Washing your face is probably the number one thing that most men do when they wake up.

Needless to say what number one is.

Although face washing is important to any man’s grooming routine, there are still many that don’t take this necessary step very seriously.

With that being said, there are two very common mistakes many guys are susceptible of, and these include washing their faces with washes that aren’t developed for their skin type as well as using bar soaps that are designed for hand or body washing. But what they don’t understand is that both of these mistakes can cause skin related issues with most common being dry skin and acne.

Here at The Manliness Kit we understand the importance of quality face washing, and this is why we prepared this guide for you. Upon researching and testing we found 25 of the best face washes for men for all skin types.

Upon doing all the hard work, so you don’t have to, we narrowed it down from 25 to three washes that separates them from the rest of the pack. First and foremost, we really like the Clinique face wash for men with Rugged and Dapper being a great alternative. For a good and affordable option, we would highly recommend the Cremo Face Wash for those with normal skin types. The Cremo isn’t necessarily the cheapest you can get, but considering its quality, great ingredients and decent price, it makes it an excellent value for money.

Besides reviewing some great men’s face washes, we’ll also be discussing why getting a face wash is important, its differences with other cleansers and lastly, when and how often should you be using one.

Best Face Washes For Men

 Thrive Face Wash for MenBrickell Men’s Purifying Charcoal Face Wash for MenNeutrogena Men Oil-Free Invigorating Foaming Face WashL’Oreal Paris Men’s Expert Hydra Energetic Charcoal Cream CleanserNivea Men Maximum Hydration Moisturizing Face WashJack Black Pure Clean Daily Facial CleanserRugged and Dapper Daily Power Scrub Facial Cleanser For MenCetaphil Men Daily Face WashLather and Wood Shaving Company Face Wash for MenKyoku For Men Exfoliating Facial ScrubClarins Men Active Face Wash Foaming GelEvery Man Jack Skin Clearing Face WashLab Series for Men Mult-Action Face WashBulldog Natural Skincare Face Wash For MenCremo Face WashClinique Men Face WashThe Body Shop Maca Root Face Wash for Men
Size3.38 fl oz2 fl oz / 8 fl oz5.1 fl oz5 fl oz5 fl oz3 fl oz8 fl oz8.5 fl oz4 fl oz3.4 fl oz4.4 fl oz5 fl oz3.4 fl oz5.9 fl oz6 fl oz6.7 fl oz4.2 fl oz
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Skin TypeNormal, Oily, SensitiveNormal, Oily, DryNormal, OilyNormal, Oily, DryNormalNormal, Oily, DryNormal, Oily, DryNormal, OilyNormal, OilyNormal, OilyNormal, Oily, DryAcne, OilyNormalNormal, OilyNormal, Oily, DryNormal, DryNormal, Dry, Oily
ExfoliationNoYesNoNoNoNoYesNoYesYesNoNoYesNoNoNoNo
Value for Money4/54/54.5/54/54/54/54.5/54.5/54/54/54/54/54/54/55/55/54/5


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Let’s get to it.

Face wash vs soap vs body wash vs shampoo

Washing face properly to rinse debris and avoid clogged pores

Image courtesy: GeorgeRudy/BigStock.com 

By now many have seen an odd trend among men’s grooming products and more specifically, those that deal with personal hygiene. This trend is the 3 in 1, catch all, soap/shampoo hybrid. These products claim to proper clean the body, face, and hair.

Some men have embraced this theory assuming soap is soap, but is this true? Is all soap the same, more or less?

First things first, soap/body wash is very different than a men’s shampoo. Hair care is far more complicated than body care and should even be sectioned into various hair types and application.

Hair, like skin tone, serves as a manifestations of human diversity. Caucasian, Asian, and Black ethnicities all have different hair types and these could all be classified sub categories like straight, curly, fine, coarse, and damaged.

Shampoos were first created because hair, when not given a formula based on its distinction, became rough and damaged due to soap. Hair can not be properly cleaned with body wash and shampoo often leaves the body feeling slimy do to unnecessary ingredients for the body. The purpose of shampoo is to clean the hair but not strip the hair of its natural, protective oils.

