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The best gentle face cleansers of 2024

best gentle face cleanser
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Face cleansers are useful skincare products that help keep your face clean and free from dirt. With regular use, you can ensure that your face stays blackhead and whitehead free while also minimizing the chances of getting pimples and the like. The problem is that some cleansers can be pretty intense, which can be uncomfortable on sensitive skin. Fortunately, there are face cleansers made with this issue in mind.

Below are some of the best gentle face cleansers of 2024, comprised of formulas that won’t hurt your skin and will instead leave it nice and smooth. The No BS foaming cleanser is my favorite because of its natural ingredients and luxurious lather, but all of these notable options deliver a smooth and painless face cleansing experience.

The best gentle face cleansers

nob.s gentle face cleanser

NO B.S. gentle face cleanser – Best overall

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Experience the purity of skincare with the NO B.S. natural foaming cleanser. As a gentle yet powerful solution, it can help you maintain clean and radiant skin. Free from harsh chemicals and synthetic additives, this foaming cleanser is a breath of fresh air. Meticulously crafted with your skin’s well-being in mind, it has a natural and clean ingredient list.

This gentle face cleanser is formulated without sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, or other harmful components. Its foaming action transforms cleansing rituals into a luxurious experience that effectively removes makeup, dirt, and impurities. Suitable for all types of skin, this cleanser can help people with sensitive skin and acne-prone skin. As a pure and straightforward option, this product is our top choice.


  • Provides a gentle and effective cleansing experience
  • Natural ingredients and eco-conscious formula
  • Foaming action for a satisfying lather


  • Scent may not appeal to all
neutrogena gentle face cleanser

Neutrogena gentle face cleanser – Runner up

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Discover the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle hydrating facial cleanser. It’s a skincare essential that is designed to cleanse and nurture your skin using the utmost care. Specifically formulated for sensitive and dry skin, it offers a gentle yet effective cleansing experience. The mild and hypoallergenic formula ensures a thorough cleanse without compromising the natural moisture barrier of your skin.

The outcome is skin that feels clean, refreshed, comfortable, and hydrated. Plus, thanks to the non-comedogenic properties of this facial cleanser, it is an excellent choice for those who are prone to breakouts, ensuring that your pores are clear in a gentle and soothing way. You can experience the freedom of a fragrance-free cleanser that puts your skin’s well-being first with this product.


  • Extremely gentle on the skin
  • Developed by dermatologists
  • Available in varying sizes


  • May not fully remove waterproof makeup
weleda gentle face cleanser

Weleda gentle face cleanser – Most gentle

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The Weleda gentle face cleanser is a game-changer against stubborn acne and blackheads. It deeply nourishes skin, melting away dirt and impurities with a gentle oil that transforms into a milky lather, leaving skin soft and refreshed. This cleanser is made with plant-rich vegan ingredients such as sunflower seed oil, chamomile flower extract, and pansy, so you know you’re getting the best for your skin.

It uses a thoughtful selection of natural ingredients like flowers, fruits, root extracts, minerals, and essential oils that work in harmony with your skin’s natural processes to provide effective and nourishing cleansing. Certified natural by NATRUE, you can trust Weleda’s commitment to your skin’s health without the need for parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, or preservatives. No animal testing, either!


  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Gentle on skin
  • Leaves skin feeling refreshed and hydrated


  • Can be difficult to dispense
zitsticks gentle face cleanser

ZitSticka gentle face cleanser – Most barrier-boosting

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The ZitSticka gentle face cleanser is specifically formulated for breakout-prone skin. Unlike many cleansers that can be drying and stripping, this gentle cleanser focuses on building a healthy skin barrier to prevent future breakouts. One of the key benefits of this face cleanser is its ability to fortify the skin barrier. By nourishing and strengthening the skin, it helps to prevent breakouts from forming. The gentle formulation of this face cleanser calms redness and soothes stressed skin, making it suitable for sensitive and breakout-prone skin.

The cleanser also helps to smooth bumpy skin and even out the skin texture. The gentle acids in the formulation exfoliate the skin without damaging the skin barrier, resulting in a smoother and more even skin tone. It also helps to clear pores and promote cell turnover. This dermatologist-approved formulation combines time-tested botanicals with core dermatology principles.


