Which is the best face wash and cleanser for combination skin?
This type of complexion is tricky.
You have to moisturize the dry patches at the same time you manage the oil slick.
Dermatologists say that the best type of cleanser for combination skin is “mild” (1).
But what does that even mean?
I’m about to show you in the reviews below.
But before we begin, here are some no-fail tips for washing your face.
- How to keep combination skin happy
- Top Face Wash & Cleanser for Combination Skin
- La Roche-Posay Effaclar Deep Cleansing Foaming Cream Cleanser
- Paula’s Choice SKIN BALANCING Oil-Reducing Cleanser
- Eau Thermale Avene Cleansing Foam
- Weleda Gentle Facial Cleansing Foam
- Garnier SkinActive Micellar Foaming Face Wash
- Burt’s Bees Skin Nourishment Gentle Foaming Cleanser
- First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser
- Vichy Pureté Thermale Fresh Cleansing Gel
- Pacifica Beauty Pineapple Cleanse Oil Slaying Face Wash
- Bliss Fab Foaming 2-In-1 Cleanser & Exfoliator
- Biore Daily Baking Soda Liquid Cleanser
- Clean & Clear Morning Burst Oil-Free Hydrating Facial Cleanser
- Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Daily Facial Cleanser
- boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel
- Murad Resurgence Renewing Cleansing Cream
- TONYMOLY Vital Vita 12 Jelly Cleanser
- philosophy purity made simple one-step facial cleanser
- Cetaphil Facial Cleanser
- CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
How to keep combination skin happy
Whenever you wash your face, it’s always better to use lukewarm water (2).
You might think that hot water is best for oily skin, but it’s not. It can aggravate oil production and enlarge pores.
On the other hand, cold water shocks the skin. It can harm both the dry patches and the oily T-zone.
Stick to lukewarm water, and your cleanser will work better, too.
Next, whenever you change facial care products, there is a period of adjustment.
You might notice a positive difference after the first use, and that’s encouraging. But stick with your new face wash for at least a couple of weeks. (Of course, if you’re having a severe allergic reaction, stop right away.)
It takes time to balance out combination skin.
Finally, be gentle with your face.
Stay away from abrasive scrubs and don’t rub too hard with the towel. I realize you may be frustrated, but rough treatment isn’t going to solve the problem.
Pay attention to the details and decide what matters most to you. If your goal is to refine pores, look for a cleanser that promises to do that.
On the other hand, if you’re tired of having flaky, dry cheeks, use a moisturizing face wash. You can always go over your T-zone with an oil-reducing toner after washing.
Top Face Wash & Cleanser for Combination Skin
Now, let’s look at the best cleansers and face washes for combination skin.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Deep Cleansing Foaming Cream Cleanser
What if you need a face wash for combination skin and acne?
One solution is to use a cleanser with salicylic acid. It’s an ingredient that clears up acne breakouts. It exfoliates the skin and unclogs pores.
But some salicylic acid cleansers dehydrate dry skin.
The solution is to use a gentle face wash like this one. Although it contains salicylic acid, it’s a mild concentration.
Moreover, even though it removes excess oil, it also hydrates. It contains glycerin and a molecule called coco-glucoside to restore moisture to the skin.
It comes from a manufacturer that avoids using parabens in their products. The formula also happens to be fragrance-free to protect sensitive skin.
Paula’s Choice SKIN BALANCING Oil-Reducing Cleanser
Perhaps the best cleanser for oily dehydrated skin would be this one from Paula’s Choice.
It reduces oiliness without stripping natural moisture from the skin.
The creamy texture lathers nicely and has no scent. It can remove makeup and clear up blackheads with regular use.
Enlarged pores will shrink as well.
In an independent trial, 95% of the users said it makes this skin feel refreshed.
Happily, it’s from a company that avoids harsh chemicals. Each ingredient is explained on the label.
Eau Thermale Avene Cleansing Foam
You’ll find Avene’s products recommended in European pharmacies, and now they are in the USA, too.
Their cleansing foam is the best for combination skin. It strikes the perfect balance.
The dry patches end up comfortably soft while the oily spots are mattified. In fact, the cleanser is proven to reduce excess oily by more than half after only one wash.
While it does have a hypoallergenic fragrance, it’s free of parabens and soap.