Soap does not follow this same protocol. Shampoos normally have a pH between 4 and 6. Shampoos are normally acidic in natural so they don’t actually even contain soap. This keeps them close to the hair’s natural pH level. These do not swell the hair shaft and leave the hair’s natural oils unstripped. The hair follicles’ scales lay flat when having a pH slightly acidic and feel smooth and look shiny.

Body wash on the other hand has a soap or detergent base. It contains milder surfactant bases than shampoos do. It aims to be pH-friendly to the skin at 5-6.5. While shampoos seeks to leave the hair naturally oily, soap or body wash seeks to provide a deep penetrating skin clean.

While most men understand shampoos and soaps are very different categories, a far larger group of men do not believe there is truly and difference among body washes, bar soaps and facial cleansers.

Most have, simply, used their bar of soap or body wash to clean their face in the shower and let that be it. While washing certain parts of the body deter others from using from washing their face with the soap, they don’t truly think there is a difference. After all, isn’t soap just soap?

Sure, a good men’s body wash or soap may remove the layer of dirt and oil the face that have built up through the day, but it can also do much harm to the face.

Using a bar of soap or body wash on the face actually strips the face of needed natural oils and throws of the pH balance of the skin. This results in dryness, irritation, and the dreaded premature aging. Don’t forget the face have more sensitive, thinner skin than the body. And for this -and not only, reason it’s always recommended to use a daily facial cleanser rather than any other type of soap or cream wash on your face.

Why is a Facial Cleanser important?

  • It removes build up

The top reason to use face wash is because it removes dirt, oil, and other debris. As the day goes on, the face is constantly bombarded with bacteria, pollutants, viruses, dirt and dead skin cells. It removes these impurities resulting in fresh looking skin. If one doesn’t wash, skin becomes covered in a dense layer of dirt and filth which doesn’t allow any other facial products to penetrate the skin.

  • It boosts hydration

It keeps the skin at a level of hydration that is appropriate. Dehydrated skin usually looks rough and does not feel smooth. It, also, is easier to age and wrinkle. Cleansing helps manage a proper pH level and, allows the skin to retain water and moisturizers.

  • It gives clear skin

Sebaceous glands produce sebum which protect the skin from external dangers. The glands distribute through hair follicles (why beards can feel oily) until it reaches the surface of the skin. If excess dirt is present on the outer layer of skin, it blocks the follicle trapping in sebum as well as sweat and dead cells. The lack of necessary sebum allows bacteria to penetrate and inflammation occurs. This is what is often called acne. When the skin is cleaned it allows sebum to move unimpeded and decreases breakouts.

Here’s what happens for those that stop or don’t cleanse the face…Skin will become clogged and acne will develop more frequently. Skin can become severely red and dry out from lack of hydration. The skin, almost always, becomes dirty, oily, greasy, and looks old. It is an often cheap, quick practice that reaps great benefits.

What is a Men’s Face Cleanser or Wash?

A face wash or facial cleanser is a liquid consisting of gentle, liquid cleaning ingredients. Soap making is believed to have started as early as 2800 BC in ancient Babylon when urns were excavated and soap-like material was discovered.

From early writings, descriptions of boiling fats with ashes for soap purposes were present. Ancient medical documentation from Egypt from 1500 BC talked about making soap by combining animal and vegetable oils with alkaline salts. These were used specifically for skin disease.

In Roman folklore, soap was discovered after rain washed a mixture of animal and wood ash down a mountain side following animal sacrifices. This mixture was combined with clay from a riverbed and people raved about its revolutionary cleaning properties (the name of the mountain was Mt Sapo, hence the name). Not until 300 BC were the Roman baths of legend built and it became a part of culture to public bath with soap.

By the 7th century, soap making became an established, respected craft in Europe. It continued to grow and spread into America by the 1600s. It had long been made from tallow or animal fat, vegetable oils and ash, but fragrance from herds became a staple around this time.

