The Best Face Washes For Oily Skin
Your search for the best face wash for oily skin ends here! We share some of our all-time favorites face washes and cleanser from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands—plus, the potential causes of oily skin, the benefits of oily skin, and how to tell if you actually have oily skin—ahead.
Oily skin is usually caused by overactive sebaceous glands that produce an excess of sebum—one of the skin’s natural sources of hydration—that subsequently adds a visible layer of unwanted shine to your skin. While oily skin can occur for a number of reasons, a key step in keeping that excess oil under control is cleansing. However, with tons of cleansers available for oily skin types, finding one that works best for your oily skin is easier said than done. Fortunately, our beauty editors have done the work for you! Peep our top picks for the best face washes for oily skin types from our brands, below.
When it comes to oily-looking skin, balance is key—especially when cleansing. Often, those of us with oily skin types will find it necessary to cleanse our skin twice a day—morning and night—with a cleanser specifically formulated for our skin type. Using a cleanser that is formulated for oily skin is important because some cleansers have formulas that can not only help remove the appearance of excess oil from the surface of the skin, but also can strip the skin of the natural oils it needs to stay hydrated. When this occurs, the sebaceous glands can kick into overdrive, producing even more oil to overcompensate for what is perceived as a loss of moisture. So, how do you find your best face wash for oily skin that won’t strip your skin of its natural hydration? Allow us to give you a hand. But, before we share some of our favorites, let’s go over some of the benefits of oily skin and how to tell if you actually have oily skin.
THE BENEFITS OF OILY SKIN
Before you write your oily skin off as a problem, consider some of the benefits—that’s right, there can be benefits to having oily skin. Since an overproduction of sebum—aka the skin’s natural source of hydration—is one of the leading markers of an oily skin type, your skin is naturally more hydrated than those with dry skin. This can help when it comes to the visible signs of skin aging, as dry skin tends to make fine lines and wrinkles appear more pronounced.
HOW TO TELL IF YOU HAVE OILY SKIN
There are a few ways to tell whether or not you have oily skin. For starters, take a look at your complexion and note whether it looks extra shiny or oily. Next, think about how your moisturizer and skin type mix. If you’re not already using a lightweight moisturizer formulated for oily skin types—and you do in fact have oily skin—chances are, your moisturizer may leave your skin looking shiny. To help address this you can try dabbing a blotting tissue across your clean skin. It’s important to test this out on a clean patch of skin, as makeup can sometimes be formulated with oil and you do not want to mistake the oil from your makeup as oil on your skin. If the tissue does not appear slicked with oil residue, you probably don’t have oily skin—but, if it is, you just may! When in doubt, consult with your dermatologist who can give you a more personalized (and expert) assessment.
THE BEST CLEANSERS FOR OILY SKIN
Now that we’ve got that all squared away, let’s discuss cleansers! Below we’re sharing some of our very favorite face washes for oily skin types from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands!
LA-ROCHE-POSAY EFFACLAR GEL CLEANSER
Want a foaming cleanser that can cleanse your oily complexion of pore-clogging impurities without over-drying? Reach for La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Gel Cleanser! This foaming cleanser is pH-balanced—an optimal, slightly acidic 5.5—and soap free, so it won’t dry out your skin Formulated with zinc, it helps to gently purify the skin and to remove excess oil that is squatting on the skin’s surface, too!
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Gel Cleanser, $14.99 MSRP
GARNIER SKINACTIVE MICELLAR CLEANSING WATER ALL-IN-1 MATTIFYING
If you love micellar water, you’ll love Garnier’s SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-In-1 Mattifying. Formulated with micelle technology, this all-in-one drugstore cleanser utilizes the technology to effectively remove makeup, dirt, and other impurities from the skin’s surface without stripping your complexion of moisture. What’s more? Most micellar waters require zero rinsing, so you can use the gentle—yet effective—cleanser in the locker room at the gym, while on a road trip, at a music festival, or wherever else your heart desires! Just don’t forget to pack a sleeve of cotton pads with you for easy removal of makeup, dirt, grime, and any other impurities that may be invading your complexion.
