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Best cleansers and face washes in Australia

Our team examined hundreds of reviews and ratings to bring you the nine best cleansers and face washes available in Australia right now.

The best cleansers and face washes in Australia

How did we pick this list?

For this list, we chose face washes and cleansers based on actual customer reviews and ratings on Amazon. For every category, we carefully chose parameters based on our research and determined products with the highest review score within those parameters.

Read more detail on our methodology below.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Best overall cleanser

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Some reviews said it leaves a residue
  • Doesn't remove makeup

Why we chose it

With a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars from more than 21,000 Amazon global reviews, we picked the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser as the best overall cleanser you can buy online.

The Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is an award-winning face wash formulated for sensitive skin. However, it is suitable for all skin types and can be used on the face, hands and body. The cleanser is fragrance-free and won't irritate skin or clog pores. It is hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested and clinically proven to be gentle.

It's a great, basic daily face wash that lifts dirt and impurities from the skin. Customers said that it's non-irritating and even soothes sensitive skin. Those with dry skin added that the cleanser is non-stripping, while others said it helps balance their oiliness. However, this product doesn't effectively remove makeup. Reviews even suggested using a separate makeup remover. A few customers said it leaves a sticky residue, but these seem to be isolated concerns.


Hada Labo Gokujyun Cleansing Oil

Best oil cleanser

Hada Labo Gokujyun Cleansing Oil
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Moisturising
  • Removes waterproof makeup

Cons

  • Requires another cleanser to remove residue
  • Can cause blurriness

Why we chose it

For the best oil cleanser, we picked the Hada Labo Gokujyun Cleansing Oil. It has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon US.

It contains high-quality olive oil, selected for its gentleness to the skin. It also has two types of hyaluronic acid to keep the skin hydrated and moisturised. This cleansing oil is free from colour, fragrance, mineral oil and alcohol.

Many customers praised the product for being potent enough to remove even waterproof makeup. At $24.44, you get 200ml of the oil cleanser. But you only need 2-3 pumps to remove dirt and other products on the skin. It also has a thick consistency that quickly emulsifies with water. Reviewers liked that it doesn't have fragrance and colour as well. However, customers warned that this oil cleanser could cause temporary blurriness that goes away once rinsed. A few others also said that it leaves a residue, requiring a second foaming cleanser to remove.


Neutrogena Clear & Defend Facial Wash

Best cleanser for acne prone skin

Neutrogena Clear & Defend Facial Wash
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Good value for money
  • Contains salicylic acid

Cons

  • Too drying for some
  • A few customers experienced stinging

Why we chose it

For acne-prone skin, Neutrogena Clear & Defend Facial Wash is our choice for the best cleanser. On Amazon, it has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from more than 3,000 global customer reviews.

The Neutrogena Clear & Defend Facial Wash is a daily cleanser formulated with salicylic acid to prevent breakouts. Developed with dermatologists, it also has ClearDefend technology, leaving the skin completely clean while maintaining its natural balance. This facial wash is oil-free as well.

Reviews liked that it contains salicylic acid, a well-known ingredient that helps fight acne. The cleanser also helps the skin keep its natural nutrients intact and prevent breakouts. It dries out pimples without stripping skin too. Some added that the facial wash is quite affordable, but just as effective as pricier alternatives in the market. However, this may be too drying for people with already dry skin. Several customers said the cleanser stung their face, but these seem to be isolated incidents.


CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

Best cleanser for dry skin

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Removes light makeup
  • Contains ceramide and hyaluronic acid

Cons

  • Doesn't lather
  • More expensive than other facial washes

Why we chose it

For the best dry skin cleanser, we picked the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. It has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars from over 7,000 Amazon US reviews.

This hydrating cleanser helps wash out dirt and impurities without disrupting the skin's natural protective barrier or stripping its natural moisture. Created with dermatologists, the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser features three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid to restore the skin's barrier, leaving it hydrated. Its MVE Delivery Technology also helps supply the skin with nourishing ingredients.

