A few years ago, it was hard to find non-toxic skincare products. Because of this, I had to learn how to make most of my products. It’s encouraging to see the shift in the products available today. Thanks to the internet, bloggers, and green beauty shops, it’s easier than ever to find non-toxic skincare products. If you don’t want to make your own products, you can now find super effective skincare products from brands that are transparent and proud of their standards, ingredients, sourcing. Today, we’re going to take a look at the best natural, organic, and non-toxic face cleansers and face wash options, both store-bought and homemade.

It can feel overwhelming to make the switch to non-toxic skincare products. If you’re currently feeling this way, I have a couple of tips to help you simplify this process…

  • Baby steps. I’ve been on this journey for 10 years. It’s taken me 10 years to get to where I am today, and even now I’m still learning and growing and making changes. Small, intentional steps are the key to a long-term lifestyle. The goal is never some kind of perfection; rather, the goal is intentional living and progress.
  • Start with the products you use regularly. Here’s the thing. You may want to switch over your entire bathroom cabinet right now, but doing so would cost a fortune and won’t give you time to find the products YOU love. I recommend slowly making changes, starting with one product at a time. Which product should you choose first? Start with the one you use most frequently and the one that comes in direct contact with your skin. Maybe this is lotion or foundation? Maybe this is your moisturizer? Maybe this is deodorant? Maybe this is toothpaste?
The Best Natural Face Cleansers /Face Wash

What to Look For in a Face Cleanser/ Face Wash

  • An face cleanser shouldn’t be harsh or strip your skin of its own natural. beneficial oils. This stripping causes an imbalance of the skin-this can cause breakouts and other issues. Instead, it should clean your face, gently, by removing dirt and makeup (if you’re wearing makeup).
  • Choose a product made by a company that’s transparent about ingredients. A company should be proud of the ingredients used and should clearly state these ingredients on packaging and their website. A company shouldn’t hide behind big mysterious words like fragrance. Instead, a company should be willing to share exactly what’s in a product and how it’s made. Here’s a good example of what to avoid by a “natural company.”
  • Do your research. If you’re unsure about an ingredient (just because an ingredient is hard to pronounce doesn’t make it unsafe), use the Skin Deep Database from the EWG to look up the specific product or ingredient in question. This database provides information about the safety of ingredients and overall rating for products. I’ve already done this research for you and will share the best organic face washes and which natural face wash products are best (below). 
  • Visit a natural and organic beauty store. A great way to browse the non-toxic face cleansers out there is to visit a site like The Detox Market. A place like the The Detox Market curates non-toxic products via their online shop, which makes it easy to see what’s out there.
The Best Natural Facial Cleansers

How to Use a Face Cleanser / Face Wash

  • Most cleansers will come with instructions so read the bottle and brand’s product page (on their website) to get the most of your cleanser of choice.
  • I only use a facial cleanser at night. In the morning, I simply wash my face with water in the shower. There’s no need to use a cleanser on your face in the morning, unless you’re sweaty from working out (then a cleanser will be useful).
  • The secret to using any face cleanser is to first massage the product on a damp face and then use a soft, wet washcloth to rinse off the cleanser and any dirt/makeup (rinse a couple of times, if needed). The cleanser will loosen dirt and cleanse the face, but it’s important to use a cloth to aid in the process. I use gray washcloths so they don’t show makeup or dirt.

Best Natural Face Cleansers

Which natural face cleansers are the best? Below, you’ll find what I consider to be the best natural face washes and cleansers, made with natural and organic ingredients, safe formulas, and zero known toxins.

The Best Natural Facial Cleansers

1. Osea Ocean Cleanser

I’m going to start with the best cleanser out there. This Ocean Cleanser is gentle and great for sensitive skin (or any skin type), removes makeup, and leaves the skin feeling clean and hydrated. One bottle lasts a long time (for me, about 4 months) and the packaging is glass. Every so often I decide to switch up which cleanser I’m using, but ALWAYS return back to this product. It’s hands down the best cleanser I’ve ever used. You’ll only find OSEA products online, unless you have a green beauty store in your area like a Detox Market, Follain, or Credo Beauty. I asked OSEA if they would provide me with a discount code and they kindly did just that. Use code livesimply for 10% off. I also love their face masks!

2. Marie Veronique Gentle Gel Cleanser

Now, let’s talk about my second favorite facial cleanser, Marie Veronique Gentle Gel Cleanser. Marie Veronique makes several facial cleansers. Just like OSEA, this cleanser is super hydrating, gentle, and removes makeup. This cleanser is a few dollars cheaper than OSEA and one bottle does last a while. The best place to purchase Marie Veronique products is online, via the company’s website or The Detox Market (although they only sell a few of the products).

