When talking about the foundation for a skincare routine, people think of toners rather than cleansers. After all, cleansers will wash off while toners get to stay for a day. If duration means efficacy, cleansers don’t compare with other subsequent products. That’s not true! Cleansers prep your skin for the absorption of skincare. While there are toners that can also cleanse, they don’t compare with cleansers. Don’t be fooled into believing every cleanser is the same — they all remove dirt, oil, and other unwanted debris, regardless of some additional benefits. There are many bad formulas, such as being too alkaline, too harsh (powerful), or containing too much alcohol, or not even cleansing. Still, price doesn’t necessarily mean quality, because when you look at the recommendations, many of which are very affordable. They don’t just cleanse only but also treat dryness, dehydration, dullness, sensitivity, and more left for you to explore.
BEST CLEANSERS RANKING
COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
COSRX’s Good Morning Gel Cleanser is formulated with tea tree oil that reduces the size of pores and balances sebum production, leaving your skin feeling refreshed instead of stripped. It removes dead skin cells with natural BHA to give you soft and glowy complexion. Combine that with the low acidity at pH 5.0-6.0, which is most ideal for the skin, you will know why this is a ubiquitous item in every best cleanser ranking. In fact, this is COSRX’s response to loyal customers’ demand for a healthy way for cleansing.
"I totally understand why many beauty stores have this cleanser even if they don’t list other COSRX products. It is best-selling with reason. The gel texture is very to my liking because I hate the stripping feeling that typical foam cleansers provide. Although this is a “morning” cleanser, I also use it at night, without any backfire. The light makeup I put on my face can be removed thoroughly."
Banila Co Clean It Zero Original Cleansing Balm
The obsession with Banila Co’s Cleansing Balm is real — and for all the right reasons. This 12-years-old cleansing balm has ranked first in repeat purchases among all cleansers from the brand. Who are loyal customers? People who want to remove heavy makeup and cleanse in just one step. Thorough cleansing is a no-sweat because the all-in-one formula combines makeup remover and cleansing oil, plus foam cleanser as one. You might guess the formula will be a complex one that irritates your sensitive skin, but it is proven to be 100% non-irritating on humans!
"Because it is packaged in a jar, I was aware of the hygiene at first. But the container comes with a spatula, not only is it for hygiene purposes but also for dispensing the recommended dosage. It’s so satisfying to feel how the balm melts into a silky oil. It was a fancy feeling when I used it to take off the eye shadow. It doesn’t irritate my delicate skin of eye areas, and I don’t have to rub it violently to thoroughly take off the makeup! Would consider it a gift to my friend."
COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser
Simple, affordable, and a large tube, for nothing should you reject this gentle cleansing hero. Salicylic acid (BHA) is the gold-standard ingredient in cleansers for acne-prone skin. It draws out the impurities, dissolves oils with moisture so that blackheads and whiteheads will not form. So it’s ideal if you struggle with acne.
"This is a cleanser I will use with caution! My pores are tightened, and my whole complexion is improved so much. But I won’t forget that it is quite alkaline (pH of 9.0-9.5), so it’s quite drying. I’ll not use it twice a day. Instead, I’ll use COSRX’s Low PH Good Morning Gel Cleanser in the AM routine and this cleanser in the PM routine. This combination works the best for me."
Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil
A product that erases stubborn makeup and dirt and exfoliates with the use of several nourishing plant oils and is suitable for sensitive skin for under US$10 doesn’t exi… Look at here! Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil is a very effective, very affordable, and very scentless skincare staple. No wonder it’s been the best-selling cleansing oil of the brand.
"I’ve been using the oil for about three weeks now and I can’t describe how much I would rely on it. I use the oil with my bare hands (instead of cotton pads, I mean). The oil melts down my waterproof mascara very quickly, and after rinsing, there is no oil residue left (I feel and touch my face to check). I didn’t experience any new breakouts, so I believe it cleanses my skin very well and is not irritating!"
