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There are so many different face washes, face scrubs and other beauty products marketed toward women that sometimes choosing can be overwhelming! With so many options out there, how can you be sure you’re choosing the right product for your skin? We’ve looked past all that flashy marketing and dubious claims and rounded up a list of the best face washes available for women in 2023. From simple cleansers suitable for all skin types to face washes formulated to address specific concerns like acne or sensitivity, our list covers everything you need to know. Let’s dive in!
Are there any skincare concerns unique to women?
Everyone’s skin is unique, so it is impossible to make any blanket statements regarding women’s skin or men’s skin. That being said, some skin concerns are more common in women, which you might need to bear in mind when choosing a face wash. Here are some examples:
Because women are more likely to wear makeup, they might have issues relating to product buildup or breakouts from increased oil on their faces.
Women are more prone to hormonal changes that affect their skin’s oil levels; you might find your skin changes throughout your menstrual cycle, and it can also be affected by pregnancy and menopause.
Women’s skin is usually thinner and more delicate, which means it is more likely to be sensitive and prone to dryness or fine lines.
Hormonal changes can also lead to brown spots on the face, also called melasma. This is common during pregnancy, but it can also be triggered by the sun, skin damage or medications.
What ingredients should women look for in a face wash?
First and foremost, when looking for a face wash, you should ensure it contains gentle ingredients that won’t harm your skin. This is good advice for anyone, but particularly for women, thanks to thinner skin. Here are some examples:
Look for coconut-derived surfactants instead of harsher cleaning agents so that your skin won’t get dried out.
If you’re looking for an exfoliant, make sure it is a gentle one. Avoid harsh physical exfoliants such as crushed apricot stones, and instead, look for gentle chemical exfoliants such as glycolic acid or lactic acid.
Hydration is particularly important for women’s skin, as it helps to prevent fine lines and wrinkles which are more common with thinner skin. Look for products with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, which is able to absorb many times its weight in water to keep your skin hydrated.
Look for products that support your skin’s microbiome. Ingredients such as lactobacillus ferment filtrate are a great choice, and help your skin fight off nasties such as harmful bacteria.
When it comes down to it, the best way to find the right face wash for your skin is to do your research. That’s why we’ve put together this list — read through it and find the one that sounds like it best suits your skin concerns!
Coming in at the top of our list of the best face washes for women is the incredibly versatile Blu Atlas Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser. It is one of those rare cleansers that is actually suitable for all skin types, including oily, dry and sensitive skin, so no matter what your skin type, it will work for you!
As mentioned above, one of the biggest concerns for women’s skincare is ridding the skin of impurities left behind by makeup and other beauty products. This cleanser contains the superstar ingredient bentonite — a natural clay made of volcanic ash. This ingredient is highly absorbent and works to remove excess oil and impurities from the skin while tightening the pores. This helps to clear away any makeup residue, as well as preventing breakouts and improving your skin texture.
The importance of your skin’s microbiome is only just now being recognized as a major concern in dermatology, and Blu Atlas is ahead of the game with the inclusion of lactobacillus ferment filtrate as one of its active ingredients. Derived from probiotics, it helps to support the skin’s microbiome and create a strong natural barrier for your skin. This allows your skin to defend itself against external aggressors and bacteria, calming and soothing the skin while preventing breakouts.
One of the main skin concerns women have is skin hydration — hydrated skin feels and looks better, and is far less likely to show fine lines. That is where the pomegranate seed oil in this cleanser comes in. It contains vitamins A, C and K as well as natural antioxidants, which deeply penetrate the pores and leave the skin hydrated and nourished.
If your skin is particularly sensitive, we recommend trying the fragrance-free version of this face wash, but the classic scent and the coconut apricot version are also amazing. No matter which you pick, you just can’t go wrong with Blu Atlas!
The makeup-removing properties of this Clinique cleansing balm are what really set it apart from other cleansers. It is impossible to have good skin if you are going to bed with any makeup residue on your face, and this product ensures that even the most stubborn makeup is removed.