This cleanser has a non-lathering, creamy consistency that gently removes dirt without stripping the skin. Customers said it also works in removing light makeup, but not waterproof products like mascara and eyeliner. Those with sensitive skin praised the cleanser for being gentle and calming. One reviewer added that it leaves the skin feeling clean and hydrated. Despite being formulated for normal to dry skin, people with oily skin seem to enjoy this product as well. It's more expensive than other cleansers, but you get over 400ml for the price.


Himalaya Herbals Purifying Neem Face Wash Gel

Best cleanser for oily skin

Himalaya Herbals Purifying Neem Face Wash Gel
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Leaves the skin soft and refreshed
  • Contains acne-fighting ingredients

Cons

  • Has a strong scent
  • Doesn't produce a nice lather

Why we chose it

If you have oily skin, we recommend the Himalaya Herbals Purifying Neem Face Wash Gel as the best cleanser. It has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 300 Amazon global reviews.

It contains neem, known for its purifying and antibacterial properties. The face wash is also formulated with turmeric that helps nourish and soften the skin. Apart from being dermatologically tested, the product is free from sodium laureth sulphate and phthalates as well.

This gel cleanser contains active herbal ingredients that help control and prevent breakouts. Customers liked that it leaves their skin balanced without stripping its natural oils. Those with sensitive and dry skin added that it helps nourish their skin while removing impurities too. Despite having a thick gel consistency, this face wash doesn't produce a nice lather. A few reviewers also didn't like its strong scent, adding that it smells like laundry detergent.


Aveeno Calm and Restore Nourishing Oat Facial Cleanser

Best cleanser for sensitive skin

Aveeno Calm and Restore Nourishing Oat Facial Cleanser
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Gentle and soothing
  • Helps calm redness

Cons

  • Not suitable for oily skin
  • A few customers experienced irritation with the product

Why we chose it

With a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Amazon US website, we picked the Aveeno Calm and Restore Nourishing Oat Facial Cleanser as the best sensitive skin cleanser.

This Aveeno cleanser is formulated with Prebiotic Triple Oat Complex, clinically shown to soothe itchy and dry skin. It also contains oat and feverfew to help nourish and calm irritation. Apart from being hydrating, the cleanser is hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic as well.

According to customers, this non-foaming cleanser is suitable for dry and irritated skin. It helps calm redness, leaving the skin soft and moisturised. A few others also liked that it doesn't clog pores and helps maintain the skin's natural barrier. One reviewer added that it softens and smoothes their face. However, this may not be suitable for oily skin because it doesn't have balancing ingredients. Several customers also experienced irritation when using the product, but these seem to be isolated cases.


Simple Water Boost Micellar Facial Gel Wash

Best drugstore cleanser

Simple Water Boost Micellar Facial Gel Wash
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Contains mineral and plant extracts

Cons

  • Too drying according to some reviews
  • Has an overpowering scent

Why we chose it

The Simple Water Boost Micellar Facial Gel Wash is our pick for the best drugstore cleanser, which has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon US.

The Simple Water Boost Micellar Facial Gel Wash is formulated with micellar water technology that refreshes the skin. It also contains plant-derived PENTAVITIN and plant-based prebiotic, suitable for dry and sensitive skin. According to the company, this cleanser is cruelty-free certified by PETA. It is also vegan and comes in recyclable packaging.

This cleanser is perfect for people with dehydrated and sensitive skin. It helps remove dirt and impurities without disrupting your natural oils. Customers also liked that the product doesn't contain artificial perfume or colour. It rinses off completely, leaving the skin soft and refreshed. Despite being advertised as a hydrating cleanser, some customers still found it too drying for their liking. A few others also didn't like that it has an overpowering scent.


