We all know that cleansing is the first step of any solid skin care routine but it’s hardly the most glamorous step in our skincare lineup.

Whether your skin care regimen consists of a basic wash-tone-moisturise system or something that qualifies as a pampering ritual, starting with a fresh, clean canvas is a necessary step to reap the benefits of all that skin-loving goodness you layer on afterwards.

But gone are the days where face washes are just for cleansing. Modern-day formulas pack a chock full of benefits that range from hydration and brightening to pore de-clogging and anti-ageing.

Bottom line: it’s important to find a face wash that is a match made in heaven for your skin, especially if you want to set the rest of your products up for success.

Ahead, Daily Vanity lines up the best face washes ranging from award-winning classics, crowd-favourites and innovative formulas that you’ll gladly splash away as they transform the task from an everyday chore to a treat and ready the skin for whatever’s next.

Best face washes that are budget-friendly

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

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Arguably the most recognisable option in the market, this mild, soap-free face and body cleanser hydrates and soothes skin as it cleans.

The award-winning formula is trusted by beauty enthusiasts and the healthcare community because of its ability to gently clean and moisturise without stripping skin’s natural oils, making it a great choice for all skin types, even for babies and very sensitive skin. Many consider this one of the best face washes and we aren’t surprised!

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser retails from RM22.09 (125ml) and RM62.80 (500ml) at major pharmacies such as Watsons and Guardian as well as online at Hermo.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser

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If the words “deep clean” in its name have not clued you in, this cleanser is all about taking down grime, oil, and light makeup while lifting away dulling dead skin cells with hydroxy acid in the formula.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser retails from RM24.50 at major pharmacies such as Watsons and Guardian as well as online at Lazada and Hermo.

Eucerin ProACNE Solution Cleansing Gel

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Free of both soap and and fragrance, Eucerin ProACNE Solution Cleansing Gel is a non-comedogenic daily face wash for blemish-prone skin that can be used alongside medical acne treatment and during pregnancy

With 6% Ampho-Tensides (mild cleansing molecules that are said to be well tolerated by sensitised skin), this cleanser can effectively eliminate dirt, makeup, and excess sebum. Thanks to its antibacterial properties, the gel formula can rid skin of bacteria and prevents bacterial growth.

Eucerin ProACNE Solution Cleansing Gel retails for RM55 (200ml) and RM75 (400ml) at major pharmacies such as Watsons. It’s also available online at Shopee, Lazada, and Hermo, where the variant is on sale for RM44 at the time of writing.

Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Face Wash

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In case you haven’t heard, skin hydration is the foundation to healthy, glowing skin so it could help to use a more hydrating cleansing formula at the start of your routine.

Formulated with two types of hyaluronic acid, this foam cleanser is an especially great option for parched skin as it can help restore and preserve skin’s natural moisture while it gently washes away impurities, dirt, and oil.

Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Face Wash retails RM34.90 at major pharmacies. It’s also available on Hermo at a discounted price of RM29.67 at the time of writing.

Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

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A super gentle cleanser that’s great for your morning wash, this low pH formula gel cleanser gets the job done with pore tightening tea tree oil and mildly exfoliating natural BHA so your skin gets thoroughly cleansed but not have its natural oils stripped away. Great for any skin type, including sensitive and dry skin.

Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser retails from RM43 on Watsons, Zalora, and Hermo.

Simple Kind To Skin Refreshing Facial Wash Gel

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Enriched with Triple Purified Water and vitamins, this dermatologically tested and approved formula leaves your skin feeling clean and replenished without irritation. This is certainly one of the best face washes to reach out for if you’re looking for one that won’t break the bank.

Simple Kind To Skin Refreshing Facial Wash Gel retails for RM22.80 at major pharmacies such as Watsons and Guardian as well as online at Shopee and Hermo.

Aiken Tea Tree Oil Facial Cleanser

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Made specifically for oily, acne-prone skin, this formula deeply cleanses clogged pores to remove excess oil and control shine without leaving skin dry and taut.