The secret is in the balm-to-oil formula — although gentle and soothing for your skin, it is capable of dissolving even waterproof mascara and sunscreen, ensuring a fresh, clean face ready for the next step in your skincare routine.
Containing safflower seed oil, this face wash is designed to effectively remove dirt and impurities while moisturizing and protecting your skin’s natural moisture barrier. It also contains vitamin E — a powerful antioxidant that soothes your face, reducing redness and minimizing the appearance of blemishes.
Despite the inclusion of these oils, it is a non-greasy formula; simply rinse it away after use, leaving your skin glowing, dewy and fresh.
Suitable for all skin types, if you need extra exfoliation thanks to heavy product use or a buildup of dead skin cells, this cleanser comes with a reusable muslin cloth. This can be used to gently exfoliate and care for your skin, leaving it smooth and healthy.
Another simple formulation that is great for all skin types, Soap and Glory has created a luxurious yet effective deep cleansing milk, suitable for an everyday face wash as well as a makeup remover.
This cleanser is designed to be super gentle, so it won’t irritate or inflame even the most sensitive of skin. The secret to its gentleness is in the natural ingredients — you won’t find any harsh, skin-stripping ingredients in this product!
This cleanser contains peach fruit extract, which not only smells good enough to eat, it is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, which protect the skin from environmental damage while smoothing and brightening the complexion.
When it comes to hydration, this cleanser also has you covered. It contains jojoba oil, which is famous for closely resembling the natural sebum produced by your skin. This makes it an excellent, easily absorbed moisturizer that will leave your skin soft and nourished without leaving any oily residue behind. As well as being an amazing natural moisturizer, jojoba seed oil is an anti-inflammatory, meaning it helps reduce redness and irritation.
When you use this product, your skin will emerge energized and clarified, leaving you with a radiant complexion and glowing skin. And it won’t break the bank either; this skincare line is super affordable. So give it a try! What do you have to lose?
Everyone knows that blueberries are a superfood, but did you know they are also super for your skin? Glow’s Blueberry Bounce cleanser makes the most of its vitamin and antioxidant powers in this clarifying cleanser. It contains blueberry extract, which concentrates the power of blueberries to fight free radicals and prevent premature aging. It also helps to calm your skin’s inflammation, hydrate your skin and prevent dark spots and discoloration.
One of the great things about this product is that it is a three-in-one formula. It is a makeup remover, a daily cleanser and a clarifying mask in one, providing a comprehensive and convenient cleaning routine in a single product — perfect for busy women!
As well as blueberry extract, this face wash contains hyaluronic acid, known for its super hydrating properties, keeping your skin nourished and hydrated. It also gently exfoliates through the use of AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids). This removes dead skin cells and improves your skin texture, leaving you looking refreshed and glowing.
If you’re someone who is concerned about whether a product contains clean ingredients, you can be confident that Blueberry Bounce doesn’t contain any nasties. It is made without parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, silicones, phthalates, alcohol and synthetic dyes, and it is also completely vegan and cruelty-free. So if you want a product that can speed up your skincare routine while leaving you with the best skin of your life, give Blueberry Bounce a try!
The Ordinary has really made a name for itself lately as a basic skincare brand that delivers amazing results at a fraction of the cost. This product is no exception; it is the perfect cleanser if you want a gentle, moisturizing facial cleanser that can remove makeup and won’t dry out your skin.
The key ingredient in this face wash is squalane, an emollient and moisturizer famous for closely mimicking the skin’s natural sebum. Derived from plant sources, the squalane helps to lock moisture into your skin, leaving it super moisturized and hydrated.
As well as squalane, this product includes lipophilic esters that gently dissolve makeup and any dirt or impurities on your face, while also ensuring the product spreads evenly on your face.
When you squeeze this product out from the tube, you’ll notice it changes from a balm-like consistency to a clear, oil-like consistency when you rub it between your hands. This allows the emulsifying esters in the formula to remove oil and makeup from your face, while also allowing the formula to be easily rinsed from your skin without leaving behind a greasy residue.
