gentle facial cleansers

How to find the best gentle facial cleansers for clear skin according to your skin type?

Facial cleanser is the first step of the skincare routine and we all know cleansing is probably the most important skincare step in our routine because it helps get rid of all that nasty, all that grime, all that oil and it sets the base for all the other products that come on to really be able to sink through our skin.

But since there’s so many different types of gentle facial cleansers today, we can’t help but wonder what gentle facial cleanser is best for my skin types? Don’t worry, this article will help you find the best cleanser. As we know skincare varies from person to person, skin type to skin type, and of course I’ll be mentioning some of my favorite and I know you guys will love. I really love Fresh Soy Face cleanser for a really long time now.

What is a gentle cleanser?

Like with most skincare products, it does vary from person to person but generally they’re referred to cleansers that are made without irritating ingredients that don’t leave the skin feeling stripped, tight, or dried out. This will differ for different people depending on your skin type and specific ingredients that may irritate you, but maybe not anyone else.

The texture-wise gentle cleansers can generally be the ones that come in a gel, milky, and cream consistency that’s lightweight and easily spreadable. These are formulated in a way that contains little to no fragrance, is non-comedogenic and also hypoallergenic.

What are the ingredients that you’ll find in best gentle facial cleansers for clear skin?

Since gentle is what we’re looking for. In this class in these cleansers, the chances that the surfactants used (in cleansers) will also be gentle!

Surfactants are ingredients that help your cleanser foam up and this is what allows the excess sebum and the dirt that’s attached to the sebum to be thoroughly washed off your face. And typically you’ll find that regular cleansers will use sulfate-based surfactants like SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) and SLES (sodium laureth sulfate) to help the product to foam up.

When it comes to looking for a gentle cleanser for your skin, they’ll usually be a coconut-based surfactant to do the job in a much milder way. This is one way that a cleanser can leave the face not so taut after cleansing.

PH level in the gentle facial cleansers

The next thing to look out for is the pH level. Recently a lot of brands are leaving the pH level of their product on their packaging which makes it much easier to identify what it is. To give a brief explanation, pH levels are what makes a product either acidic (irritated) or alkaline (dry). And this ranges from 0 to 14!  

And different parts of our bodies will have different pH levels. Like our stomach acid is around 2 or 2.5 which makes it more acidic so that it can actually bring down the foods that we eat. While our skin has a pH between 4.5 to about 5.5 which is still slightly on the acidic side and is constantly fluctuating when we use different types of water and when we use different skincare products in our routine.

You’ll find that gentle facial cleansers will range from a pH level of around 5-6 or 9. So if we were to find a cleanser that had a higher pH, these are usually the types that will leave our skin feeling a little drier and tighter after cleaning. Because some skin types may need extra power to cleanse highly-oily skin.


Maybe me back in my teenage years, you’d want like a more thorough cleanse but as you age because you lose more of that sebum production, you’d definitely want these a gentle cleansers with lower the pH level. So for gentle cleansers, the pH is formulated close to your skin’s normal pH levels; i.e. 4.5 to 5.5. So when you use it, this translates to feeling more comfortable on the skin, instead of feeling, itchy, dry and tight.


Some of you might be wondering that my cleanser says it’s fragrance-free but I still smell something when I use it and see essential oils in the ingredient lists. Isn’t that super irritating and sensitizing to the skin? That’s what a lot of you like to say. So the answer is yes and no because not everyone is irritated by essential oils and some essential oils can be really beneficial to the skin, depending on what it is and how much of it is in the product and how its formulated.

How many Korean skincare brands chooses to use essential oils and whether it’s actually the case that they are sensitizing?

The first thing to note is the product contains a very small percentage of these essential oils. According to the EU and Korean cosmetic regulations, essential oil concentrations in topical cosmetics must be used in a very low percentages. For cleansers, essential oils concentrations typically range around 0.01 to 0.1% but brands can use up to 2% in a rinse-off product. And that’s why whenever we find essential oils in the ingredient list, they are located towards the very bottom, along with base or carrier oils that are higher up in the list for the diluting process.

The second thing is that essential oils might provide some benefits to the skin. I found two papers written in 2017 and 2018 that explain essential oils are generally safe ingredients that can also offer antibacterial or antimicrobial qualities and that’s why you’ll usually see them in more acne cleansers.

Essential oils might not be fresh

Third, the reason they could be more sensitizing is because they might not be fresh. It’s more likely to get irritated from products containing old, oxidized, or expressed essential oils and expressed is just the process that creates a lot of different oils like citrus peel oil. It was even found through the 2018 paper that certain essential oils, especially those made through the expressed process, do carry a low to moderate risk of phototoxicity at most. So like with most debateable ingredients, it comes down to formulation!

It might be a little bit hard because you don’t know the actual amount that’s in it. So what you can do  is try it out! And if it doesn’t work! And of course, these are only a few things that we found, but if you know your skin absolutely cannot handle essential oils, you can continue to steer clear away from them.

But generally, we want to make it a point to say that not everything should be viewed as something to avoid.

Best ingredients for your skin type;

The perfect cleanser for you will come down to picking the consistency that you like, ingredients that work for you, and just personal preference.

How cosmetically elegant you like your product? Just the overall sensation of it. Here are some gentle cleansers for all skin types. But the most user-friendly, the most universal cleansers that I think plays well with all skin types is “The Fresh” and “Then I Met You”.

  • The Fresh soy face cleanser

It’s just one of those cult favorites that have been around for the longest time. It’s soy-based and soy protein are a great for even like eyelashes, for moisturizing, and for nourishing the skin. This one has a pH of 5.5. So it’s very close to just your natural skin barrier pH level. And in the soy proteins, there’s also essential amino acids and there’s our skin needs for healthy, radiant skin. There’s already like natural amino acids in our sebum and things like that so this just reinforces and further nourishes.

