooming products in recent years. We’re always searching for the best new products in the men’s grooming space, and we collect the best of the best in our annual men’s product awards. To help men find the best grooming and skincare products for their dollar, we regularly test and review beard oils, face wash, razors, body wash, shampoo and absolutely everything else guys need to look, smell and feel their best. All of the face wash products featured below have been tested by SPY’s editors or specifically recommended by a dermatologist. Most importantly, we would never recommend a product that we wouldn’t buy ourselves.

So whether you’re looking for an intense, acne-busting face wash or a natural cleanser that’s gentle on sensitive skin, you’ll find the right product for your skin type (and wallet) below.

  

Caldera + Lab The Clean Slate

NATURAL FORMULA

When it comes to the best face washes, we will almost always choose a naturally-based face wash over something with too many chemicals or alcohol-infused. And out of all of the greatest natural face washes out there, Caldera + Lab’s The Clean Slate face wash is seriously hard to beat. This super gentle, highly-cleansing face wash is ideal for any skin type due to its inclusion of wild-harvested and organic ingredients. The Clean Slate uses a pretty funky ingredient that puts it above anything else, being mineral-rich glacial ocean silt extracts to cleanse that skin. We also love the subtle fragrance, which smells of minerals and freshwater.

In addition to the ocean silt, Caldera + Lab also packs in probiotics, plant extracts and hydrating amino acids to make this pH-balanced face wash one of the best you can buy. We love The Clean Slate so much that we even named it the best face wash of the year in The 2021 Man, SPY’s annual products awards.

Key Ingredients: Mineral-rich glacial ocean silt, wild-harvested botanicals, squalene, fireweed

Best For: All skin types

Caldera + Lab The Clean Slate Courtesy of Caldera + Lab

  

Geologie Everyday Face Wash for Men

EDITOR FAVORITE

Acne-prone skin will find relief with this cleanser that battles breakouts and excess oil In our testing, we also found that it’s great for reducing inflammation, making it one of the best face washes for men who suffer from acne and redness. Designed to go easy on sensitive skin, it gently exfoliates and rids the skin of dirt and oil buildup, keeping skin balanced and leaving it renewed. In addition to 2% Salicylic Acid, Geologie’s face wash also has soothing botanicals such as juniper and bergamot.

We recently named Geologie the best men’s skincare subscription service in The 2021 Man awards, and it was an easy choice. Geologie’s face wash formula is perfect for guys with sensitive or acne-prone skin types, but it’s also a great cleanser for all skin types in our experience.

Key Ingredients: 2% salicylic acid, bergamot, juniper wood oil

Best For: Acne, sensitive skin types

geologie face wash Courtesy of Geologie

  

Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash

LUXE PICK

Brand recognition counts for a lot in the skincare industry, where word-of-mouth and positive reviews make all the difference. Should you want a men’s 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. Kiehl’s 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.

Kiehl’s products are more expensive than other skincare products, but this face wash comes in a generous 8.4-ounce bottle. Unlike cheaper gel face washes we’ve tried, it washes off easy, and because it’s paraben and alcohol-free, it doesn’t dry out the skin.

Key Ingredients: Caffeine, Vitamin E, menthol

Best For: All skin types

Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash Courtesy of Ulta

  

PCA SKIN Blemish Control Bar

DOCTOR’S CHOICE

“PCA SKIN has four ‘bars’ that are in jars so they last really well in the shower,” Dr. Chilukuri says. “There is a Blemish Control Bar with salicylic acid for breakouts. This is also good for men with textured hair that may get ingrown hairs when they shave. The salicylic acid helps to clear the follicles and prevent ingrown hairs. There are also bar options for uneven skin tone, dry skin/psoriasis and basic daily cleansing. This is an easy way for anyone, but specifically, men who don’t want to spend a lot of time on skincare, to address specific skin concerns while they cleanse their face.”

But it’s not just Dr. Chilukuri who loves this face wash for men. Amazon users rave about the stuff, and while it won’t be the cheapest grooming product in your Dopp kit at $56, we feel the price is more than worth the benefits.

