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Everyone who washed his face with a bar of soap this morning, raise your hand.
Thanks for your honesty.
Don’t get us wrong, we like that you wash your face, but we’re not impressed that you used a bar of soap. True, using soap is better than using nothing at all, but your face is different. Traditional bar soaps dry out your facial skin and may strip it of natural oils that it needs to look it best.
That’s why we’re here to talk about face washes and cleansers – such as Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash . A proper men’s grooming routine needs to include washes and cleansers (and scrubs) designed for your face.
What follows is a list of what we think are the best washes and cleansers in 2020, led by the Cetaphil wash mentioned above. We’ll also talk about what you should know before you buy, how to properly apply wash and cleansers, and the differences between facial care products.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
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|Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash||Check on Amazon →|
|Tiege Hanley’s Daily Face Wash (Skin Care System Level 1)||Check Best Price →|
|Rugged & Dapper Facial Cleanser for Men||Check on Amazon →|
|Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser||Check on Amazon →|
|Brickell Men's Purifying Charcoal Face Wash||Check on Amazon →|
|Jack Black Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser||Check on Amazon →|
|Bulldog Natural Skincare Original Face Wash||Check on Amazon →|
|Yellow Bird All-Natural Soap||Check on Amazon →|
Before you buy: 5 Things to consider when purchasing face wash or cleanser
Sure, there are differences between men’s face washes and cleansers, just as there are differences within any grooming product, but choosing the right face wash for you basically comes down to one thing: skin type.
Every man’s face has its unique characteristics, not the least of which is skin type. Most men’s faces fit into five categories: oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, normal skin, and combination skin.
1. Oily skin
Your skin has a certain amount of oil it needs to maintain proper pH balance and homeostasis (internal stability), but some men’s faces are oilier than others, and some tell-tale signs are large, visible pores and a greasy sheen that develops not long after you’ve cleansed your face. If your face is oily, look for a face wash or cleanser that regulates oil production without drying out your face.
2. Dry skin
If your skin is flaky, itchy, feels tight, or rarely (or never) shows signs of excess oil, then you have a dry face. Your mission, then, is to find a cleanser that cleanses grime and impurities without stripping the skin of its natural oils. Look for a hydrating face wash.
3. Sensitive skin
Just because you’re a “sensitive” guy doesn’t mean that you have sensitive skin. But if you’re a sensitive guy – or any man, for that matter – and your facial skin is prone to irritation or often is red after shaving or cleansing, you have sensitive skin.
Focus your search on cleansers that have creamy, dense foams and soothing ingredients (aloe vera, etc.). It’s also important to find a wash that balances your skin’s pH level.
4. Normal skin
You’re lucky if you’re a man with normal skin. For one, you can use most faces washes and cleansers without an issue. Your skin has an even tone, it’s not flaky, red, or irritated, and it has no oily sheen. You’re like the guy with an oval face who’s able to rock just about every beard style. Feel free to use potent cleansers and body washes, as long as they’re non-drying.
5. Combination skin
Men with combination skin tend to have an oily forehead, nose, and chin but dry cheeks. Look for a cleanser that gets rid of grime and oil without stripping your skin of its natural oils.
An ideal face wash for combination skin is one that protects the skin’s lipid barriers to lock in natural moisture. You’re looking for a product that thoroughly cleanses but that also provides hydration to the areas of your face which need it.
Again, your facial skin type is the primary guide to choosing a facial wash or cleanser. Now, let’s dig a bit deeper and review what we think are the best face washes for men and the best facial cleansers for men.
The 8 best face washes for men 2020
If you haven’t heard of Ursa Major, it’s worth your time to check out their products – including their Fantastic Face Wash.
After all, if you’re a fan of products that leave out synthetic ingredients in favor of those loaded with natural ingredients, you’ll like the company. If you’re looking for a cleanser that resolves a lot of common issues, you’ll love the face wash.
