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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers

Last Updated September 2020

Do you have sensitive or acne-prone skin? If you do, you’ve probably tried myriad skincare products, many of which can cause irritation, breakouts, drying, or even peeling. Don’t worry. We’ve rounded up some of the best hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers, and there’s one that’s just right for your skincare routine.

These unique cleanser formulas are designed to keep skin calm and eruption-free by leaving out harsh chemicals and ingredients. That means you can wash your face or remove makeup without worrying about post-cleansing redness or breakouts. There are also some hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers with moisturizing or hydrating ingredients to keep your face supple and radiant all day long.

If you’re still wondering whether your beauty routine can benefit from a hypoallergenic gentle skin cleanser, keep reading. We’re sharing all the benefits and rounding up our top products to help you find the right one for your face.

Many consumers use hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers as an alternative to abrasive, harsh hand soap.

Key considerations

It often seems like a catch-22 situation when it comes to washing your face. Sure, you need to keep it clean from the oil and dirt that cause blackheads and pimples. But if you use products that are too strong or abrasive, you’ll end up with breakouts nonetheless. 

That’s why so many consumers have turned to hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers. They’re capable of removing oil, dirt, and pollutant buildup without causing redness or acne. In fact, they penetrate pores to pull out these particles without removing your skin’s natural oils and moisture. This in turn means your skin remains stronger and more supple as opposed dry, fragile, and susceptible to reactions from environmental irritants.  

Skin cleansers vs. soaps and washes

You’ve probably heard all these terms, likely used interchangeably: facial cleanser, facial soap, and face wash. Believe it or not, they differ quite a bit.

Soap: Facial soap is great for deep cleaning, but many soaps have complex formulas whose chemicals and ingredients can irritate sensitive skin. 

Wash: Facial wash, on the other hand, falls in between soaps and cleansers. It’s effective at cleaning pores, though the formula usually doesn’t strip oils from skin and so is less drying than soap.

Cleansers: Skin cleansers tend to have a lower pH than soaps or washes, so they’re less disruptive to your skin’s natural pH level compared to other products. Many skin cleansers lack the suds seen in soaps and washes, often produced by sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which can have a drying effect on skin. Instead, many cleansers have moisturizing or hydrating ingredients to keep your skin soft and calm.

Hypoallergenic

When you choose a hypoallergenic gentle skin cleanser, you’re investing in a simpler, skin-friendly formula. It’s free of common ingredients that can be allergens or irritants, including dyes, fragrances, SLS, alcohol, parabens, phthalates, synthetic ingredients, and petrochemicals. There are also oil-free hypoallergenic cleansers, which are popular with acne-prone users.

Skin type

Most hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers can be used on all types of skin, including dry, oily, combination, or acne-prone. If you prefer a more targeted formula, rest assured you’ll find several hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers designed for your skin type or concern.

Ingredients

You’re probably wondering what makes hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers universally appealing, and it boils down to their ingredients. Many formulas utilize nontoxic, organic, or plant-derived ingredients, which interact better with skin than harsh chemicals. When you take a look at the label you’ll find aloe, rosehip, chamomile, avocado, or fruit extracts, just to name a few.

Hydrating

Hypoallergenic gentle skin cleanser formulas are also known for their moisturizing properties. That’s why it comes as no surprise that their consistency is somewhat similar to that of lotion. Depending on the formula, they’re usually clear, colorless, or opaque and have a texture somewhere between runny and creamy. 

Each formula is different, so you’ll find a wide variety of hydrating ingredients in these cleansers. Some include plant-based moisturizers like cocoa butter, avocado, or seed oil extracts. Others use hyaluronic acid, which promotes moisture retention, or niacinamides, which strengthen your skin’s moisture barrier. 

DID YOU KNOW?

Invest in TSA-approved travel bottles to make sure you can bring your hypoallergenic skin cleanser everywhere you, including to the gym or on vacation.

Features

Basic ingredients

While we’ve discussed the unique ingredients of hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers here, it’s still important to take a look at their basic formulas. As expected, they vary considerably between brands, so we’re including common ingredients you’ll find on the labels.

