3 Sulfate-Free Face Washes You’ll Love

face wash for men facial cleanser for men
Peter Safford February 4, 2019 Grooming

It’s undeniable that there’s recently been a massive increase in selection when it comes to skin care products for guys. That’s a good thing. We’ve all got different skin types and budgets, so we’re here to simplify things for you. Over the past month, we’ve tested out dozens of popular face washes, and one thing became abundantly clear – SULFATE FREE FACE WASHES ARE JUST BETTER. After cleansing with a face wash that contained Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and/or Sodium Laureth Sulfate, no matter the brand, the result was overly dried out skin. So, we did some digging. 

Sulfates became popular in the mid 1900’s. Sulfates are surfactants – agents that cling to dirt and oil, allowing them to be washed away with water. In fact, sulfates are so effective at removing dirt and oil, you’ll find them in many household cleaners and industrial degreasers. Use a sulfate based face wash, and you’re sure to strip away all of your skin’s natural oils, your body’s outermost layer of defense against environmental pollution. Catching on yet? Sulfates are too harsh to use on your face! The good news is, there are alternatives out there.

Findings

After eliminating the sulfate-based face washes, we wanted to focus on sulfate free options. One thing you’ll notice with a sulfate free product is that it doesn’t produce as much foam. Admittedly, it feels different at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll start to realize a massive shift in your skin’s health. After cleansing, you don’t get that super dry “squeaky clean” effect. We also found that we didn’t have to use as much moisturizer after using sulfate-free cleansers. One negative aspect was price, most sulfate free cleansers are a bit pricier, but there are great options throughout all price points.

Without further ado, here were the 3 standouts from our trial, broken down by cost:

Luxury Face Wash

Elemis Deep Cleanse Facial Wash

Ok, so at $34.50 this is definitely on the pricier side, but we thought it was well worth the money if you can swing it. For starters, this cleanser seems to provide amazing coverage, meaning you really don’t need to use much at all to get an effective wash. It’s also got a nice scent to it that doesn’t fell too “perfumey”. The elegant packaging makes this a great gift item, something a guy would definitely appreciate.

Mid-Range Face Wash

Beau Brummell Deep Cleansing Charcoal Face Wash

Beau Brummell deep cleansing charcoal face wash

This face wash checked off a lot of our boxes. At $25.00, it’s at a price range that most wallets can handle, and when you consider that it comes in an 8 fluid ounce size, you’re getting a bit more product to boot. We loved that this product featured a pump. Beau Brummell recommends using 1 pump per application, super simple and precise. The scent is mild and has mostly citrus notes. One thing you’ll notice is the dark gray/black color of the product, brought about by activated charcoal. Gives the product an undeniably masculine look, while rendering it very effective at eliminating excess oil.

Budget Friendly Face Wash

L’Oréal Paris Men Expert Extreme Cleanser

L'Oréal Paris Men Expert Extreme Cleanser 

Coming in at under $7.00, this is somewhat of the everyman’s cleanser. Also featuring charcoal, this cleanser has a very silky feeling, and produced a nice foam. One thing we noticed is that after a few days in the shower, the label started to sort of peel/flake, not the biggest deal, but was slightly irritating for sure. At any rate, the product was pretty effective – this has got a spot in my gym locker.

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