11 Of The Best Face Washes For Men Of All Skin Types

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

04.08.22DISCLAIMER
Best bet. The Carrot & Stick skincare bundle worth up to $240 for $88. Details below

If you’re a man, it might be difficult for you to get on board with a full-fledged skincare face care routine for men — but that’s no excuse not to be using a face cleanser for men. Facial cleansing is a must because it removes dirt, excess oil, environmental pollutants, and dead skin cells. 

If your skin isn’t cleaned correctly, it can contribute to breakouts, clogged pores, flakiness, dryness, sensitivity, and a lackluster complexion. On a long-term level, neglecting to use a good face wash for men can accelerate the aging process and prevent the rest of your products in your routine from working efficiently. 

While the best facial cleanser for men can technically be a product that belongs to their S.O., there are gender-specific formulas on the market, whether you’re looking for a men’s face wash for oily skin or an acne face wash for men. 

Unsure of what to look for in the best face wash for men? No worries. Here at The Derm Review, we’ve reviewed hundreds of products with a scientific lens to ensure you’re creating a face care routine for men that’s safe and effective. 

Best Face Wash for Men: The List

BEST OVERALL

BEST: Carrot & Stick The Face Wash , $40

Best bet. The Carrot & Stick skincare bundle worth up to $240 for $88. Select 3 products, including our favorite Carrot & Stick The Face Wash. Use code DERM20 for 20% off.

FULL LIST

Formulyst Clarifying AHA Face Wash , $29

Clinique for Men Charcoal Face Wash, $22.50

Jack Black Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser, $19

Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash, $10

Clarins Men Active Face Wash, $27

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, $13.99

Differin Daily Deep Cleanser, $10.49

NIVEA Men Original Moisturizing Face Wash, $6.50

REN Clean Skincare Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Gel, $34

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, $28

Percy Nobleman Face and Stubble Wash, $25

How to Choose the Best Face Wash for Men

When choosing a face cleanser for men, look for formulas that address the abovementioned issues: absorption, excess sebum production, shaving irritation, ingrown hairs, breakouts, stress acne, and clogged pores. Essential factors to consider include: 

 

Skin Type

When choosing a face wash (or any skincare product) regardless of gender, the golden rule is making sure it’s suitable for your skin type. For example, someone with dry, sensitive skin wouldn’t want to choose an oil-free formula with acne-fighting salicylic acid. Just because men have more active sebaceous glands doesn’t mean they can’t fall into one of the other skin types. Here’s a general guide: 

  • OILY:  Large, visible pores accompanied by a greasy, oily sheen that appears shortly after washing your face. Choose a men’s face wash for oily skin that regulates oil production without stripping your skin of its natural oils — this will only produce more oil to compensate for the loss. If breakouts accompany oiliness, you may need an acne face wash for men. 
  • DRY: Feels tight and itchy immediately after washing; may be accompanied by flakiness. Choose a face wash void of any oil- and acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid. Consider a cream or gel-cream formula with hyaluronic acid versus a foaming gel.
  • SENSITIVE: Skin becomes easily irritated by some cleansers and after shaving. Follow similar rules for dry skin and look for natural-based face washes with nourishing ingredients like aloe and olive oil.
  • COMBINATION: Some areas of the skin are dry (like the cheeks, for example), whereas the T-zone is oily. Choose a face wash with ingredients such as charcoal, jojoba oil, and aloe to balance the skin. 
  • NORMAL: Skin feels generally balanced, so it’s best to choose a face wash that cleanses while maintaining regular oil production. 

 

Grooming Habits

If you shave regularly or keep a beard or mustache, look for a face cleanser for men that won’t interfere with your grooming habits. For example, you wouldn’t want to use a wash with an acid or other harsh ingredient like retinol post-shaving because it could cause burning or irritation. If you’ve got facial hair, avoid cleaners with a thick, rich lather, or it can be difficult to rinse. 

 

Specific Skincare Concerns

Skin type aside, you may need a men’s face wash that provides a more targeted solution than cleaning alone. We’re talking about target issues such as acne, eczema, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and other signs of age, to name a few. Don’t hesitate to seek the advice of a skincare professional if you’re not sure what type of face wash you should be using. 

