For the majority of my teen years, I attacked my
oily, unpredictable complexion with the harshest face washes I could find at the local drugstore. (If someone told me Dawn dish soap would clear my breakouts, I probably would’ve tried it.)
As I’ve grown older and wiser (and hey, a career in beauty journalism probably didn’t hurt), I’ve learned that while cleansing is a key step in any skin-care routine, more isn’t always more. (Another myth: You don’t need to spend a ton of money for quality skincare — but it’s also perfectly fine if you want to indulge!) And thanks to years of trial and error, I’ve scoped out the best face washes for oily skin. From old-school cleansing bars to luxurious gel formulas, here are the need-to-cop cleansers perfect for fellow oily-skinned cuties.
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Tatcha The Deep Cleanse
Tatcha’s beloved Deep Cleanse is made with Japanese luffa fruit as a gentle, physical exfoliant, plus a patented Hadasei-3 anti-aging complex.
Tatcha The Deep Cleanse Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser, $, available at Sephora
Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar
Tight, squeaky-clean skin? Bad. Balanced, decongested skin? Good! This sea mud-infused face soap from Marilyn Monroe’s favorite skin-care brand is my go-to on nights where I’m feeling extra greasy. (Also, the four-ounce bar lasts
Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar, $, available at Erno Laszlo
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
Cetaphil’s signature cleanser is gentle enough for sensitive skin but thorough enough to whisk away excess dirt and oil. We love to see it.
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser, $, available at Ulta Beauty
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser
This is my all-time favorite cleanser for a couple of reasons. It’s relatively affordable given the large size, and the gel-to-foam formula leaves my skin feeling so fresh and so clean.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser, $, available at Amazon
Hanskin Pore Cleansing Oil
Best Cleansing Oil
If you, like me, live for a double-cleanse, then you’ve probably tried cleansing oils and balms galore. One of the best is Hanskin’s PHA (aka polyhydroxy acids)-infused oil, which helps ward off blackheads and acne.
Hanskin Pore Cleansing Oil [PHA], $, available at Soko Glam
SkinCeuticals LHA Cleanser Gel
C E Ferulic fame, also makes beautiful cleansers — including this purifying face wash infused with glycolic and salicylic acids.
SkinCeuticals LHA Cleanser Gel, $, available at DermStore
Bioderma Sebium H2O
Best Micellar Water
If you’re looking for a mild cleanse, micellar water is perfect for you. I love Bioderma’s oily-skin version of its beloved
Sensibio H20, which is the perfect no-rinse formula to quickly get my skin clean in 10 seconds.
Bioderma Sebium H2O, $, available at DermStore
Tula The Cult Classic Purifying Face Cleanser
There’s nothing basic about Tula’s fan-favorite gel cleanser, aptly named The Cult Classic. Like the rest of the brand’s products, it’s got probiotics to help retain moisture and balance your skin’s microbiome plus lactic acid to gently exfoliate.
Tula The Cult Classic Purifying Face Cleanser, $, available at Ulta Beauty
Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser
Clay-based formulas are great for sopping up a T-zone that rivals an oil slick. Ceramic Slip touts French green clay as a hero ingredient, and I swear it leaves my pores visibly less noticeable.
Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser, $, available at Sephora
Aveeno Clear Complexion Cream Cleanser with Salicylic Acid
Oily skin can still be dehydrated — I would know, because I spent years
skimping on moisturizer, much to my skin’s detriment. A cream cleanser like Aveeno’s can help make sure you get the clean you need without compromising on hydration.
Aveeno Clear Complexion Cream Cleanser with Salicylic Acid, $, available at Target
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