(Last Updated On: June 2, 2018)

The best face wash for men? Really?

But, no, it really isn’t all that strange.

Pierce Brosnan. David Beckham. Chris Noth. Craig Ferguson.

Every one of them 100% MAN. And every one of them with a grooming routine.

Now of course an entire routine is rather extensive. And expensive.

For now, let’s talk about face washes for men.

A face wash doesn’t take much time. It shouldn’t pinch your pocket. And it can be a stepping stone to a complete grooming routine.

With that (and some other factors that are outlined later) in mind, I reviewed the 20 of the hottest men’s face washes to shortlist 5.

Here are my 5 Best Face Washes for Men.

At A Glance: The Best Face Washes For Men

Brickell Men’s Clarifying Gel Face Wash for Men provides a great cleansing wash.

Neutrogena Men Oil-Free Invigorating Face Wash won the 2013 Best of Beauty Award from Allure.

NIVEA Men Sensitive Face Wash is a good mild face wash, especially before a shave.

Lab Series for Men Multi-Action Face Wash is a good moisturizing face wash which will also cool and soothe your skin.

Baxter of California Daily Face Wash is fragrance-free and soothes, softens and energizes your skin.

Changelog of Last 3 Updates
  • June 2, 2018 – Added section – Discussed which is the best facial cleanser for men.
  • May 7, 2018 – Added section – Included a snippet about the difference between a cleanser and a face wash.
  • ….
  • Feb 1, 2018 – Article written covering the 5 best face washes for men. Brickell’s Men’s Clarifying Gel Face Wash for Men was judged the best of them all.

The Best Face Wash for Men

01. Brickell Men’s Clarifying Gel Face Wash for Men Review

Gel Face Wash from Brickell, The Best Face Wash For Men

Good For: Oily, Dry, Sensitive and Combination Skin.

It comes loaded with a number of cleansing agents, including a number of surfactants.

Why is that significant?

Surfactants can force the unwanted oil and dirt on your skin to mix with water so they can be swept away.

It also includes Coco-Glucoside and Decyl Glucoside which are very mild chemicals. In fact, they are used in baby products because they are so mild.

This face wash also contains essential oils like

  • Peppermint Leaf Oil (Menthol cools your skin)
  • Eucalyptus Oil (reduces inflammation and kills bacteria)
  • and Lemongrass Oil (shrinks your pores).

If you know your stuff you will recognize that the essential oils make this one of the best acne cleansers for men.

You can use it as an acne body wash for men, use it wherever you’re facing acne issues.

Being a gel it will feel cool and refreshing on the skin.

And in addition to to the numerous cleansing agents it includes a number of foam boosters. A rich foam helps the cleansers go into pores, ensuring a deep clean, making this one of the best cleansers for men.

In fact, you can go beyond that. This is a good body wash for men with oily skin.

You can use face wash on your body. But you should avoid applying body wash to your face. Click To Tweet

As Dr Rachel Nazarian, MD, explains, facial skin is much more delicate than that on the rest of your body.

So, you see, this face wash from Brickell is one of the best face and body washes for men with sensitive skin.

The key ingredients are listed below.

Soothe and Condition your skinAloe Vera Leaf Juice, Gotu Kola Extract, Horsetail Extract, Dandelion Extract, Sodium Levulinate
EmollientGlyceryl Oleate
HumectantGlycerin
Replenish and Restore your skinSodium PCA, Glycerin
AntioxidantGotu Kola Extract, Horsetail Extract, Geranium Extract
Emulsifier and Foam Booster
Sodium Methyl 2-Sulfolaurate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glyceryl Oleate
Cleansing Agent
Sodium Methyl 2-Sulfolaurate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Decyl Glucoside
Anti-inflammatoryEucalyptus Oil
Cool your skinPeppermint Leaf Oil
AstringentLemongrass Oil
PreservativeSodium Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol
Buffer/pH AdjusterCitric Acid

Directions

  • Dampen your face with warm water.
  • Take a quarter-sized amount and work into a rich lather.
  • Massage it onto your face.
  • Rinse off with warm water and pat yourself dry.