Weleda Gentle Facial Cleansing Foam
You’re likely to see a pattern among cleansers for combination skin. Many are cleansing foams that hydrate while lathering away impurities.
This product is a good example. It’s able to remove makeup, yet it won’t disrupt the skin’s natural barrier.
It contains no synthetic preservatives, fragrances, or dyes.
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Foaming Face Wash
The best drugstore face wash for combination skin might be Garnier’s micellar gel. If you haven’t tried micellar water by now, you should.
Without harsh ingredients, it lifts away excess oil and dirt. It can also dissolve makeup if you give it a little time.
This gel cleanser foams, unlike regular micellar water. But it provides similar advantages in that it cleans well without drying alcohol or oil. There are no parabens nor fragrance, either.
Also, unlike micellar water, you’ll need regular water to use it. It lathers up well on damp skin, then rinses clean.
Burt’s Bees Skin Nourishment Gentle Foaming Cleanser
Here’s a cleanser with Royal Jelly. It’s the food that bees feed to their larvae.
On human skin, it has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidizing effects. It helps fight premature aging.
Obviously, this is not a vegan face wash. But it is packed with natural ingredients and plenty of vitamins.
It has gentle coconut-based cleansing ingredients, plus honeysuckle, goldenseal, and calendula. These ensure that the skin stays hydrated and calm.
Meanwhile, witch hazel refines pores.
The formula has no parabens phthalates that could disrupt the endocrine system. It’s also sulfate-free.
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser
Here’s a face wash designed for all skin types, including sensitive faces. It’s vegan and free of all sorts of common irritants.
For example, it doesn’t have gluten, nuts, soy, oil, or nanoparticles. There are no phthalates, parabens, alcohol, artificial colors, or perfumes.
How can they make an effective cleanser without all these ingredients that appear in so many other commercial face washes?
For one, they keep it pH-balanced. It doesn’t dry out the skin because it doesn’t upset the natural acidity.
And two, it has potent ingredients like allantoin, glycerin, and aloe. These nourish, soothe, and moisturize the skin. They won’t clog pores, either.
Vichy Pureté Thermale Fresh Cleansing Gel
Vichy uses vitamin B5 in their cleansing gel. It stimulates skin repair and fortifies the natural barrier against infection and moisture loss.
The soothing cleanser also has mineral water and cornflower extract to calm the skin.
Then, there’s a proprietary molecule called Purisoft, made from moringa seeds. It releases impurities from the skin.
That’s important when this is a makeup remover that needs to take off longwear products. It’s safe for use around the eyes.
Put the cleanser on a cotton pad, pat it onto the makeup you want to remove, and gently wipe. You won’t need to rinse.
It won’t leave a sticky residue. Plus, it’s free of artificial colors, alcohol, and parabens.
Pacifica Beauty Pineapple Cleanse Oil Slaying Face Wash
You only need a little dab of this face wash to cleanse your face. The gel texture creates a lot of lather to sweep away dirt and oil.
Natural extracts like aloe, pineapple, white tea, and papaya provide nutrients that the skin needs to stay healthy.
At the same time, hyaluronic acid adds moisture without congesting pores.
Users say it smells like a coconut vanilla dream.
And those with sensitive skin appreciate that it’s free of artificial fragrances, phthalates, parabens, and sulfates.
Bliss Fab Foaming 2-In-1 Cleanser & Exfoliator
Here’s an organic cleanser for combination skin. It’s oil-free and does not contain harsh ingredients.
That’s right, there are no sulfates, formaldehyde or formaldehyde releasers, phthalates, or parabens.
Botanicals like chamomile, passion fruit, and rose team up with coconut-based cleansers to rejuvenate the skin.
There are even tiny bamboo buffing beads to polish away uneven texture and blackheads.
Biore Daily Baking Soda Liquid Cleanser
One of the best cleansers for combination skin with blackheads is something you might find in your local drugstore. It’s cheap and effective, but your mileage may vary.
It’s not ideal for sensitive skin as it contains menthol and a few other potential irritants. At least there are no parabens.
But on the bright side, it exfoliates well. Baking soda smooths texture and draws out impurities. It helps reduce shine.
Then, blue agave conditions the skin to leave it comfortable and soft.
