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11 Best Drugstore Face Washes That’ll Make Your Skin & Wallet Happy

Achieving clear skin does not have to be expensive.

There is a reason why cleansing falls as the first step in a skincare regime. Facial cleansing doesn’t only remove debris from the face but also prepares it for the proceeding steps in our skincare routine (essence, serum, moisturizer…). This is because a clean face absorbs products more efficiently, like how a clean sponge absorbs water.

In this article, we have researched, reviewed and listed down a few affordable drugstore/pharmacy face washes which can be easily obtained from both physical and online stores. With the right cleanser, getting clear skin is not a dream at all.

What are the differences between a Face Wash and a Face Cleanser?

While the words “wash” and “cleanse” are synonyms, it is not exactly the case when it comes to a face wash and a face cleanser. Generally speaking, they both work to cleanse and get rid of the dirt from our face. But which is better for you, and which is not? Or, are they simply no better than each other? 

Let’s find out.

Foaming Nature

A face wash lathers as you massage it onto the face with water, creating white foam that needs to be rinsed off. Meanwhile, a face cleanser is typically non-foaming and doesn’t necessarily need to be rinsed off. They can be easily removed with a washcloth or a facial tissue. 

Take, for instance, a foaming cleanser is considered as a face wash while a lotion cleanser/milk cleanser is considered as a face cleanser.  


A face wash removes heavy dirt that accumulates at a deeper layer of our skin and clears our pores more thoroughly compared to a face cleanser. Because of its foaming action, it tends to be harsher and more drying on the skin. 

On to the face cleanser. They do clear the impurities from our face too, but focuses on removing makeup dirt and excess sebum that stays on the skin’s upper layers. Its creamy and silky texture also makes it a kinder, gentler cleanser than a face wash. 

For removing heavy makeup and double cleansing (for oily skin), a face cleanser should go first to get rid of any makeup grime, followed by a face wash to deep cleanse your pores.

Suitable Skin Types

As a face cleanser is milder and more moisturising to the skin, it is best for people with normal, dry and sensitive skin. Whereas for those with combination and oily skin, it is ideal to use a face wash for a more sufficient cleanse. 

If your skin always feel squeaky clean, tight and gets quite red after cleansing, chances are your cleanser is too harsh for your skin. Do consider switching it to a gentler one if that is the case.

Best drugstore men's face wash
Himalaya Herbals
Check Himalaya Purifying Neem Face Wash (100ml) price below:
add_circle Soap-free
add_circle Paraben-free
add_circle Contains anti-inflammatory key ingredients like Turmeric and Neem
add_circle Cleanses the skin well
remove_circle Doesn't foam up much, according to the reviews
remove_circle Contains fragrance
remove_circle is unnaturally bright green in color, according to the reviews

Did you know that men have thicker and tougher skin texture? As such, we recommend men to try out this product as it’s a more effective face wash that can meet their skin needs. 

This Himalaya’s face wash contains some of the most uncommon ingredients for a cleansing product which are Neem and Turmeric. The former has been known as a popular ingredient that’s used in traditional Indian remedies to treat skin issues. It is not only an excellent anti-fungal, but also an anti-ageing element that boosts and maintains skin firmness. 

As for Turmeric, it is recognized as one of the most potent wound-healing agents for the skin. This is because it contains curcumin components, which comes with benefits like easing skin inflammation and reducing skin cell oxidation. Turmeric also helps to purify the skin, giving it a glow from within. 

With its soap-free formulation, the face wash promises to penetrate deeply yet gently, into the skin and take away all unwanted impurities. Several reviewers have shared their pleasant experience with this product. One of them has even described the face wash as “Cut through grease like a knife through butter”. 

Nevertheless, do take note that this face wash has a bright green hue, which some people find it a concern.