  • Builds a healthy skin barrier to prevent future breakouts
  • Calms irritation and nourishes sensitive skin
  • Smooths bumpy skin and evens texture


  • Takes a while to see results
organiclear gentle face cleanser

OrganiClear gentle face cleanser – Most comprehensive

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The OrganiClear gentle face cleanser is a great choice for anyone looking for an effective and gentle solution to treating acne. It offers an all-in-one system that includes a salicylic acid face wash, morning and night cream, and a micronized benzoyl peroxide cream. All these products are made with organic ingredients, botanicals, and other science-backed clean ingredients that are free of parabens, phthalates, artificial colors, oils, and fragrances.

The salicylic acid face wash works to gently exfoliate and deep clean the pores while removing any impurities. The morning acne treatment lotion contains aloe vera extract, which helps fight acne during the day while the soothing night cream with chamomile extract helps to hydrate and calm the skin while users sleep. The micronized pore-penetrating technology is designed to reduce skin irritation, redness, and dryness by targeting the root causes of acne.


  • Includes benzoyl peroxide cream
  • Infused with soothing aloe vera
  • Hydrates and calms skin


  • Can take a while to see results
brandefy gentle face cleanser

Brandefy gentle face cleanser – Most brightening

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Nourish your skin with the Brandefy Superfood gentle face cleanser. You might be surprised to know that kale, a superfood, works just as well outside your body as it does inside. The moisturizing vegan face wash, which includes vitamin C and K2, will hydrate your skin and help you achieve a plump, younger-looking face in no time.

Loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients from green tea and aloe vera, this cleanser can soothe inflammation while cleaning your skin. Made without harming any animals, you can rest assured it is a cruelty-free and vegan product. This gentle face cleanser is the perfect start to your morning skin care routine.


  • Moisturizing and brightening
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Hydrates your skin


  • May not remove all face oil
grown alchemist gentle face cleanser

Grown Alchemist gentle face cleanser – Most natural

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This facial cleanser by Grown Alchemist is one of the most natural picks in our roundup. It’s made out of natural ingredients, including rose bud, geranium leaf and bergamot, and it’s also formulated specifically for sensitive skin. The low-foaming lightweight gel provides a soothing cleansing experience, ridding your skin of dirt without drying it out.

The plant-based ingredients in this gentle skin cleanser can not only keep your face clean, but clear as well. The included white willow bark acts as a natural alternative to salicylic acid to exfoliate skin and remove oil from your pores. This cleanser can clear and tighten your pores while also removing dirt and makeup, making it an essential part of any skincare routine.


  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Easy to apply on your face
  • Made with aromatic extracts


  • Packaging could use some improvements
cetaphil gentle face cleanser

Cetaphil gentle face cleanser – Best fragrance-free

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The Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser is a dermatologist-recommended product designed to effectively cleanse while providing hydration, particularly suitable for dry to normal  skin types. It boasts a clinically proven formula that cleanses and hydrates, offering up to 48 hours of hydration even after wiping off, thus preserving the skin’s moisture barrier, even through repeated washes.

The newly improved blend incorporates hydrating glycerin alongside skin essential vitamins B5 (panthenol) and B3 (niacinamide) to further nourish and soothe the skin. Formulated with sensitive skin in mind, it is hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and free of fragrances, parabens, and sulfates, making it gentle yet effective for daily use.


  • No fragrance on the product
  • Very gentle on the skin
  • Effective ingredient blend


  • Some find the texture too thin
la roche posay gentle face cleanser

La Roche-Posay gentle face cleanser – Most effective

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The La Roche-Posay gentle face cleanser offers a comprehensive approach to skincare with its formulation enriched with key dermatological ingredients. Its blend includes prebiotic thermal water, abundant in selenium, a potent natural antioxidant, alongside ceramide 3, a lipid that mimics the skin’s natural structure to preserve moisture and fortify the skin barrier. It also contains niacinamide, a water-soluble vitamin renowned for its calming and rejuvenating properties.

This cleanser is adept at restoring skin comfort and maintaining essential moisture levels. Its gentle cream texture efficiently eliminates impurities, excess oil, and makeup, making it suitable for normal to dry skin types. Moreover, it’s formulated to meet sensitive skin needs, being fragrance-free, oil-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, soap-free, and non-comedogenic, ensuring a gentle yet effective cleansing experience without compromising skin health.