The Best Natural Facial Cleansers

3. True Botanicals 

True Botanicals is a company that delivers amazing results. In fact, True Botanicals beat out Proactiv for clearing acne. I’ve tried all the True Botanicals face cleansers and they’re all fantastic! The natural cleanser you choose from this line depends on your skin type.  This company is cutting edge and makes products that are incredibly effective (including the best natural shampoo and conditioner) and “made safe” certified. I personally don’t use the natural cleanser from True Botanicals because I’m in love with OSEA cleanser, but I have used it in the past. That said, I do use True Botanicals in my skincare routine. The Pure Radiance Oil is liquid gold and a great natural moisturizer for the morning and evening.

The Best Natural Facial Cleansers

5. Evan Healy Tea Tree Cleanser or Milk Cleanser

I found this brand at Whole Foods two years ago and instantly fell in love. The ingredients are botanically based, the packaging is beautiful (and glass), and the brand goes on sale a few times a year at Whole Foods (a good time to stock up and save!). I’ve tried both the Tea Tree Cleanser and Milk Cleanser with good success. Evan Healy products can be found at health food stores, Amazon, and Whole Foods. I also love this company’s shea moisturizer with olive leaf (for a thick nighttime moisturizer–so good!) and hydrosols (use after a face cleanser, as a toner, and before moisturizing).

6. One Love Organics Easy Does It Cleanser 

This cleanser is another affordable option ($25) that can be used on the body and face and will also remove makeup. It comes in a plastic bottle, unlike many of the options above which come in glass (I know this is important for some folks). It’s suitable for all skin types, including dry skin since it won’t dry out or strip your skin. One Love Organics can be found online, via natural beauty stores like The Detox Market.

7. Acure Organics Gel Cleanser or Cream Cleanser

Acure Organics is a great budget-friendly brand. I’ve tried the cleansing gel in the past and enjoyed it. They also make a cream cleanser. Acure can be found at Target, Whole Foods, Amazon, and some health food stores.

8. Blissoma Rejuvenating Gel Cleanser and Makeup Remover

My esthetician introduced me to this line of natural skincare products. Everything I’ve tried from this brand is fantastic and very affordable for such a clean, natural skincare line.  The cleanser is very gentle and won’t strip the skin, while also tough enough to remove dirt, oils, and makeup at the end of a long day. I also recommend the moisturizers from this line (the Sensitive Care Moisturizer is the one I love). If you’re prone to breakouts and have acne prone skin, the Smoothing A+ Correcting Serum is made with 4% niacinamide, herbs, and vitamin A and perfect for calming flare ups. I use this before bed, after a face cleanser and toner and before moisturizing for hormonal acne.

Best Homemade Face Cleaners / Face Wash

Let’s transition to a few homemade or do-it-yourself organic facial cleansers. The natural face wash products on this list are made with natural ingredients. All the products are budget-friendly and super easy to make at home.

The Best Natural Facial Cleansers

1. (Do-It-Yourself) Honey and Aloe Vera Cleanser

This cleanser uses the antibacterial and humectant power of honey to cleanse and hydrate the skin. I recommend using a makeup remover before this cleanser.

2. (Do-It-Yourself) Cleansing Grains

If you’re looking for an exfoliant/cleanser/mask all in one, this is cleanser is for you. To make a facial cleanser, combine the cleansing grains (a powder made from ground oats and clay) with a liquid and then massage the grains on the skin. I recommend using a makeup remover before using the grains. You can also use cleansing grains just for exfoliation a couple times a week to remove dead skin cells.

3. (Do-It-Yourself) Basic Natural Face Wash

If you’re looking for more of a soapy cleanser, this is a great option. This easy-to-customize recipe starts with a castile soap base and then builds from there, based on your preferences. Castile soap can cause the skin to feel dry and tight, so if you have dry skin or you’re looking for extra hydration, this cleanser may not be your best option.

4. Just Honey

Honey is a simple organic face wash that may be used on its own. It may seem slightly odd to use honey to wash your face, but it’s a practice that’s been around for ages. Honey washes away impurities and hydrates the skin.

The Best Natural Facial Cleansers

If you love a particular face cleanser/face wash, share your experience in the comments. I love learning about new brands and products from you all.