Aiken Tea Tree Oil Facial Cleanser retails for RM11.90 at major pharmacies such as Watsons and Guardian.

Senka Perfect Whip Cleanser

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One of the most popular facial cleansers in Japan, this formula goes beyond its cleansing function and is capable of protecting the skin, reinforcing its barrier, and improving skin’s resilience for longer-lasting moisture thanks to a combination of Shiseido’s moisture-boosting Aqua-In-Pool ingredient and signature silk cocoon essence in the formulation.

Senka Perfect Whip Cleanser retails for RM9.90 (50g) and RM19.90 (120g) at major pharmacies such as Watsons and Guardian as well as online at Hermo and Lazada.

Nature Republic Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera Foam Cleanser

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This fan-favourite is renowned for its efficacy in getting rid of impurities in the pores without leaving skin dry and taut, thanks to ultra-moisturising aloe vera in the formula.

Nature Republic Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera Foam Cleanser retails from RM20 on Althea and Hermo.

Innisfree Green Tea Foam Cleanser

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This refreshing and hydrating cleansing formula promises to thoroughly remove dirt and makeup while keeping skin supple with its two key ingredients, green tea root extract and Beauty Green Tea, a moisturising ingredient developed after an intensive study of 2,401 Korean green tea varieties.

Innisfree Green Tea Foam Cleanser retails between RM36 and RM41 at all Innisfree stores as well as online at Althea, Shopee, Lazada, Hermo, and Zalora.

Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder Wash

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Powder-formula cleansers have been steadily gaining traction over the last few years because of its convenience and gentleness.

This one by Kanebo is at the forefront of the category with an enzyme-activated formula that whisks away impurities and unclogs pores as it protects skin’s natural moisture.

Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder Wash retails for RM42.80 (15 pieces) and RM85.60 (32 pieces) at major pharmacies such as Watsons. It’s also available online at Hermo, where it’s currently on 30% off at the time of writing.

Garnier Light Complete Brightening Whip Foam

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Infused with brightening yuzu lemon and vitamin C, this zero-alcohol formula gently cleanses and clears away dullness so that skin is softer and brighter-looking without feeling any tightness.

Garnier Light Complete Brightening Whip Foam retails for RM14.90 at major pharmacies such as Watsons and Guardian as well as online at Hermo.

Naruko Tea Tree Purifying Clay Mask & Cleanser In 1

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Made with skin-brightening and antibacterial ingredients, this formula leaves skin refreshed and free of acne by clearing clogged pores, ridding dead skin cells and excess oil, and regulating sebum.

Naruko Tea Tree Purifying Clay Mask & Cleanser In 1 retails for RM29 on Naruko’s website and Hermo, but is currently on sale for RM26.10 at the time of writing.

Related: Some By Mi Bye Bye Blackhead review: Is it really the wonder cleanser we all need to get rid of blackhead once and for all?

Best face washes that are splurge-worthy

Neogen Real Fresh Foam Cleanser

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Not only does this hypoallergenic, bubbly foaming cleanser wash away any unpleasantness on your skin, it also has four skin-loving variants to choose from – blueberry for hydrating, cereal for brightening, cranberry for revitalising, and green tea for soothing. Its gorgeous packaging certainly doesn’t hurt too.

Neogen Real Fresh Foam Cleanser retails for RM85 on Hermo, but is currently on sale for RM69 at the time of writing.

Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk

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This smooth and velvety milk cleanser is the perfect addition to your morning routine as it leaves your face and eyes clean, soft, and protected from free radical damage.

It may be a little pricey but looking at online reviews and how many are saying this is one of the best face washes they’ve tried, it may be worthwhile to get it.

Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk retails for RM99 at all Caudalie and KENS stores as well as online at Ken’s Apothecary.

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap

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This one’s got all the benefits of Clinique’s dermatologist-developed Facial Soap in a liquid formula as it cleanses and preps the skin without stripping protective lipids while protecting skin’s natural moisture balance.

Available in three types: Mild (dry combination skin), Extra Mild (sensitive skin), and Oily Skin.

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap retails for RM100 at all Clinique and Sephora stores as well as online at sephora.my.