HADA LABO Gokujyun Hyaluronic Face Wash
It’s impossible to talk about moisturizing cleansers without mention of HADA LABO’s Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Face Wash, which is enriched with the brand’s exclusive Super Hyaluronic Acid that can double your skin’s moisture-retention capacity. Formulated with a mild acidity at a pH level of 5.0-6.5, the super-gentle formula preserves your skin’s natural moisture while maintaining the health of your skin.
"I bought this cleanser after realizing my original one is a harsh one. My face never stopped to produce excessive sebum! When I learned that high-pH cleansers will dry my skin, I looked for the low-pH ones. This one is very much my favorite one because of the very hydrating SHA that keeps my skin refreshed and moist after I wash my face! Ladies, just look at the cleanser on your hand now and stop using high-pH cleanser!"
Innisfree Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam
Despite the negative association with the word volcanic stuff — dirtiness, you won’t reject to apply Innisfree’s Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam to your face. The collected volcanic ash, after being processed and ground into fine powders, will be smaller than your pores to thoroughly cleanse clogged pores and impurities. More benefits, such as reduced blemishes and exfoliation, can be felt.
Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder
If typical cleansing is not giving you fun or you want a very portable cleanser for several reasons, Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder brings thorough cleansing into one luxurious face-wash experience. It is an enzyme facial cleansing powder to achieve a smoother complexion by removing dirt gathered in pores and exfoliating to remove dead skin cells. The hygienic capsule design promises you the quality of the unused powder. You don’t have to worry about the reaction of the powder to moisture and air exposure.
"The capsules are very cute. Without knowing whether it is a good thing or bad thing, you can know if you should prepare to buy another one by the number of capsules left. It’s entertaining to see the powder turns into silky milk and then a rich lather and to run your fingers on your face with the smooth bubbles. The powder doesn’t strip my skin’s moisture off, so I feel very refreshed and energetic after use. I bought a box for my friend as a gift, and it didn’t feel cheap at all."
THE FACE SHOP Rice Water Bright Cleansing Foam
Who knew how to make the most of rice water that is rich in Vitamin B and minerals? THE FACE SHOP did, apparently, and its Rice Water Bright Cleansing Foam combined rice water with soothing and whitening Soapwort extract to create a natural brightening and hydrating face wash that leaves your skin radiant with a healthy glow.
"You really can’t judge a book by its cover! When I heard of rice water, who knew the byproduct from this Asian food can be so beneficial? Have been using it for 1M+, and my skin is obviously brighter! Used to only like ingredients that I actually had no idea what they are, just because they sound more powerful until I, by chance, tried this cleanser because of sales. Apologies to skincare I overlooked in the past."
ROSETTE Cleansing Paste
There’s a reason why ROSETTE’s Cleansing Pastes would hit a 20 million units sale record. It looks fancy and feels fancy thanks to the mineral-rich sea clays. The brand was even the originator of face wash in Japan. Given the honor, you would be surprised to know the pastes are under US$10. No wonder many Japanese ladies have chosen to stick with this hero cleanser for over 10 years.
"I bought the blue one because I have acne-prone skin. My skin is getting less frequent breakouts after I started using it. The face wash I used before caused irritation and extra inflammation to my acne. But this wash is just cooling and soothing my skin even if it has some tiny beads that don’t scratch my acne. The price is very fancy, so I’ll be a loyal user."
SANA NAMERAKA HONPO Cleansing Wash
It looks like tofu, smells like soy milk but don’t be fooled, SANA NAMERAKA HONPO’s Cleansing wash is food for your skin instead of the stomach. So clear off counter space for the cleanser. The soy milk fermentation solution is packed with Encapsulated CoQ10 which seeps deep into your skin to get it glowing from the inside along with restored elasticity and youthful-looking complexion.
"A little bit confused at first because I didn’t expect to read only Japanese texts on the package. So I used it as my heart wants, and the result was actually satisfying. I’m not allergic to the scent of soy milk. I don’t really check whether my skin is better than the previous day every day. But I by chance touch my face and I was like ‘OMG! Is my skin made of soy milk too?” Sorry for being extra lol but you get it. So smooth, so soft, so I like it."