Back to Basics

Anti-aging lotions and potions may be the holy grail of skincare, but none can work their complexion-perfecting magic if they can’t muscle through the dirt, oil and makeup that's piled up on your skin. So give your treatments a fighting chance by applying them to a pristine canvas, courtesy of one of these fabulous face washes.

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Normal/Oily: Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser

This dermatologist’s favorite is specially designed to remove surface oil, dirt and makeup without leaving skin feeling the least bit tight or dry.



Photo courtesy of Cetaphil

Normal/Oily: H2O Plus Sea Clear Mattifying Cleansing Mousse

Olive leaf extract, salicylic acid and an oil-controlling marine blend foam away pore-clogging debris while leaving skin shine-free.



Photo courtesy of H2O Plus

Normal/Oily: Shu Uemura Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil

This cleansing oil (yes, oil!) dissolves makeup and impurities while eliminating excess sebum that can lead to blackheads and breakouts.



Photo courtesy of Shu Uemura

Normal/Oily: Clé de Peau Refreshing Cleansing Foam

This fantastic foam lathers richly to wash away impurities and exfoliates with gentle granules for a fresh, supple skin feel.



Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Normal/Dry: Dove Beauty Bar

Don’t let the bar fool you. This cleansing classic is super gentle thanks to its famous formula containing mild cleansers and ¼ moisturizing cream.



Photo courtesy of Dove

Normal/Dry: Philosophy Purity Made Simple

This award winning face wash dissolves makeup, cleanses and tones while leaving skin soft.



Photo courtesy of Philosophy

Normal/Dry: Dr. Dennis Gross All-in-One Facial Cleanser with Toner

Moisture locking phospholipids and a special blend of antioxidants and botanicals make this one-step cleanser and toner the perfect pick for soft, hydrated and clean—but never dry—skin.



Photo courtesy of Dr. Gross Skincare

Normal/Dry: Shiseido Future Solution LX Extra Rich Cleansing Foam

Use this rich, fluffy foam morning and night to create a fresh, smooth surface on which to apply makeup (a.m.) or treatment (p.m).



Photo courtesy of Sephora

Sensitive/Redness-Prone: Aveeno Ultra Calming Foaming Cleanser

Feverfew, a relative of chamomile, is the key ingredient in this redness reducing, calming cleanser that's fragrance-free, soap-free, hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic to boot.



Photo courtesy of

Sensitive/Redness-Prone: CellCeuticals Biomedical Skin Treatments Extremely Gentle Skin Cleanser

This mild but thorough cleanser with soothing wheat amino acids and moisturizing glycerin is so gentle, you can use it to remove shadow, liner and mascara makeup without having to worry about it irritating your eyes.



Photo courtesy of CellCeuticals

Sensitive/Redness-Prone: Alchimie Forever Excimer Gentle Cream Cleanser

Used twice a day, this cream cleanser and makeup remover pulls double duty infusing complexions with protective antioxidants in the morning and detoxifying and purifying the skin at night.



Photo courtesy of Alchimie Forever

Sensitive/Redness-Prone: Neova Antioxidant Cleansing Milk

This antioxidant-laced milk scavenges nasty free radicals and gently lathers away oil, dirt and makeup to leave skin fresh and free of puffiness, dryness and redness.



Photo courtesy of Neova

Acne-Prone: Mark Help Wanted Anti Acne Exfoliating Cleanser

Tried and true oil-absorbing clay and salicylic acid give this acne cleanser its blemish-busting muscle.



Photo courtesy of Mark

Acne-Prone: Kate Somerville Detox Daily Cleanser

This anti-acne wash doesn’t just work to prevent breakouts, it’s laced with phytic acid to help fade the acne scars of blemishes past.



Photo courtesy of Kate Somerville

Acne-Prone: Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleanser

Thanks to a blend of alpha and beta hydroxy acids, this cleanser works like a Hoover to loosen and remove blackheads and unglog pores.



Photo courtesy of Dr. Brandt

Acne-Prone: Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm

Hungarian moor mud gives this black balm the magnetic power to draw impurities from your skin, leaving it silky and aglow.



Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Mature: Pomega5 Bulgarian Rose Moisturizing Cleansing Bar

Rosewood, lavender and vanilla make this gentle facial cleanser soothing and nourishing for delicate skins.



Photo courtesy of Pomega5

Mature: Bobbi Brown Brightening Gently Cream Cleanser

Lather away with this glucosamine-infused exfoliating wash to reveal softer, glowier, more even-toned skin.



Photo courtesy of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

Mature: NOVO Absolute Face Cleanser

This treatment wash goes beyond simple cleansing to deliver anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, exfoliating and conditioning benefits each time you suds up.



Photo courtesy of NOVO Solutions MD

Mature: Lancôme Secret de Vie Cleanser

This super indulgent face wash promises the gentleness of a cream, the efficacy of a cleansing oil and the lightness of a cleansing milk all in one. The upshot? With regular use, pure, fresh younger looking skin.




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For more ways to simplify your life, click here to read Pro Picks: The Low-Maintenance Makeup Artist.

Photo courtesy of Lancôme

First Published July 6, 2011

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