There's no need to spend a lot of money on a cleanser with special ingredients in it because your just washing the product down the drain. (Find out what you should splurge on).
You can get a basic cleanser from any drugstore. Look for a mild, soap-free cleanser that's formulated for your skin type. Here I run down the best face cleansers for 5 different skin types: dry, oily, combination, sensitive and blemished. This list includes some of the yearly picks by the staff of 'InStyle' magazine plus the tried and true picks selected by myself other beauty experts.
Not sure your skin type? Find out what it is in my article, How to Tell What Type of Skin You Have.
My beauty cabinet is full of cleansers from some of the priciest boutique brands, but the cleanser I use every day doesn't cost $60 or even $30, it costs $6 at the average drugstore. When my friend Laura spotted my bottle of Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash in my bathroom, she emerged laughing. She couldn't believe THIS was my cleanser of choice. I had to explain that you don't need a lot of bells and whistles in a good cleanser.
This soap-free, oil-free liquid lathers away dirt, makeup and oil but doesn't leave skin so dry it reacts by overproducing oil. Purpose makes most of the "Best" lists in magazines and is recommended by dermatologists, including the expert I turn to, Dr. Maryann Mikhail.
Just as there are no bells and whistles with Purpose above, there are none with this baby-mild product that even dermatologists swear by. So why is this $10 cleanser such a must-have? It's creamy, simple and isn't loaded with chemicals or perfumes that can irritate the skin. Cetaphil products are revered in the industry and their cleanser is one of the best drugstore buys out there. Period.
I get asked all the time about my favorite organic skincare products. It seems everyone is worried about putting toxins in and on their bodies. So for cleansers, I recommend Dr. Hauschka's Cleansing Cream. Organic and void of chemicals, the Dr. Hauschka line is super popular among those concerned with healthy skin. So what's in this magic cleanser? Sweet almond meal and extracts of anthyllis, calendula, chamomile and St. John's wort. This cleanser gently exfoliates while adding moisture to skin, which makes it great for aging skin, dry skin and combination skin. <p>
And if this doesn't sell you, consider that this cleanser is mentioned in numerous articles as The Cleanser of Choice for some of NY's coolest women in the style industry.
This facial cleanser is hugely popular on Amazon.com, on Sephora's Website and is a 2010 Readers Choice Winner for Allure Magazine. Users report it washes off every speck of dirt and makeup while leaving skin super soft and moisturized like a lotion. It's simple and effective and it doesn't get much more perfect than that.
See my full list of the best cleansers for combination skin.
For years I thought of Pond's cold cream as The Cleanser of Choice for Grandmothers because it's what Meemaw, my now 93-year-old grandmother, slathered on her face when I was a kid. Turns out Pond's is also The Cleanser of Choice for Chic French Women ... and my editor at About.com -- and me.
For years the French have have opted for super moisturizing cold creams. You simply massage this in and then wipe off with a tissue or a warm washcloth and you're left with super soft skin. It removes makeup without leaving skin feeling "tight." Plus, water can contain hard contaminants that are harsh on skin and at least one prominent dermatologist I know strongly advises against rinsing the face with water.
It gets 5 out of 5 stars on Drugstore.com.
Creamy cleansers are best for dry skin. They won't strip your face of essential oils, but do remove dirt, makeup and impurities. The chamomile in Boscia's cleanser soothes dry skin while the carrot root provides anti-aging properties. Jojoba leaf is also in Boscia's cleanser and is an antioxidant (a must for skin these days).
Neutrogena is one of the best drugstore beauty brands, hands-down, and you can't go wrong with this simple acne wash for acne-stricken skin. It's an Allure Magazine 2010 Reader Choice Awards winner, as well. Readers love it because the salicylic acid gel is gentle and soothing -- spiked with aloe and chamomile. It also dries out breakouts without drying out sensitive, irritable skin, according to Allure.
See more cleansers for acne-prone skin
Best Organic Alpha-Hydroxy Cleanser: MyChelle Fruit Enzyme Cleanser
This lovely cleanser is made from coconut oil and honey and is truly natural. This organic cleanser is paraben-, sulfate- and fragrance-free. It's also fair-trade certified and a favorite of my most environmentally-minded friends. Great for all skin types. The texture may be off-putting at first (one reviewer said it has "the texture of snot") because it won't suds up, but reviewers overall absolutely love this organic cleanser. A bottle will last you several months to a year.