Moreover, the cleanser won’t aggravate the T-zone as it’s oil-free.
Clean & Clear Morning Burst Oil-Free Hydrating Facial Cleanser
Clean & Clear makes a popular drugstore face wash loved for its perky scent. Pair it with the Night Relaxing face wash to wind up the day.
The morning cleanser has something called “bursting beads” to exfoliate and invigorate the skin.
Then, mango and cucumber restore moisture.
Unfortunately, the formula has sodium laureth sulfate, an artificial fragrance, and parabens.
Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Daily Facial Cleanser
At first glance, it might be hard to choose between all of Neutrogena’s face washes.
I’m a fan of the Naturals cleanser because it avoids sulfates, artificial colors, phthalates, and parabens.
It has willow bark extract with natural salicylic acid. The acid decongests pores to diminish blackheads and blemishes.
What’s more, the cleanser is powerful enough to remove non-waterproof makeup. And users say it doesn’t dehydrate the skin.
If you would prefer a more potent product, try Neutrogena’s grapefruit face wash.
boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel
Just about anyone can benefit from this face wash. Each time you use it, it deep-cleans the skin down to the pores.
The lightweight gel texture feels refreshing because it calms inflammation and moisturizes.
Yet, botanicals are working hard behind the scenes. Amino acids are pulling out oil and dirt while hydrangea purifies and refines pores.
Green tea firms the skin and neutralizes free radicals that cause aging.
The manufacturer recommends using a Konjac sponge to maximize the effects of the cleanser.
Murad Resurgence Renewing Cleansing Cream
Women who enter perimenopause often find that their skin changes. Hormonal imbalances start causing acne along with excess oil and dryness.
That’s where this cleanser for mature combination skin comes in handy.
You don’t need much of the silky cream to wash both the face and neck. It takes off makeup in moments.
Meanwhile, it exfoliates with papaya enzymes and algae extract. There’s also a little lactic acid to renew the skin.
To prevent dryness, starflower and apricot restore suppleness.
Lastly, antioxidants and peptides keep the skin young.
TONYMOLY Vital Vita 12 Jelly Cleanser
If you haven’t tried a K-beauty skin routine yet, it could be just what you need to perfect your complexion.
Korean beauty products are trendy. It’s not just because they’re exotic, it’s also because they work exceptionally well. You can find a solution for pretty much every skin situation.
Take this gel cleanser, for example. It employs spirulina and chlorella to detoxify the skin.
Although it takes off excess oil and makeup, the vitamin-rich formula leaves the skin moisturized and comfortable.
philosophy purity made simple one-step facial cleanser
Here’s one that’s in the running for the best luxury face wash for combination skin (or any complexion, for that matter).
It saves a step by removing makeup.
It also keeps blackheads at bay and prevents breakouts.
It’s no surprise that it’s won awards.
Alongside meadowfoam seed oil, it has a blend of 12 essential oils proven to rejuvenate the skin.
The oils include sandalwood, sage, and rosewood, so you can imagine how delicious the cleanser smells.
Cetaphil Facial Cleanser
Which face wash for combination skin do dermatologists recommend? I’d say it’s a toss-up between Cetaphil and CeraVe.
Cetaphil makes more than one type of cleanser. This version is suitable for combination and oily skin even if it’s extra-sensitive.
It doesn’t make a lot of lather, though. But it never leaves the skin tight or dry.
Although it’s unscented, it contains a masking fragrance and parabens.
CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
On the other hand, CeraVe’s foaming cleanser foams up a lot.
It contains three critical ingredients that renew the skin.
First, there’s hyaluronic acid to rehydrate the dry patches. Then, there are ceramides to seal in moisture and prevent infection.
Finally, niacinamide calms redness and irritation.
Although it’s fragrance-free, this cleanser also contains parabens.
Keeping combination skin under control starts with the way you wash it.
If you strike a balance between removing oil and hydrating, your complexion will be healthier.
Luckily, several gentle cleansers can help you achieve this goal.
If these reviews helped you find your new favorite face wash, please come back and tell us about it.
1. https://www.webmd.com/beauty/whats-your-skin-type#1 accessed July 16, 2020
2. https://www.wikihow.com/Care-for-Combination-Skin Co-authored by Laura Marusinec, MD, published April 12, 2020, accessed July 16, 2020