It Cosmetics Confidence In A Cleanser

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Makeup-wearers will appreciate this cleanser-and-serum-in-one formulation for it’s developed to effectively take away even the toughest eye makeup while boosting skin vitality and restoring moisture with a blend of proprietary Anti-Aging Armour Rejuvenating Concentrate, collagen, hyaluronic acid, colloidal oatmeal, and a ceramide complex.

This is one of the best face washes to consider if you have sensitive skin.

It Cosmetics Confidence In A Cleanser retails for RM135 at all Sephora stores and on sephora.my.

Shiseido Waso Quick Gentle Cleanser

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Formulated without alcohol or oil, this golden-hued gel face wash contains honey and royal jelly extracts to protect skin’s moisture level and deliver an abundance of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to the skin.

Shiseido Waso Quick Gentle Cleanser retails for RM105 at all Shiseido boutiques and on Hermo.

Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser

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A powerhouse for an acne-ridden skin, this formula utilises salicylic acid to banish those pesky pimples while inhibiting future breakouts. The addition of aloe vera and chamomile helps calm any irritation, leaving you with a glowing complexion.

Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser retails for RM81 at all Sephora stores and on sephora.my.

Eve Lom Cleanser

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A mighty cleanser with the adoration of celebrities and multiple awards under its belt, this lush icon melts into skin like a dream to gently exfoliate without drying skin out with its cocktail of four de-congesting and soothing plant oils. It also helps nourishes skin with cocoa butter in its formula.

Using the accompanying 100% cotton muslin cloth soaked in warm water to cleanse your face by way of massaging may sound really troublesome but trust us when we say it’s worth it – you’ll echo this too once you see the smoother, brighter skin post-cleansing.

This has a strong reputation as one of the best face washes out there, so you may want to give it a try to find out whether it’s true.

Eve Lom Cleanser retails for approx. RM456 (US$107) on Net-A-Porter and RM596 on Cosmetics Now.

Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash

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This creamy gel cleanser creates a rich lather to gently mop away impurities, dirt, and oil without stripping skin dry, thanks to a moisture-attracting blend of calendula and plant-based glycerin in the formula.

Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash retails for RM132 (75ml) and RM132 (230ml) at all Kiehl’s boutiques and online.

Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash

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When it comes to faces with dry and oily places, it takes this clever cleanser to balance the two without cancelling each other out. It incorporates broad leaf kelp extract to dial down excess oil production while wheat protein balances and protects dryness-prone zones so skin feels comfortably refreshed after cleansing, never pulled or parched.

We also love the formula’s aromatic concoction of bergamot, spearmint, and lavender that makes face cleansing a pleasurable process. add pleasure to the process. A little goes a long way with this product – all you need is the size of a 20-cent coin for your whole face.

Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash retails for RM115 at all Origins and Sephora stores as well as online at sephora.my.

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser

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An antioxidant blend in this pH-balanced cleansing formula works hard to block damaging free radicals while alleviating redness and skin reactivity and maintaining the natural acidity of the skin.

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser retails at RM50 (56.7g), RM100 (142g), and RM160 (226g) at all Sephora stores and on sephora.my.

Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Micro pH Foam Facial Cleanser

 

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Developed for dry or sensitive skin, this non-irritating gel-to-foam cleanser is dermatologically tested clean gunk and sebum off your face without erasing all moisture while evening out the skin’s pH level for a fresh and healthy complexion.

Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Micro pH Foam Facial Cleanser retails for RM26 (30ml) and RM85 (120ml) on sephora.my.

Boscia Detoxifying Black Charcoal Cleanser

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This deep-cleaning gel cleanser warms up upon contact with the skin to dissolve grime and makeup and rinse away pore-clogging surface debris, impurities, and excess oil. Over time, you will see improvements in skin texture, skin clarity and the look of pores.

Boscia Detoxifying Black Charcoal Cleanser retails for RM145 at all Sephora stores and on sephora.my.

Related: Double cleansing: What is it, how to do it, and why it’s an important part of your skincare routine

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