Indeed, the Fantastic Face Wash will help you get clear, healthy skin, as well as a deep cleansing that won’t strip your skin of needed moisture. Plus, it has a great scent that’s influenced by essential oils, such as cedar, spearmint, rosemary, lavender, and others.
Ursa Major’s face wash has 36 naturally-derived ingredients in all, including aloe – which always is good for soothing the skin – and rice seed, which provides hydration. It also gently exfoliates skin while not, as mentioned, stripping away needed moisture.
The Fantastic Face Wash ingredient list is 99.5% naturally-derived and sourced, whenever possible, from family-owned, sustainable growers. What you won’t find on the list are petrochemicals, sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrance, artificial color, and silicones. The wash is gluten-free, vegan, and cruelty-free.
It’s also a wash that’s good for everyday use, because it won’t dry out your skin. It’s ideal for men with normal and oily skin but also good for acne and other types of temperamental skin. Your skin will look clearer, while you won’t have to worry about losing much-needed moisture.
- Won’t dry out skin
- Long list of natural ingredients
- Exfoliates dead skin cells
- Scent is too strong for some
You can’t go wrong with Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash. It works with every skin type, it provides a thorough cleansing without stripping your skin of its natural oils, and it moisturizes. It’s simply a very good all-around product that belongs in any man’s grooming kit. It’s our choice for best men’s face wash 2020.
The Tiege Hanley story is interesting and features a group of entrepreneurs who saw a need and did their best to fill it. Founded by four self-proclaimed “regular” guys, TH came into existence because of what they perceived as three basic truths about men’s skin care: 1) men don’t know much about it; 2) men’s skin care products are overly-complicated and confusing, and 3) men’s skin care products are, as a whole, overpriced.
The fourth partner, known only as The Chemist, is a master skin formulator and creator of what the Tiege Hanley team calls its “Ferrari formulas.”
Tiege Hanley has three levels – or “systems” – of skin care to fit all of a man’s unique skin needs. We think Skin Care System Level 1 provides an ideal face wash that men will love.
How does it work? It all starts with Tiege Handley’s four core ingredients:
- Cucumber extract
Cucumber extract hydrates and smooths skin and is considered a “superfood” for the skin. It contains proteins, vitamin C, and a variety of minerals, as well as many moisturizing and emollient properties. It also aids your skin’s natural shedding of its outer layer during cell turnover. It even acts as an astringent to tighten and firm skin.
- Salix Alba bark
Salix Alba bark extract reduces inflammation and irritation of the skin, promotes wound healing, and also helps the skin during the natural shedding process.
- Lavandula Oil
More commonly known as lavender, this oil hydrates, fights acne, and reduces redness on facial skin.
- Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil has many health benefits for the skin, including that it stimulates the skin and serves as an antiseptic.
Tiege Hanley’s face wash also includes rosemary oil, which reduces oily skin while providing it with needed iron, calcium, vitamins, and antioxidants.
The System Level 1 includes the daily face wash (yes, it’s gentle enough to use every day), an exfoliating scrub, a morning face moisturizer with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 20, and a bedtime facial moisturizer.
Another thing we like about Tiege Hanley’s products is that they’re formulated for men of all skin types, whether you have normal skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, or anything in between.
Type: Complete system
- Proven effective with daily use
- Good for all skin types
- Hydrates and helps tighten skin while also fighting acne
- Few, if any, but some users say they wish the bottles were bigger
The Tiege Hanley face wash represents a simple yet amazingly effective solution to men’s facial skin issues. It’s an all-in-one wash made for men of all skin types.
Rugged & Dapper has the natural solution for keeping your facial skin in top condition. Made with natural ingredients, such as aloe vera, vitamin C and willow bark, R & D’s Facial Cleanser for Men is easy on the skin but tough on dirt and grime.
But there are other reasons why Rugged & Dapper is the best face cleanser for men:
- Plant-based exfoliants remove dead skin cells while preventing congested pores and the endless march of aging (and its effects on your skin).
- Specially formulated for men, it attacks dirt and excess oil to eliminate skin breakouts, such as acne. In fact, it’s the best acne face wash for men.