L'OREAL PARIS MICELLAR CLEANSING WATER COMPLETE CLEANSER FOR NORMAL TO OILY SKIN
Another micellar water we love is L’Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin. Formulated with micelle technology, the no-rinse drugstore cleanser can gently—yet effectively—remove pore-clogging dirt and debris from the surface of the skin, without any harsh rubbing or over drying. The result? Skin that appears ultra cleansed and mattified.
GARNIER CLEAN + SHINE CONTROL CLEANSING GEL
Help control shine and keep excess oil at bay with Garnier’s Clean+ Shine Control Cleansing Gel. Formulated with charcoal, this drugstore facial cleanser draws out impurities (like a magnet!), such as makeup, dirt, and excess oil, leaving behind skin that appears deeply cleansed, purified and
shine-free. The charcoal cleanser is non-comedogenic—meaning, it won’t clog your pores—gentle to skin, allergy tested, and oil-free! What’s more? The charcoal-infused face wash has a towelette counterpart, too (lazy girls, rejoice!). See why we love Garnier’s Clean+ Purifying Oil-Free Cleansing Towelettes, here.
Garnier Clean+ Shine Control Cleansing Gel, $7.99 MSRP
LANCOME GEL PURE FOCUS DEEP PURIFYING CLEANSER OILY SKIN
Your search for a luxe facial cleanser that can provide the skin with a deep cleanse and reduce the look of excess oil and shine ends here. Lancôme’s Gel Pure Focus Deep Purifying Cleanser Oily Skin is a transparent gel formula that transforms into a delicate foam to deliver a fresh cleanse. The cleanser works to reduce the appearance of shine, minimize the look of pores, and cleanse the skin. The result? Skin that appears purified, mattified, and cleansed.
VICHY NORMADERM GEL CLEANSER
If you have oily or blemish-prone skin, run—don’t walk—to your local drugstore and pick up a bottle of Vichy’s Normaderm Gel Cleanser. This drugstore face wash can purify the pores, remove excess oil—aka sebum—and prevent new skin imperfections from forming. The result? Skin that feels softer, smoother, fresher, and ultra-cleansed.
Vichy Normaderm Gel Cleanser, $18 MSRP
SKINCEUTICALS LHA CLEANSING GEL
If you’re not using the right—read: best—face wash for your skin type, battling oily skin can be quite the challenge. But, with a cleanser that can target excess sebum and cleanse the pores—such as, SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel—the first step in your skin care routine can be a breeze. The exfoliating gel formula is formulated with glycolic acid and two forms of salicylic acid and can work to decongest pores.
SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel, $40 MSRP
LA ROCHE-POSAY TOLERIANE PURIFYING FOAMING CLEANSER
Remove impurities, oil, face, and eye makeup with La Roche-Posay’s new Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser. Formulated with the brand’s Prebiotic Thermal Spring Water, niacinamide, and ceramide-3 to effectively cleanse the skin of impurities, this drugstore facial cleanser can purify pores, balance the skin’s natural pH factor, and leave the skin feeling clean, fresh, and comfortable with no pore-clogging residue. What’s more? The oily skin face wash is free of soap, sulfates, oil, fragrance, parabens, and is non-comedogenic and allergy tested, too!
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser, $14.99 MSRP
SHU UEMURA POREFINIST ANTI-SHINE FRESH CLEANSING OIL
We know we told you to look for cleansers that are oil-free, but we’re willing to make an exception for Shu Uemura’s Porefinist Anti-Shine Fresh Cleansing Oil. Made with oily skin types in mind, this incredibly lightweight—read: water-like—cleansing oil can clean, refresh, and refine the complexion. Formulated with cinnamon bark extract, the cleansing oil works to target oily and acne-prone skin concerns, such as excess sebum, congested pores, and shine.
