These affordable options help clear up your skin without a high price point.

By Melanie Rud
Updated August 31, 2020
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Although everyone has a different skincare routine, there are some steps that all of us should be taking, regardless of your skin type. For anyone who wants a healthy beautiful complexion (which is everybody, right?) it's a fairly simple process. First, you need to wash your face to get rid of the dirt, oil, and makeup twice a day. Your cleanser should clear out pores and leave your face soft—not stripped. Plus, you don't want to spend a small fortune on a product that you're going to go through fairly quickly. To help you choose an affordable cleanser that works well, we've selected six options for people with various skin concerns that are all dermatologist-recommended.

Credit: Courtesy of Ulta

When it comes to your face, squeaky clean is no good. Anyone with dry skin should look for a rich cream, oil, or balm-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 ($8, Ulta)

Credit: Courtesy of Target

Many cleansers can’t break down the heavy oils in makeup, especially in creamy foundations or waterproof formulas. So you need to start with cleansing oil or 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 ($7, Target)

Credit: Courtesy of Walmart

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 different product (like retinol or salicylic acid treatment) to unclog pores and prevent breakouts.

Buy It: Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser ($8, Walmart)

Credit: Courtesy of Walmart

Mild cleansing is a must for anyone with sensitive skin. Pass on foaming washes as they're 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 irritate. 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, ($11, Walmart)

Credit: Courtesy of Target

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.

Buy It: Dove White Beauty Bar ($4, Target)

Credit: Courtesy of Ulta

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 Pure Sugar Scrub Nourish & Soften ($10, Ulta)

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.