Key Ingredients: Azelaic acid, salicylic acid, eucalyptus leaf oil

Best For: Acne, sensitive skin types

PCA SKIN Blemish Control Bar Courtesy of Amazon

  

Harry’s Face Wash

GREAT VALUE

As one of the best daily face washes for men, Harry’s cleanser washes away dirt, oil and dead skin cells, which can all clog pores. Harry’s is best known as an online shave club, but the company recently introduced a new line of new skincare products. The brand’s face cleanser doubles as a deep foaming wash and a scrub, and thanks to its exfoliating perks, it’s one of our favorite new face washes for men. It taps volcanic rock as its exfoliating ingredient, making it a sustainable choice, and also includes natural essential oils of eucalyptus and mint to leave skin feeling super fresh.

If you’re dealing with acne and other types of blemishes, then we would recommend Geologie’s Everyday Face Wash or ClarityRx’s Cleanse As Needed, which have more intense acne-fighting ingredients. This face wash is available via Amazon Prime, but you can also order directly from Harry’s.

Key Ingredients: Myristic acid, glycerin, peppermint oil, eucalyptus leaf oil, willow bark extract

Best For: All skin types

Harry's Face Wash Courtesy of Amazon

  

King C. Gillette Beard and Face Wash

FOR BEARDED MEN

Hey, beard boy. Don’t forget to clean that tangled mane of facial hair, too!

Your beard (and the skin underneath it) needs a daily cleanse the same way the rest of your face does. You know, to keep everything fresh and hydrated. That said, the best face wash for men with beards comes from King C. Gillette because of how catered it is to beard hair. Using coconut, argan oil, avocado oil and a touch of menthol to moisturize and clean your beard, this wash also tackles the skin under your beard without stripping away any oils your facial hair produces to keep it healthy. Want to rub it on your face, too? Go for it, this beard wash does double duty as a face wash, so you can use it from forehead to neck. After testing out this 2-in-1 cleanser, we loved this beard wash enough to name it one of the best grooming products of the year in The 2021 Man, SPY’s end-of-year product awards.

Key Ingredients: Argan oil, avocado oil, coconut water, menthol

Best For: Men with beards

King C. Gillette Beard Wash Courtesy of King C. Gillette

  

Huron Men’s Daily Face Wash

GREAT FRAGRANCE

This pick from Huron delivers everything we look for in the best face wash for men: It removes dirt and oil, unclogs pores and leaves skin feeling soft. Plus, it gently exfoliates with bamboo powder and superfruit enzymes to give your skin texture an overall boost. There’s a slew of other potent ingredients, including aloe to calm, cactus to hydrate and glycerin to retain moisture. The natural formula is especially effective for guys who prefer plant-based cleansers and suffer from irritated, dry or acne-prone skin.

Bonus: The subtle scent of peppermint, citrus and juniper will leave you feeling refreshed and energized.

Key Ingredients: Glycerin, citrus oil, aloe vera leaf juice, peppermint oil

Best For: All skin types

Huron Men's Daily Face Wash Courtesy of Amazon

  

ClarityRx Cleanse As Needed 10% Glycolic Acid Cleanser

EXPERT PICK

If you’re looking for a men’s face wash that’s dermatologist-approved, then our expert recommended this ClarityRX cleanser. For our part, we appreciate that Clarity is made in the United States and is powerful enough for guys battling stubborn breakouts.

“For those with sensitive skin, I utilize ClarityRx Cleanse As Needed, a gentle 10% glycolic acid and mandelic acid-based cleanser,” Dr. Chilukuri says. “The alpha hydroxy acid-based cleanser will gently slough away dead skin, encouraging skin cell turnover. Blended with a nourishing rose hip seed oil to strengthen the skin, this makes a great cleansing option for men’s skin.”

Key Ingredients: 10% glycolic acid, mandelic acid, rose hip oil

Best For: Stubborn acne

 

ClarityRx Cleanse As Needed 10% Glycolic Acid Cleanser Courtesy of Amazon
  

Brickell Purifying Charcoal Face Wash

PURIFYING CLEANSER

In recent years, many men have discovered the benefits of natural skincare, and there are a lot of great products featuring simple formulas that are extremely effective on most skin types. Brickell’s grooming products are popular for exactly that reason. Case in point: this Purifying Charcoal Face Wash. This top-rated men’s face wash has just over 3,000 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 while simultaneously restoring your skin.

