The Best Face Washes for Oily Skin


Finding the right face wash for oily skin can be tricky. Oily skin is more prone to break-outs, clogged pores, texture, and excess shine. The solution is not as simple as drying out the skin. Harsh facial products strip the epidermis of its natural oils, contributing to counteractive sebum production as your body attempts to restore balance. This repetitive stripping can exacerbate the problem over time, causing greater oil build-up that becomes harder and harder to control.

If you’ve given up hope of finding an effective face wash for your oily skin, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve curated a list of some of the best oily skin friendly face washes on the market. From gentle cleansers to deep purifying washes, these products are carefully selected for their incredible ability to transform oily skin.

We’ve done the research for you. Keep reading to find a face wash that will work for your oily skin.

1. Blu Atlas Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser


Healthy, beautiful skin has never been this easy. The Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser by Blu Atlas has earned the top spot on our list of the best face washes for oily skin for its ground-breaking formula. Designed for all skin types, a small amount of this cleanser deeply purifies the skin, eliminating bacteria in every layer of the dermis. Because of its exfoliating properties, people with oily skin will notice immediate improvements in texture and a reduction in excess shine. Expect baby-smooth skin after only one wash!

The star ingredient in the Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser is—you guessed it—volcanic ash. The finely ground particles possess a high absorbency, perfect for soaking up overproduced oils. Your skin will feel lighter, tighter, and cleaner. We also love the soothing effects of lactobacillus ferment filtrate, which balances the skin’s microbiome, preserving its natural health. This pH-balancing formula really does it all!

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


Paula’s Choice is an Australian skincare brand that’s become a hot name in the beauty community over recent years. Among their best-selling products, the Oil-Reducing Cleanser, is the perfect solution for any of your oily skin troubles. As its name suggests, this cleanser gently removes excess oil from the superficial layers of the dermis, while drawing out any bacteria and impurities from deep within the skin. The primary ingredient is sunflower seed oil, which shows impressive detoxifying action to calm skin inflammation. We also love the feeling of the cream to foam formula. This is designed to leave you with smooth and soft skin without the dryness or tight feel of other oily skin face washes. Use it morning and night as an important step in your new regime.

Transform your skincare routine into a luxury experience. Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser is scientifically backed, guaranteeing you beautiful, balanced skin.

3. Neutrogena Oil-Free AcneWash


Oily skin will be a problem of the past with Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Wash. Designed to fight breakouts, this salicylic acid formula is recommended by dermatologists to reduce skin imperfections caused by oil accumulation. Salicylic acid is among the best ingredients to deeply cleanse blocked pores and reduce the appearance of blackheads for cleaner, brighter skin. With continual use, this will smooth the texture of your skin as it controls oil overproduction. Neutrogena’s MicroClear Technology works to improve the effectiveness of acne medication, making the Oil-Free Acne Wash the best companion for your anti-acne regime. 

Neutrogena recommends using this product twice a day. Simply lather it onto your skin and thoroughly rinse. Because of the fine 2% concentration of salicylic acid, even people with sensitive skin can benefit from the Acne-Fighting Face Wash. You should notice a massive change in your skin after only one week of use.

4. Dermalogica Active Clay Cleanser


Oily skin is no match for Dermalogica’s Active Clay Cleanser. With a list of unique skin-healing ingredients up their sleeve, it’s not hard to see why Dermalogica has landed a spot on our list of the best face washes for oily skin. This mineral-rich formula is based in kaolin clay and activated binchotan charcoal, which are known to draw out even the deepest of pores without leaving a gritty residue. Absorbing excess oil helps to balance the skin, reducing the appearance of impurities and preventing the formation of acne. Other impressive ingredients include murumuru seed and botanical lipids; this dream team of ingredients supports a healthy lipid barrier and restores the skin’s natural microbiome. The dual action of the Dermalogica Active Clay Cleanser is what makes it so fantastic: your skin is healed both on and deep below the surface. 

Massage the Active Clay Cleanser onto your face and neck before rinsing with warm water. Despite being clay based, the product produces a nice foam when lathered—another check for Dermalogica. There’s no face wash quite like this one.

5. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser for Oily Skin


The Purifying Foaming Cleanser by La Roche-Posay is sure to exceed your expectations. This gentle foaming formula leaves your skin feeling clean and refreshed, with a comfortable level of firmness. Developed with oily skin in mind, the secret behind La Roche-Posay’s cleanser is a combination of prebiotic thermal spring water, niacinamide and ceramide-3. Prebiotic thermal spring water is a mainstay in La Roche-Posay’s formulas, sourced from the brand’s namesake town in France. Its deep purifying abilities come from a unique composition of minerals and natural antioxidants. Ceramides and niacinamides are popular skincare ingredients for their high moisture retention and promotion of a healthy skin barrier, making them the perfect addition to this soothing, cleansing formula. La Roche-Posay recommends this face wash for sensitive skin.

Tested by dermatologists; tested for allergens; paraben, fragrance, oil and sulfate free; proven to effectively cleanse skin of oil and impurities—what more could you need in a face wash?

6. CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser


CeraVe’s Foaming Facial Cleanser is hailed as one of the best face washes for oily skin. It’s affordable, effective and improves the integrity of your skin over time. This gel-based formula features a carefully composed blend of ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, each chosen to improve the cellular health of your skin. Niacinamide is one of our favorite skincare ingredients for its support of a healthy skin barrier, working to improve the health of your skin from the inside out. We found this formulation fantastic at locking in moisture while removing excess shine. 

Developed with dermatologists, the Foaming Facial Cleanser is your one-stop shop for bouncy, hydrated skin. The gel foaming action is ideal for unclogging blackheads and blocked pores, simultaneously treating current skin imperfections and preventing future acne. The gentle action makes this the perfect solution for sensitive skin, and can be used every day without fear of irritation or redness. We’re confident you’ll love CeraVe’s face wash as much as we do!

7. Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay


Are regular face washes not working for you? Here’s one of our top secret weapons. The Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay has picked up a devout cult following for its revolutionary approach to skin care. Composed of 100% natural calcium bentonite clay, this formula can be used for facials, hair masks, insect bites, foot soaks and more. Its usage dates back centuries, with the Aztecs popularizing the clay for its detoxifying and healing properties. Because it absorbs bacteria and impurities from the skin, the Secret Indian Healing Clay can treat facial blemishes, unplug pores, and soften skin texture. We especially recommend this for sensitive skin as its natural ingredient is less likely to cause irritation.

To use the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, mix equal parts clay with water or apple cider vinegar. Apply evenly and leave to soak for 5–10 minutes; keep in mind the longer you leave it on, the deeper the product can penetrate. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. You can use the product every day when struggling with a breakout and drop down to a few times a week once your skin has improved.

8. Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel


If you’re after a non-foaming cleanser that smells great, works great, and leaves you looking great, the Enzyme Cleansing Gel by Mario Badescu might be right for you. The key ingredients in this life-changing formula include grapefruit extract to dissolve excess oil and surface bacteria, and papaya extract, which buffs away dead skin cells to reveal soft, fresh skin. The exfoliating action of the Enzyme Cleansing Gel is what makes it one of the best face washes for oily skin. The exfoliation ensures any debris accumulation on the surface of your skin is removed, stopping pores from becoming blocked and angry. We always believe preventing the issue is better than treating it!

Mario Badescu’s creators are masters at developing deep-cleansing face washes that don’t strip the skin of its natural moisture. You can even use the Enzyme Cleaning Gel as an exfoliating face mask. Simply apply the product and leave it to soak for five minutes before rinsing. Say goodbye to dull skin!

9. Cosmedix Clarify Salicylic Acid Foaming Cleanser


True to its name, Clarify is a face cleanser that brings out the best in your skin. Alcohol-free Clarify Salicylic Acid Foaming Cleanser works by gently exfoliating the top layer of the skin to expel clogged pores, reducing oils and impurities. The mild exfoliating action ensures improved skin texture and balance without stripping it of hydration. Don’t think that cleansed skin needs to feel tight and uncomfortable; Cosmedix has formulated a water-based foam cleanser that boosts the skin’s supple radiance. Aloe vera works within this multi-action formula to help calm angry complexions as salicylic acid lathers away blemishes. With every use, you’ll notice refreshed, clarified skin glowing from the inside out.

Cosmedix has designed their Salicylic Acid Foaming Cleanser to be used both morning and night. This means you won’t need to invest in an expensive skin care regime—one product is all you need to do right by your skin.

10. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water


The Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water is familiar to most people. You’ve probably seen this in your parent’s bathroom, or used it at a friend’s house—a bottle is likely already tucked away in your own home. The reason for its popularity: it works just as intended.

This all-in-one cleanser utilizes micelles to actively capture impurities and sebum on the skin. No aggressive scrubbing required! The Micellar Cleansing Water is popular among people with an oily skin type as it captures excess oil, leaving a refreshed, cool feel after cleansing. To use, apply a splash of the product to a cotton pad and swipe along your face. No rinsing is required, making this among the easiest face washes to use. We love taking it on trips for a quick skin refreshment or to remove makeup on the go. 

