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19 Best Face Washes & Cleansers for Oily Skin: Reviews & Buying Guide

by  Doris Harris -  Last Updated On 2nd January 2021
Face Washes & Cleansers for Oily Skin

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How can you make your complexion less shiny?

Clean your face twice a day with the right face wash and cleanser for oily skin.

You don’t need to scrub your skin to get results. A gentle cleanser is enough to mattify an oily complexion and reduce excess oil production.

Harsh treatment may aggravate the problem instead (1).

But when you go shopping for face wash, you’ll see that there are many cleansers for oily skin. It may seem overwhelming to have to choose between them.

That’s why I hope this article helps you find the best face wash for your oily skin.

Before we get to the cleansers, let’s take a peek behind the scenes.

What makes a face wash best for oily skin?

Dermatologists recommend oil-free, non-comedogenic cleansers for oily skin (2).

Skip the ones with alcohol, too.

Foaming face washes are best as they lather away grime and sebum.

If you have sensitive, acne-prone skin, you might want to avoid artificial fragrances, dyes, and sulfates as well.

Even if you check the label, the real test comes when you use the product. Here’s how you can verify that you got the right face wash for your complexion.

Cleanse your face and rinse with warm water. Typically, you’d apply moisturizer within a couple of minutes.

This time, however, wait 15 minutes. Now, how does your skin look?

Is it tight and dry, or has it already started getting oily? I hope that neither result happens.

If it feels comfortable and looks healthy, you’ve chosen well.

Otherwise, you either need a more gentle cleanser with more cleansing power.

The former would be a product labeled for sensitive skin that’s free of harsh ingredients.

And the latter would be a facial cleanser with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Both of these ingredients help prevent and clear up acne and reduce oiliness.

Finally, the way you wash your face matters. It’s not just the product you use, but also how consistent you are.

Quick Comparison

If you don’t have time to read the complete article, here are our top picks.

Maintain a cleansing routine, preferably with the same product, to avoid upsetting the skin (3).

Use warm, not hot water, and don’t scrub aggressively.

It may take a couple of weeks to achieve balance, but I anticipate that you will be much happier with your complexion.

19 Top Face Washes & Cleansers for Oily Skin (2021 Update)

Now, let’s sort through all the top-rated face cleansers and washes for oily skin.

1. Cetaphil Pro Oil Removing Foam Wash

Some would say that the best drugstore face wash for oily skin is made by Cetaphil. The Pro version is ideal for very oily skin as it’s non-comedogenic.

Not only does it cleanse excess oil, impurities, and makeup, but it also soothes irritation. That’s convenient if you are prone to blemishes. It helps keep the redness under control.

After washing with it, it maintains your complexion clean and soft while it reduces shine for hours.

Also important, it’s unscented, soap-free, and doesn’t contain paraben.

What makes it work so well?

For one, it’s pH-balanced. It won’t upset moisture levels in the skin; therefore, your pores won’t feel like they have to go into overdrive to compensate.

Then, it contains zinc technology to absorb excess oil.

Users love the fact that it’s pleasant to use, it works well, and it has no smell.

2. Cetaphil Facial Cleanser for Normal, Oily to Sensitive Skin

What’s the difference between this Cetaphil face wash and the one above?

This one’s recommended for sensitive skin. It cleanses dirt, oil and makeup from the skin without stripping and removing moisture.

But it doesn’t have the zinc technology to lessen oiliness throughout the day.

It also contains methylparaben as a preservative. It goes well with other skin types as well.

3. Paula’s Choice SKIN BALANCING Oil-Reducing Cream Cleanser

Ninety-three percent of the people using this face cleanser said that it makes their skin noticeably less oily.

It was tested by an independent consumer panel, not by the company themselves.

Moreover, it’s free of parabens, sulfates, and artificial fragrances to protect sensitive skin.

The cleanser starts out like a cream that lathers up once it’s massaged into wet skin. Then, it cleans out pores to refine and unclog them. When rinsed, it doesn’t leave a residue.