Best drugstore brightening face wash
Check Garnier Skin Naturals Light Complete Foam price below:
add_circle Affordable
add_circle Fresh lemon essence to brighten up skin complexion
remove_circle Result is short-lived and normal
remove_circle Contains too many fragrance ingredients
remove_circle Not sensitive-skin and dry-skin friendly

Unclogging the pores and improving skin complexion are what this foaming cleanser from Garnier goes after. It is enriched with fresh lemon essence that flushes away the toxins in our skin, brightens it up and lightens skin pigmentation. 

The product is of a creamy texture that lathers well with water and can be easily rinsed off, so it’s quite a comfortable, basic cleanser to use.

Still, reviewers have found that this is quite an ordinary face wash very with its skin-brightening effect short-lived and needing. Nonetheless, because of its affordable price point, many of them are willing to repurchase as long as it doesn’t break them out. 

With that much being said, let’s talk about its biggest downside. 

It contains quite a lot of unnecessary fragrance ingredients. Suggested by its ingredient list, it comes with Linalool, Limonene and Benzyl Salicylate which all give a floral, citrusy scent. They are allergenic and very likely to sensitise the skin. So, to sensitive skin and dry skin people, take note!

Best drugstore salicylic acid face wash, also for exfoliating
Check COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser price below:
add_circle Fragrance-free
add_circle Hypoallergenic
add_circle Vegan
add_circle Delivers smooth, clear skin


Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser promises to deliver smooth skin without causing any irritation. Perfect for all skin types, it aims to balance the pH system in your skin that may be imbalanced throughout the night.


  • Does not contain fragrance
  • No irritation
  • Alcohol-free

Who Is This For? 

This facial wash is perfect for all skin types, including those with sensitive skin. Aside from balancing the pH system in the skin, it removes impurities and hydrates your face without any stripping needed.

Best drugstore exfoliating face wash, great for blackheads
St. Ives
Best facial scrub for acne control
Check St. Ives Acne Control Apricot Scrub price below:
add_circle Leaves the skin soft
add_circle Contains Salicylic Acid
add_circle Suitable for acne prone and oily skin
remove_circle Not for daily use

Accumulation of dead skin cells, excess sebum and bacteria clog our pores will lead to the development of acne. Skin exfoliation, on the other hand, helps to clean congested pores and reduce the signs of breakouts. So when it’s done in moderation, exfoliation gives us a softer and smoother skin that glows. 

The face scrub from St. Ives is a thick beige cream with scrub beads to deeply exfoliate the skin. Not only are the scrub beads in the cleanser obtained from 100% natural walnut shell powder, but the fragrance of this cleanser is also extracted from the natural apricots. 

As for the key ingredient, it comes with 2% of salicylic acid. Salicylic acid works as a skin exfoliant with anti-inflammatory properties and is extremely effective in treating blackheads and whiteheads.

However, we suggest for anyone to only use this product in moderation. Depending on one’s skin type, overusing salicylic acid on the face might cause skin-peeling and skin-sensitivity. 

Although it’s suggested by the brand to use the cleanser 3 to 4 times a week, we recommend people with normal, dry and sensitive skin to use it up to only 2 times a week.

Best drugstore face wash for dry and sensitive skin
Simple Kind To Skin Moisturising Facial Wash
Check Simple Kind To Skin Moisturising Facial Wash price below:
add_circle Free from artificial fragrances and dyes
add_circle No harsh chemicals
add_circle Moisturising
add_circle Affordable
add_circle Suitable for sensitive skin
add_circle Vegan & cruelty-free

It turns out that Simple really keeps their products simple. 

This moisturising facial wash from the brand is free from artificial colouring, artificial fragrance and any harsh chemicals that might upset the skin. 

Furthermore, being 100% free from soap or to be more specific, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), it is no surprise that this face wash is formulated ideally for people with dry and sensitive skin. The reason why a soap-free face wash is more preferable is that SLS is alkaline and might dry out the skin in the long run. 

Looking through its ingredient list, the face wash is also formulated with Bisabolol to calm irritations and Panthenol which helps speed up the wound-healing process. There’s also Tocopheryl Acetate(Vitamin E) which is an amazing antioxidant for the skin. So, besides cleansing the skin, the cleanser also comes with other skin benefits. 