- It works for all skin types, from normal to sensitive to oily, as well as good for men of all ages.
- You won’t find harmful chemicals or parabens in Rugged & Dapper’s Facial Cleanser.
- It has a grit-like texture that helps with exfoliating skin while also producing excellent foaming action. The texture comes from small exfoliating beads mixed into the cleanser. Rest assured, your skin will feel smooth and polished after using this cleanser.
- It has a nice, manly fragrance that isn’t overpowering but won’t be confused with your wife’s or girlfriend’s facial cleanser, either.
- It’s an all-in-one product, because it combines an energizing face wash with an exfoliator. It won’t strip your skin of moisture.
- It comes in an 8-ounce bottle and is highly-concentrated, which means it will last you through months of daily use. It also has an easy-to-use snap cap top.
- Another important ingredient in the Rugged & Dapper formula is tea tree oil, which comes with a long list of benefits for the skin, not the least of which is fighting acne.
- Exfoliates the skin while unclogging pore
- Natural ingredients
- Manly fragrance
- Exfoliating beads can be tough to rinse out of beards
Rugged & Dapper is just what its name suggests: it’s tough on dirt and grime but gentle enough to energize your skin, all while leaving it smooth and looking its best. If you prefer natural ingredients, this is a cleanser that deserves a long look.
It’s not easy for men with dry skin to find a daily cleanser or wash. The cleanser has to, first, wipe away dirt and grime, but it must do so without stripping away needed moisture. Of course, it also needs to relieve dryness.
CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser does all of that, and more, with a formula that makes it the best face wash for men with dry skin. It cleanses, hydrates, and helps restore the protective skin barrier with ceramides.
What are ceramides, you ask?
A ceramide is a lipid molecule found in high concentrations in skin cell membranes. Ceramides hold cells together in the upper layer of skin to form a protective layer that, among other things, retains moisture. In products such as CeraVe’s facial cleanser, ceramides replenish the natural lipids lost due to drying products, aging, and harsh environmental conditions.
CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser includes three essential ceramides, along with hyaluronic acid that helps retain the skin’s moisture. It’s a formula that makes for a gentle, non-irritating wash that men with dry skin can use every day.
Another feature to like about CeraVe’s products is their patented MVE Delivery Technology. MVE, a.k.a. as MultiVesicular Emulsion, delivers moisturizing ingredients to the skin slowly, ensuring that they’ll last long after application.
We also like that the CeraVe cleanser comes with the seal of approval by the National Eczema Association, meaning it meets the criteria for men with eczema or sensitive skin. Meanwhile, reviewers like it because it leaves their skin feeling clean, but not tight, while also experiencing relief in their dry patches of skin.
- Excellent for dry skin
- Formal includes essential ceramides
- Helps restore the protective skin barrier
- Contains parabens
As a man with dry skin, you face unique challenges while cleansing your face – not the least of which is stripping the skin of moisture – but CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser is designed with you in mind, and you’ll love how your skin feels after applying it.
While you may not think of charcoal as an ingredient used to wash your face, it’s actually an excellent cleansing agent. Many shampoos contain activated charcoal – no, not the kind you use for your cookout – and Brickell Men’s Purifying Face Wash takes full advantage of its cleaning properties.
Charcoal not only provides a deep cleansing while removing excess oil, bacteria, free radicals, and other irritants from skin pores, it does so without ridding dry or sensitive skin of needed moisture.
But there’s more to Brickell’s face wash than simply charcoal. For one, it contains a host of natural and organic ingredients, including olive oil, jojoba oil, and aloe vera. Jojoba oil supplies a protective cushion to your skin to help retain moisture, and olive oil gently removes dirt and oils while replacing them with essential oils that nourish the face. The Purifying Charcoal Face Wash is suitable for men of all facial skin types, but it’s a go-to option for men with sensitive skin.
Then again, Brickell is all about natural ingredients. Founded in 2014 by Josh Meyer and Matt Bolduc (and started in Matt’s garage), Brickell is one of the fastest-growing men’s skincare and grooming companies worldwide. They sell their products in over 20 countries, and thousands of men use them daily.
