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Best Face Wash for Oily Skin: 17 of Our Top Picks

woman applying the best face wash for oily skin in the mirror

The following is a comprehensive guide on the best face wash for oily skin. 

When it comes to our skin, we’re often at the whims of our genetics. Whether we have dry skin, oily skin, or we’re just prone to breakouts, we have to work with the cards we’re dealt.

And while oily skin certainly can pose challenges — such as acne breakouts and an oily appearance — it’s possible to counteract these effects with the right face wash.

The best face wash for oily skin will depend on two factors:

  1. The ingredients
  2. Where you place it in your skincare routine

To remove the guesswork of which face wash may work for you, we list all the ingredients to keep an eye out for when choosing one.

We’ve also analyzed hundreds of face washes for oily skin and present the best 17 with their pros and cons.

The Importance of a Good Cleanser for Oily Skin

Cleansing should be the foundation of your skincare routine, especially for oily skin.

The skin naturally produces oil through the sebaceous glands. These glands are located within your skin and hair, and the oil they produce protects and moisturizes the skin and hair.

The problem arises when sebaceous glands produce more oil than normal, resulting in oily skin. 

Excess oil supports bacterial growth. Oil can also mix with dead skin cells and clog your pores. All this can cause acne, large pores, and scars on the face. The oil on your skin can also make your face look greasy.

So, picking a face wash that manages the excess oil, prevents and fights acne, and keeps the skin hydrated is essential. 

The last point is crucial as many face washes can strip the skin of oil and make it dry — which is the last thing we want.

Oftentimes, skin that’s predisposed to produce oil will overcompensate when it gets too dry, making the issue even worse.

How to Choose the Best Face Wash for Oily Skin

Here are a few things to note:

  • Ingredients of the face wash should balance and combat the excess oil production instead of just washing it away (more about this below).
  • Avoid cleansers containing alcohol, parabens, oil, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances.
  • Select a non-comedogenic face wash, which means one that does not clog the pores.

Ingredients to Look for When Choosing a Face Wash

Here are some ingredients that are beneficial for oily skin:

Salicylic Acid

This is a mild acid that regulates oil production by your sebum glands. The acid shrinks the pores and gives your skin a matte finish.

Glycolic acid

Glycolic acid is suitable for all skin types. It is an exfoliant that helps remove dead cells and excess oil to give you fresher, younger-looking skin. 

This acid is also an excellent ingredient for acne marks, scars, hyperpigmentation, and sun spots. Glycolic acid also unclogs the pores, preventing blackheads.

It also increases the production of collagen – a skin protein that promotes softness and elasticity.

Niacinamide

It is a type of vitamin B3 that provides vitality to the skin and protects it from environmental stress. It’s a great option for managing large pores, acne, and acne scars.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide removes excess oil and prevents acne. However, having the right amount of benzoyl peroxide is essential as too much of this ingredient can make your skin dry.

Experts recommend this ingredient for individuals with oily skin who suffer from pustules or cystic acne.

Neem

Neem is an excellent cleanser with detoxifying and antibacterial properties.

Caffeine

Caffeine is a natural exfoliant that removes excess oil and tightens and brightens the skin. It also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Aloe Vera

It moisturizes the skin without clogging the pores. Aloe vera also maintains the oil balance and fights acne marks.

Tea Tree

The tea tree oil is well known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also combats skin problems caused by environmental stress.

Best Face Wash for Oily Skin: Our Top Picks

Here’s a list of the best facial cleansers for oily skin:

1. Aleavia Purifying Facial Cleanse

Aleavia Purifying Facial Cleanse

The Aleavia Purifying Facial Cleanse gently and effectively sloughs off dead skin cells, toxins, and excess oil to bring your skin’s pH to its optimum level and relieve irritation. 

Nutrient-rich Acadian Sea kelp gives skin vital nourishment, organic extra-virgin coconut oil infuses your skin with moisture, and soothing aloe vera purifies the skin.

The cleanser does more than just remove surface impurities—it balances, nourishes, purifies, and plumps your skin with moisture to bring out the fresh, luminous complexion that you’ve been dreaming of.

Pros

  • 100% natural and organic
  • Non-toxic and GMO-free
  • Chemical- and paraben-free

Cons

  • Doesn’t foam (this is by design, as most foaming agents are harmful to the skin)

2. Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash 

This is one of the best face washes for people with oily skin. The cleanser contains broad-leaf kelp extract, wheat protein, and tourmaline to make your skin smooth, soft, and grease-free.

It’s a great option for people with an oily T-zone and the rest of the face is really dry. 

Users of the face wash love the texture of the face wash and the way it feels on the skin.

Pros

  • Sulfate- and paraben-free

Cons

  • Essential oils may irritate sensitive skin

3. Éminence Organic Skin Care Acne Advanced Cleansing Foam

eminence organics cleanser

Again, a great face wash with natural, organic ingredients. 

It contains a natural form of salicylic acid, provitamin B5, and vitamin E. These ingredients combat excess oil and unclog pores without stripping the skin of its natural oil.

The face wash is gentle and suitable even for sensitive skin. It cleanses your face without the tightness.

Pros

  • Natural ingredients
  • Suitable for sensitive skin

Cons

  • Contains essential oil

4. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser with Salicylic Acid

oil-free face wash

As discussed above, salicylic acid is an excellent ingredient for oily skin prone to acne. The acid clears your pores of dirt and dust, preventing acne. It also minimizes your pores.

No matter your problem, the blemish-busting face wash can help.