My Skincare Routine

If you want to see my personal skincare routine in action (including how I wash my face with a cleanser), watch this video. Learn how to create your own skincare routine (on any budget) in this skincare routine post

My Basic Morning Routine: 1. Wash face with warm water 2. Marie Veronique Pre and Probiotic Mist (Toner) 3. True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil 4. Ilia Sunscreen/Foundation (always before leaving the house!)

My Basic Evening Routine: 1. OSEA Face Cleanser 2. Marie Veronique Pre and Probiotic Mist (Toner) 3. Live Botanical Hyaluronic Acid Serum 4. True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil (my favorite skincare product)

Extras (to repair sun damage and hormonal acne flare ups): 1. True Botanicals Cellular Repair Serum 2. True Botanicals Antioxidant Powder 3. Marie Veronique Intensive Repair Serum (for hormonal acne flare ups, Update: I now use the Smoothing A+ Correcting Serum from Blissoma)

best natural face cleansers

If you love a particular face cleanser/face wash, share your experience in the comments. I love learning about new brands and products from you all.

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  1. I was wondering if there were any skincare lines that would be comparable to the old Pete rivko gentle cleanser? That was the only brand free of oil and all irritants and toxins for my overly sensitive skin.

    1. Hey Leah, I’m not sure. I don’t have any experience with that brand, but maybe someone else does. Marie Veronique makes some oil-free products you may want to check out.

  2. Hi Kristin, I’m looking for a new, non-toxic skin care routine and came across this timely post! I’ve been looking at the Skin Deep website for EWG verified products…I’m interested in your favorite, Osea, but looks like it’s not EQG verified. How important do you think that is and are there any questionable ingredients in Osea products? I also like MyChelle and Cocokind…trying to decide!

    1. Hey Elise, So glad it’s helpful. To my understanding, companies PAY for the EWG certification. So my guess is OSEA has decided not to pay the EWG to obtain the certification. For that reason, I don’t rely much on this certification since it’s a “bought” certification (although still with standards, but still it’s based on companies paying for it, much like the organic certification for food). There are so many amazing companies out there that either don’t have the funds to pay for this certification or don’t care to do so. That may be the case with OSEA.

  3. Hi Kirstan. It’s worth noting that algea and sesame oil are really terrible for acne prone skin and they are the 2 major ingredients in Osea.

    1. Hey Ingrid, I haven’t heard of that brand before. Just from a quick glance of their website, the few products I saw look good as far as their ingredient list goes.

  4. I have rosacea so cleansers are really harsh on my skin, instead I use a Serum and Dry Mask combo from rareearthskincare.com my favorites are the Green Machine, and Dark Side of the Moon – clears my complexion and gives my skin a clean, smooth glow!

  5. Thank you Kristin – I actually read that review a while back but dismissed it when I did my own research and found that in just the first half of the LONG review, Meghan already misrepresented a few ingredients found in a serum such as https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/search.php?query=cyclopentasiloxane and https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/705070/POLYMETHYL_METHACRYLATE/ claiming they were toxic when EWG listed them as safe. She also said the company as a pyramid when they are actually part of the Direct Selling Association… so her credibility is unfortunately compromised. It’s so difficult to believe people – especially when they are selling something… so sad!

    1. Okay, thanks for letting me know, Joanie. Meghan, from what I know, doesn’t have any association with them.

      Sounds like you’ve done your research on them, which is amazing. That’s the best we all can do and the best way to determine what companies you’d like to support and use.

  6. Hi Kristin – I’ve also been on the quest for non-toxic skincare and makeup. Have you ever tried or reviewed Arbonne?

  7. Hi Kristin. I agree that natural products are really safe for our skin especially sensitive skin like me. I’m a sensitive skin so it’s difficult to find products which matched to my skin. Thanks for sharing. This will be great to be my guide to take care of my skin. Sharing my experience, I use organic face wash. I found a positive result. From this post, I’m interested in Leahlani Skincare. I think I’ll try it.

  8. OK, thanks! I have used and like Dr. Hauschka’s cleansing milk, but I don’t see it listed on the EWG site. I’m having trouble finding a similar cleanser I like, that’s clean and not too expensive.

    1. Hey Elise, Both brands vary with products, so I definitely recommend looking at specific products on the Skin Deep site from EWG (https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/). I haven’t personally tried either brand, but from a EWG search, it looks like most of Weleda’s products check out “clean” as far as ingredients. The Dr. Hauschka’s products are a bit more iffy–but this all depends on what ingredients you’re cool with having in your skincare products and what ingredients you’d like to avoid. This varies from person to person. Fragrance would be the one I’d like to know more about from the brand–what’s used to make their fragrance?