The Purifying Charcoal Face Wash has a natural scent, consisting of peppermint, eucalyptus, and lemongrass essential oils. Note: you won’t find any parabens or sulfates in Brickell’s skincare products.
The folks at Brickell say that you should use their face wash in the morning, before bed, and after you exercise. If used twice daily, one 8 oz. bottle should last two months.
- Great for men with sensitive skin
- 99% natural ingredients
- Activated charcoal provides deep cleaning
- Some reviewers don’t like the scent, but it does diminish slowly
Brickell has made a name for itself with skincare and grooming products for men that make the most of natural and organic ingredients. Their Purifying Charcoal Face Wash provides a deep cleaning without being too harsh on your skin.
Jack Black, like Brickell, is a relative newcomer to the world of men’s grooming and skincare, but they’ve earned their stripes. Their Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser is representative of their strong line of products and is one of the best washes/cleansers on the market.
Jack Black’s daily facial cleanser is a 2-in-1 product in that it cleanses and tones skin. It helps you remove excess dirt and oil (it’s ideal for men whose occupations attract a lot of dirt and grime) while leaving your skin hydrated and fresh.
How does it work? Oat and coconut-derived natural surfactants clean the skin, while it also includes witch hazel – which acts as an astringent and antioxidant. The Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser’s list of ingredients also includes organic sage leaf and rosemary for antibacterial benefits, while chamomile and aloe leaf soothe and reduce redness.
There are plenty of other reasons why this facial cleanser belongs on this “best of” list, including that it’s dermatologist-tested, paraben, gluten, and sulfate-free as part of Jack Black’s PureScience formulas that lock in the therapeutic benefits of natural ingredients like those listed above.
The Jack Black Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser is also great for men whose pores are frequently clogged, or who suffer from blackheads and acne. You’ll like how your complexion looks after using this cleanser.
- Completely removes dirt and oil
- Dual-purpose cleanser and toner
- Paraben and sulfate-free
- Consistency is a bit thin when compared with other cleansers
Jack Black’s Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser provides the deep clean that many men are looking for – especially men who accumulate a lot of dirt during the day and who have skin that’s easily irritated – but it’s also suitable for men of all skin types.
You have to love the motto: “Bulldog is Man’s Best Friend.” We’re talking the company, not the breed, and there’s certainly some merit to its best friend claim. Founded in 2005 by England’s Simon Duffy, Bulldog provides quality skincare options to men worldwide.
For Duffy, Bulldog was a solution to what he found lacking, i.e., that there were no straightforward skincare options with natural ingredients for men. His company’s Natural Skincare Original Face Wash is just that, and more.
The Bulldog Natural Skincare Original Face Wash is one of many top skin and body products made by the company, and, like everything in Bulldog’s product line, it’s packed with natural ingredients. You’ll find eight essential oils on its list of ingredients, as well as green tea, that combine to form a gentle cleanser that rids your face of dirt and debris. The wash also includes aloe vera, which has its own soothing, irritation-reducing qualities, as well as many other uses.
The Natural Skincare Original Face Wash comes in a gel that goes on easily and doesn’t dry the skin. Men with oily skin, meanwhile, say its extremely effective in preventing acne flare-ups. In any case, your skin will feel soft, clean, and without irritation.
Type: Gel wash
- Nice blend of natural ingredients with no parabens or sulfates
- Gentle cleansing formula
- Has many natural benefits for the skin
- Scent is off-putting to some
Bulldog specializes in men’s skincare and shows with products such as the Natural Skincare Original Face Wash. You’ll like the deep cleaning you’ll get from such a gentle product as this.
Yellow Bird’s All-Natural Soap is handmade in the traditional small batch, a cold-processed method that preserves the quality and effectiveness of its all-natural ingredients. It’s more time-consuming than other processes, but the folks at Yellow Bird think it’s important for having complete control over the ingredients that they use in their soaps.
