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. “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.”
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.”
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 about washing your face, shop the best face washes for men below.
1. Baxter of California Daily Face Wash for Men
When it comes to a daily cleanser that gets the job done, this is the best face wash for men. Though it’s tough on dirt, debris and excess oil, it’s 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.
Baxter of California Daily Face Wash for Men
2. PCA SKIN Blemish Control Bar
“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 $48, we feel the price is more than worth the benefits.
PCA SKIN Blemish Control Bar
3. Harry’s Face Wash
As one of the best face washes for men, Harry’s cleanser washes away dirt, oil and dead skin cells, which can all clog pores. Their face wash doubles as a deep foaming wash and a scrub, thanks to its exfoliating perks. 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.
Harry's Face Wash
4. Geologie Everyday Face Wash
Acne-prone skin will find relief with this cleanser that battles breakouts and excess oil, helping to heal skin. It’s also great for reducing inflammation, making it one of the best face washes for men for acne sufferers. 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.
Geologie Everyday Face Wash
5. Huron Men’s Daily Face Wash
This pick from Huron delivers everything you need in a face wash for men: It removes dirt and oil, unclogs pores and leaves skin soft. Plus, it gently exfoliates with bamboo powder and superfruit enzymes to give 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 formula is especially effective for irritated, dry or acne-prone skin.
Bonus: The subtle scent of peppermint, citrus and juniper will leave you feeling refreshed and energized.
Huron Men's Daily Face Wash
6. ClarityRx Cleanse As Needed 10% Glycolic Acid Cleanser
“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.”
As for our part, we appreciate that Clarity is made in the USA and is relatively affordable at $35 per bottle.
ClarityRx Cleanse As Needed 10% Glycolic Acid Cleanser
7. Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash
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 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.
Kiehl’s Facial Fuel
8. Brickell Purifying Charcoal Face Wash
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 coveted for the same reason. Case in point: this Purifying Charcoal Face Wash. This popular men’s face wash has just over 2,500 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.
Brickell Purifying Charcoal Face Wash
9. Oars + Alps Natural Solid 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.
Oars + Alps Natural Solid Face Wash
10. Beast Yawp 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 two-in-one 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.
Beast Yawp Exfoliating Face Wash
11. 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 wake-up call during rough mornings.
Pacifica Beauty Coconut Milk Cream to Foam Face Wash
12. Bulldog Sensitive Face Wash
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.
Bulldog Sensitive Face Wash
13. Peter Thomas Roth Acne Clearing Wash
Acne is tough to treat and requires powerful formulas to get the job done. That is Peter Thomas Roth’s specialty. The luxury skincare 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.
Peter Thomas Roth Acne Clearing Wash
14. 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.
Hawkins & Brimble Face Wash
15. 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 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.
Jack Black All-Over Wash
16. Every Man Jack Natural Menthol 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 contains anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant content to yield firmer, more youthful results.