What I Liked

Good cleansing wash.

So many conditioners make this a good face wash for men with dry skin.

A number of essential oils make it a good option for acne-prone users.

What I Didn’t Like

Geranium Extract may irritate some users’ skin.

The Best Men’s Face Wash for Oily Skin

02. Neutrogena Men Oil-Free Invigorating Face Wash Review

Face Wash from Neutrogena, Best Men's Face Wash for Oily Skin
Good For: Oily, Dry and Combination skin. May also work for Sensitive Skin.

It won the 2013 Best of Beauty Award from Allure.

It comes in gel form but you can work it into a rich lather by mixing it with water.

Watch out while doing that because when wet the gel may slip between your fingers resulting in some face wash being wasted.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a very good cleanser but it may irritate your skin a bit.

In addition, Menthol, while a refreshing cooling agent, may be too sensitizing for some users.

So you should do a patch test before using this face wash if you have sensitive skin.

I’ve listed out the main ingredients below.

HumectantGlycerin, pro-Vitamin B5*
Replenish and Restore your skinGlycerin
Cleansing AgentSodium Lauryl Sulfate, Coco-Glucoside, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate
Emulsifier and Foam BoosterDisodium Lauroamphodiacetate, Polysorbate-20
Cool your skinMenthol
Buffer/pH AdjusterCitric Acid
PreservativeMethylparaben, DMDM Hydantoin
Chelating AgentDisodium EDTA
SolventWater
* As Panthenol.

Directions

  • Wet your face with cool water.
  • Take a dime-sized amount and work into a lather.
  • Massage it onto your face.
  • Rinse it off with cool water and pat yourself dry.

What I Liked

 It forms a rich lather.

 Coco-Glucoside is a very mild cleansing agent.

 Prevents hair loss from strain e.g. from tying your hair into a bun

 Nice refreshing fragrance.

What I Didn’t Like

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is highly comedogenic.

DMDM Hydantoin releases Formaldehyde.

The gel may slip out between your fingers resulting in wastage.

The Best Cleansing Men’s Face Wash

03. NIVEA Men Sensitive Face Wash Review

Sensitive Face Wash from NIVEA Men, Best Cleansing Face Wash For Men
Good For: Oily, Dry and Combination Skin. Also works for Sensitive Skin.

You should use this face wash before shaving. It softens your beard, enabling a smooth shave.

Plus the fragrance gives you a great after-shave feeling.

However the fragrance may put off some users with sensitive skin so do a patch test to ensure you can use it comfortably.

It cleans out your face and reduces oiliness but doesn’t leave you tight and dry.

It contains a number of antioxidants that help firm up your skin and reduce any scarring you may have.

Apart from the fragrance it is mild enough so you may use it even if you have a problem like psoriasis.

However in such a case, you should always do a patch test to see for yourself whether your skin reacts adversely to the face wash.

Reasonably mild, loaded with antioxidants and lubricators this face wash for NIVEA is a very good face wash for men with acne prone sensitive skin.

Following are the key ingredients.

HumectantGlycerin, pro-Vitamin B5*
EmollientPEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
Replenish and Restore your skinGlycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
Cleansing AgentSodium Laureth Sulfate
AntioxidantVitamin E**, German Chamomile Extract, Witch Hazel Extract
Soothe and Condition your skinGerman Chamomile Extract, Witch Hazel Extract, Xanthan Gum
Emulsifier and Foam BoosterSodium Laureth Sulfate, Carbomer, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil
Buffer/pH AjusterSodium Hydroxide
Chelating AgentTrisodium EDTA
Scatters UV RaysBenzophenone-4
PreservativePhenoxyethanol
SolventWater
* As Panthenol.

** As Tocopheryl Acetate.

Directions

  • Dampen your face with cool water.
  • Work the face wash into a lather and massage it onto your face.
  • Rinse off with cool water and pat yourself dry.

What I Liked

Use before a shave. It softens up your beard.

Antioxidants firm up your skin, resist aging and reduce scarring.

Reduces oiliness without making your face feel dry or tight.