The formula is also designed to be non-comedogenic (meaning it won't clog pores) and soap-free, making it suitable for acne-prone skin and those concerned about pore-clogging ingredients. For women who are looking for a budget-friendly face wash that will gently remove makeup and clean the skin without causing irritation, it’s hard to get any better than this!
This product is a little bit of a “treat yourself” kind of product. It costs a bit more than some others on our list, but once you read about the amazing ingredients and benefits, we think you’ll agree it's worth it! Youth To The People has harnessed the power of superfoods in this antioxidant-rich formula, meaning that your skin can be protected from environmental damage and the signs of aging.
First up on the ingredients list is kale. It turns out it's not just good for you in salads and smoothies; it’s also good on your face! It contains vitamins C, E and K, as well as phytonutrients, and supports skin health while leaving you with a visible glow.
Next up is spinach, a lightweight and soothing ingredient rich in fatty acids and also provides cooling and soothing properties for the skin. This means your skin will be less irritated, less inflamed and smoother overall.
Lastly, the cleanser contains green tea. Famous for its antioxidant powers, green tea fights visible signs of aging and protects your skin from free radicals.
If you’re environmentally conscious, this cleanser is vegan, cruelty-free and gluten-free and comes in recyclable packaging. This means you can wash your face and feel good about yourself for protecting the environment. It’s a win-win!
Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty has had a lot of hype over the past few years, and for good reason! The combination of a celebrity brand, inclusive marketing and high-quality products has seen the brand’s star rise and rise. This face wash is everything we’ve come to expect from Fenty Beauty: an effective, stylish product made with high-quality, cruelty-free ingredients.
This jelly oil cleanser is designed to clean away even water-resistant makeup and sunscreen as well as dirt and impurities, leaving your skin thoroughly cleansed and ready for the next step in your skincare routine. It has a truly unique texture; starting out as a jelly, it transforms into a lightweight oil, which is easy to apply and leaves your skin hydrated and nourished.
The secret to its hydration is the cleanser’s custom blend of nine oils, including Kalahari melon, baobab, sunflower, safflower and castor oils, which gently cleanse and remove impurities while nourishing and conditioning the skin.
To help break down your makeup and sunscreen, the cleanser uses rosemary, clary, bergamot, orange and grapefruit oils; they also leave your skin with a zingy, refreshing scent.
To further moisturize your skin, Melt Awf also contains shea butter, which conditions the face and penetrates deep into your skin, leaving it plump, dewy and glowing.
So, if you’ve been wondering if Fenty Beauty products are really worth the hype, we say they are! Give this product a try and see for yourself!
The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm is a fantastic choice for women's skin, offering a variety of benefits in a gentle and nourishing formula. We love this rich cleansing balm; it’s perfect for those who want to effectively remove makeup and impurities without causing any irritation or dryness.
One of the key reasons this cleansing balm is great for women's skin is its luxurious texture. As you massage it onto your face, the balm melts away makeup and impurities with ease, providing a gentle yet thorough cleansing experience. This makes it ideal for sensitive skin types that require a little extra care and attention during the cleansing process.
The star ingredient in this cleansing balm is colloidal oatmeal. Known for its soothing properties, colloidal oatmeal has long been used to calm and comfort irritated or inflamed skin. It's an excellent addition to this cleanser, as it alleviates any redness or discomfort that can sometimes occur during the cleansing process.
In addition to the soothing colloidal oatmeal, this cleansing balm also contains ceramides. Ceramides are essential components of our skin's natural protective barrier, helping to lock in moisture and prevent environmental irritants from causing harm. By incorporating ceramides into the formula, The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm not only cleanses but also supports and strengthens the skin's barrier function.
Last but not least, this cleansing balm is formulated with oat kernel oil, which provides further nourishment to the skin. Oat kernel oil is rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins that help to keep the skin healthy, hydrated and glowing.
Another great all round cleanser for our list of the best face washes for women in 2023, Laneige hyaluronic acid cleansing foam is an excellent choice for both cleansing and makeup removal.
This foam cleanser contains cellulose beads that melt as you massage them into your face, washing off makeup residue and rinsing away any dirt and impurities. It penetrates deep inside the pores for an effective clean, leaving your skin smoother than ever.