 

An Open Mind

Don’t feel you have to conform to marketing stereotypes. Choosing the best men’s face wash for your skin will only benefit you in the long run. 

How to Properly Use A Good Face Wash For Men

  • Wash your face in the morning (but after physical activity if you start your day exercising) and before going to bed to prevent clogged pores or other skin disturbances. Just wash your hands first, so you don’t spread other bacteria on your face.
  • Wet your face with tepid (not hot or icy cold) water before applying a small amount of face wash (a little goes a long way) to your face, forehead, chin, and neck. 
  • Rub the wash into the face using slow, steady, circular motions for approximately two minutes. 
  • Rinse your face with tepid water. 
  • Pat — don’t rub — your face dry with a soft, clean towel. 

Best Facial Cleanser For Men

BEST OVERALL

BEST: Carrot & Stick The Face Wash, $40

Gentle yet potent botanicals create a wonderfully emollient cleanser that helps promote balance and never strips the skin. Expeller-pressed rosehip seed oil rejuvenates with essential fatty acids, geranium flower soothes, and red seaweed helps protect normal, dry, and combination skin.

FULL LIST

Formulyst Clarifying AHA Face Wash , $29

Formulated to gently cleanse and exfoliate to help refine pores, control excess oil, smooth away any surface-level roughness, and prevent ingrown hairs and razor bumps. It’s enriched with Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) for an intense cleanse and a complex blend of soothing citrus and botanical extracts, so skin feels clean, clear, and refreshed.

Clinique for Men Charcoal Face Wash, $22.50

If you have very oily and acne-prone skin, this all-natural charcoal-based face wash is a great choice. Activated charcoal draws out impurities like dirt, sebum, and dead skin cells to prevent blackheads and blemishes from forming. Though this face wash is results-driven, it’s still gentle enough to use day and night. 

Jack Black Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser, $19

Following the brand’s philosophy of keeping skincare simple, this daily wash doubles as a cleanser and toner. Witch hazel acts as an astringent, toner, and antioxidant that sweeps away excess oil while aloe and chamomile reduce redness, soothe, and calm skin.

Jack Black products rely on natural and organic ingredients and are free from parabens, colors, and synthetic fragrances. 

Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash, $10

This inexpensive and popular face wash is formulated with caffeine, menthol, and vitamin E to wake up your skin. Along with thoroughly cleansing your skin, Kiehl’s men’s face wash also refreshes, giving fatigued skin a much-needed boost. While the Facial Fuel line of products is one of the brand’s most popular, it could be too stimulating for those with sensitive skin.

Clarins Men Active Face Wash, $27

This soap-free foaming gel is excellent for oily, acneic skin that tends to be sensitive. It’s formulated with extracts of wintergreen and grindelia to gently remove pollutants and impurities and help fight acne-causing factors while combating aging. As a bonus, it helps neutralize the drying effects of hard water. 

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, $13.99

This popular drugstore face cleanser is great for men who don’t want to spend too much on skincare products but still want results. Featuring hyaluronic acid and three essential ceramides, it removes dirt, oil, and environmental purities without disrupting the skin’s natural protective barrier or removing its natural moisture. 

MVE Delivery Technology encapsulates ceramides to ensure efficient delivery within the skin’s barrier and slow-release over time. As with all CeraVe’s formulas, this face wash is non-comedogenic, so it’s suitable for all skin types — even those with acne-prone or sensitive skin.

Differin Daily Deep Cleanser, $10.49

What’s appealing about this acne-fighting wash is that 5% benzoyl peroxide effectively targets blemishes, blackheads, and excessive oil while softening the appearance of acne scars. Additionally, a gentle non-comedogenic moisturizer is also released during the cleansing process to ensure the skin remains balanced — not dried out. It’s particularly great for men with sensitive skin who simultaneously deal with inflamed acne lesions.

NIVEA Men Original Moisturizing Face Wash, $6.50

NIVEA has been around since 1911, yet this German personal care brand has only shared with the world its no-nonsense formulas since the 1980s. Like Kiehl’s face wash, this formula also contains refreshing menthol and vitamin E. However, it’s also formulated with provitamin B5 and aloe vera for nourished, smooth, and hydrated skin pre- or post-shaving.

