19 Best Face Washes for Oily Skin Reviewed in 2018

Updated 6 years ago

Washing your face with a gentle cleanser and the right ingredients can help you keep oily skin under control. Too much washing and scrubbing and the wrong formula will dry out and irritate your skin, causing it to become oilier. So how can you strike the perfect balance?

When you choose a face wash, avoid oils and alcohols. Aim for cleansers that contain salicylic or glycolic acid. Foaming face washes are great if you’re acne-prone. Use one twice a day, or at least once before bedtime to wash off the grime of the day.

Acid may sound harsh, but salicylic or glycolic acid exfoliate dead skin and clean out your pores by breaking down old skin cells. They reduce the amount of oil on your skin and shrink your pores. But do be careful if you’re taking acne medication because the combination might dry out your face. And if you’re allergic to aspirin, don’t use salicylic acid on your skin.

The best method for washing your face

Your face cleanser probably has directions on its container, so consult those first. Generally speaking, it’s best to use lukewarm water instead of hot or cold. Some cleansers will suggest that you let them sit on your skin for a couple of minutes. Massaging them onto your face with your hands is usually fine, but sometimes you may wish to use a washcloth for extra exfoliating power.

Although it’s tempting to scrub the bejeebers out of your skin, don’t do it. You’ll probably cause irritation and more oil than before. Stay away from harsh scrub brushes and loofahs. Instead, sneak up on your face and attack it with TLC so that over time it will look and feel great again.

Then when you’re done washing away the day, be sure to moisturize so that your skin stays happy and hydrated all night long. Cleanse and moisturize again in the morning to face the day with shine-free confidence.

The top face washes for oily skin

We researched to discover the best face washes to help you control the oiliness and still have baby soft skin. Do plan on moisturizing after washing to get the best results.

Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser for Oily Skin

La Roche-Posay’s line of beauty products are the favorites of many users around the world. Their Effaclar Purifiying Foaming Gel Cleanser is gentle and effective. It doesn’t change your skin’s pH balance, and it doesn’t contain oils or alcohols.

The magic ingredient is zinc pidolate that lifts impurities from your skin and clears up excess oil. For best results, wet your skin with lukewarm water and massage the gel onto your face. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse it off, again using lukewarm water.

Glytone Mild Gel Cleanser

We mentioned glycolic acid, and the Glytone Mild Gel Cleanser has it in spades. The 4.7% solution provides satisfying results to many users. They find that it clears up their acne and diminishes the amount of oil on their faces. It can be a bit drying, so do plan on moisturizing after using it.

Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser

New Yorkers came to love Mario Badescu’s products, and now the company has a world renowned reputation. Their Glycolic Foaming Cleanser lathers up to exfoliate dead skin and remove extra oil and impurities. Users say this cleanser refreshes their skin and makes it feel so soft.

Besides the power of glycolic acid, the wash contains various herbal extracts like sage and chamomile. Unfortunately, it’s also made with parabens.

Bioderma Sebium Foaming Gel Pump

Bioderma’s Sebium Foaming Gel helps control the production of sebum, the “oil” on your face. It has two uncommon ingredients: zinc sulfate and copper sulphate. These purify skin and may be linked to skin healing faster.

Another unique feature of Bioderma’s Sebium Gel is that you can use it as a foam for shaving. That’s really convenient when you’re traveling. It saves you money, and may help you recover faster from nicks.

Vichy Normaderm Daily Deep Cleansing Gel Cleanser with Salicylic Acid

Vichy Normaderm Daily Deep Cleansing Gel Cleanser has a low concentration of just 0.5% salicylic acid so it’s very gentle on sensitive skin. It also contains glycolic acid and LHA to help it exfoliate dead skin. There are no parabens nor alcohol in the formula. You can wash with Normaderm twice a day.

Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Oil Free Cleanser

Change oily skin into healthy skin with Elizabeth Arden’s Visible Difference Oil Free Cleanser. You may not love the famous Arden scent, but the cleanser does a great job of cleaning without over-drying skin. It’s gentle enough to use morning and night.

Bioderma Sebium H2O Water

Bioderma also makes Sebium H20 Water, a micellar formula. The version for oily skin is in a greenish bottle. Users say it feels very refreshing on their skin. The natural scent is very mild and fades quickly. Some customers find that it completely dissolves their hard-to-remove makeup if they let it sit for a couple of minutes before wiping it off. They also report that they see diminished oil on their faces the next morning.

Biore Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser

Have you ever tried those Bioré pore strips? This same company makes a couple of excellent and rather inexpensive face washes. The Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser uses a 2% salicylic acid formula to clear out clogged pores.

Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser

The Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser is a hot buy among skin care products. It uses charcoal to absorb and lift away impurities and oil from your skin. Lots of people seem to love it because it cleans deep down so your skin feels and looks fabulous.

Unfortunately, those trying to avoid parabens, SLS, and methylisothiazolinone may skip this cleanser.

Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser

No, we didn’t forget about the guys. Jack Black’s Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser is made for the manly man who still needs to wash his face like the rest of us. But although this wash is safe for sensitive skin, it’s vegan, fragrance-free, and made without parabens.

