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10 Best Face Washes for Men with Oily Skin or Acne

When you have oily skin, picking out the right skincare products can be challenging.  All it takes is one ingredient to clog pores or cause a flare-up in acne.

Today we wanted to help you by rounding up the best face washes that have been specifically designed for men with oily skin.  These face washes will gently remove excess sebum oil, unclog pores, and lift away dirt and other pollutants from the surface of the skin.

In this guide, we’ll share with you a few popular face washes from brands such as Kiehl’s, Geologie, Aesop, and more that’ll help take your skincare regimen to the next level.

Helpful Tips for Buying a Face Wash for Oily Skin

Before buying a new face wash, know the following:

Skincare Terminology is Confusing

When browsing face washes, you’ll often come across words that may require a quick Google search to understand what they mean.  To help save you time, here are a few common yet confusing terms about face washes you should know:

  • Non-Comedogenic: This simply means that the ingredients within the cleanser won’t clog your pores.  
  • Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA): A water-soluble acid that helps to renew the skins’ surface.  Good for toning, hyperpigmentation, and shrinking the appearance of enlarged pores.
  • Beta hydroxy acid (BHA): A oil-soluble acid that lifts sebum oil from the skins’ surface. Suitable for oily skin types and reducing acne.  Salicylic acid is a common BHA, and concentrations range from 0.5 to 5%.  
  • Polyhydroxy acids (PHA): A new trendy ingredient found in select cleansers.  This is a chemical exfoliant that helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.  PHAs can be suitable for older men.
  • Exfoliant: Can be chemical or physical varieties.  AHA, BHA and PHA are chemical exfoliants.  Physical exfoliants are often added to face wash and include beads, lava rock, seeds, and more.  

Should the face wash be oil-free?

Not necessarily.  Some oils, such as grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, and most essential oils, are non-comedogenic – meaning they won’t clog your pores and are safe to use on oily skin.  

What about sensitive skin?

If you have oily and sensitive skin, consider a gentle cleanser that doesn’t contain several natural ingredients or artificial fragrances, as these can often cause irritation. Instead, we recommend going with a dermatologist-tested cleanser such as CeraVe.

1. Kiehl’s Oil Eliminator Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Face Wash

Kiehl's Oil Eliminator Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Face Wash

Since 1851 Kiehl’s has been delivering premium grooming products that provide consistent results.  Aptly dubbed an Oil Eliminator, this cleanser is specially designed to lift dirt and oil trapped deep within your pores. In addition, this cleanser includes finely ground apricot seeds to provide mild physical exfoliation to the skin.

Lastly, the ingredient list is rather slim, making it also a good choice if your skin tends to be a bit sensitive as well.

Ingredient List:

Aqua/Water, Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate, Coco-Betaine, Glycerin, Acrylates Copolymer, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Prunus Armeniaca Seed Powder/Apricot Seed Powder, Sodium Hydroxide, Parfum/Fragrance, Chlorphenesin, Salicylic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Citric Acid.

2. Geologie Exfoliating Cleanser

Geologie Exfoliating Cleanser

Founded in 2018, Geologie offers effective skincare products for men.  One particular product that is well-suited for men with oily skin is their exfoliating cleanser.  With 2% salicylic acid as its active ingredient, this cleanser will gently remove oil from the skin’s surface.  

At 2oz in size, it’s also travel-friendly.  Additionally, the ingredient list on this cleanser is simple and doesn’t contain any natural or artificial fragrances; the reason why it has an impressive 2 out of 10 hazard score in the EWG Skin Deep database (source).

Ingredient List:

Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, PEG-150 Distearate, Isopentyldiol, Coco-Glucoside, Salicylic Acid, Phenooxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate

3. Typology Exfoliating Cleansing Gel

Typology Exfoliating Cleansing Gel

The Typology Exfoliating Cleansing Gel is a top consideration for older men with oily skin.  Containing a high concentration of PHA (5%), it’ll gently remove surface oil while also lifting fine lines and wrinkles.  

In this face wash by Typology, you’ll also find aloe vera and inulin.  Aloe vera effectively reduces inflammation while also nourishing the skin.  On the other hand, inulin is a plant-derived humectant and prebiotic that helps the skin retain moisture and balance out the bacteria.

Ingredient List:

Aqua (Water), Coco-Glucoside, Gluconolactone, Coco-Betaine, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Inulin, Sodium Chloride, Benzyl Alcohol, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Glucose, Sucrose, Fructose, Limonene.

4. Cardon Purifying Clay Cleanser

Cardon Purifying Clay Cleanser

Cardon is a new premium men’s skincare brand with a unique lineup of naturally-derived products.  One such product worth considering for oily skin is its clay cleanser.  A blend of kaolin clay, cactus extract, tiger grass, quartz, vitamin E, and more it provides a deep cleanse, unlike any other face wash.  

This cleanser’s formula will help balance out the oil production of your skin while delivering both moisture and nourishment it craves. In addition, the included cacti extract, the same ingredient found in their award-winning face mask, provides a deep soothing sensation that you’ll look forward to every time you wash your face.  

If you want to go ‘all-in,’ consider upgrading to the oily skin set for complete coverage.