REN Clean Skincare Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Gel, $34

A good face wash should effectively cleanse the skin without stripping it of its natural oils, and that’s precisely what this formula does — and then some. Lactic acid effectively sweeps away dead surface cells while effectively hydrating simultaneously. Oat amino acids help soothe any irritation associated with shaving, breakouts, or the elements. Skin is left clean, calm, and balanced.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, $28

While not everyone can get on board with an oil-based cleanser, those who do may discover a more balanced, glowing complexion. If you need a place to start, this popular cleansing oil (one is sold every 10 seconds) features organic and calming olive and rosemary leaf oils to soften stubble and effectively clean the skin. 

Percy Nobleman Face and Stubble Wash, $25

This face and stubble wash hybrid is the product of another heralded British men’s skincare company. Those with sensitive skin or discerning preferences will appreciate that it’s formulated with 98% natural ingredients such as glycerin for skin-plumping moisture and cucumber for refreshment. 

Keep in mind that it also contains peppermint essential oil. While this key ingredient can help treat acne and soothe sensitive skin conditions, it can irritate, so conduct a patch test first. 

Do Men Really Need Different Skincare Than Women? 

Consumers of all kinds can fall victim to marketing campaigns and gender-specific packaging — especially since some men don’t want the same aesthetics, fragrances, or time constraints for a skincare routine or product such as a face wash. 

However, researchers have assessed skin parameters in different body parts in men and women separately. Their findings might help study planning and developing female- versus male-specific products for more appropriate dermatological treatments. 

Furthermore, research suggests that infectious diseases are presented more in men when it comes to skin disorders. Still, psychosomatic problems, pigmentary disorders, certain hair diseases, and autoimmune and allergic diseases are more common in women. Indeed, there are more sex-associated dermatoses in women, and the occurrence and prognosis of certain skin malignancies are related to sex-related differences.

What do skin experts think about the great gender debate? Natalie Aguilar, Dermatological Nurse for N4 Skincare, says men don’t need to use different skincare than women since the lines are highly varied. “Some cater to all skin types while some lines make specific products for men, Aguilar explains. However, a few of our male clients actually prefer to use creams created for women because they have sensitive skin and are happier with those products when they compare them to a men’s line. 

Aguilar explains that she has a male client who uses a cream created for pre-and post-menopausal women as he wanted to achieve more plump, soft, and glowing skin, which is the only cream to help him reach his skin goal!

When using a face wash, Aguilar reminds her male clients to look for a product that contains “gentle, exfoliating, and soothing properties” to cater to hair growth and shaving. 

A Sign of The Times: The Importance of Inclusivity

According to GlobalData, the skincare business is making strides to develop and market skincare and makeup products that are inclusive and have neutral messaging, thus setting a “new standard.” Nina Nowak, senior researcher at GobalData, says interest in gender-neutral beauty products is “being fuelled by changing social norms and a growing awareness of inclusivity amongst consumers.” What does the future of the beauty industry look like? Perhaps a more “one-size-fits-all approach” Nowak projects. 

Best Face Wash for Men: The Bottom Line

Facial cleansing is a must because it removes dirt, excess oil, external stressors, and dead skin cells. If your skin is not cleaned properly, it can contribute to breakouts, clogged pores, flakiness, dryness, sensitivity, and a lackluster complexion. On a long-term level, negligence can accelerate the aging process and prevent the rest of your products in your routine from working efficiently. 

But when it comes to a face wash or any skincare product, do men need to shop differently from women?  While some experts would say “yes,” more companies than ever are choosing to debunk gender tropes and stereotypes by offering inclusive products. 

Even so, there are some differences between men’s and women’s skin, meaning that males should choose a cleanser (and other products) based on their skin type — not gender. For example, men have more active sebaceous glands, grow facial hair, produce more collagen, and have thicker skin. While there are many formulas on the market to address these issues, the bottom line is that everyone needs a face wash regardless of gender.

Sources:

Male Versus Female Skin: What Dermatologists and Cosmeticians Should Know,” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, September 2018. 

Hirsutism in Women,” American Family Physician. 

Unisex to Gender-Neutral to Become Central in Skincare and Makeup, says Global Data,” Cosmetics Design Europe, July 2021. 

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