Our reviewers found that the charcoal had a subtle abrasiveness that felt comforting when rubbed gently on the face. We also loved the stimulating effects of the peppermint, which leaves skin feeling invigorated, but more importantly, refreshed.

Key Ingredients: Aloe vera, charcoal, Vitamin E

Best For: Sensitive and dry skin types

best face wash for men Courtesy of Amazon

  

Baxter of California Daily Face Wash

FOR ALL SKIN TYPES

When it comes to a daily cleanser that gets the job done, try Baxter of California’s face wash for men. Though it’s tough on dirt, debris and excess oil, it’s also gentle on skin, courtesy of its coconut-derived cleansing agents. It’s also spiked with aloe vera and allantoin to reduce redness and moisturizer, as well as caffeine for an energy boost. Designed to work on all skin types, it’ll leave your complexion smooth and fresh, and even prepped for a shave. We love Baxter of California products, and this is the best face wash for men looking for a fragrance-free option.

Like some gel-based cleansers, a little goes a long way. If you use too much, it can be difficult to wash off.

Key Ingredients: Aloe vera, ginseng, caffeine, glycerin

Best For: All skin types, sensitive skin

Baxter of California Daily Face Wash Courtesy of Ulta

  

Oars + Alps Natural Solid Face Wash

ON-THE-GO CLEAN

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 this face wash an ideal EDC item.

Key Ingredients: Activated charcoal, antioxidant-rich alpine caribou moss, coconut extract

Best For: Travel, acne, sensitive skin types

oars and alps face wash for men Courtesy of Amazon

  

Bulldog Sensitive 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. This face wash uses 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.

Key Ingredients: Green tea tree oil, baobab oil, oat, willow herb

Best For: Sensitive skin

Read More: The Best Men’s Face Wash for Sensitive Skin

best face wash men Courtesy of Amazon

  

Peter Thomas Roth Acne Clearing Wash

GREAT FOR ACNE

Acne is tough to treat and requires powerful formulas to get the job done. That is Peter Thomas Roth’s specialty, and it’s no surprise that the company makes the best face wash for men with acne. The luxury skincare brand doesn’t skimp on potent ingredients, using maximum strength salicylic acid (2%) to suppress the breakout cycle. Though it’s one of the most expensive products we tried, this product has earned glowing reviews from men and women alike, and it’s a highly effective unisex solution that does away with excess oil without damaging the skin barrier. Peter Thomas Roth added vitamin B5 to the mix as well, which helps condition and nourish the look of men’s skin. Despite the price tag, it’s well worth the investment if you want a crater-free kisser.

Key Ingredients: 2% salicylic acid, Vitamin B5, allantoin

Best For: Acne-prone skin types

Peter Thomas Roth Acne Clearing Wash Courtesy of Amazon

  

Hawkins & Brimble Face Wash

FOR INFLAMMATION

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 and fight acne. If you’re struggling with any combination of razor burn, ingrown hairs and acne, then this powerful men’s face wash is an excellent choice.

Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, aloe vera leaf juice, glycerin, ginseng

Best For: Razor burn, sensitive skin, inflammation

Hawkins & Brimble Face Wash Courtesy of Amazon

  

Jack Black All-Over Wash

BEST ALL-IN-ONE

Say it with us: Body washes are not formulated for use on the face. That being said, premium men’s skincare brand Jack Black figured out a way to create a wash that is gentle and cleansing all over your body. This three-in-one 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.

Key Ingredients: Jojoba protein, sea kelp, panthenol, shea butter

Best For: Normal skin types, inflammation

Jack Black All-Over Wash Courtesy of Amazon

  

Every Man Jack Natural Menthol Face Wash

MOST REFRESHING

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. This face wash 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 contains anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant content to yield firmer, more youthful results.

Key Ingredients: Menthol, peppermint, glycerin

Best For: Normal skin types, dry skin, tired skin

Every Man Jack Natural Menthol Face Wash Courtesy of Every Man Jack

  

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The Best Face Masks for Men's Skin Care