The 8 Best Natural Face Washes of 2021

Wash away the grime with these natural face cleansers.

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The Rundown
Rich in antioxidants green and white tea, aloe vera, and green tree seed oil, it deep cleanses without peeling away its moisture.
A grime-removing workhorse, it works on dry, oily and combination skins equally well.
The star ingredient of Evolve Beauty’s luscious melt comes from the majestic baobab tree.
Just a pump or two of this creamy cleanser helps dislodge stubborn grime, working best on oily skin.
This deep-cleaning soap-free cleanser alleviates zits without parching your skin, thanks to tropical noni fruit.
The frankincense smooths and tones the skin and the cocoa butter improves elasticity and appearance.
Bring the spa home with Tata Harper’s lush, exfoliating cleanser that’s gentle enough to use twice a day.
One Love Organics’ oil cleanser bursts with Vitamin B that’s derived from papaya, pumpkin and sunflower oils.

The secret to glowing skin lies in a great AM and PM skincare routine, and a simple cleansing ritual lays a strong foundation to this. You might wonder what the fuss is about cleansers, given that they barely have a few seconds to work their magic on your skin. But the rewards are plenty when you find the right one for your skin type. A good cleanser dislodges dirt without drying or irritating your skin, leaving it refreshed and clean.

But not all cleansers score equally. In our selection, we’ve looked for natural formulations that avoid toxins such as parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances and instead work their wonder with the potency of their ingredients. Our shortlist includes cleansers and face washes made from responsibly sourced natural and organic ingredients and have been certified by approved third parties (see FAQs below).

If you're looking for a new cleanser, consider one of these natural faces washes.

Best Overall: True Botanicals Renew Nourishing Cleanser

True Botanicals Renew Nourishing Cleanser

True Botanicals creates potent skin potions, which are safe for humans and the environment and use wild-harvested and organic ingredients. Rich in antioxidants from green and white tea, it also contains moisture-locking aloe vera, and exfoliating green tree seed oil, to deep cleanse and plump up your skin without peeling away its moisture.

We love the dreamy scent that’s a heady blend of lavender, grapefruit, jasmine, and vetiver. Free from icky GMOs, parabens, phthalates, SLS, or SLES, the cleanser is MADE SAFE, Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free, and is PETA-approved vegan and free from animal testing. Though formulated for sensitive, dry, and mature skins, it’s well-balanced for all age groups to slather on. It’s a truly decadent skincare solution in a bottle.

Best Budget: Juice Beauty Organic Face Wash

Juice Beauty Organic Face Wash

Wellness entrepreneur Karen Behnke started Juice Beauty in 2005 while in her 40s, a time when she was grappling with young babies, hormone disruptions, and the appearance of fine lines. The result is a gentle skincare line carefully formulated with an organic, vitamin-rich botanical juice base. This affordable cleanser is chockfull with revitalizing sugar cane, apple and grape juice, and good fatty acids from primrose, linseed, and borage seed oils.

A grime-removing workhorse, it works on dry, oily, and combination skins equally well, leaving your complexion looking dewy and clean. Certified USDA Organic, it is also confirmed cruelty-free and vegan by Leaping Bunny and PETA. The face wash comes in a recyclable pump bottle and the packaging is crafted from FSC-certified paper, meaning it’s sourced from responsibly managed forests.

Best for Dry Skin: Evolve Organic Beauty Gentle Cleansing Melt

Evolve Organic Beauty Gentle Cleansing Melt

The star ingredient of Evolve Beauty’s luscious melt comes from the majestic baobab tree. Organic baobab oil, which contains calcium, proteins and vitamins A and C, is blended with antioxidant vanilla, and just a hint of rose in this formulation. The result is a heavenly milky balm that’s certified COSMOS ORGANIC and is anti-ageing, improving skin elasticity.

To use this face wash, just massage the cleanser on to dry skin with your fingertips. Lather it into a rich cream with warm water, then rinse thoroughly. This daily rite of passage can reveal radiant and rejuvenated skin. The bottle is recyclable, and the unique grass paper packaging is FSC-certified, while the printing is done using non-toxic vegetable and soy-based inks.

Best for Oily Skin: Annmarie Citrus Mint Cleanser

Annmarie Citrus Mint Cleanser

On a rambling journey across the Americas in an RV fueled by vegetable oil, conscious living bloggers Annmarie and Kevin Gianni had a chance encounter with an herbalist and chemist named Bunnie. The rendezvous led to the start of Annmarie, a meticulously wild-crafted skincare line that’s certified MADE SAFE and Leaping Bunny cruelty-free.

This refreshing pH balanced cleanser has a base of skin conditioning aloe vera gel. It is infused with botanicals such as stimulating rosemary, purifying lemon balm, detoxifying neem and skin-tightening witch hazel distillate. Just a pump or two of this creamy cleanser helps dislodge stubborn grime, working best on oily skin. Used regularly, it will leave your skin soft, thanks to anti-inflammatory calendula and anti-bacterial lavender flower extract.

Best for Acne: Kora Organics Foaming Cleanser

KORA ORGANICS Foaming Cleanser for Oily/Combination Skin

Our pick of cleansers for acne-prone skin is supermodel Miranda Kerr’s Kora Organics’ foaming cleanser, flush with the tropical noni fruit, a superfood native to the South Pacific Islands. The bitter, lumpy and pongy fruit brims with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that rejuvenate skin. Combined with soothing aloe vera, inflammation-fighting green tea, and the antiseptic sandalwood oil, this deep-cleaning soap-free cleanser alleviates zits without parching your skin.

