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The best face washes

(Image credit: Foreo)

Cleansing is a vital part of any skincare routine so, when it comes to face wash, it’s worth taking a bit of time to find The One. The right product will gently clear away grime, while leaving your skin feeling softly moisturised.

If you suffer from dull skin, you’ll benefit from a gentle formula that polishes away dead cells, like Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Wash. For a silky-smooth wash, FOREO Micro-Foam Cleanser is hard to beat, while Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser gently stimulates skin, keeping it feeling supple and hydrated.

How you use your face wash matters too. To keep skin in tip top condition we’d recommend washing when you wake up, then again in the evening, before you fall into bed. Start off the day on a good note, by washing off the pore-plugging oils and impurities that accumulate overnight. Then repeat the process in the evening, to shift the sweat, dirt and dust that gathers during the day.

When you run the tap, bear in mind that hot water can strip the skin of natural oils and dry it out. Instead, keep the temperature lukewarm and gently rub your face with your fingertips – scrubbing at your skin with abrasive sponges can trigger irritation. Don’t forget to give your neck some TLC too, by taking your cleanser right down towards your décolletage. Afterwards, pat yourself gently with a towel (rather than rubbing vigorously) and apply your day or night cream. Smooth it on while your skin is still slightly damp, to lock in moisture.

Whether you’re a foam fan, a gel girl or more of a cream queen, we have something to suit every taste and bank balance.

(Image credit: The Bodyshop)

The Body Shop Vitamin E Gentle Facial Wash

Soft and gentle

Reasons to buy
+Light, creamy texture+Mild, non-drying formula+Suitable for all skin types    
Reasons to avoid
-It isn’t designed to remove heavy makeup  

This pale pink face wash is thick and creamy, and almost lotion-like in its consistency. It’s a hydrating formula, which contains Vitamin E to help condition and protect the skin, as well as nourishing Wheatgerm oil. We found the cream very gentle, making it particularly great for us sensitive types, or even those with dry skin. When massaged into the face it easily whipped off all traces of light makeup and daily grime, leaving the face feeling freshly cleansed. Afterwards there was no lingering residue – just soft skin, which wasn’t irritated and had retained its elasticity. It’s also excellent value, plus it smells good too!

(Image credit: Amazon)

FOREO Micro-Foam Cleanser

Silky-smooth cleansing

Reasons to buy
+Suitable for all skin types+Free from sulphates and silicon+Cuts through makeup
Reasons to avoid
-A pricier option, but you don’t need much

FOREO took the beauty world by storm when they released their range of LUNA silicone face brushes, and now there’s a cleanser to boot. You can use it with the LUNA or just stick with old fashioned fingertips and, either way, the results are pretty impressive. The unscented cleanser quickly lathers into a thick and creamy foam, but it’s when you start to rinse it off that the magic really happens. It suddenly becomes silky-soft under your fingertips, as it transforms into delicate micro-bubbles, which lift impurities from deep within pores. The hydrating formula contains skin-replenishing amino acids, as well as nourishing vitamin E, and we found it really did make skin feel spotlessly clean. It felt soft too, with no tightness or dryness. 

(Image credit: Soap & Glory)

Soap & Glory Vitamin C Facial Wash

3-in-1 product

Reasons to buy
+Gently exfoliates+Shifts makeup  +Suitable for all skin types  
Reasons to avoid
-If you don’t like mint, the subtle fragrance may not be for you 

This handy facewash is a clever little multitasker, thanks to its ability to cleanse, purify and polish skin in one go. The gel-like formula contains tiny pink jojoba scrub-beads (don’t worry, these are biodegradable and non-abrasive) to gently stimulate and exfoliate skin, as well as minerals and amino acids. Of course, one of the star ingredients is vitamin C, which is said to supercharge skincare thanks to its ability to smooth fine lines, shield against pollution and give skin a much-coveted glow. With its subtle minty fragrance, we certainly found that this face wash left our skin feeling fresh and clog-free.

(Image credit: Liz Earle)

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

The classic cleanser

Reasons to buy
+Effortlessly removes makeup+Natural ingredients+Softening and hydrating
Reasons to avoid
-Not cheap, but it lasts for ages

This cult cleanser has become something of skincare icon since it first landed in our bathrooms in 1995, garnering a multitude of awards in the process. The creamy formula is packed with nourishing natural ingredients, like softening cocoa butter and soothing eucalyptus, plus chamomile and rosemary too. It’s designed to be massaged onto a dry face and then removed with the accompanying muslin cloth, which you first soak with lukewarm water. Not only did we find the ritual lovely and relaxing (especially at night), but the cleanser rapidly shifted even stubborn makeup, as well as debris and dirt build-up. Afterwards, skin felt supple, stimulated and sparkling clean.

(Image credit: Elemis)

Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Wash

Polishing and revitalising

Reasons to buy
+Smooths the skin+Gives a radiant glow+Silky texture  
Reasons to avoid
-Costly, but a little goes a long way

This face wash is a stalwart from the Elemis stable of products. Previously known as Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash, it’s designed to support the skin’s natural cell renewal cycle, gently polishing away the dead cells and brightening the complexion. Ingredients include Brazilian Babassu Oil, which replenishes moisture, and White Truffle Poria Cocos, which helps to sooth and support the skin’s microflora. We found the silky gel quickly worked into a lather and effectively cleansed the skin. It definitely gave us a glow and, after a few days, pores and fine lines looked a little less noticeable too. 

Sophie Barton

Sophie Barton is a journalist and editor with 18 years’ experience in the national media. She spent 11 years as both Deputy and Executive Editor of Closer magazine, and now specialises in lifestyle, wellbeing and celebrity. She is an experienced product reviewer, with a focus on beauty, family and travel.