In 1791, Nicholas Leblanc revolutionized the soap market with his patented process for making a high quality, inexpensive soda ash from basic salt. The ash was combined with fat to produce soap. This served as a catalyst for making soap for mass production.

The soap has continued to adapt since and in the 1970s, the Dove/Unilever company added fats and creams into soap and created the “beauty bar.” Shortly after this versions of this bar evolved into a bar for facial washing purposes. As more syndets were developed, later on, more ways of adding fatty acid and lipids into soapy solutions triggered a rise in facial cleansers of all types, gels, liquids, creams like fill the market today.

When and how often should men use facial cleanser?

All men should use a facial cleanser and most men should us a face wash daily. In the morning is the best time before saving as it removes debris that can prohibit a shaving blade.

For those with oilier skin, those who sweat heavily, exercise, or are exposed to areas of high dirt interaction, repeat in the evening so that the skin is clean for sleep.

How is face wash to be used?

  • First, clean the hands. Wet the face and neck with warm water and lather evenly over the entire face and neck.
  • Gently massage wash over face for roughly 15-30 seconds using the fingers so that the skin isn’t irritated. Focus on the important areas of the face: forehead, cheeks, temples, chin, neck and side of the nose. Attempt to avoid the lips and mouth.
  • Then simply wash the face completely clean of wash.
  • For complete face coverage, about a teaspoon of product is required. Gently pat the face dry with a soft, clean towel. It is ok if some moisture is left.

Cleaners for different skin types

Before going and picking up a daily cleaners, one must understand how to look for the right cleanser for them.

Remember, everyone’s skin is unique and what works well for some my dry out and irritate others. Many cleansers are specifically label for a particular skin type and so look for a cleanser labeled for: dry, normal, sensitive, or oily skin (some may say non-comedogenic which means it won’t clog pores or hypoallergenic which means it shouldn’t cause a reaction in the skin).

Dry Skin

This is skin that struggles to hydrate itself because it lack necessary lipids or water. The skin often feels tight and has a tendency to peel. Many people who have normal skin find themselves under this skin type during the winter do to dry air. If the skin is dry year round or seasonally, look for cream or milk based cleansers to protect the natural oils and prevent further drying.

A good option and our personal favorite is Clinique Men Face Wash.

Oily Skin

Oily skin exist because of an overproduction of sebum which tends to cause breakouts but keeps skin feeling moist. If this is the skin type, look for an oil-free cleanser that doesn’t block the pores but contains either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

A recommended problem solving wash is Every Man Jack Skin Clearing Face Wash.

The Hybrid Oily yet Dry Skin

For many, different areas of the skin are different in their skin types. Some have oily areas such as the forehead, nose, and chin (also called the T-zone) while the areas such as the cheeks, neck and eyes are dry and normal.

For this skin type, look for a mild cleanser that isn’t too hard to the skin and purge the skin’s, necessary, sebum such as Kyoku For Men Facial Cleanser.

Sensitive Skin

Some people have the misfortune of skin that reacts, either lightly or very severely, to specific ingredients in facial cleansers.

Sometimes the reaction can result from an overuse of the product but often it is a result of a skin condition such as eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, etc. These people have a thinner layer of outer skin than most that is easily irritated.

First, one should talk to their doctor because certain foods can cause reactions.

Second, stay away from a facial cleanser containing strong perfumes and alcohols, which irritate and dry out skin.

One should look for gentle ingredients that have a calming effect like green tea, chamomile and aloe. Remember one rule of thumb, the less ingredients a product contains, the better. Other ingredients to avoid are lipoic acid, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid.

L’Oreal Paris Men’s Expert Hydra Energetic Charcoal Cream cleanser is an affordable product recommended with this skin type.

Normal Skin

This title is given to skin that isn’t overly oily nor extremely dry. This is the easiest skin to buy for. Almost every cleanser will work but it is best to look for a mild cleanser that removes oil and dirt but maintains sebum that is at a proper level.

Since there is very little in terms of restrictions, try gels, creams and liquids to see with feels best to personal taste.

