You know you're supposed to be washing your face, but what if your face is dry, acne-prone, or sensitive? Our favorite skincare products handle every skin type with ease—and they don't cost a fortune.

By Melanie Rud
Updated December 02, 2019
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

The basic rule for a healthy, beautiful complexion is simple: Wash your face to remove dirt, oil, and makeup each night before going to bed. The right cleanser will do its part to clear pores and keep your skin soft and glowy, but it's important to take your skin type and care needs into account when shopping. If you’re not sure which face-cleansing product to use or your skin’s needs have changed with age (the acne treatment you used as a teen is probably too harsh and drying now), follow these tips from dermatologists and try one of our favorite drugstore products—all under $15.

Related: 8 Anti-Aging Hacks That Will (Almost) Turn Back Time

Courtesy of Ulta

Best for Dry Skin

When it comes to your face, squeaky clean is no good. Anyone with dry skin should look for a rich cream-, balm-, or oil-based cleanser. To reap the maximum benefits, let it sit for a few minutes to give hydrating ingredients more time to sink into your skin, says Mona Gohara, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine.

Buy It: No7 Radiant Results Nourishing Cleansing Balm, $9.99, Ulta

Best for Removing Makeup

Many cleansers can’t break down the heavy oils in makeup, especially in creamy foundations or waterproof formulas. So you need to start with a cleansing oil or a micellar water—both effectively dissolve makeup oils. Follow with your regular face wash (or a second swipe of micellar water) to cleanse your skin, Gohara says.

Buy It: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, $6.59, Target

Courtesy of Walmart

Best for Breakouts and Wrinkles

The potent acne wash that worked when you were a teen can backfire on you as an adult because mature skin is drier and more sensitive, says New York City dermatologist Melissa K. Levin, M.D. A gentle gel-based or foam formula removes excess oil without stripping your skin. Use a separate product (like retinol or salicylic acid treatment) to unclog pores and prevent breakouts.

Buy It: Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser, $7.94, Walmart

Courtesy of Walmart

Best for Sensitive Skin

Mild cleansing is a must for anyone with sensitive skin. Pass on foaming washes—too drying—and choose a gentle formula labeled as soap- and fragrance-free. Non-soap cleansers use detergents with a neutral pH, which are less likely to cause irritation. Also helpful: Rinse with cool or lukewarm water. Hot water dries out your skin and exacerbates flushing.

Buy It: Aveeno Ultra-Calming Hydrating Gel Cleanser, $7.79, Walmart

Best for Face and Body

Keep a multitasking cleansing bar in the shower. As long as it’s gentle (not a deodorant soap), you can use it on your face and body. “A moisturizing bar is ideal for anyone who doesn’t have any major complexion concerns and just wants to wash and go,” Gohara says. As inexpensive skincare products go, this one's a no-brainer.

Buy It: Dove White Beauty Bar, $3.59 (for two-pack), Target

Courtesy of Walmart

Best Exfoliating Scrub

Regular exfoliation removes dead skin cells and improves the penetration of other skincare products, Levin says. Just don’t overdo it. Choose a product with small, uniform scrubbing particles like sugar or natural jojoba beads, and use once a week instead of your regular cleanser.

Buy It: L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Scrub, $11.99, Walmart


Comments (2)

October 15, 2018
Absolutely. Different skin types respond better to different cleansing formulas. We recommend that you avoid foaming cleansers if you have particularly sensitive skin, but a foaming cleanser may still be appropriate in other situations.
October 14, 2018
This article on face products and was in BH&G October 2018 issue page 22 is confusing: Advertises using Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser and then under the Aveeno info it says Pass on foaming washes - too drying Well Cetaphil is a foaming cleanser. Please clarify this. Thank you.