You don’t have to break the bank for a high-quality face wash. With its affordable pricing and long-lasting volume, you’re sure to get more than your money’s worth out of the Micellar Cleansing Water!

11. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser


Kiehl’s has been a staple skin care brand for nearly two centuries. Over the years, they’ve developed some of the best products for improving the quality of your skin—and their Ultra Facial Cleanser is no exception. This pH-balanced face wash dissolves dirt and debris using a careful blend of apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, and squalene, leaving behind fresh, soft skin. Apricot kernel oil and avocado oil are fantastic natural moisturizers, aiding the skin’s clarity while providing intense hydration for suppleness and bounce. Squalene replenishes the skin’s cellular barrier to improve its integrity, fighting off signs of aging. Despite this foaming formula being incredibly gentle on the skin, its powerful decongestant action makes it the ideal product if you’re struggling with oily skin.

The best face wash for oily skin doesn’t have to be an intensive luxury product. Keep things simple with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser!

12. REN Clearcalm Clarifying Clay Cleanser


It’s not often that a skin care product comes around and totally knocks our socks off. Packed with a variety of hard-hitting ingredients and free from any parabens, fragrances, or sulfates, it’s no wonder why the Clearcalm Clarifying Clay Cleanser impresses. French kaolin clay deeply purifies the skin, extracting sebum, bacteria, and dead skin cells from the pores. Willow bark gently exfoliates the outer skin layer, while flavonoids tone the skin to reduce further sebum production.

The formulation also exerts an anti-microbial effect through manuka tree extract to support a healthy skin biome. The results? Glowy, hydrated skin that’s cleansed down to the deep layers of the dermis. To use, massage the Clay Cleanser onto damp skin, then wash off with warm water.

If you struggle with acne-prone skin, REN’s formulation is designed especially for you. We have to warn you: the results are addictive.

13. Murad Clarifying Cleanser


The Murad Clarifying Cleanser is a fantastic solution for any of your oily skin woes. Formulated using salicylic acid—one of our top-rated skin care ingredients—this gel cleanser is the ultimate way to fight blemishes. Importantly, Murad uses two types of salicylic acid: a free form to immediately treat the skin, and an encapsulated form to continue nursing imperfections throughout the day. Their inclusion of green tea extract is genius for soothing irritated, sensitive skin. We love Murad’s close attention to formulation!

The Clarifying Cleanser has been clinically proven to dissolve excess oil, deeply cleanse the skin, and improve the skin’s appearance and texture. People with normal to combination skin also see benefits using this product; however, it works a charm on oily skin. If you’re currently losing a battle against breakouts, pick up Murad’s magic in a bottle. 

14. Tatcha The Deep Cleanse


No brand can do luxury skin care quite like Tatcha. The Deep Cleanse face wash is among our favorites of this product’s complete package of natural goodness to rejuvenate your skin. Japanese luffa fruit, one of the highlighted ingredients, has a gentle exfoliating effect to remove debris from the surface of your skin, including dirt, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Turning over dead skill cells reveals smooth, fresh skin, and reduces the chance of clogged pores.

As we’ve mentioned previously, exfoliation is one of the best ways to reduce excess oil. Your skin will appear visibly brighter and cleaner, and you’ll find your skin to be less oily throughout the day. Tatcha harnesses the natural detoxifying benefits of Japanese wild rose and Japanese leopard lily in their fantastic formulation to calm the skin. 

Achieving radiant skin can seem impossible for people with oily skin types. It requires a perfect balance between matte and shine, having a natural glow without appearing greasy. Well, take our word for it—The Deep Cleanse can give you skin like you’ve never seen it before. 

15. Aesop In Two Minds Facial Cleanser


Banish your imperfections with Aesop’s In Two Minds Facial Cleanser. This gel-based formulation carefully cleanses the skin without drying, making it perfect for people wanting to balance their oily complexion. The lightweight gel texture is unlike anything else we’ve tried. It glides on smoothly, refreshing every nook and cranny of the skin, leaving a comfortably purified feel after rinsing. The key ingredient of the In Two Minds Facial Cleanser is witch hazel, popular in skin care circles for resolving a variety of skin troubles through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, including redness, bacteria buildup, swelling, itching and sensitivity. Salicylic acid makes a reappearance in Aesop’s formulation, working hand-in-hand with astringent sage leaf to effectively dissolve clogged pores and improve skin clarity. 