Ingredient List:

Water, Kaolin, Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate, Glycerin, Bentonite, Myristic Acid, 1,2-Hexanediol, Lauric Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Titanium Dioxide, Moroccan Lava Clay, Acmella Oleracea Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Ficus Carica (Fig) Fruit Extract, Amaranthus Caudatus Seed Extract, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract, Torreya Nucifera Seed Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Opuntia Ficus-Indica Stem (Prickly Pear Cactus) Extract, Ceramide NP, Palmitic Acid, Hydroxyacetophenone, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Stearic Acid, Glycol Distearate, Glycol Stearate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Butylene Glycol, Decylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Propanediol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Quartz, Fragrance

5. Clinique For Men Face Wash Oily Skin Formula

Clinique For Men Face Wash Oily Skin Formula

The Clinique for Men is a perfect pick if you want a well-tested and popular face wash that simply delivers clean and shine-free results. Ideal for mild to moderate acne, this oil-free cleanser effectively releases deep-set dirt and oil within your pores. In addition, the formulation is gentle and contains no exfoliators.  

The fresh and woody fragrance provided by the cleanser also provides a pleasant experience.

Ingredient List:

Water / Aqua / Eau, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate, Tea-Cocoyl Glutamate, Butylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sucrose, Hexylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Sulfate, Polyquaternium-7, Laureth-2, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Menthol, EDTA, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow 6 (CI 15985), Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Yellow 10 (CI 47005).

6. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser for Oily Skin

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser for Oily Skin

La Roche-Posay, a subsidiary of  L’Oreal, makes a cleanser free of many of the problematic ingredients found in many mass-produced brands.  The oil-free, alcohol-free, and paraben-free formulation will remove sebum oil without causing dryness or irritation to the skins’ surface.  

The foaming cleanser specifically designed for oily skin types relies on zinc pidolate as the active ingredient.  Zinc pidolate effectively suppresses sebum oil secretions while showcasing purifying, astringent, and anti-inflammatory properties (source).  It’s easy to see why this cleanser is so well-received; it delivers quick and effective results.

Ingredient List:


7. Proactiv Acne Cleanser

Proactiv Acne Cleanser

Proactiv has been at the forefront of oily skincare management for years.  With targeted formulations, they can help to reverse oily skin in a hurry.  Doing the heavy-lifting, Proactive relies on benzoyl peroxide, a natural antiseptic that has been proven to remove acne-causing bacteria (source).  

Additionally, Proactiv also added an exfoliation grit and hyaluronic acid to help soften the skin and erase fine lines. 

Ingredient List:

Active: Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5%. Inactive: Water, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Sorbitol, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Disodium PEG-12 Dimethicone Sulfosuccinate, Tridecyl Stearate, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Paraffin, Cetyl Esters, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Tridecyl Trimellitate, Trisodium Sulfosuccinate, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Propylene Glycol, Sodium PCA, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Fragrance.

8. CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

If you are looking for an affordable face wash without compromising results, consider the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser.  This dermatologist-recommended face wash is gentle on the skin while ridding it of excess oil and dirt. In addition, the cleanser includes nourishing ceramides that’ll help to fortify the moisture barrier, improving the appearance with continued use.

The large 16oz bottle is great for home use and provides exceptional value.

Ingredient List:

Aqua / Water / Eau, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Peg-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Niacinamide, Peg-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl, Taurate, Propylene Glycol, Ceramide Np, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide Eop, Carbomer, Methylparaben, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cholesterol, Disodium Edta, Propylparaben, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium Edta, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum

9. Aesop Amazing Face Cleanser

Aesop Amazing Face Cleanser

Aesop is well-known by both men and women for its high-end skincare products that rely on a primarily natural base. When looking at the ingredient list on the Amazing Face Cleanser, you are met with a careful formulation of several non-comedogenic and natural ingredients, including lavender oil, orange peel oil, ylang-ylang oil, and more.  All these ingredients work in tandem to deliver a gentle formula that’ll remove excess sebum oil trapped deep within your pores.

Available in a travel-friendly 3.4oz container and a larger 6.8oz container for home use, you can ensure your skin looks great no matter where your travels take you.  

Ingredient List:

Water (Aqua), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sea Salt (Maris sal), Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, d-Limonene, Linalool, Benzyl Benzoate.

10. Bioré Men’s Skincare Charcoal Face Wash

biore face wash

Charcoal is often added to cleansers as it effectively unclogs dirt and other pollutants from your pores. The well-reviewed Bioré Men’s Skincare Charcoal Face Wash is a light face wash specially designed for men looking to resolve oil buildup on their skin.  Delivering the targeted results, Bioré relies on an oil-free formulation while being paraben-free and tested by dermatologists.

Unlike other charcoal cleansers that require you to scoop out the soap with your hands, this face wash by Bioré provides a convenient pump design.

Ingredient List:

Water, Glycerin, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sorbitol, Laureth-4 Carboxylic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Fragrance, Sodium Hydroxide, Menthol, Methylparaben, Polyouaternium-39, Propylparaben, Charcoal Powder, Disodium EDTA, Mannitol, Iron Oxides, Cellulose, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Methylisothiazolinone, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose

About Adam

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam is an expert in all things men's grooming and style. When you don't find him reading up on the latest style trends, he likes to go jogging, attempt to distinguish the differences between IPAs, and play sports with his kids.

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