The best face washes for your skin type and budget

From foam to cream, oil to clay, we’ve rounded up the best face washes for every skin type including blemish-prone and dry skin.

Best Face Washes
(Image credit: Rex Features)

Plus the answer to the age-old question: what's the difference between a face wash and a cleanser?

It's a no-brainer that you need to wash your face every day and should *never* sleep in your make-up. But understandably, there's some confusion around the difference between the best face washes and cleansers.

While the best cleanser will remove every scrap of grease, dirt and make-up from your skin for a deep clean, face washes are a lighter option; they'll clean, but most of the time won't remove make-up in the same way a heavy-duty cleanser will.

That said, a lot of us like to wash our face first thing, and some complexions will benefit from refreshing the skin in the morning. And, if nothing else, washing your face in the morning helps to wake you up a bit for the day ahead. Follow with your usual skincare routine of the best toner, best serum and best moisturiser for your skin type (and don't forget the all-year-round essential, SPF).

So which is the best formula for your skin type? Read on as we chart the best of the best, with options for every complexion and budget.

Best face washes for acne

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions, £15.70, Fabled

best face washes Clinique Anti Blemish Solutions

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Best face washes for oily skin

Tata Harper Pore-Minimizing Daily Wash, £62, Selfridges

best face washes Tata Harper

Oily skin definitely benefits from a twice-a-day face washing rule, as you're more likely to wake up looking a little shiny. Any more face washing though, and you could encourage your skin to produce even more oil (which you don't want!)

Tata Harper's pore-minimising formula does exactly what it says on the bottle. Skin feels soft, excess oil is gone, and open pores don't look quite so gaping. After a few weeks' continued use you'll definitely see a marked difference in the overall appearance of your skin.

This is a pretty spenny option, so if you're looking for a high street alternative try Simple's Clear Skin Oil Balancing Wash, £4.39 at Boots.

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Best face washes for dry skin

ELEMIS Pro Radiance Cream Cleanser, £26.35, Fabled

best face washes Elemis Pro Radiance Cream Cleanser

You might find with extremely dry skin that washing can make it feel tight, uncomfortable and even sore – and if that's the case, listen to your skin, as once a day in the evenings is plenty to remove make-up and the day's dirt from your face.

If you do like a morning face wash, though, try a cream formula like Elemis' Pro Radiance; the essential plant extracts help to moisturise a dull and dry complexion. Massage into the skin and then gently wash off using a hot flannel in circular movements – this will help to slowly buff away some of the dead skin, just don't rub too hard as you could make the skin raw and sore.

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Best face washes for sensitive skin

La Roche Posay Toleraine Softening Foaming Gel Wash, £12.50, Boots

best face washes La Roche Posay Toleraine

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Best face washes for combination skin

Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash, £16.50, Fabled

best face washes Origins Checks and Balances

Finding a face wash that manages your dryness and oiliness at the same time is no mean feat. You need something that targets any excessive oil production while also moisturising any dry flare-ups. Doesn't sound like too much to ask, right? Origins' Frothy face wash is an ideal choice for a comfortable complexion wash that refreshes the skin without feeling like all the moisture has been sucked out of it.

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Safe to say there are excellent face washes out there regardless of your skin type.

Your morning face wash just got ten times nicer...

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