Pros

  • Contains salicylic acid that’s great for acne-prone skin
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Contains sulfates that may make your skin dry

5. Shani Darden Skin Care Cleansing Serum

This is a lightweight, serum-like face wash that cleanses your face without causing any harm.

The gentle texture and hyaluronic acid in the face wash keep the skin bouncy and plump.

Users of the face wash are happy that it doesn’t strip the skin of its oil and makes the skin feel refreshed.

Pros

  • Keeps the skin healthy and plump

Cons

  • Pricey

6. Nyakio Sweet Almond Cleansing Oil Balm

nyakio balm

The sweet almond formula balances the oil in your skin and is ideal for acne-prone skin. It doesn’t strip the skin of essential oils.

It can melt your makeup, and you can use it as a second step of the double cleanse.

The cleanser keeps your skin moisturized and soft.

Pros

  • Moisturizing effect

Cons

  • Need double-cleansing

7. Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser

drunk elephant cleanser

It is a gel-like formula that cleanses your face in one go. This means you don’t need to scrub your face for the matte look.

The soothing ingredients keep the skin healthy and acne free.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Alcohol-free

Cons

  • Pricey

8. Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm

farmacy green cleanser

This is a great cleanser for removing makeup. Apply this balm to the face and wipe it off with a clean cloth for a hydrated face.

It cleanses your pores without stripping the face of oil.

Pros

  • Cleansing ingredients

Cons

  • Need double cleansing

9. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Facial Cleanser

la roche posay cleanser

The key in this face wash is niacinamide, which keeps your skin healthy and fades hyperpigmentation. 

It is the best cleanser to pair with a niacinamide serum.

The ingredients in the face wash make it a great option for sensitive and oily skin.

Pros

  • Moisturizes the skin

Cons

  • Not ideal for dry or combination skin

10. Boscia Detoxifying Black Charcoal Cleanser

boscia detoxifying black charcoal cleanser

The charcoal formula allows for removing excess oil from the skin.

It also contains vitamin C, which has brightening effects. 

The ingredients make this face wash a great option for people with oily and combination skin, especially those prone to breakout. 

Pros

  • Great cleanser for acne-prone skin

Cons

  • Not suitable for dry skin

11. Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser

paula's choice cleanser

The aloe vera extract and the foamy lather remove the excess oil while keeping your skin moisturized. 

Sunflower seed oil soothes the skin and prevents inflammation.

The ingredients give a matte finish to the skin and keep it super refreshed.

Pros

  • Soothing ingredients

Cons

  • Contains some oils, which may irritate the skin

12. Ole Henriksen Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser

ole henricksen find your balance cleanser

The glycolic and lactic acids balance the skin. They help you get rid of dead skin cells and excess oil, making the face wash an excellent option for acne-prone skin.

The best part is that they fight excess oil without making the skin dry.

Moreover, neem-seed oil in the cleanser has antibacterial and detoxifying properties.

Pros

  • Exfoliates the skin while cleansing

Cons

  • Contains essential oils

13. First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser With Red Clay

first aid beauty rescue deep cleanser

Red clay absorbs excess oil. The face wash makes your skin smooth and soft.

Moreover, it is free of fragrances, sulfates, and alcohol that may irritate oily skin.

The ingredients of the face wash make it suitable for sensitive and acne-prone skin. 

Pros

  • Soothes the skin
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Foams nicely
  • Protects against environmental stressors

Cons

  • Can’t remove makeup

14. CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin

cerave foaming facial cleanser

Ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid trio cleanse your skin and keep it moisturized. 

It’s a budget-friendly face wash that does its job without making your skin dry.

Pros

  • Great combination of ingredients
  • Budget-friendly
  • Gentle formula
  • Hydrates skin

Cons

  • Cannot remove makeup
  • Not all-natural, some ingredients may irritate or harm skin

15. Dermalogica Active Clearing Skin Wash

dermalogica cleanser

Salicylic acid in the face wash can dissolve dead skin cells and oils to clean your pores. It also fights acne. 

Besides, ingredients like eucalyptus, tea tree, and balm mint can soothe inflammation. 

The face wash can also help remove makeup.

Pros

  • Great ingredients for oily skin

Cons

  • Contains harsh ingredients

16. Tatcha The Deep Cleanse Exfoliating Cleanser

tatcha the deep cleanser

The face wash can make your skin pores looks smaller. 

Fruit fibers in the face wash remove dirt and bacteria from your pores.

Besides, the face wash has a mild-refreshing smell.

Pros

  • Exfoliates your skin

Cons

  • Contains alcohol that can dry your skin

17. Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser

kale + green tea spinach vitamins superfood cleanser

The face wash contains healthy, green ingredients such as kale, spinach, and green tea, which are powerful antioxidants.

The ingredients make it the best option for people with sensitive skin. 

Moreover, vitamin C in the face wash brightens the skin and gives it a subtle glow.

Pros

  • Healthy ingredients

Cons

  • Not fragrance-free

Conclusion

Having oily skin is both a blessing and a curse. More oil often means more vibrant-looking hair and resistance to dandruff. However, it can also cause breakouts and a greasier appearance.

Oily skin can be managed. The key is to start a natural skincare routine, choose the right cleanser, and stick with it. Healthy habits, including avoiding greasy or overly oily foods, can make a big difference as well.

Good luck!

Matt Kenyon

Matt Kenyon is a researcher, strategist, and writer for Aleavia. He enjoys studying natural lifestyle trends and their effect on wellness and longevity.


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