Check out this impressive list of ingredients: glycolic acid and oatmeal for exfoliating dead cells, kaolin clay to absorb oils, dirt, and impurities, Vitamin E for skin health and moisture, and even minerals from Volcanic Ash to repair skin. Since it’s not scented with a manly fragrance, women can enjoy it, too. We won’t tell anyone.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Cetaphil is an important brand name in the skin care world. This Gentle Skin Cleanser is made for all skin types, not just oily skin. You can use it to wash both your face and body, which is especially nice for those who have oily skin on their chests and backs. It’s also recommended for use by children, teens, and adults. It’s hypo-allergenic, non-comedogenic, and has no scent. In other words, buy this in the bulk size and the whole family can enjoy it.

Besides acne, people suffering with psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema have benefitted from using the Gentle Skin Cleanser. It moisturizes but doesn’t strip off all the skin’s natural oil. It will remove makeup and dirt. And one last thing—you can use it without water. Yes, you can take it camping.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

Neutrogena is another recognized brand name for skin care. Their products are often endorsed and praised by dermatologists and beauty specialists. Instyle.com gave their 2014 and 2015 awards for “Best Cleanser for Acne Prone Skin” to Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Wash with pink grapefruit. Why are we including an acne-fighter in our list of oil control cleanser? Because the two problems often go hand in hand.

The Oil-Free Acne Wash contains salicylic acid to kill off acne bacteria and clear out blackheads. Even with all this cleansing power, it doesn’t dry out your face. You can use it morning and night. Neutrogena included aloe and chamomile in their formula help soothe skin. But please do plan on moisturizing after washing with this cleanser.

AHAVA Dead Sea Purifying Mud Soap

Dead Sea mud is good stuff. If you’re not a fan of cleansers in pump-top jars, try this bar of Purifying Mud Soap. Users report that it clears up their face and body acne and leaves their skin feeling soft, but not dry.

Amara Organics Facial Cleanser with 15% Vitamin C

Amara Organics Facial Cleanser with 15% Vitamin C removes mascara. That’s what happy users are reporting. They say it makes their skin feel soft and seems to work very well even though it doesn’t lather up much.

The lack of lather is probably due to the lack of sulfates in the formula. That’s a good thing. It doesn’t have parabens, dyes, or artificial fragrances either. It’s vegan and cruelty-free.

What it does have is aloe, rosehip oil, and tea tree oil that gives it a little tingle. If you have especially sensitive skin, this isn’t for you. But if you want to wash away the grease and grime of the day and feel better afterward, give it a try. Amara Organics offers a 100% money-back guarantee if you’re not delighted.

Era Organics Natural Face Wash Moisturizing Facial Cleanser with Organic Aloe Vera & Manuka Honey for Dry, Oily, Damaged, Sensitive Skin

Era Organic’s Natural Face Wash doesn’t disrupt your skin’s pH balance like some cleansers do. Instead, its vitamin-packed formula lifts away oil and grime to leave skin soft and toned. It’s enriched with aloe vera and Manuka honey to soothe and heal irritated skin.

The ingredient list does not include parabens, sulfates, or fragrances so it’s safe for most people with sensitive skin. Individuals with acne have reported positive results.

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Foaming Face Cleanser is gentle on skin and recommended by many dermatologists. The National Eczema Association recommends it to people suffering with skin disorders. It contains hyaluronic acid to moisturize, niacinamide to reduce redness, and ceramides to help your skin protect itself.

Since it moisturizes as it cleans, your skin won’t feel the need to overproduce oil. But do plan on applying face moisturizer afterward. Many users have commented that their skin feels very clean but a little stiff after they use it.

Burt's Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes, Pink Grapefruit

But what if you really don’t feel like standing at the sink to wash your face at the end of the day? Then grab Burt’s bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes at least.

The Pink Grapefruit flavor wipes away dirt, oil, and makeup but won’t irritate acne-prone skin. They don’t have petroleum products, phthalates, or parabens, but they are enhanced with aloe and Vitamin E to soothe skin.

Simple Kind to Skin Facial Wipes

Simple’s Kind to Skin Facial Wipes are a pleasure to use at the end of the day or anytime you need a refreshing cleansing. You don’t need to rinse afterward.

Contact lens wearers can enjoy these wipes without endangering their eyes. The formula doesn’t leave a residue on skin, and it can even remove waterproof mascara. (Just plan on pressing the wipe gently over your lashes and waiting a moment for it to work.)

The ingredients list doesn’t include dyes or artificial scents, but it does have Vitamin B5 to hydrate skin.

CLINIQUE Take The Day Off Micellar Cleansing Towelettes for Face & Eyes

Forget dousing cotton pads with micellar water, use these pre-moistened wipes from Clinique instead. They aren’t designed to replace a regular face care regimen, but are super handy for using on the go.


Choosing skin care products is always a personal decision because one product never suits all people. Take the time to understand what you need and read ingredient lists. Don’t settle for the hype—get the cleanser that works best for you.

We hoped we helped you select the perfect wash for your face. Come visit us again soon to see new reviews of the best in personal care.