The result is a mattified, refreshed complexion.

4. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel

Here’s a gel cleanser with zinc pidolate to decrease oiliness. This ingredient purifies the skin and diminishes shine.

The formula won’t affect the skin’s pH balance. It’s also free of oil, parabens, alcohol, and soap.

It’s made by La Roche-Posay, a French manufacturer that designs products for sensitive skin. It’s been tested to be safe for acne-prone complexions.

Just a little bit of the cleanser goes a long way. It has a light fragrance and an astonishing amount of lather.

5. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Foaming Face Wash

Garnier makes more than one kind of face wash, so let’s dig into the details.

My first pick is the micellar gel, with only 7 ingredients. It has no oil, fragrance, parabens, sulfates, or alcohol.

Yet, it’s strong enough to remove makeup and cleanse oily skin.

It’s made up of micellar water which consists of micelles. These are molecules that bind with impurities and oil. They make it easy to wash the face without dehydrating the skin.

Be sure to grab the green label bottle as it’s made to mattify oily faces.

6. Garnier SkinActive Face Wash with Green Tea

Instead of micellar water, here is a face cleanser with green tea.

Green tea is excellent for oily skin as it firms the texture, reduces pore size, and generally acts as an astringent.

Furthermore, this product is vegan and 96% naturally-derived. It doesn’t have parabens, artificial colors, or sulfates.

7. PCA SKIN Facial Wash Oily/Problem Skin

The PCA cleanser is based on three potent ingredients: aloe vera juice, lactic acid, and gluconolactone.

First, aloe reduces inflammation and calms the skin.

Next, lactic acid exfoliates dead skin cells while moisturizing. The cellular renewal keeps your complexion looking radiant.

And third, antioxidant-rich gluconolactone helps keep the complexion free of blemishes.

What’s more, the cruelty-free formula has no artificial fragrances or dyes.

8. Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Daily Face Wash

Which is the best face wash for oily skin and blackheads?

This deep pore charcoal cleanser definitely fits the bill.

It absorbs excess oil and impurities to pull them out of your pores. The natural charcoal makes it twice as powerful than a regular face cleanser.

It contains Japanese Skin Purifying Technology to improve your complexion after only one wash.

This oil-free product was dermatologist-tested and shown to be non-comedogenic.

The only downside is that it contains parabens. But since it’s a cleanser that you rinse off your skin, it’s likely to be low risk.

9. Bioré Witch Hazel Pore Clarifying Cleanser

Bioré also makes the best cleanser for oily skin and large pores.

It contains witch hazel, an excellent natural astringent. Plus, it has salicylic acid, an effective acne medication.

Together, these potent ingredients clear up acne breakouts, shrink pores, and lift the complexion.

The cleanser tingles as it removes up to 99% of the dirt and oil on the skin.

10. Olay Oil Minimizing Clean Foaming Face Cleanser

Olay’s cream cleanser also contains witch hazel. It’s perfect for combination and oily skin.

It has no harsh sulfates or drying alcohol.

Instead, it removes makeup, dirt, and oil with a creamy foam that leaves the skin fresh and silky soft.

11. Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser by CORSX

Why do dermatologists tell you not to wash your face with bath soap? It’s partly because bar soap is alkaline.

Alkaline soap wrecks the pH balance of the skin, making it susceptible to dryness and irritation.

Instead, use a pH-balanced cleanser like this one. It matches the skin’s natural acid level.

It also has tea tree oil to purify the pores and treat acne.

Next, it has natural BHA to remove impurities and excess oil. There’s no need for harsh sulfates.

Lastly, it promotes healthy hydration with Styrax japonicus extract and will keep your skin clean.

Users say it smells woodsy like tea tree oil, but the scent fades quickly.

12. CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

CeraVe makes more than one kind of face wash. This one is most beneficial for normal to oily skin.

Feel free to use it on any part of your body. It can decrease oiliness on your chest and back to eliminate body acne.