By “control,” they mean ensuring that their All-Natural Soap contains no chemical preservatives, synthetic lathering agents and dyes, or chemical fragrances. There’s always something to be said about avoiding synthetic products that are harsh on your skin.
That said, let’s check out what’s in Yellow Bird’s All Natural Soap and why they benefit your skin:
- Activated charcoal, which helps detox your skin by absorbing dirt and oil (while also eliminating acne).
- Shea butter, which leaves your skin moisturized and soft for a more youthful appearance.
- Essential oils of lemongrass and lavender to help restore your skin to its natural luster while removing blemishes and other unsightly patches. Lemongrass and lavender also create a calming, pleasing scent while having antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
- Sunflower oil, palm oil, and coconut oil, which slow the effects of aging on the skin while also helping to create a formula that’s effective in dealing with oily skin.
The soap comes in a black bar that looks like something you’d expect from a product that includes charcoal. But, again, charcoal is a proven skin detoxing agent that absorbs dirt and oil.
Another thing you’ll like is Yellow Bird’s money-back guarantee. Just send it back for a refund if you don’t like it or if it doesn’t prove effective in treating your skin issues.
Type: Soap bar
- Natural and organic ingredients
- Effective on the face and body (for both men and women)
- Soap bar doesn’t last as long as gels and foams
The Yellow Bird All-Natural Soap Bar is effective in dealing with different types of skin and skin issues, such as acne and rosacea. It also has a nice lather and leaves your skin feeling fresh and energized.
The art of applying face wash and cleanser
Now that you’ve chosen the best face wash or cleanser for you, it’s time to get down to the business of washing your face. And washing your face used to be so easy, right? Just work up a nice lather in your hands from that soap bar you’re using for your entire body and then give your face a good scrubbing. Then just rinse it off with hot water and you’re good to go.
Not so fast, gents.
First of all, that typical bar of soap may be great for your hands, and even OK for your body, but it will dry out your face and, especially if you have sensitive skin, can lead to skin irritation or breakouts. That’s why we recommend a wash or cleanser made for your face for all of the reasons we’ve already discussed: it gets rid of dirt and oil, it clears away dead skin cells, it moisturizes your skin, and it helps prevent skin conditions such as acne.
So, put that bar of soap down and pick up your bottle or tube of wash or cleanser (or a soap bar designed for the job, like Yellow Bird All-Natural soap). It’s time to wash your face the right way.
1. Choosing the right time
Morning or night (or both) are the best times to wash your face. There’s not a ton of corroborative research to back up this claim, but the reality is that most men don’t have time to wash their face in the middle of a busy day, and there’s no question that there’s a buildup of dirt and oil in the morning and evening. Besides, the morning is when you typically devote more time to grooming than any other time of the day.
It’s also not a bad idea to cleanse your face before you shave. By removing dirt and dead skin cells, your razor has a better chance of smoothly running over your face.
2. Work up a lather
Squeeze a small amount of wash or cleanser into your hands and then work up a nice lather before applying it to your face. Lathering it up also helps to activate the cleanser’s ingredients. Spread the lather evenly over your face, all the way up to your hairline.
3. Choose the right water temp
Some men prefer using hot water during their morning routine, while others like a splash of cold water on their face, because it helps jolt them out of their A.M. fog. Don’t do it. Water that’s too hot or too cold will stress out your skin and, not to mention, shock your system. Hot water also enables moisture to escape from the skin. All that said, use lukewarm water, instead. It will open up your pores while soothing your skin.
4. Massage the product into your skin
Use circular motions to massage your wash onto the face and neck gently. There’s no need to scrub with the same force you’d use to wash your car; instead, just use enough force to loosen up dirt, grime, and excess oil. Do this for about 30 seconds, spending extra time on those areas where you tend to have an excess build-up of oil or sweat. Remember, take it easy. Scrubbing with too much force doesn’t do your skin a bit of good.
After scrubbing, rinse your face with lukewarm or cold water, and that’s it.