A good quality product is Rugged and Dapper Daily Power Scrub Facial Cleanser For Men.

What is in the average face wash?

Best face wash for men ingredients

Many ingredients make up the average face wash but there are several that have become almost universally used across the market. These serve by removing dirt and debris, unclogging pores, and conditioning the skin.

Allantoin

The FDA allows the use of allantoin in doses of .5% to 2% concentrations in over-the-counter skin protectant products. It serves to protect and condition the skin. It relieves skin from irritation and prevents trying and peeling.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate

It is commonly referred to as, simply, SLS. It helps create foam and softens skin. They are typically put in skin care products where mineral content is high.

Some are linking internal mouth ulcers to SLS. This has caused some toothpaste to remove it from their product line. This results in a far less foamy toothpaste. SLS has not be linked to any issues of the face through daily cleansing.

Propylene Glycol

This is used in many personal care products and is considered an organic alcohol. This functions by reducing flaking of skin and restoring moisture. It does this my locking in water and preventing dull dry skin damage.

Other names for this product are 1,2 propanediol or propane-1,2-diol.

Triethanolamine

This works to control the pH of skin and emulsify the skin. It is safe up to 5% concentration. It emulsifies by making water and oil soluble additives blend together by reducing surface tension.

In pH balancing, it keeps the formula from becoming overly acidic.

Glycerin

Glycerin can be natural or synthesized and is technically a sugar alcohol. It works to condition the skin and as a protectant and humectant. It reduces skin flaking and protects against skin irritations. As a humectant, it keeps water and moisture in the skin.

Here are some of the best face washes for men

Thrive Face Wash for Men

Thrive face wash for men

This is an all-natural, gel-based face cleanser for men. It removes dirt and oil effectively while moisturizing the skin.

It has a refreshing rain forest like scent and in fact, it contains two rare plants ingredients, juanilama herb and fierrillo vine. Juanilama herb is antibacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant. Fierrillo vine is antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Not only does this provide a quality clean but soothes skin irritation and razor burn.

Thrive is a socially conscious company that partners with Costa Rican farmers and female entrepreneurs to impact the world. They give a portion of each product to this mission. Some have found this product does cause them to break out. Some may find the scent too “earthy”.

Brickell Men’s Purifying Charcoal Face Wash for Men

Brickell Men's Products face wash for men

The product is packed with moisturizing extracts and vitamins. It has activated charcoal which cleans the pores of bacteria, oils, and free radicals. Olive oil is included to dissolve and remove nasty oils and replace the with healthy oil. Jojoba oil is added to protect the skin from moisture loss and aloe vera moisturizes and serves as an antioxidant.

It is considered TSA friendly, 99% natural and 60% organic. It smells both pepperminty and like eucalyptus. If used daily the product lasts about a month. It contains no sulfates or parabens. It is vegan, 100% certified organic and not tested on animals. Some do not like the texture of this product or the scent.

It comes from a trusted company, Brickell. It has the reputation of creating high quality men’s skincare and grooming products. As stated above, it uses natural and certified organic ingredients. The products are sold all over the world and have appeared in various respected men’s magazines such as GQ, Men’s Health, and Men’s Journal.

Neutrogena Men Oil-Free Invigorating Foaming Face Wash

Neutrogena face wash for men

This is a no frills, effective, quality men’s face cleanser at a great price. It cleans deeply with a cooling lather that removes excess surface oil and dirt without over drying. It improves skin overall look. It is oil free and won’t clog pores.

Some don’t like the strong scent because of added menthol. It could feel like it slightly burns the skin on contact.

Neutrogena has long been a huge name in the skin care field. It has a trusted brand that is known for getting positive results.

L’Oreal Paris Men’s Expert Hydra Energetic Charcoal Cream CleanserL'Oreal Paris face wash for men

Product designed to fight oily skin, dirt, stickiness, dullness, and clogged pores. It eliminates impurities and rids the skin of excess oil. It contains charcoal that turns into a more pleasant rich, white foam rather than the typical black usually associated with it. 85% of those using it, instantly saw cleaner, fresher skin.