  • Specializes in hydrating your skin
  • Free of any fragrance
  • Keeps skin hydrated


  • May not remove some eye makeup
dermalogica gentle face cleanser

Dermalogica gentle face cleanser – Most calming

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The Dermalogica gentle face cleanser is specifically formulated to address the needs of reactive skin, providing a calming and cooling effect while alleviating redness and discomfort associated with sensitivity. It works to strengthen the skin’s protective barrier, ensuring resilience against external aggressors.

This non-foaming gel-cream cleanser effectively removes dirt without leaving any residue behind, leaving the skin feeling refreshed and clean. With a pH-balanced formula, it’s safe for all skin types. Enriched with key ingredients such as oat oil to combat sensitivity, lavender to soothe irritation and reduce redness, and cucumber cooling agents to further calm irritated skin, this cleanser offers comprehensive care for sensitive skin.


  • Does not foam when used on your skin
  • Clean and sleek product design
  • Great for long-term use


  • The bottle’s seal may leak
best gentle face cleanser
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Gentle facial cleansers: A buyer’s guide

Facial cleansers are only enjoyable to use if your skin doesn’t hurt in the process. This is what you should know about gentle face cleansers before deciding on which one may work best:

Why do some face cleansers hurt your skin?

If you’ve got sensitive skin, then you probably know how it feels to rub fa cleanser all over your face to be left with red, irritated, and painful skin. But why does this occur? The answer is simple — cleansers are pretty powerful products.

You see, facial cleansers are made with the goal of removing dirt, dust, and other particles on the skin. This means that the skin will likely be affected in the process, as it’ll come into contact with powerful chemicals designed to get rid of all the excess particles on your face.

While you may get used to the sensation eventually, it’s best to search for a gentle face cleanser that allows you to rid your skin of impurities while harnessing the power of natural ingredients and calming properties.

Reasons to get a gentle face cleanser

They keep your face clean

Your face is one of the most exposed parts of your body. Unless you’re wearing some form of head accessories such as a hat or some sunglasses, your entire face and head are exposed to the outside elements. This means that the skin on your face comes into contact with a lot of airborne particles that may contain dust or dirt. It’s especially common if you live in an urban city area where there’s lots of smoke and dust.

Face cleansers get rid of any particles that stick to your face. They work better than soaps or body washes as they’re designed to handle the unique situation of your face and the dirt surrounding it.

They can feel satisfying to use

There’s just something satisfying about using face cleansers. Putting them on your face, giving your cheeks and forehead a bit of a massage, then work your way to other parts of the face. It’s methodical and therapeutic in a sense, and you finish with a very clean and refreshed look. Definitely a great way to start the day.

Tips when using gentle face cleansers

Less is more

When first using a new brand of face cleanser that you’re not familiar with, the key is to apply just a little bit of it on your face. If you feel like it isn’t enough, work your way up by adding a little extra every time until you get the amount you need. You’ll then have your ideal amount of cleanser to use for the next session, and you won’t need to eyeball it every single time you wash your face. It’s a little involved, but it gets the job done.

Avoid the eyes

This is a given, but try to avoid the eyes when using face cleaners. Most face cleansers shouldn’t cause any long-term damage to your eye, but to be on the safe side, it’s best to avoid the eye area altogether. If you’re confident in your ability, you can use the cleanser around your eye and go as close to it as possible — just be careful when you’re doing so and you should be fine.

Do it every day

The key to a clean face is regular cleansing. Don’t just use it for one day and be done with it. Doing that would only give more time for dirt and dust to settle back on your face, giving the chance for blackheads, whiteheads, and even pimples to form.

Common questions about gentle face cleansers

Are face cleansers safe?

Most face cleansers are generally safe to use. Some may be a bit too strong for sensitive skin, but a lot of them are otherwise okay. You may need to use a gentle formula if you have trouble using some of the more common brands and products.

How often should I use a gentle face cleanser?

Most people use face cleansers once or twice a day — once in the morning and once in the evening. This gets rid of any dirt before you go to work and removes any you bring back after you arrive home.

Are face cleansers effective?

Face cleansers are designed to remove dirt efficiently and quickly, and this ensures your face doesn’t have any dirt on it whatsoever.

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Courtney Birtcher
Courtney Birtcher merges fitness and fashion expertise with a passion for wellness and style tips.
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