Burt's Bees Face Cleanser for Sensitive Skin

Best natural cleanser

Burt's Bees Face Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Removes makeup
  • Soothes and calms irritated skin

Cons

  • Doesn't lather
  • A few customers said it burned their eyes

Why we chose it

If you're looking for the best natural cleanser you can buy right now in Australia, we recommend Burt's Bees Face Cleanser for Sensitive Skin. It has a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars from more than a thousand Amazon global reviews.

This natural cleanser is infused with cotton extract to soften and protect the skin from potential irritants. According to the company, it is made with 99% natural ingredients. It is also free of parabens, phthalates, SLS, soap or fragrance. The cleanser is dermatologist tested and hypoallergenic as well.

Many customers praised the product for being soothing and gentle, thanks to the inclusion of aloe. It helps calm inflammation while delivering moisture to the skin. The cleanser also effectively removes makeup without stripping the moisture barrier. Apart from being suitable for dry and sensitive skin, people with acne-prone skin enjoyed the product as well. But a few customers said that it burned their eyes despite being marketed as a gentle product.


COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser

Best salicylic acid cleanser

COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Suitable for acne-prone and oily skin
  • Prevents whiteheads and blackheads

Cons

  • Too drying for some
  • Not suitable for sensitive skin

Why we chose it

The COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser is our pick for the best salicylic acid cleanser available online. It has a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon US.

The COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser contains 0.5% salicylic acid and various ingredients that dissolve oil and other impurities. It is a creamy, foaming face wash that produces a thick lather to help draw out dirt from the pores. According to the company, it also gently exfoliates the skin to prevent blackheads and whiteheads from forming.

Customers liked that this salicylic cleanser is gentle enough for daily use. It works well to control sebum production, especially if you have oily skin. Those with acne-prone skin added that it effectively dries out their pimples while keeping future breakouts at bay. The cleanser rinses off cleanly, leaving the skin soft and refreshed. However, some reviews said that it's too drying and wouldn't recommend it for dry or sensitive skin.


Amazon prices last updated on 2 December, 2023 at 03:01 pm
eBay prices last updated on 2 December, 2023 at 06:16 am

Methodology

39
Brands considered
82
Products compared
9
Products chosen
  • We compared face washes and cleansers from over 30 brands and more than 80 products.
  • We then assessed hundreds of customer reviews and ratings on Amazon.
  • The products on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not selected based on commercial relationships.

Types of face wash

Shopping for any beauty or skincare product can be confusing for a couple of reasons. Not only is the sheer range of choice available overwhelming, but each product label seems to feature all manner of outlandish claims suggesting that the product is about to change your skin's world.

Then there are the many different types of facial cleansers available. Gels, foaming washes, creams, scrubs and micellar waters all compete for your cash. So how do you choose the facial cleanser that's right for you?

Rather than looking at the type of product, think about the type of skin you have.

  • Oily. An oil-free foaming cleanser or gel face wash can be an effective solution for people with oily skin.
  • Dry. If you have dry skin, look for a gentle cleanser or a creamy product that will hydrate and moisturise your skin.
  • Normal. If your skin is not too oily and not too dry, your best bet is to keep it simple and look for a mild cleanser that will get rid of excess oil but won't dry out your skin.
  • Combination. Combination skin can be oily in some areas (like the forehead, nose and chin, which form the T zone) and dry in others. If this is you, a gentle cleansing gel will remove dirt and excess oil without leaving your skin dry and irritated.
  • Sensitive. If you have sensitive skin that suffers regular breakouts and irritation when you try new skincare products, look for a gentle cleanser that doesn't contain any common irritants like fragrances.

Once you've worked out what type of skin you have, you might like to check out our Beauty Finder™ hub for reviews of a range of different face cleansers.

How to compare face cleansers

Ready to compare facial cleansers to find the product that's a perfect fit for your skin? Be sure to consider the following factors when weighing up your options:

Skin type

Common skin types include dry, oily and combination skin. However, not all skin fits neatly into one of these categories. If you're not sure what type of skin you have, check with a dermatologist. Keep in mind, you might need to make some slight adjustments to your face cleansing routine until you find a product that works best.