L’Oreal is has a rich portfolio of loved protects in the skin care world. It is easy to find and has many customized products.

The smell leave much to be desired and it is relatively thick. Some found the skin felt greasy and feeling worse. Last, but certainly not least, it works well with most sensitive skin.

Nivea Men Maximum Hydration Moisturizing Face Wash

Nivea Men Moisturizing face wash for men

This wash feels cool on touch with its menthol and skin conditioning Vitamin E. It works well to cleanse while smoothing complexion without drying out. The product changed name from Nivea Men Original Moisturizing Face Wash.

The formula has changed in the last few years and some aren’t very fond of, including myself. It doesn’t produce a ton of lather and many don’t have much good or bad to say about it. As for the scent, it’s rather on the strong side but it goes away once you rinse it off of your face.

Nivea has been about since the late 1800s and has been an innovator in the marketplace. Many men trust it for an affordable, well performing product.

Jack Black Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser

Jack Black face wash for men

A cleanser that is considered a 2 in 1 product as it cleans and tones. It gives a deep down clean for clear, smooth, shavable skin. It can work as an aftershave. It does not dry out and leaves the skin clean hydrated and fresh.

It contains ingredients unique to washes like oat and coconut derived sulfate-free surfactants that clean the skin. Witch hazel is also added as an astringent and antioxidant. It has caused some with sensitive skin to breakout.

Jack Black continues to carve its lane in the market with good quality, not cheap but won’t break the bank, products. Most men love their scents. This is another recommended Jack Black product.

Rugged and Dapper Daily Power Scrub Facial Cleanser For Men

Rugged and dapper face wash for men

A daily face wash that covers the entire gambit of male grooming needs in a cleanser. It include only high quality ingredients and works to get the deepest clean while still being gentle on the skin. It is sulfate free, paraben free, vegan, and was not tested on animals.

It includes aloe vera to heal and nourish dry, damaged skin. Vitamin C is included to combat aging. Three other stables of Rugged and Dapper products are willow bark, burdock root and tea tree oil. These exfoliate while regenerating cells, tone and revitalize, and are antibacterial.

Rugged and Dapper is a premium skin care company for men that is made in the USA. It puts out products that are natural and organic. Most love its smell and a few have had reactions to the product with sensitive skin. Great product for normal skin.

Cetaphil Men Daily Face Wash

Cetaphyl face wash for men

It removes dirt, sweat, and oil without dry out. It protects and preserves the skin’s natural barrier. It is unscented and will not irritate pretty much everyone who uses. I works well on those with moderately oily acne-prone skin.

Cetaphil was established in 1947 and has been finding revolutionary skin care solutions since. It has five global research centers to constantly put out the most effective skin care products. Cetaphil has quickly become the brand most recommended by dermatologists for cleansing and moisturizing. It is built for all skin types so it works well on sensitive skin. Some don’t like the “unscented” scent.

Lather and Wood Shaving Company Face Wash for Men

Lather and Wood face wash for men

This wash includes jojoba beads to exfoliate and remove deep down dirt and oil. It results in a clean, younger looking face. It contains the highest of quality additives. It is also safe on the environment. Those with sensitive skin do not like the beads it contains. It falls more under the exfoliate than wash category.

Lather and Woods makes products all natural that do not cut corners for lower quality. Any man would is environmentally or health conscious will love this product as there are no harsh chemicals. It backs this up with quality with great customer service.

Kyoku For Men Exfoliating Facial Scrub

Kyoku face wash for men

Exceptional product that is infused with Vitamin A and E to bring skin to a healthy pH level making it more elastic and bring luster back. The product contains volcanic ash to draw out excess oils and toxics. It includes other unique ingredients such as Japanese Adzuki bean powder (removes dead skin cells), rice bran (anti-aging for all skin types), and other revolutionary Japanese herbs. One extra feature as well as benefit is the SPF 15 this product has.