The foam cleanser is COSMOS NATURAL certified. Adding good juju to the cleanser are the loving vibes thanks to charging it with rose quartz crystal. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but we’ll take it.

Best Anti-Aging: Neal's Yard Frankincense Refining Cleanser

Neal's Yard Frankincense Refining Cleanser

From modern British apothecary Neal’s Year Remedies is an ultra-hydrating cleanser decked out with seed oils to help keep mature skin supple and conditioned. The hero ingredient is the organic frankincense, certified by FairWild (meaning it is collected in an ecologically, socially, and economically responsible manner). The frankincense smooths and tones the skin, while organic baobab seed oil reduces irritation and redness, and the cocoa butter improves elasticity and appearance.

It comes with a muslin cloth that you can moisten and use to wipe off the cleanser. Made in small batches, we love the reusable protective blue bottles that prevent the products from getting damaged by UV rays. Carbon neutral, the apothecary’s products are certified organic by the Soil Association (more in FAQs) and are Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free.

Best Splurge: Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser

Bring the spa home with Tata Harper’s lush, exfoliating cleanser that’s gentle enough to use twice a day. It sloughs off debris from congested skin and leaves your skin luminous. A creamy cleanser, it combines 16 potent botanicals that buff away grime, refine pores and deeply penetrate the upper layer of the skin.

This heady list includes apricot microspheres that polish your skin and BHA (soluble beta hydroxy acid peels away the surface of skin) extracted from white willow bark that dissolves sebum and dead skin. Free from fillers, toxins, GMOs, artificial fragrances and colors, it is COSMOS ORGANIC certified and PETA-certified cruelty free.

Best Oil-Based Cleanser: One Love Organics Botanical B Enzyme Cleansing Oil

One Love Botanical B Enzyme Cleansing Oil

Slathering on a layer of oil to cleanse your face of natural oils secreted from the sebaceous glands seems rather contradictory. Yet, it works. One Love Organics’ oil cleanser bursts with Vitamin B that’s derived from papaya, pumpkin, and sunflower oils, along with fruit enzymes. It leaves your skin fresh and silky. It melts away make-up and dirt in a jiffy, without stripping your skin dry. It washes off completely.

This exfoliating and toning oil can be used comfortably on nearly all skin types without leading to a breakout. What’s more, it's made at an Ecocert licensed manufacturing facility for natural and organic cosmetics, is PETA-certified cruelty free, and has the Gold Certified Business Seal of Approval from Green America.

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the versatile True Botanicals Nourishing Cleanser (view at True Botanicals) deep cleanses your skin without peeling away moisture. We also recommend Juice Beauty Organic Face Wash & Cleanser (view at Juice Beauty), an affordable product that's USDA Organic certified and made from revitalizing botanical extracts and nourishing essential oils.

FAQs

What makes a face cleanser “organic”?

The market is awash with face cleansers touted as ‘clean,’ ‘organic,’ or ‘natural,’ but when it comes down to the brass tacks, there is no defined standard or regulation that determines what these terms can be used on. Thus, before you get overwhelmed with the choices available in the market, it’s good to check out a brand’s credentials.

What certifications should I look for?

Sifting through a sea of certification to choose the best skincare product for you can be daunting. So, we have deconstructed the most common certifications that you’d see on a bottle of face cleanser.

·   USDA Organic: In the US, the US Department of Agriculture (Agriculture Marketing Services) regulates the term organic. If a cosmetic meets the set criteria; it is eligible to be labelled under one of the categories. A “100% organic” product contains only organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). A product labelled “Organic” means it contains at least 95% of organic ingredients (excluding water and salt), while “Made with Organic Ingredients” implies it contains a minimum of 70% organic ingredients

·   MADE SAFE: This nontoxic seal certifies that products are made using ingredients safe for human health, avoiding over 6,500 nasties such as heavy metals, endocrine disruptors, endangered plants, high risk pesticides and more.

·   COSMOS-standard: The COSMOS Organic and Natural Standard for organic and natural cosmetics has been developed by five global certification bodies, including French Ecocert and UK’s Soil Association. In a “COSMOS ORGANIC” certified product, at least 95% of its plant ingredients are organic and the product contains a minimum of 20% of organic ingredients (10% for rinse-off products). Whereas “COSMOS NATURAL” means that even though the cosmetic in question complies with the standards, it does not contain the minimum amount of organic ingredients as per criteria.

Why Trust Treehugger?

At Treehugger, we’ve scoured the market and carefully reviewed ingredients lists for the gentlest, cruelty-free and effective cleansers that leave your skin sparkling without using harsh chemicals. The make this list, we choose face cleansers that have gentle formulations, ethically sourced plant-based ingredients, and contain minimal chemical irritants. Our shortlist includes companies whose products are certified natural or organic with appropriate third-party certifications.

Author Neeti Mehra is a luxury-industry veteran who’s also committed to sustainable, slow, and mindful living. Her simple skincare routine includes using gentle botanical and Ayurveda-based cleansers for her morning and evening skincare rituals, followed by a lightweight moisturizer.