BEAUTY IN THE FRIDGE

13 Best Face Washes for Oily Skin That Banish Shininess

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face wash for oily skin

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If you’re hoping to banish oil from your skin and you’ve reached for a strong chemical face peel or a powerful, stripping cleanser, you may have left skin dry or produced more oil. Over-cleansing and over-exfoliating can cause your sebaceous glands to produce too much oil to compensate — exactly they opposite of the desired result. If you have oily skin, a good cleanser is especially important to help keep shine at bay.

For oily skin, it’s all in the ingredients. “The best ingredients to use for someone with oily skin are niacinamide, which helps to regulate oil on a superficial level, as well as salicylic acid, which can help to remove excess oil deep within the pores,” says Alexis Stephens, D.O., F.A.O.C.D., F.A.A.D., a dermatologist at Parkland Dermatology in Coral Springs, Florida and part of Urban RX’s Melanin Expert Network. “If you have oily-prone skin, it’s best to cleanse with either foaming or gel cleanser to ensure adequate removal of excess dirt and oil from your skin,” says Dr. Stephens.

To find the best face cleansers, the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab scans the market for top products from luxury to drugstore. In our last cleanser test, the Lab received 256 products from 96 brands and rigorously screened each product to narrow down to the top 17. Then, 408 consumer testers evaluated the cleansers on criteria like application, texture, scent, and how effectively they dissolve makeup, impurities and excess oil, plus how skin felt and looked after use (including any irritation or dryness). All said, our Beauty Lab pros tallied 4,512 data points to find the best facial cleanser formulas on the market.

Here, you’ll find the formulas that worked the best for oily skin, as well as dermatologist and expert-recommended picks and online favorites:

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1

Best Overall Face Wash for Oily Skin

Refreshing Face Wash

YourGoodSkin ulta.com

$3.75

Given a perfect score by testers for ease of application, this semi-sudsy cleanser is perfect for skin that skews oily: 80% of testers agreed that this face wash provided clean, more clarified skin after a week of use.  “I liked the toned feeling it gave my skin,” one tester said. “It seemed to help clear up congested areas.” It also rinses off easily and works well with sensitive skin. 

  • Clarifying
  • Non-stripping
  • Gentle on sensitive skin
  • Some testers reported a “medicinal” smell
2

Best Value Face Wash for Oily Skin

SkinActive Micellar Foaming Face Wash

Garnier amazon.com

$8.99

Micellar water has long been touted for its abilities to gently remove dirt, makeup and impurities, and now it’s available in the form of a foaming cleanser. Safe for face, lips and eyes, this face wash also helps regulate oil.  “I have pretty oily skin and it’s so gentle on my skin, removing the harsh oils without making my face dry,” one reviewer says.

  • Gentle on skin
  • Non-stripping
3

Best Face Wash for Oily Skin and Acne

Normaderm Phytosolution Intensive Purifying Gel

Vichy amazon.com

$18.00

If you’re searching for that “clean” feeling, this face wash delivers. It’s Beauty Lab chemist Danusia Wnek’s go-to for treating her oily, acne-prone skin. “It leaves my skin feeling squeaky clean and is formulated with salicylic acid to clean out pores and treat acne,” she says.

  • Gently exfoliates
  • Leaves skin feeling fresh and clean
4

Best Face Wash for Sensitive, Oily Skin

Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser

La Roche-Posay amazon.com

$14.99

Looking for a gentle cleanser that still packs a punch but doesn’t leave skin feeling stripped? “It feels more gentle and doesn’t leave skin feeling overly dry after washing,” says Wnek. Formulated with oily skin superstar niacinamide, it helps banish oil throughout the day. 

  • Gentle on sensitive skin
  • Non-stripping
  • Dissolves impurities
5

Best Dermatologist-Recommended Face Wash for Oily Skin

Clear Skin Cleansing Bar

Urban Skin Rx ulta.com

$14.99

Dr. Stephens recommends this cleanser for anyone with oily skin. “[It’s] formulated with salicylic acid, niacinamide, sulfur and ingredients that promote an even skin tone and decrease acne while promoting oil regulation,” she says. 