May be used even with certain skin conditions like psoriasis.

What I Didn’t Like

Carbomer, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Laureth Sulfate are mildly comedogenic.

Witch Hazel Extract and added fragrance may irritate your skin.

The Best Soothing Men’s Face Wash

04. Lab Series for Men Multi-Action Face Wash Review

Soothing Men's Face Wash from Lab Series
Good For: Oily, Dry, Sensitive and Combination Skin.

What makes this one the best face cleansers for men?

Glycerin and Panthenol are 2 of the most commonly used humectants (moisturizers).

The face wash includes water as a solvent so the chances of your skin drying ‘inside out’ are reduced.

German Chamomile will soothe your skin while Caprylyl Glycol conditions it, keeping it smooth and soft.

Peppermint Oil cools the skin giving you a fresh feel but it may be too sensitizing for some users so do a patch test before using it if you have sensitive skin.

This face wash foams well which is important for a thorough cleansing (why will be explained later).

However the price may be a bit of a concern for some users.

The main ingredients follow.

Cleansing AgentMyristic Acid, Behenic Acid, Palmmitic Acid, Lauric Acid, Stearic Acid, PEG-3 Distearate
HumectantGlycerin, Butylene Glycol, pro-Vitamin B5*
EmollientPalmitic Acid, Stearic Acid
AntioxidantVitamin E**, German Chamomile
Replenish and Restore your skinGlycerin, Acetyl Glucosamine
Soothe and Condition your skinCaprylyl Glycol, German Chamomile
Cool your skinPeppermint Oil
AbsorbentSilica
Emulsifier and Foam BoosterMyristic Acid, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Stearic Acid, PEG-3 Distearate
Buffer/pH AdjusterPotassium Hydroxide
PreservativeCaprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Dehydroacetic Acid
Chelating AgentDisodium EDTA
SolventWater, Butylene Glycol
* As Panthenol.

** As Tocopheryl Acetate.

Directions

  • Rinse your face and neck with cool water.
  • Massage the face wash onto your wet skin and work into a lather.
  • Wash it off with warm water and pat yourself dry.

What I Liked

Includes 2 popular moisturizers (humectant) Glycerin and Panthenol.

It will cool down and soothe your skin.

It foams well which is critical for a thorough cleanse.

What I Didn’t Like

Denatured Alcohol may dry out your skin over time.

Added fragrance and Peppermint Oil may irritate some users.

Price is a bit high.

The Best Foaming Men’s Face Wash

05. Baxter of California Daily Face Wash Review

Foaming Face Wash for Men from Baxter of California
Good For: Oily, Sensitive and Combination Skin. May be a little drying so be careful if you have Dry Skin.

Generally it cleanses your face without irritating it or drying it excessively.

However you may take the precaution of using a hydrating lotion or moisturizer alongwith it.

Cetyl Alcohol does a pretty good job of making your skin soft and supple.

Aloe Vera Juice and Ginseng soothe your skin. Aloe Vera Juice can also prevent inflammation.

Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate is derived from coconut. It is a good cleanser and will leave you feeling energized.

It’s fragrance-free so there is no chance of volatile fragrances sensitizing your skin. It is because it’s so mild that the Baxter of California Face Wash is one of the best daily face washes for men.

The key ingredients are listed below.

EmollientCetyl Alcohol
Cleansing AgentTEA-Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate
HumectantGlycerin, Propylene Glycol
Soothe and Condition your skinAloe Vera Leaf Juice, Panaz Ginseng Root Extract
Replenish and Restore your skinGlycerin
Buffer/pH AdjusterCitric Acid, Triethanolamine
Emulsifier and Foam BoosterCetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Triethanolamine
Binding AgentAcrylates Copolymer
PreservativeButylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Propylparaben
SolventWater

Directions

  • Rinse your face with cool water.
  • Gently massage a dime-sized amount onto your skin and work into a lather.
  • Rinse off and pat yourself dry.

What I Liked

 No added fragrance.

 Cleanses your face without irritation or excessive drying.

 Soothes, softens and energizes your skin.