Kyoku has the reputation of caring deeply about skin care. The company began in 2010 and has already won several awards from GQ, Esquire, and Men’s Health. They are so confident in the product they offer a 90 day money-back guarantee. Some do find it thick and difficult to spread. The smell is not the main reason why you’d choose this wash but overall, it’s a great product in terms of quality and performance.

Clarins Men Active Face Wash Foaming Gel

Clarins face wash for men

A product perfectly made for daily use. Helps slightly exfoliate and deep clean but leaves skin smooth and instantly toned. This is a high end product but does not require the amount that others similar products do for cleaning. Still, it is a pricey product.

Clarins is an American company with European roots. They always choose natural ingredients over chemical one if they deliver the same results. They have put out products for over 30 years. They are committed to respect nature and support local communities. All materials are bought with fair trade principles.

Every Man Jack Skin Clearing Face Wash

Every man jack face wash for men

This is a product that has mass distribution and can be found in many major retailers. It washes away deep-down dirt and oil to leave skin feeling great. It contain salicylic acid to treat and prevent future breakouts. It has coconut, aloe, camomile, glycerin that sooth and hydrate the skin. It works really well with oily skin. It is thinner than many washes. Most love the smell.

Every Man Jack continues to gain attention through its frequency in the marketplace and well priced products. This is one of their better products.

Lab Series for Men Mult-Action Face Wash

LAB Series face wash for men

A product that comes with a unique, pleasant scent. It has a great foam and really washes away dirt and grime. It leaves the skin feeling clean and conditioned. It every so gentle exfoliates away dry, patchy skin. It preps the skin for close shave.

Lab Series is the men’s line of Estee Lauder, so its a name many trust. It was launched in 1987 and now 4 products are sold by this company every minute.

Bulldog Natural Skincare Face Wash For Men

Bulldog face wash for men

This product never contains parabens, SLS, artificial colors or fragrances, and nothing derived from animal sources. It is packed with 8 essential oils and green tea to gentle cleanse the face of dirt and debris. This product has cause breakouts in those with sensitive skin. It has a woodsy, outdoor smell. It tightens and cleans the skin.

Bulldog has been a player in the skincare lane for a while. It produces good middle of the road products.

Cremo Face Wash

Cremo superior face wash for men

A product that is soap free. It gives the face a desired pH neutrality. It does not strip the face and leaves skin looking and feeling great. It is made in the USA with essential oils like lavender so it smells nice without drying out or leaving one oily. It is easily removed because no soap holds to face. It is paraben free.

Cremo has been a company of great, unique products. Some don’t like this product because it isn’t thick like most, but it leaves skin very smooth and clean.

Clinique Men Face Wash

Clinique face wash for men

A foamy face wash that mildly and deeply cleans the face. It softens the beard and preps for shaving. It leaves skin feeling fresh and not dried out. The bottle design isn’t the best when it comes to dispensing the wash but this is just a minor detail. If your skin is too oily, maybe this isn’t the best face wash for your skin type but it works great for dry and normal one. That said, it provides a ton of moisture for the skin.

Clinique is a name trusted in skin care. It makes high quality products for men and women that have been satisfying the masses for years.

The Body Shop Maca Root Face Wash for Men

Body Shop face wash for men

This unique product gives the skin an energizing boost while mildly cleaning. It has a rich foam that leaves skin feeling soft. It works with ingredients like Peruvian maca root and creatine to energize and boost the skin to a vibrate state. Menthol provides a cooling effect and vitamins A, B, and E protect from free radicals and condition. It even contains brazil nut oil for added moisture and softening.

Body Shop is a key player in the market that provides paraben-free, gluten-free, silicone-free washes. These are 100% vegan free. The scent isn’t as invigorating as it reads on the packaging but once you wash it off, you won’t be able to smell it anymore.

Closing thoughts

If you are a man who takes hygiene seriously, you must add a daily face cleanser to the routine. If the face is not cleaned, moisturizers do not properly work and breakouts and lackluster skin will follow. A daily face cleanser will give you a cleaner face than basic soap and provide the closest shave possible.

We hope the above men’s face wash reviews will help you in your quest of a quality product that works for your skin type and your face.