10 soothing face washes suitable for sensitive skin
Cleansing *and* calming.
By Delaney Loane
Digital Beauty Editor / July 18 2023
When your skin is sensitive, nothing feels safe. Something as simple as washing your face could be the very move that sets off a slew of issues (ranging from mild redness to a full-fledged rash).
But it's not like you can just go cold turkey on cleansing, either. God knows your reaction-prone face would also be furious about that. So how on earth do you win?
With a carefully-selected calming face cleanser designed just for skin as temperamental as yours, of course. And we've found the very best of them.
Which face wash is best for sensitive skin?
When it comes to choosing a decent face cleanser for sensitive skin, it's important to look for products that are gentle and fragrance-free. That's because these formulas are specially designed to minimise the risk of irritation or adverse reactions.
You should also keep your eyes peeled for mild, non-stripping formulas to ensure they'll effectively cleanse the skin without causing excessive dryness or tightness, which can be particularly problematic for sensitive skin types.
Here are our top suggestions...
Alpha-H Balancing Cleanser
This cleanser has a super gentle formula that's pretty much guaranteed to play nicely with sensitive and problematic skin. The creamy, multi-tasking cleanser is made with luxurious vitamin E and aloe vera, and it has a non-stripping formula that respects the skin's natural pH balance.
Was $54.95, now $43.96 at Alpha-H
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Let us just say this: if Kim Kardashian chooses to use a $12 cleanser, it's because it's legitimately phenomenal. This gentle fragrance-free formula is super soothing, contains no soap and is even safe for using around eyes (which as sensitive souls will know, is an actual miracle).
Was $19.99, now $13.99 at Chemist Warehouse
QV Face Gentle Foaming Cleanser
Whether a flare-up is calling for a return to a back-to-basics approach or you simply don't dare stray from your soap-free safe zone, this guy will always be there for you. A lightweight moisturising foam enriched with soothing vitamin E, it's the comfort food of the cleanser gang.
Was $14.99, now $12.90 at Chemist Warehouse
Dope Skin Co Antioxidant Gel Cleanser
Packed full of antioxidant botanical superfood extracts and vitamins, this gentle cleanser is designed to soothe and hydrate your skin while it gently cleanses, leaving you feeling fresh as a daisy. Hard-working and non-drying, it lathers into a velvety formula, instantly awakening and refreshing, leaving your complexion clean and revived without dehydrating it.
Was $34.95, now $27.95 at Dope Skin Co
Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel
In the case that your face is oily and sensitive, try this soothing, balancing buy. Its greatest talent? Diving deep into pores to draw out impurities and excess sebum while also calming the complexion. As a bonus, it's also apt for aiding with back-ne. Just putting it out there...
Was $38.99, now $33.49 at Chemist Warehouse
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Cleanser Water Gel
A friend to the dry-skinned is generally a friend to the sensitive-skinned as well, as long as it's not too rich. Luckily, this water gel cleanser has all the hydrating benefits without any of the heaviness. It's a hypoallergenic hyaluronic acid wash worthy of a spot on any sensitivity-friendly shower shelf.
Was $20, now $13.99 at Chemist Warehouse
Caudalie Vinoclean Gentle Cleansing Almond Milk
Cleansing almond milk even sounds soothing. A softening and irritation-easing combination of nourishing sweet almond oil and calming cornflower water (that happens to feel like velvet on the skin by the way), it'll remove residue, makeup and impurities without harming hydration levels.
$37 at Sephora
CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
Ah, this old chestnut. No bells, no whistles, just a reliable, replenishing face wash that gets the damn job done. Loaded with three types of ceramides plus hydrating hyaluronic acid, you can always trust it to balance redness, boost moisture and ensure your barrier is as strengthened as ever.
Was $14.99, now $13.49 at Chemist Warehouse