 Aloe Vera Juice can also prevent inflammation.

What I Didn’t Like

 Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol and Triethanolamine are mildly comedogenic.

 TEA-Lauryl Sulfate may excessively dry your skin.

What should you look for in selecting the best face cleanser/soap for men?

Well, you should ensure the face wash works for your type of skin (oily, sensitive etc).

It should adequately cleanse your skin, not just foam and smell nice.

On the other hand, excessive cleansing strips your skin of moisture and oils. That too should be avoided.

Given that layout, here’s the 411 on the specific properties I kept citing (like Astringent and so on)

Emulsifiers help the face wash chemically remain as an emulsion.

Antioxidants firm up your skin, reduce inflammation and scars.

Emollients and Humectants are different kinds of Moisturizers. They help your skin get and retain moisture and keep it soft and supple.

Skin restoring and Replenishing ingredients protect your skin from moisture loss and other damage.

Skin conditioning and Soothing agents will relieve any discomfort you are experiencing from your drying skin.

A pH imbalance will irritate your skin. pH adjusters/Buffers stop that.

Astringent ingredients (sometimes clean and) shrink your pores.

You will want Preservative(s) to maintain product quality if you want to keep the product for a while.

It will be good if your moisturizer itself contains Water because that would reduce the chances of it drying your skin ‘inside out’.

Chelating Agents bind with certain chemicals, preventing contamination.

Scattering UV Rays helps stop or slow down the face wash from degrading. UV Rays can degrade some face washes.

Added fragrances generally involve volatile chemicals that are irritating to the skin. So you should prefer face washes with no added fragrance.

Comedogenic substances clog your pores.

What did you mean by skin drying inside out?

Some Moisturizers (mainly Humectants) work by attracting moisture towards the skin surface.

If they can’t get sufficient moisture from the atmosphere they will draw moisture out from deeper in your skin, thus drying it ‘inside out’.

 

You are sufficiently informed now to make your own choice but I think there’s a clear winner you should check out.

Brickell Men’s Clarifying Gel Face Wash for Men

It has a large number of cleansers, including Coco-Glucoside and Decyl Glucoside which are very mild.

It also has sufficient moisturizers to ensure your skin doesn’t dry excessively.

Three Essential Oils – Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Lemongrass – set it further apart, making it soothing, anti-inflammatory, cooling (which provides great relief to inflamed skin) and anti-bacterial.

It’s also free of comedogenic substances making it a great acne wash for men.

 

Best face wash for men and best cleanser for men…just different names or something more?

We’ve reviewed only face washes for men and generally it appears face washes are more popular as far as men’s grooming is concerned.

However, facial cleansers for men do exist like the one from Rugged and Dapper. In fact, that one is a very good cleanser for oily skin men.

So, it would be relevant here to establish the key difference between a face wash and a cleanser.

If you think about the phrase ‘face wash’ for a minute, you will inevitably picture a product that foams.

Sure enough, a face wash typically has a foaming action that enables it to clean deep-seated impurities.

Whereas a cleanser would lack a foam (at most a thin lather) and would excel at getting rid of excess oil and grime, oil-soluble impurities.

A cleanser should be milder than a face wash.

Functionally speaking

  • A face wash would be more appropriate after you return home from work, having faced vehicular, environmental pollution and so on throughout the day.
  • Whereas if you’ve been indoors and are going to bed, you’re more likely to need a cleanser to deal with excess sebum, dead skin cells and so on.

Of course, these are suggestive guidelines and not set in stone. You should draw up your own regimen based on your own needs.

 

Regular application of a cream can ensure a well moisturized skin; which is as important as a cleanse. Got any suggestions as to which is the best facial cream for men?

I’d suggest you start with the Retinol Cream Moisturizer from LilyAna Naturals.

It’s unisex; meaning both men and women can use it.

And it’s full of lubricants making it a good choice for keeping your skin soft and moist.

If you think my list is incomplete or there’s a product better suited to be in the Top 5 Men’s Face Washes, feel free to tell me! The ones I like will get a shout-out on Facebook and may even be included with attribution.

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