There’s also sunflower seed oil which is non-comedogenic, and super rich in antioxidants and can calm your skin. There’s also aloe vera juice, rose water, and cucumber extra which gives it that very refreshing scent. The mix between rose and cucumber is like spa! It won’t take off waterproof makeup but it will take off everything else.

  • Soothing Tea Cleaning Gel

This one has PHA- poly hydroxyl acid and it does the same as the chemical exfoliants but in a gentle way. It helps to resurface dead skin cells to just make sure it’s not chunked or disgusting there. And the molecular weight is the largest. It doesn’t irritate the skin as much as it just stays on the surface. It also got Licorice root, green tea, rice ferment. Rice ferment is very soothing and nourishing. Licorice root is also great for general brightening of the skin.

If you have light hyper-pigmentation and you just want brightening. In this, you will also find there’s tea tree oil and centella asiatica in the ingredients as well. So overall, just a bunch of good ingredients.

With regards to it’s consistency, I think is maybe the most unique that I’ve had or experienced in a cleanser because t’s not a runny gel. Is it like krave? It’s not jellyfish, a little bit like solid gel. And more like tea. And it’s worth noting here that at the end of the day if you want something to really help brighten your skin, you want it in our products that are going to stay on like in the serum or moisturizer. But if you have it in your cleanser, it doesn’t hurt!

What cleanser should you look for dry skin?

For gentle cleansers marketed towards dru skin types, you’ll find that they contain more moisturizing ingredients that work to nourish your skin. So ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin are all great at retaining moisture in the skin after you cleanse. And Texture-wise, you’ll find more benefits from cleansers with creamy and even whipped consistencies. But, any skin type can use this, especially dry skin.

The ordinary- Squalane cleanser

It has a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 and this cream to oil cleanser is great for leaving your skin super soft and super nourished without locking your pores. This is so lightweight. It almost feels like you cleaned your face, you didn’t clean it. But it’s like the cleaner version of before. And I think squalane as oil is already very lightweight. So squalene is the first ingredient in this cleanser and there’s also a lot of fatty alcohols and triglycerides that cleanse your skin free of dirt, excess oil, and even makeup. I still recommend that you double cleanse with this.

Rael- The Daily Detox Cleanser

This cleanser is a newcomer to my never-ending list of favorites. But it’s a cleanser that I really love. It’s so fresh like refreshing. It’s the same reaction as Indie Lee, the purifying face wash. The product dispenses like an oil but when you work it into a lathex, the oil transforms into a lightweight foam texture that feels super airy on your face. Some of the key ingredients include Olive oil, sodium hyaluronate, chinaberry leaf extract as well as the turmeric root, and panthenol to help retain hydration and brighten the skin.

For those who are wondering, Chinaberry extract is one of the best ingredients for scavenging free radicals within the skin. I think its also great for dry skin as there’s a lot of oils. But the thing with that is it doesn’t leave that oily film or anything. Instead, it just washes off very beautifully.

And as a little side note, this cleanser does contain essential oils like Mandarin orange peel oil as well as basil and limonene but they are the last three ingredients showing up on the list.

“Gentle cleansers are for everyone”

What cleanser should you look for oily skin?

For oily skin types, you’ll find that your face is kind of like never-ending greaseball because of your overactive sebaceous glands and its just producing and producing throughout the day. And if you’re in this category, you want to look for gel or even farming type cleanses to wash away the excess oil and leave your skin feeling refreshed and also clean but also not so gritty.

For ingredients, look for cleansers that contain hyaluronic acids, skin barrier friendly oils like fatty alcohols, vitamin E and even some gentle exfoliants such as lactic acid or PHA.

Go-to skinacare

This foaming cleanser is one of the very soothing, non-irritating, good for oily skin because a lot of people don’t really like foam a lot. But this one is really gentle.

The COSRX Good Morning Low pH Gel Cleanser

It’s a clear-based cleanser that doesn’t really lather much. It’s not like huge bubbles and a lot of people have said that this one is their Holy Grail and it’s like featured in a lot of different places. But actually when I use it for my oily skin, whatever it is in the formula or like other ingredients that are in it, It is a little more drying than these other ones that I used. It wasn’t like totally drying or anything but a little bit more. Because it is like a very highly sought after so many of you guys love this as holy grail product.

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

What the range of CeraVe cleansers does really well is that it’s loaded with ceramides as well as hyaluronic acid. It’s non-comedogenic so great for oily skin and also it’s fragrance-free and it’s just very simple. It’s like the creamy texture that turns clear like a very soft foam when its massaged into the skin. So this is great for second step of the double cleanse.

If you feel like you have combo skin to a certain extent, like dry, oily, all of this works. I would say literally any of these because they do have the moisturizing qualities. If you’re oily in certain areas and crusty in other areas, it’s just like hydrating. I think it’s worth mentioning the oil. Even if you have dry skin, because squalane is so lightweight and naturally made by you.

Final Words

So all that being said, gentle facial cleansers will make you feels nice even when dry. It won’t stand out that your skin is feeling anything out of the ordinary and you’ll be able to typically use them day and night. That’s also coupled with like naturally occurring ingredients like the squalane, like ceramides that are already found in your skin. So it’s not really doing anything more. But it’s just kind of rebuilding what you already have to work with your skin. Then also formulation and personal preferences so it all boils down to that and just remember gentle is different for every type, depending on how you’re feeling and what you are sensitive to, what you aren’t sensitive to, personal preferences, texture, smell, scents. And that’s also not saying the ones I didn’t mention are not gentle.