While it is claimed to remove makeup residue, many reviewers have found it simply not enough for the job. There’s still the need for a proper makeup remover before the face wash. 

Several have also mentioned how this product doesn’t lather much. And last but not least, some reviewers have suggested pairing this face wash with a heavier moisturizer as it does leave their skin a little dry.

Best drugstore face wash for acne
Check Neutrogena Deep Clean Acne Foam Cleanser price below:
add_circle Alcohol free
add_circle Contains a high amount of glycerin that helps in retaining the skin's moisture
add_circle Provides oil-control to the skin
add_circle Dermatologically tested
remove_circle Not ideal for people with dry and sensitive skin
remove_circle Contains Fragrance

Through clinical tests, this glycerin-based foam cleanser from Neutrogena vows to eliminate up to 99.9% of unwanted dirt from the face without taking the glow away. 

The anti-bacterial and anti-microbial Isopropyl Methylphenol (IPMP) used in formulating this cleanser is what makes it such a great acne-fighter. Supporting its strength, it also contains other anti-acne ingredients such as lauric acid and zinc gluconate too.

You might be thinking, “this sounds like a strong cleanser.... is it going to dry out my skin?” Well, here are a few takeaways to ease your worries. 

Firstly, the cleanser contains the brand’s Natural Botanical Complex that protects the skin and helps to keep the skin hydrated and calm. Secondly, with glycerin, which is a skin humectant, as the first ingredient on its ingredient list, it is pretty promising that the cleanser is not here to strip your skin of its moisture. 

Last but not least, it is free from alcohol! As we are informed, alcohol dries out skin cruelly when used in high amounts! 

Several reviewers have mentioned that this cleanser has reduced the redness of their acne and given them a good amount of oil-control without leaving their face dry. However, reviewers with dry skin mostly find this foam cleanser a little too harsh for them. As such, we recommend this to people with combination or oily skin who struggle with acne.

Best drugstore face wash for oily skin
La Roche Posay
Check La Roche Posay Effaclar Foaming Gel Cleanser price below:
add_circle Alcohol-free, Paraben-free, Non-comedogenic
add_circle Regulates sebum production
add_circle Maintains skin healthy pH level at 5.5 during cleansing
add_circle Non-comedogenic
remove_circle Contains Fragrance
remove_circle Contains sulfates
remove_circle Not suitable for dry and normal skin

Two active ingredients that can be found in this cleanser are Thermal Spring Water and Zinc PCA. While the former is an anti-irritant that leaves a soothing effect on the skin, the latter fights against acne-causing bacteria and regulates the sebum production of our pores. It’ll effectively reduce breakouts and is a gold ingredient for people with oily and acne-prone skin. 

Despite its gel consistency, this cleanser can create rich white foam when mixed with water. It is specially designed to remove excess sebum and dirt on the face without disrupting its pH balance at level 5.5. Having a skin’s pH level that is too high or too low will trigger an awful skin reaction which can take a long time to heal. 

Moreover, the product is alcohol-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic and is listed as one of the Bustle Editor’s picks in 2020. Do take note that Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) in this product is a gentler cleansing agent and is not the same as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), which can be very drying to the skin. 

According to the reviewers, this product has made their skin feel clean, fresh and a lot less oily, especially at the T-zone. They like how a little goes a long way, making it a worthy buy. A reviewer also mentioned that this product has improved her daughter’s cystic acne condition.

Another best drugstore face wash for acne and oily skin
Check Eucerin Pro Acne Solution Gentle Cleansing Foam price below:
add_circle Affordable
add_circle Soothing to the skin
add_circle Retains moisture without stripping the skin off
add_circle Alcohol-free, Sensitive skin friendly

An alternative to the popular La Roche Posay foaming cleanser is this Pro Acne cleansing foam from Eucerin. It is sold at a much more affordable price point and works ideally for people with oily, acne-prone skin. Kick the grease away!