CLARISONIC DEEP PORE DAILY CLEANSER
Reduce the look of pores—as well as, excess oil and shine—with Clarisonic’s Deep Pore Daily Cleanser. Formulated with salicylic acid, zinc, peppermint extract, and a fruit acid trio, this foaming gel face wash uses its combination of pore-refining ingredients to remove impurities and excess sebum without over drying or irritating the complexion.
Pro Tip: Up the ante on your daily cleanse with a Clarisonic cleansing brush! We share a few of our favorites, here.
Clarisonic Deep Pore Daily Cleanser, $27 MSRP
BIOTHERM PUREFECT SKIN SOAP BAR
Think you can’t cleanse your complexion with a bar of soap? Think again! Biotherm’s Purefect Skin Soap Bar is not your average bar of soap. The solid cleanser is gentle—yet effective—and can work to purify congested pores, cleanse the complexion, and rid of the skin of excess sebum and shine. Formulated with zinc and two types of algae—L.Digitata and Chondrus—its unique formula can leave oily skin types feeling refreshed, refined, and shine-free.
Biotherm Purefect Skin Soap Bar, $21 MSRP
NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP STRIPPED OFF WHIPPED CHARCOAL CLEANSER
Many cleansers designed for use on oily skin are formulated with charcoal. Cleansers help to draw out surface skin impurities and help purify the skin. One of our favorite cleansers formulated with charcoal is NYX Professional Makeup’s Stripped Off Whipped Charcoal Cleanser. It is grey upon application and transforms into a fluffy white lather while you work it into the skin—how fun is that?!
For more on NYX Professional Makeup Stripped Off Whipped Charcoal Cleanser ($12 MSRP)—plus, to see other cleansers offered by the drugstore makeup brand—see our full product review, here.
GARNIER SKINACTIVE MICELLAR FOAMING CLEANSING WATER
Treat your oily skin to a gentle foaming wash that can cleanse and refresh the skin, in addition to removing makeup. We love turning to this all-in-1 micellar foaming cleanser because its micelle technology works like a gem to capture and lift away any dirt, oil, or makeup without harsh rubbing or over-drying. The best part? All skin types can get behind it—even those with oily and sensitive skin!
SKINCEUTICALS CLARIFYING EXFOLIATING CLEANSER
Do you struggle with oily skin that’s prone to breakouts? You’re in need of a dual-action chemical and mechanical exfoliating cream to help clear those acne blemishes, and this salicylic acid acne treatment fits the bill! The cream formula works to help remove surface dead skin cells to help refine texture, brighten the skin, and clear acne blemishes.
KIEHL’S ULTRA-FACIAL OIL-FREE CLEANSER
Formulated with Imperata Cylindrica Root and Lemon Root Extract, this oil-free and quick-lathering face wash thoroughly removes impurities and reduces the excess oil on the skin’s surface. As a result, the skin looks more balanced, clean, and refreshed without over-drying.
Kiehl’s Ultra-Facial Oil-Free Cleanser, $20 MSRP
KIEHL’S CALENDULA DEEP CLEANSING FOAMING FACE WASH
Gently remove your skin’s impurities without stripping it of its essential moisture by lathering your skin in this deep cleansing face wash. Powered by Calendula Flower Extract and Glycerin, you can expect this formula to soothe and replenish your skin without over drying. What’s more? The formula is soap- and sulfate-free!
Just because you have oily-looking skin, doesn’t mean you are off the hook when it comes to moisturizer. Similar to harsh cleansers potentially stripping your skin of oil, skipping out on moisturizer can result in your skin producing excess sebum, leaving you with shiny-looking—read: oil-stricken—skin. After cleansing your skin with a face wash formulated for oily skin, reach for a lightweight moisturizer—we love these gel-based ones—and get hydrating. As a rule of thumb, we like to stick with a lightweight moisturizer that is fast absorbing—yet, hydrating—that way, we can replenish our skin without any traces of residue that may contribute to an unwanted shine.