Face Wash and Face Cleanser Finder

How to find the best face wash for your skin type to create healthy, glowing skin.

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Best Face Wash

Best Rated Face Wash Brand: Cetaphil

Receiving an impressive 100% recommendation rating from consumers who have tried and loved its products, Cetaphil was named the best face wash brand. Cetaphil received excellent scores across the board and was top rated for effectiveness and packaging design.

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Key facts about comparing face wash

  • A good-quality facial cleanser removes dirt and grime from your pores, improves your complexion and helps stop breakouts from occurring.
  • The first and most important thing you need to do is work out what type of skin you have and consider products specifically designed to suit your skin.
  • You can then start to think about the consistency of the product you'll be applying to your skin, plus whether you need to tackle any specific skin issues like acne.
  • Cost will also be a factor, with many products priced between $2 and $15 per 100mL, but some sporting even higher price tags.

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.


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.


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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