  • Brightens skin tone
  • Helps breakouts
  • Regulates oil production
6

Best Drugstore Face Wash for Oily Skin

Daily Facial Cleanser

Cetaphil amazon.com

$15.99

$11.25 (30% off)

This face wash is a cult favorite, and it works wonders for oily skin, though the Lab found it works well for all skin types.  “Oil production has decreased throughout the day and my skin appears smoother,” one tester reported. “I would definitely buy this.” Testers also reported that it left their skin feeling soft and hydrated. 

  • Gentle, effective performance
  • Rinses off easily
  • Decreases oil production
7

Best Foaming Face Wash for Oily Skin

Soothing Cleanser

SkinCeuticals skinceuticals.com

$35.00

Though it’s marketed for sensitive or post-procedure skin, the Lab found that this face wash is a good option for every skin type. It received the best overall score for a pleasant texture and was best at providing a generous lather. “For someone with both sensitive and oily skin, I was very pleased with this product,” one tester said. “Did not dry my skin, seems to calm the redness a little. I can tell that this is a high-quality product with really nice ingredients that my skin is very happy with.” 

  • Good texture
  • Non-stripping
8

Best Cleanser for Oily Skin and Blackheads

Cleansing Complex

IS CLINICAL dermstore.com

$44.00

Full of rockstar ingredients like vitamin C and salicylic acid, this cleanser is both gentle on skin and ultra-clarifying. “My esthetician recommended this cleanser to me to help with my clogged pores and oily skin type,” says one reviewer. “I’ve seen great results using this, as early as a few weeks in. It’s gentle, doesn’t strip my face of moisture, and my pores look so much better.

  • Dissolves impurities
  • Keeps oil at bay
9

Best Salicylic Acid Face Wash for Oily Skin

Oil-Free Acne Wash

Neutrogena amazon.com

$20.97

$17.63 (16% off)

A tried-and-true favorite for those with oily and acne-prone skin, this Neutrogena face wash will always be a go-to product. Salicylic acid works to penetrate pores and dissolve impurities. “This face wash has worked best for me since it gently unclogs my pores and gets my skin cleaner without being overly drying or irritating,” one reviewer says.

  • Helps dissolve oil
  • Gently exfoliates
  • May be drying
10

Best Face Wash for Combination, Oily Skin

Niacinamide Cleansing Gelée 3%

Naturium amazon.com

Skincare powerhouse niacinamide is the star of this cleanser. With a super-light, jelly-like texture, it helps cleanse pores and banish oil.  “I have very oily skin in some areas and dry in others, this cleanser makes sure that my whole face feels very clean without making it feel stripped,” one reviewer says.

  • Non-stripping
  • Light texture
11

Best Clay Face Wash for Oily Skin

Active Clay Cleanser

Dermalogica dermstore.com

$39.00

$31.20 (20% off)

Clay is a great ingredient for soaking up excess dirt and oil. Kaolin clay helps to absorb oil and leave skin shine-free. “Keeps my oily skin at bay and noticed less significant break outs,” one reviewer says. 

  • Absorbs excess oil
12

Best Exfoliating Face Wash for Oily Skin

The Deep Cleanse

Tatcha sephora.com

$38.00

This face wash accomplishes an impressive feat — it feels deeply cleansing without making skin feel tight or stripped. Japanese luffa fruit works as a gentle exfoliant that helps clarify skin. “This is the best cleanser for my oily skin,” one reviewer says. “I find it does exactly as the name suggests while leaving my skin soft and not feeling over-stripped.

  • Makes skin feel deeply cleansed
  • Non-stripping
13

Best Pore-Minimizing Cleanser for Oily Skin

Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser

Ole Henriksen amazon.com

$34.04

Formulated specifically to help regulate skin’s oil production, this cleanser employs AHAs glycolic and lactic acid to exfoliate and purify skin. “Especially effective for oily or blemish prone skin,” one reviewer says. “Makes large pores appear smaller.”

  • Gently exfoliates
  • Regulates oil production
  • Shrinks large pores

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