With Aesop, it’s all in the details. The subtle herb aroma lingers on your skin all day, and you’ll feel less oil accumulation, even if you exercise. Get your hands on this product and let the compliments roll in!

16. Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel


Avene is an expert skin care brand with all the right tools to solve your oily skin. Their Cleanance Cleansing Gel is dermatologically tested, with a proven clinical efficacy in clearing oily, acne-prone skin after 21 days of use. The secrets behind Avene’s mastermind product are monolaurin and thermal spring water. These work together to cleanse the skin beautifully, relaxing excess sebum production to reveal mattified, healthy skin. If you’re not a fan of the glass skin trend, the Cleanance Cleansing Gel is right for you. Every wash eliminates stubborn texture and shine. We particularly recommend it for makeup wearers as the mattifying effect allows for easier layering of your favorite base products. With results like these, you’ll never turn back!

Frequently asked questions

How often should I wash my face?

It’s true—people with oily skin need to pay more attention to their cleansing routine than people with other skin types. Washing your face too much can dry out your skin, leading to early fine lines and wrinkles, while washing your face too little allows oil accumulation and a dirty feel. When it comes to oily skin, a regimented approach with high-quality products is your best bet. These routines aim to regulate your natural sebum production, without stripping the skin, which improves your skin’s elasticity, texture, and health over time.

Dermatologists recommend washing your face twice a day to control oil build-up: ideally once in the morning, and once at night. This cleanses any sebum that accumulates during the night, then again during the day, training your skin to equilibrate. Supplementing your wash routine with toners, serums, and moisturizers designed for oily skin also supports your skin’s balance. The most important component of any skin transformation is consistency. Figuring out what routine works for you requires trial and error. 

What causes oily skin?

Oily skin is caused by a multitude of factors. Generally, your skin type is predetermined by genetics, but is easily influenced by hormones, diet, stress, and location—people in humid climates are more likely to encounter oily skin troubles. For the most part, oily skin isn’t a problem and can actually be beneficial in preventing fine lines and texture. However, when excess oil accumulates, it can lead to acne, irritation, and a greasy shine. When you begin to feel like your oily skin is out of your control, it’s time to seek the help of oily skin face washes. These are designed to support the natural composition of your skin type. 

What products come after face wash?

A face wash/cleanser is the first step in any skin care routine. This ensures your skin is 100% purified before the application of enhancing products, allowing them to sink deeper within the dermis. A traditional skincare routine can be broken down into seven easy steps: cleanser, toner, serum, spot treatment, eye cream, moisturizer, and facial oil. However, it’s important to consider things like product density when it comes to layering skin care products.

Thinner products should be applied first to the skin as thicker products can be occlusive. For example, an oil-based serum should be applied before a heavy moisturizer as the serum can’t penetrate through a thick layer of moisturizer. Other components of the routine can be simplified; you can use the same cream for your under eyes as you use for the rest of your face, as long as it doesn’t cause any sensitivity or redness.

You may want to consider alternating products that counteract each other, such as chemical exfoliants (e.g. salicylic acid) and active ingredients (e.g. Vitamin C). Eliminating or adding steps may also be necessary as you curate your personalized skin care regimen. Ultimately, what products come after face wash is up to you, just keep in mind product layering—each step should complement the last.

Should I still wash my face if I have sensitive skin?

You should absolutely wash your face despite having sensitive skin. Every skin type requires cleansing! Debris and dirt build-up can actually worsen sensitive skin symptoms, leaving you with stubborn redness, dry patches and acne. People with dry skin often have horror stories from past cleansing experiences. But with some extra care and attention, you can avoid irritation altogether. 

First, make sure to use a product that’s designed for your skin. Plenty of sensitive-skin friendly options are on the market; these are crafted with carefully selected ingredients that won’t sting or strip the skin. Take a look at the formulation of a product before purchasing. 

Second, use lukewarm water when lathering in and rinsing off the product. Extreme temperatures can be damaging to the skin. It’s tempting to use scalding hot water for a more “clean” feeling, but try to avoid excessive heat. As a general rule of thumb, your face should not appear flushed after cleansing. Conversely, cold water closes your pores, trapping in bacteria and preventing your face wash from doing its job.

Third, be kind to your skin! Don’t scrub too hard. Gentle, circular motions give you the results you’re after without any unnecessary irritation. Use a soft, clean towel to pat your skin dry after washing. Leaving residual water on your skin can dehydrate.

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