Note: use the same technique above for applying a facial cleanser. The key difference, however, is that you don’t rinse off the cleanser once you’ve applied it. Simply use a towel to remove any excess cleanser, but be careful not to wipe off too much.
Face wash, cleanser, scrub, soap – What’s the difference?
So many choices, so little time. That’s how it may feel sometimes when you’re shopping for the right product with which to clean your face. There’s face wash, face cleanser, face scrub, and good ol’ bar soap.
So, what are their differences, and why should you use one rather than another? Here’s a look:
- Face wash
Face wash and cleanser serve the same basic function: their job is to clean your face. But there are differences. For one, face wash is more like soap, including in the way it lathers (quite a bit) vs. how a cleanser lathers (which is non-foaming).
Face wash is a liquid facial cleanser that uses mild cleansing ingredients to deliver a deep, yet gentle cleaning of your face. Unlike bar soap, face wash doesn’t include ingredients – at least it shouldn’t – that dehydrate and destroy skin cells.
Choosing face wash over, say, a cleanser comes down to your everyday routine. Face wash is ideal for use first thing in the morning and after you get home from work. However, if you were exposed to excess air pollutants and other dirt and grime during the day, you may want to use a cleanser when you get home from work, instead.
Also, face washes tend to be a tad harsher than cleansers – generally speaking, that is. If you have sensitive skin, make sure that you aren’t using a face wash that irritates.
- Face cleanser
A face cleanser is a non-foaming liquid that is used to clean the face. Unlike a face wash, it doesn’t need to be rinsed out after application. Like a facial wash, cleansers are used to remove dead skin cells, excess oils, and dirt from your face.
Cleansers tend to be gentler on your skin than face washes and scrubs and do a great job of leaving your skin feeling well-hydrated and moisturized. Also, a cleanser is designed to remove oil-soluble impurities from you’re the skin – in many cases more effectively than a face wash.
However, face washes and face cleansers often are used together. Both are effective in preparing your skin for your morning shave, as well.
- Face scrub
While face washes and cleansers serve the basic function of washing your face, face scrubs dig a bit deeper to exfoliate skin and remove the top layer of dead skin cells (as do some face washes and scrubs).
Face scrubs include “beads” or plant matter to help deliver a deeper cleansing. Another difference between washes, cleansers, and scrubs is that you don’t need to use a scrub every day – in fact, you shouldn’t. Instead, use a scrub once or twice a week, especially as your skin is first getting used to it.
- Bar soap
Most of us are guilty of using traditional bar soap to cleanse our faces and are probably still using it. That’s OK, kind of, as long as you’re using soap that’s mild enough to use on your face. But it’s a Catch-22 in many ways: you need to find a soap that has a low pH level, but those that do are often too mild to remove the oily build-up on your face’s skin.
Bar soap is alkaline-based and, in most cases, strips your face of its natural oils. Even if your skin is excessively oily, you’re better off not using bar soap. It not only will dry your skin out but also contains harsh chemicals that work well for cleaning the skin, though not so well in protecting your skin.
Not that all soaps are bad for your skin, mind you. The ones that consist of natural and organic ingredients are much milder, while there are others specifically formulated for facial skin. Just be sure that you choose one that’s not going dry out your skin.
How we chose the best face washes and cleansers
Choosing the eight best face washes and cleansers for men doesn’t mean that they’re the only good products on the market. Far from it. But our goal is always to choose those products that are a cut above, unique in some way, and, most importantly, effective. If they don’t do what they say they’re supposed to do or aren’t backed by the positive reviews of many customers, then they won’t make our “best of” list for any product.
We also pay attention to price while striving to find products to fit any budget, plus considering each brand’s list of ingredients. We prefer natural ingredients, but good washes and cleansers aren’t only of the natural and organic variety. We hope to provide enough information to help you make a sound buying decision.
Have you used any of the products on our list? If so, how do you like them? Is there another wash, cleanser, or scrub that you’d recommend? We’d love to hear from you! As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions and promise to respond ASAP.
Talk to you soon, friends.
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