Truth: Not All Facial Cleansers Are Created Equal

We all know that washing your face on the daily is de rigueur. But, you shouldn’t be reaching for just any cleanser. Just like what you eat, what you wash your face with can make or break your complexion. So, the obvious answer here is to grab a top-quality cleanser. Simple, right?


But here’s the catch: just because a cleanser is pricier, doesn’t mean it’s better for your skin—it sometimes means you’re just paying for fancy marketing. There are so many things to take into consideration: your skin type, the weather, and most importantly, the ingredient list. Even the $50+ bottles can be filled with harmful alcohols, parabens, and sulfates (aka, the stuff that transforms your cleanser into a bubbly lather), so why shell out the extra cash on a lackluster product when you can find a better one at your local drugstore?


Your local pharmacy is a goldmine of plumping hyaluronic acid, detoxifying activated charcoal, and many more skincare goodies. But the best part is, most of these skin-reviving products are under $25. At this point, it’s just criminal to pay for overpriced department store brands when you can get a bigger bang for your buck at the drugstore.


Shop some of our favorite drugstore cleansers below.


Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying 2-in-1 Scrub Cleanser Stick


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A scrub, and a cleanser, in one portable stick? Yep, it exists in the form of this godsend from Yes to Tomatoes. This cleansing stick also contains dirt-stripping activated charcoal and vitamin C-packed tomato extract, to nourish your skin while getting rid of the grime. Just rub, scrub, and wash away for the healthiest skin $10 can buy.


Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash


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This was probably the first cleanser your mom bought you when you were a teen, and it deserves its rightful place back in your #shelfies. It beats out any other luxury facial wash, and is the #1 dermatologist-recommended cleanser for its salicylic acid-packed formula. The results: clearer, healthier-looking skin without a blemish in sight.


CVS Health Foaming Facial Cleanser


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This cleanser will seep deep into pores for an in-depth cleanse, but won’t leave your skin feeling stripped of tight. It contains the ultimate hydrating trifecta: moisture-attracting hyaluronic acid, skin-restoring ceramides, and hydration-retaining niacinamide. Your face will feel ultra-hydrated and cleansed with an all-around better look and feel.


Aveeno Positively Radiant Brightening Cleanser


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This cult-favorite cleanser works to give your skin a brighter glow and even complexion. This little bottle contains moisture-rich soy extracts to lift away any dirt, oil, and even the toughest of waterproof makeup. It revives your skin’s tone and texture while polishing dull skin, creating a softer and smoother feel.


Garnier SkinActive Soothing Milk Face Wash with Rose Water


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Rose water is your skin’s hydrating BFF, which is why we’re in love with this creamy cleanser. This milky face wash goes deep into pores to unclog them, and nourishing rose water soothes skin while providing much-needed hydration. You’ll be left with velvety-smooth skin that you won’t be able to take your hands off of.


Shea Moisture Facial Wash and Scrub African Black Soap


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African black soap has been a beloved holistic ingredient for centuries for its purifying power. But, they usually come in bar soaps, which are pretty unhygienic to use (just think about how many times you rub it on dirty skin!). Opt for this cleanser-scrub hybrid instead for the same cleansing power from this ingredient, plus the benefits of exfoliating components, all in a hygienic tube.


Biore Charcoal Acne Cleanser


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You may know this brand for their stellar pore strips, but now they have another product up their sleeves to get rid of nasty blackheads: this face wash. The true star ingredient of this cleanser is the hefty concentration of activated charcoal. It’s paired with exfoliating salicylic acid to to cleanse and penetrate pores, leaving your skin refreshed and your complexion clear.


Clean & Clear Morning Burst Facial Cleanser


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If you’re anything like me, then you’re not a morning person — well, at least not until you use this cleanser. It gives you that morning jolt that you need for taking on the day, and the power of vitamin C will awaken your pores while sucking out all of the oil and sweat from overnight. It’s the perfect cleanser for starting your day (and your skin) on the right track.


Dove DermaSeries for Dry Skin Fragrance-Free Face Wash


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If your skin is dry and sensitive to the touch, then you need a cleanser with no b.s. Enter: this fragrance-free cleanser. It relieves ultra-dry skin through it’s hypoallergenic, soap-free formula, while gently removing stubborn dirt and grime for a more comfortable feel.


Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser


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This cleanser is helmed as the Holy Grail of drugstore skincare. It has a 4.7-star rating, and is perfect for basically every skin type. It’s effective yet gentle formula gets rid of excess oil, dirt, and makeup sitting on your face without over-stripping your skin of its natural moisture.


Olay Regenerist Cleansing Whip Facial Cleanser


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This whipped cleanser feels light as air, but works hard to revitalize your complexion. It contains a blend of nourishing ingredients — vitamin B3, Carob Seed Extract, and niacinamide, just to name a few — for a fully cleansed and moisturized finish. It leaves skin with a dewy finish, without leaving any greasy residue behind.


e.l.f. Fragrance-Free Cleansing Cloths


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In a rush and can’t wash your face? Then grab one of these cleansing cloths when you’re on the go! Not only do they remove tough makeup and blemish-inducing pollutants, but also provide an extra boost of hydration through its fusion of aloe and castor oil.

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