Many hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers are water-based, which is why you’ll often find that as the first ingredient. It’s also common to see glycerin because it’s generally gentle yet effective at cleaning pores. Amino acids often make an appearance as well, especially those that increase hydration and improve skin’s texture.

Dispensers

More often than not, hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers are packaged in squeeze or pump bottles. Not only does this make it easy to dispense product, it protects the cleanser from contamination. It can be tricky to get the last bit of product out of the bottle, though, so you might want to remove the cap and scrape out the bottle, especially if you’ve shelled out big bucks for a premium product.

Safe for eyes

Hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers are lauded for how gentle they are on the face, so you’ll be pleased to know that some formulas are also safe for use around the eyes. Not all cleansers fall in this category,  but those that do will be marked clearly on the packaging. Another term to look for is “ophthalmologist tested,” which means the cleanser has undergone rigorous testing to make sure it won’t irritate eyes.

DID YOU KNOW?

Not all hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers are foam- or suds-free. There are some formulas that create quite a lather, which means they may have certain ingredients that could irritate your skin.

Accessories

Makeup remover towels: Danielle Creations Erase Your Face
To minimize irritation, spread the cleanser around your face with a soft makeup remover towel. We like these microfiber cloths from Danielle Creations, which have a cult following for their softness and effectiveness. With four to a pack, it’s easy to use each one once and toss it in the wash.

Hypoallergenic facial moisturizer: Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+
Pair your hypoallergenic gentle skin cleanser with an equally gentle moisturizer. We like this one from Clinique, whose formula is dermatologist approved. Its lightweight, grease-free finish leaves skin feeling refreshed and silky smooth. 

EXPERT TIP

Thoroughly rinse off the hypoallergenic gentle skin cleanser to prevent product buildup. This also keeps your skin free of bumpy, sticky areas when you’re applying makeup.


Staff  | BestReviews

Hypoallergenic cleanser prices

Hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers start at $6 and can cost over $100.

Inexpensive: Budget-friendly cleansers cost between $6 and $15 and mostly consist of drugstore brands. 

Mid-range: These cleansers cost around $20 to $40 and include some made by premium beauty brands as well as speciality skincare companies. These formulas tend to include more ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and other nutrients. 

Expensive: If you’re looking for a high-end or specialty formula, expect to spend $40 to $100 on a luxury hypoallergenic gentle skin cleanser.

Tips

  • Try more than one cleanser. Each hypoallergenic gentle skin cleanser is formulated differently, so you might need to try more than one to find the best one for your face.

 

  • Cleanse your face twice a day. To get the most out of your hypoallergenic gentle skin cleanser, use it in the morning and at night.

 

  • Read ingredients carefully. Most hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers have simple formulas that won’t irritate skin, however certain ingredients may affect yours. Be sure to read the label carefully prior to buying.

Hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers don’t contain bleach, so they can also be used as a gentle spot cleaner for garments or stuffed animals.

FAQ

Q. Can I use a hypoallergenic gentle skin cleanser on my body as well?
A. These cleansers are specially designed for your face, though some consumers use them on their body as well. With that said, they don’t lather as much as bodywash or bar soap, so one might end up being rather expensive to use all over. Many brands that manufacture these facial cleansers make bodywashes as well, so be sure to explore the product lines to see what’s available.

 

Q. Will hypoallergenic gentle skin cleanser be effective at removing heavy or waterproof makeup?
A. It might be a bit harder to remove these products with a cleanser, however some formulas are more effective than others. You might be better served by using a gentle hypoallergenic makeup remover prior to the cleanser to avoid excessive rubbing and tugging that could result in redness.

 

Q. Are there any hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers specifically formulated for mature skin?
A. There are a few on the market. However, these cleansers can be used on all skin types, and that includes mature skin. If you’d like one with a more focused formula, you’ll need to examine the labels for specific ingredients. Those that contain hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and biotin, for example, are ideal.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
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    Bronwyn
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    Digital Content Producer
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    Jacob
    Head of e-Commerce Content
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    Editorial Director
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    Melinda
    Web Producer
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