Like other skin care products from CeraVe, it contains three essential ceramides. The ceramides strengthen and maintain the natural skin barrier against infection and moisture loss.

This foaming face wash also has hyaluronic acid to increase hydration without clogging pores. Meanwhile, niacinamide soothes away redness.

The formula has no perfume, although it contains parabens.

13. Bioderma Sebium Foaming Gel Cleanser for Combination to Oily Skin

Here’s the best face cleanser for oily skin in summer.

Bioderma’s Sebium gel features unique ingredients that purify and cleanse the pores. These include zinc and copper sulfate that absorb oil and prevent excess sebum production.

One reviewer with oily skin said that it never dries out her face, but it prevents shine throughout the day. Just a little bit makes a lot of lather, and it leaves the skin very soft.

14. Glo Skin Beauty Purifying Gel Cleanser

Get rid of impurities and surplus oil without dehydrating the skin.

Use this scent-free cleanser to enjoy a refreshed, clean complexion.

For best results, wet your skin, then massage the gel with circular motions. Leave it on your face for 60 seconds before rinsing with lukewarm water.

Highlights of the sulfate-free formula include niacinamide to calm the skin and salicylic acid to unclog pores.

15. Clean & Clear Daily Pore Face Cleanser

Here’s another popular drugstore cleanser for oily skin. How well does Clean & Clear really work?

In general, it seems most users are satisfied with the value compared to the price. It may not mattify the complexion for as many hours as some products do, but it’s refreshing to use.

It contains micro-scrubbers and lactic acid for gentle exfoliation. Therefore, it leaves the skin smooth after rinsing.

To enjoy an oil-free complexion for longer, follow up with a toner and lightweight moisturizer.

16. TEENA Skin Care CLAR-I-TY Face Wash

One of the best natural face washes for oily skin was created for both teens and adults.

It contains natural ingredients like aloe, coconut cleansers, burdock, and ginseng.

But be aware that it’s not oil-free. Think of it as an oil cleanser for makeup and impurities.

It has rosehip seed, calendula, and hemp seed oil. These promote healing and fade acne scars.

Moreover, it has salicylic acid to clean out pores.

17. Shea Moisture Clarifying Facial Wash and Scrub

If you were hoping to find a scrub that’s safe for oily skin, try this one with healing African black soap.

It mattifies the skin with tea tree oil while tamarind extract exfoliates and refines pores.

Also, it’s free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and mineral oil.

18. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser

It may be hard at first to choose between all the different face washes that Neutrogena offers.

This one is best for acne-prone, oily skin.

While it reduces redness, it also prevents breakouts. That’s because it contains 2% salicylic acid that’s delivered deep into pores with Micro-Clear Technology.

But to prevent irritation, it also has chamomile and aloe.

19. Vichy Normaderm Daily Salicylic Acid Face Cleanser for Oily & Acne Prone Skin

Another of the top face washes for oily skin and acne is made by Vichy. It’s called PhytoAction because it’s plant-based.

The translucent gel consists of salicylic acid, copper, and zinc, plus an amino acid to protect the skin from dryness.

The concentration of salicylic acid is low—only 0.5%.

That fact alone makes it mild enough for susceptible skin.

Happily, although it has a slight fragrance, it’s free of oils, sulfates, alcohols, dyes, and parabens.


The best way to keep your face shine-free and comfortable is to start with a gentle, effective cleanser.

Wash your face morning and night using lukewarm water, then apply a lightweight moisturizer.

If you give your skin a couple of weeks to adjust, you’ll soon enjoy a clean complexion that stays matte for hours.

I hope you found your new favorite face wash here today. If so, come back and tell us about your experience.


1. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/oily-skin#1 by Peter Jaret, accessed July 13, 2020

2. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/dry/oily-skin accessed July 13, 2020

3. https://www.wikihow.life/Treat-Oily-Skin co-authored by Diana Yerkes, published June 18, 2020, accessed July 13, 2020

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