One of the key ingredients in this cleanser is papain enzymes. Unlike a harsh exfoliant, papain gently exfoliates and removes dead skin cells, revealing bright new skin underneath.
This cleanser is incredibly easy to use as well. Simply squeeze a small amount into your palm and mix with some water to create a lather, then gently massage into your face until the cellulose beads have all dissolved. It is gentle enough to be used daily as part of your everyday skincare regime. It is also free of parabens and sulfates, so it isn’t going to irritate or damage your delicate skin. And did we mention it's a great budget option? There’s really no reason not to try it!
This one is a great choice for the low-maintenance girls! Although this bar is super effective at makeup removal, it is also great to use if you don’t use makeup as part of your skin regime at all. It may look like a regular bar of soap, but that’s where you’d be wrong! This super hydrating and nourishing solid facial cleanse is designed to wash your face thoroughly without stripping away too many of your face’s natural oils.
The main ingredients in this bar are coconut butter, vegetable glycerine and clay. The coconut butter works to nourish and protect your skin, hydrating and strengthening your skin’s natural barrier. The vegetable glycerin works to draw water into your skin, creating a plump, dewy appearance that you’ll love. And the clay enables this cleansing bar to absorb oil and impurities without making your face feel tight and dry.
If you haven’t used a solid facial cleanser before, don’t worry, it's a breeze! You just need to rub it between damp hands until a small amount of lather appears, then rub that later into your face and rinse away.
Solid facial cleansers are also a great option for the budget conscious, as they last a lot longer than cleansers from a packet. Not to mention the environmental benefits! Thanks to the plastic-free packaging, this product is totally compostable. In fact, when you choose an Ethique bar over a traditional product, you save the equivalent of 3 x 350ml plastic bottles! Now that’s something to feel good about!
If you’re after a gentle, soothing face wash that increases your face’s natural hydration, then this is a great option. Perfect for sensitive skin, this product starts out as a gel, which you need to work between your hands until it lathers and then rub into your face. This product is gentle enough to use both morning and evening, every day of the week; in fact, it is created with sensitive skin in mind, so if you find that your skin often reacts to products, this could be the one for you!
It is created to be free from soap, sulfates, parabens and fragrance, meaning you can be sure there is nothing unpleasant or harsh in this product that will cause your skin redness or irritation. It contains lipid restoring and moisturizing properties, specially designed to mimic your skin’s natural oils, leaving your face moisturized but without leaving any greasy residue behind.
If your main skin issues are dryness and dullness, this product is particularly suited for you. It works to hydrate as it cleanses and is designed not to leave your skin with that tight, stinging feeling that can occur when a cleanser strips away too many of your natural oils. It is suitable for women of all ages and is even suitable for all skin types. Whether you have oily, dry, sensitive, normal or combination skin, this product will work for you! So, give it a try; we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Last but absolutely not least, we finish up our list of the best face washes for women with a luxurious, high-end product. We won’t lie, this product might be a little bit of a splurge for some people, but sometimes you just have to put your skin first and your bank account second!
This product is a three-in-one product that exfoliates away dead skin cells leaving a perfect canvas on which to apply the rest of your skincare products. Despite its impressive exfoliating properties, this product is still gentle enough to be used daily. It is the perfect product to use before applying your makeup for the day.
This formula is so effective you can see it rolling away dead skin cells in front of your eyes. They come away with a “pilling” action, leaving your skin smooth, textured and glowing.
The secret to its success is the three-step formula. Firstly, pineapple and papaya enzymes break down dirt and dead skin cells. Then, chemical exfoliants (alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids) break down the bonds holding the dead skin cells together. In the final step, cellulose (a natural plant compound) binds to the dead skin cells, causing the “pilling” action mentioned earlier. Once the product is rinsed away, you can see the difference: your face will be smoother and more radiant than ever before!
In fact, don’t try this product unless you’re willing to keep treating yourself to luxury. Once you see how well it works, you’ll never want to go back, and you’ll want to try all the other Wishful products as well!
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