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Which hypoallergenic skin cleanser is best?

If you have sensitive skin, you know that finding facial products comes with its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to finding ones that won’t irritate the skin.

For that reason, many people turn to hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers. These gentle formulas forego harsh chemicals and stick to non-comedogenic, non-irritating ingredients. Not only do they cleanse skin without stripping its natural moisture, but they’re also effective at keeping excess oil and breakouts at bay.

If you’re in the market for a hypoallergenic gentle skin cleanser, read our buying guide. We’re sharing an overview of features to compare, as well as a few recommendations. Our top choice, Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser, is an award-winning formula that tones and lightly hydrates skin.

Considerations when choosing hypoallergenic skin cleansers

Skin cleansers vs. soaps and washes

Facial cleansers are formulated with lower pH levels than soaps and facial washes. This means they’re less disruptive to the skin since they leave out harsh ingredients like sulfates and parabens. Facial cleansers stick to simple, tried-and-true ingredients that moisturize the skin to keep it calm and breakout-free.

What does hypoallergenic mean?

Hypoallergenic refers to products that leave out known allergens and irritants like dyes, fragrances, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and other synthetic ingredients. Certain hypoallergenic formulas go the extra mile and leave out oils as well, which are known to irritate those with acne-prone skin.

Hypoallergenic skin cleanser features


Hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers are formulated with a variety of non-toxic, organic, or plant-derived ingredients. It’s common to find fruit and essential oil extracts in the formulas as well as chamomile, aloe, lavender, or rosehips. The majority of these cleansers also contain dedicated hydrating ingredients like avocado or seed oils and hyaluronic acid.


Because hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers tend to have milky consistencies, they’re usually packaged in squeeze or pump bottles. Besides being easy to dispense, these bottles are effective at protecting the formula from dirt and other contaminants.

Unfortunately, one of the pitfalls of squeeze and pump bottles is how difficult it is to extract product when you’ve reached the end of the bottle. You usually need to remove the cap and scrape out what’s left inside — particularly if you’ve spent considerable money on a premium formula.

Safe for eyes

If you intend to use hypoallergenic gentle skin cleansers around the eyes or to remove makeup, make sure the formula you choose is marked safe for the eyes. Formulas with this designation have undergone rigorous testing by dermatologists and ophthalmologists before they’ve been approved for use around the eyes.

How much you can expect to spend on hypoallergenic skin cleansers

Many drugstore hypoallergenic cleansers cost $15 or less. Those made by premium beauty brands and specialty skincare companies cost between $20-$40. Luxury and targeted formulas can cost as much as $40-$100.

Hypoallergenic skin cleanser FAQ

Q. Should I use my hands or a washcloth to apply hypoallergenic gentle skin cleanser to my face?

A. Many people rub the cleanser onto their face with their fingertips, especially since washcloths can be too abrasive for sensitive or irritated skin. If you prefer to use a washcloth of some type, stick to makeup remover towels. These are made with microfiber that is soft and gentle enough for sensitive skin.

Q. Will a hypoallergenic gentle skin cleanser remove waterproof eye makeup?

A. Assuming it’s an eye-safe formula, it can certainly dislodge some of the makeup, but it won’t be effective at full removal. Your best option is to use a hypoallergenic eye makeup remover followed by the cleanser.

Hypoallergenic skin cleansers we recommend

Best of the best

Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser

Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser

Our take: Remains a crowd favorite as a capable cleanser that cleans, tones, and hydrates.

What we like: Scent is light and refreshing. Gentle enough for daily use, even for those with sensitive skin.

What we dislike: Some people with sensitive skin experienced reactions.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora

Best bang for your buck

CeraVe’s Foaming Facial Cleanser

CeraVe’s Foaming Facial Cleanser

Our take: Affordable, non-comedogenic formula that keeps oil at bay without drying skin.

What we like: Formulated with hyaluronic acid to hold onto moisture. Works well for normal to oily skin.

What we dislike: If you wear heavy foundation, you’ll need to use a makeup remover as well.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Caudalie’s Gentle Cleansing Milk

Caudalie’s Gentle Cleansing Milk

Our take: Milky cleanser from France well-known for its ultra gentle formula.

What we like: Ingredients minimize the appearance of fine lines and moisturize. Cruelty-free and vegan.

What we dislike: A bit too gentle for deep cleaning.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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