Finding the right skincare products when you have sensitive skin can be really difficult. When you add in the needs of the skin in terms of being dry, normal, acne prone or oily, things can get really confusing really fast. So what does the best cleanser for sensitive skin do exactly? An effective cleanser for sensitive skin should balance the skin yet not strip it, make it feel uncomfortable or cause a reaction.
For me personally, I dislike any kind of a cleanser that leaves a film or residue on the face, which eliminates the popularly recommended cleansers like Cetaphil. I can’t stand the slippery feeling cleansers like this leave on my face. So I avoid them when I’m looking for the perfect sensitive skin cleanser.
Something to note is that I usually double cleanse to ensure all my makeup is off. This means I use a dedicated makeup remover before going in with a cleanser. Let me know if you’d like to know what my favorite removers are!
Sensitive Skin Cleansers
Here are 7 Sensitive Skin Cleansers that work well, leave your skin feeling great and leave no film behind.
CLEAN & CLEAR ESSENTIALS FOAMING FACIAL CLEANSER
This Clean & Clear Facial Cleanser is a great, gentle daily cleanser for sensitive skin that I always recommend as an inexpensive effective option. It’s been a staple in our house for years. No matter the skin type or condition, it just works well without stripping the skin. That’s extremely important for those of us with sensitive skin as well as those with acne prone skin. That’s why Clean & Clear is usually the starter cleanser for my kids too. I’m touching on acne prone skin here for a second because the inclination is to treat it with harsh acne-fighting products. In fact, the opposite is true. The gentler, the better when it comes to both acne prone and sensitive skin.
Sidenote: Clean & Clear and Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash have nearly identical ingredient lists. So you can decide on pricing, packaging, etc which you prefer:
Clean & Clear
Water, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Laureth Sulfatem Cocamidopropyl Betainem PEG-150 Distearate, Sodium Lauroampho PG-Acetate Phosphate, Fragrance,Tetrasodium EDTA, C12-15 Pareth-2, Quaternium-15
Water, Peg-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Peg-150 Distearate, Sodium Lauroampho Pg-acetate Phosphate, Fragrance, Quaternium-15, Tetrasodium Edta
Derma-E is cruelty free, 100% vegan, gluten, soy and GMO free. They combine potent natural ingredients that consist of antioxidants, vitamins and botanicals to give you the best skin care possible while keeping their products clean and not including parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, petrolatum, mineral oil or artificial colors. They give a run-down of all the ingredients they use in all their products here, which I think is pretty cool.
I talk about two of their cleansers in this post because both have treated my sensitive, rosacean skin surprisingly well. Better than well actually. I absolutely love the way my skin looks and feels when I use their cleansers.
EVEN TONE BRIGHTENING CLEANSER
This cleanser is supposed to give the skin a glow and improve skin clarity and is great for skin showing signs of discoloration, sun damage, freckles, age spots, dark spots and overall dullness. My skin does seem to glow when I use this regularly.
It took me a while to even use this anti-aging cleanser. I usually stay away from cleansers with active ingredients. I find that since I use them in my post-cleansing pm routine, adding more to my routine can flare my skin up. This has vitamin A for skin renewal as well as glycolic acid, and other extracts to assist with mild exfoliation. One day I got brave and decided to try it and haven’t looked back since. Somehow my sensitive skin handles this extremely well. It leaves it feeling clean and soft and never stripped or irritated. So I’d say that IF you’re wanting to delve into an anti-aging cleanser, this would be one to take a hard look at if you’ve had issues with others in the past.
DRUNK ELEPHANT BESTE NO. 9 JELLY CLEANSER
Another cruelty free, vegan and gluten free option is Drunk Elephant’s Jelly Cleanser. It claims to remove all the day’s grime and pollution as well as makeup and is free of fragrance, SLS and essential oils. This is truly a non-irritating cleanser that is good for all skin types. It leaves my skin smooth and soft and removes my makeup really well.
GLOSSIER MILKY JELLY CLEANSER
Glossier Milky Jellky Cleanser has an almost cult following. With its creamy, milky gel formula, it can be used on dry skin to remove dirt and makeup (if you have on waterproof makeup, they recommending using a remover first) or on wet skin in the morning. Glossier used the same gentle cleansing agents found in contact lens solution so it would be effective yet be easy on the eyes. This cleanser feels warm and comforting to use. It always leaves my skin feeling conditioned and soft and never ever tight. I do prefer to use it in the morning than at night as I don’t feel it removes makeup terrifically well. But I love how soft and hydrated my skin feels so I keep that cute bottle it in my shower to use in the morning!
LATHER ULTRA MILD FACIAL WASH
Lather Ultra Mild Facial Wash is an underrated cleanser for sensitive skin from an underrated brand that’s true to its name. It contains soothing ingredients like chamomile, white tea, pomegranate and aloe that leave you with soft radiant skin. This is an effective cleanser that does the job and leaves my skin feeling great in the process. What more can you ask for really?
NEUTROGENA HYDRO BOOST
Hallelujah!! A cleanser for sensitive skin that contains hyaluronic acid! Hydro Boost is clinically proven to increase skin’s hydration level (thanks to that HA!) and keep it hydrated. If you’re looking for supple, smooth skin and hydration without greasiness, this is a fantastic cleanser that’s great for any skin type.
What’s your favorite cleanser for sensitive skin? If you’ve found a sensitive skin cleanser that works really well for you we’d love to hear about it! You can see more skincare posts here.