Skin problems

If you suffer from a specific skin problem, look for a cleanser designed to help tackle that issue. For example, if you suffer from acne, look for a purifying or balancing cleanser for acne-prone skin. If your skin gets irritated at the drop of a hat, look for a gentle face wash for sensitive skin.

Fragrance

The way a facial cleanser smells can also play a part in determining whether it's right for you. Some fragrances can leave you "feeling" cleaner, while others might turn your stomach.

However, it's worth noting that fragrances can be a common source of irritation. If you've got sensitive or dry skin, you may need to look for a fragrance-free cleanser.

Price

Most face cleansers you can find in the supermarket beauty aisle are priced somewhere between $2 and $15 per 100mL. Paying more doesn't necessarily mean getting a better product – it's all about what works best for your skin.

Also, remember to consider products on a price-per-100mL basis to ensure a fair comparison.

What's wrong with using soap instead of face wash?

You wash the rest of your body with a cake of soap, so why can't you use it on your face too? Unfortunately, if you want to improve the health and look of your skin, washing your face isn't quite that simple.

Bar soaps can be harsh and abrasive, and they can strip away your skin's natural oils and leave it damaged. Regular soap can irritate your skin and it can be particularly problematic for those with sensitive skin, so the best option is to use a gentle facial cleanser.

3 things to consider

There are a few other things you should consider before choosing a face cleanser:

  • The importance of moisturiser. The next step after cleaning your skin is to moisturise it. Moisturiser hydrates your skin, helping it stay healthy and free of problems like acne. The best time to use moisturiser is when your skin is damp, so applying it after you hop out of the shower is perfect.
  • Facial cleansers for men. There's an increasing range of men's facial cleansers popping up in the beauty aisles of supermarkets around the country, and there's more that sets them apart from products for women than just the packaging. A lot of men's products are designed to fight back against the razor burn and dryness caused by shaving. Some male facial cleansers also double as a body wash, allowing you to save time in the shower.
  • Trial and error. Just like choosing a lot of other beauty products, selecting a facial cleanser usually involves a little trial and error. Even if you hunt around for a product that you think will be suitable for your skin type, that doesn't necessarily mean it'll produce perfect results. So if you notice any signs of irritation, dryness or other skin issues, it might be time to try another option.

Before you start shopping, check out our guide to the best cleansers for different skin types. And when you're ready to buy, take a look at where you can shop online for cleansers and toners in Australia.

Best rated mascara brand award breakdown

Total Score Overall rating Value for Money Texture Effectiveness Packaging design
Cetaphil 8.23 4.49 4.27 4.39 4.49 4.27
QV 8.12 4.43 4.28 4.37 4.46 4.17
Neutrogena 8.04 4.38 4.1 4.42 4.38 4.23
Nivea 7.97 4.37 4.08 4.33 4.27 4.18
Sukin 7.92 4.28 4.26 4.26 4.32 4.1
Go-To 7.88 4.43 4 4.21 4.21 4
Aveeno 7.75 4.14 4.16 4.31 4.25 4.16
Aesop 7.69 4.2 3.74 4.04 4.24 4.2
Moogoo 7.68 4.16 4.03 4.14 4.32 4.19
Clinique 7.66 4.18 3.63 4.2 4.18 4.18
Clearasil 7.62 4.1 3.94 4.16 4.22 4.12
Kiehl's 7.62 4.14 4.03 4 4.14 4.17
Dermalogica 7.60 4.2 4 3.98 4 4.04
Biore 7.56 4.14 3.94 3.92 4.1 4.08
Natio 7.27 3.96 3.73 4.08 4.08 3.84
Skinstitut 7.03 3.91 3.52 3.57 3.78 3.91
Other 7.94 4.38 3.96 4.36 4.18 4.14
Data: Finder Retail Brand Survey, 2020, Kantar. Metric out of 5 stars unless indicated. Methodology and more info. Kantar logo

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