It contains Bisabolol, which is derived from Chamomile. This natural ingredient is quite effective at calming down acne that can trigger skin inflammation. Moreover, Bisabolol promotes skin-healing effect and even aids in reducing wrinkles in the long run, truly a saviour of an ingredient! 

There’s also Lauric acid which combats acne and glycerin which helps to retain skin moisture naturally can also be found in the product. That being said, this is a cleanser that clears up our skin without over-stripping it. With its non-alcohol formulation, this cleanser promises to be sensitive-skin friendly.

Best drugstore face wash for combination skin
Check Garnier Sakura White Foam price below:
add_circle Cleanses the skin gently enough without drying it out
add_circle Exceptionally affordable
add_circle Dermatologically tested safe for sensitive skin
add_circle Alcohol-free
remove_circle Contains a mild fragrance
remove_circle Isn't very effective in skin whitening and brigthening

Sakura Face Wash? Yes, you aren’t seeing it wrong. This cleansing foam from Garnier contains Sakura extracts from Japan!

This cleanser aims to cleanse the face and reveal a complexion that is dewy, radiant and pinkish like Sakura. It is not only an alcohol-free face wash, but it’s also dermatologically tested safe for sensitive skin. Moreover, the cleanser is infused with Ascorbyl Glucoside which is a stable form of Vitamin C that brightens up the skin, reduces hyperpigmentation and works as an antioxidant. 

Many reviewers have commented that this product has a nice smell, is soft and fluffy in texture. While it hasn’t done anything impressive in whitening their skin, it is a cleanser that cleanses decently without leaving their skin feeling dry and tight. 

With its jaw-dropping affordable price point, lots of reviewers also find it worth their money. Based on the skin types of the reviewers, this should suit people with normal and combination skin well.

Best natural drugstore face wash
Check Botanics Gentle Facial Wash price below:
add_circle Uses natural plant extracts with soothing and calming effect
add_circle Has Aloe Vera for wound-healing and boosts skin cell regeneration
add_circle Contains natural skin moisturizer - Shea Butter
remove_circle Shea butter can clog the pores, thus it’s not ideal for people with acne-prone and oily skin

For those who’d like to seek help from mother nature about their skin woes, try Botanics! This face wash from Botanics is fortified with natural herbal ingredients that not only cleanses the skin, but also work to better the skin’s condition in time. 

The Botanics Gentle Facial Wash is formulated with natural plant essences from Chamomile, Lavender and Calendula. These popular flower ingredients all carry anti-inflammatory properties that soothes and calm the skin, making up for a face wash that’s pleasant and ultra-gentle to use.

Also, it is fortified with natural Aloe Vera extracts that possesses amazing skin-healing properties as well as speed up skin cell regeneration. 

Shea butter, which is considered as an excellent skin moisturizer that tones and smoothens the skin, is also on the ingredient list. However, as shea butter carries the risk of clogging pores and causing acne, we don’t suggest people with acne-prone and oily skin to use this face wash.

Best drugstore anti-aging face wash for over 40
Ponds Age Miracle Facial Treatment Cleanser
Check Ponds Age Miracle Facial Treatment Cleanser price below:
add_circle Removes impurities hidden deep in the skin
add_circle Skin feels soft and moisturised
remove_circle Contains fragrance
remove_circle Not suitable for sensitive skin


Ponds Age Miracle Facial Treatment Cleanser uses 10% of Retinol-C and Vitamin B that will deeply clean your skin by removing impurities such as dead skin cells. Furthermore, it can also brighten your skin as it has 3x Youthful Glow.


  • Contains niacinamide that combats acne and brightens your skin
  • Protects and moisturises your skin with its main ingredient: Glycerin
  • Can be used during morning and evening

Who Is This For? 

For those with acne and who wants to moisturise their face, this facial treatment cleaner will be suitable for you as it penetrates your skin to remove any impurities hidden underneath the naked eye. 

Disclaimer: The pricing shown is just a good indication of how much these products are worth. The prices could change based on the e-commerce promotions that are going on. If some of the products are not available, do email us at [email protected]. Thank you!

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