3 Sulfate-Free Face Washes You’ll Love

[icon name=”fa-user”] Peter Safford [icon name=”fa-calendar”] February 4, 2019 [icon name=”fa-tags”] 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.


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.

3 Products Your Face Needs to Look its Best

[icon name=”fa-user”] Peter Safford [icon name=”fa-calendar”] January 19, 2019 [icon name=”fa-tags”] Grooming

Unlike the majority of your body covered in clothing, your face is constantly being exposed to the elements of the world.

Imagine your day-to-day life and all that you encounter throughout. The Sun, wind, dirt, grime, oil-from all those times you unknowingly touch your face, an occasional peck on the cheek, and everything else you can imagine is attracted to your face.

At the end of the day, your face has taken quite the beating. But how are you taking care of one your most valuable assets? Your face does more than you think. It conveys a message.

First impressions are important, and an unkempt appearance can be disastrous in certain situations – we’ll keep shaving to another post. What if before a first date a huge pimple appeared? By then it’s too late to do anything about it. But what if there was a way to prevent a pimple from happening at all?

Oily skin isn’t attractive either. You probably didn’t notice you had oily skin because you never paid much attention to what it meant to have oily skin. Dry skin isn’t any better.

Most men don’t know their skin type. Most men are not getting the most out of their appearance because they lack the knowledge of why they need a skin care routine that is geared towards properly taking care of their skin. Or they never put much thought into maintaining their skin.

Let’s focus on that face of yours. And what your skin care routine at the basic level should be to ensure you maintain a clear, oil-free face.

By the end, you should have a clear idea of what you should be doing to look your best.

Starting with a quality face wash.

Face Wash

“Why don’t I just use my 3-in-1 shower gel on my face?”

Sound familiar? Being efficient is great and all, however, how can one product do three jobs efficiently in one? Why not use three products that each do their job individually? We are talking about our skin here. Let’s not cut corners for the sake of efficiency and risk damaging our skin with lower quality products. Not to say what is readily available on shelves cannot do the job their advertised for; it’s using higher quality products instead that yield better results.

Face wash is what you need to keep the proper pH balance in your skin. Most skin types have a pH balance of 5.5, but shower gels and bar soap have a higher pH balance, around 8-10. Using shower gel or bar soap removes moisture from your face leaving it dry and dehydrated by making the skin go into an alkaline state. Improper pH balance being the culprit.

That’s bad.

Not only unappealing, but harmful to the overall health and youthful appearance of your skin. If you have oily, sensitive skin, then a quality face wash is what you need. Designed to clean your pores of harmful foreign objects without unbalancing your skin’s pH balance. Face wash is gentler on your skin than shower gel or bar soap. Do yourself the favor, ditch those two for a quality face wash.

What about a cleanser?

Cleansers have their place. They are intended to be used by people with naturally dry, sensitive skin. Cleansers also remove dirt from your face but moisturize and hydrate your skin unlike your face wash.

The goal is to determine your skin type. Dry or oily. From there, choose a product that suits your skin type and start using it daily. In the morning to rid your face of anything accumulated overnight, then before bed after a long day of being out in the world. Remember, pat dry. Never rub your face dry with a towel. It is easier to damage your skin immediately after it’s been washed. Be gentle.

If you’re searching for a more budget-friendly product, consider Thrive Skincare’s Face Wash. For a more balanced product, but with a higher price tag, look into Ursa Major’s Face Wash.


Hard to believe but washing your face twice a day still isn’t enough. Daily face washing is only cleaning the surface; buildup of dead skin cells, dirt, and oil are difficult for your face wash to get “down in there” and scrub out.

Exfoliating is the process of using a face scrub, chemical or physical, to remove this build up. As you age, your body’s ability to turn over new cells slows down as opposed to when you were a child. You’re left with a dull complexion and more defined fine lines in your skin.

What benefits do I get for exfoliating?

Here are three benefits of exfoliating.

  1. Restored natural oils – Unclogged pores allow your face to naturally distribute essentials oils that your face needs to stay healthy.
  2. Look younger – Scrubbing away old dead skin cells reveals new skin cells and removes those pesky fine lines.
  3. Allows better absorption of moisturizers – Moisturizing is another important step in your skincare routine. We’ll be talking about that next. Just know for now that your pores are capable of receiving moisturizer effectively.

Choosing the right exfoliator, Chemical or Physical

Physical exfoliation

Manually scrubbing your skin is the alternative to using chemicals. Common face scrubs use granules of different particles and sizes.

  1. Large Granules – Oilier skin is tougher due to their larger sebaceous glands; therefore, they are able to withstand more abrasive granules.
  2. Small Granules – Dry skin would not fare too well against larger, abrasive granules. Instead, smaller particles like sugar granules effectively exfoliate.

I’ve tried many physical exfoliators before, I advise you do your own research on which product will work best for you, but I can recommend Bulldog Original Face Scrub, which you can pick up for a few bucks on Amazon. A pricier option and my personal favorite would be Clinique’s Face Scrub for men.

Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliators use primarily two different chemicals to help remove dead skin cells.

  1. AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) -These acids are made up of natural substances that are water soluble. Easier on the skin and being water soluble makes them not ideal for deeper cleans.
  2. BHA (beta hydroxy acids) – BHAs are synthetic oil-soluble acids that allow for a deeper clean. Harder on your skin. If you are acne-prone or have oily skin, it is suggested you use BHA’s. Sensitive skin may become irritated from the harsh clean.

It is possible to use both types of chemicals. Not on the same day, however, too much of a good thing is bad. Same with exfoliation.

Again, it is important to know your skin type. Exfoliation can be rough on your skin. That’s why caution must be taken when choosing the right exfoliator. Fortunately, this form of deep cleaning isn’t necessary often. Once or twice a week will do. If choosing chemicals feels right for you, alternate your AHAs and your BHAs to maximize their effectiveness.


The final, and perhaps most important step, regardless of how many steps you choose to take, should always end in moisturizing. Moisturize sounds feminine. Well, it’s not. It is the last step you need to take to ensure that you replenish hydration and protect your freshly cleaned face.

Daily face washing and exfoliation strip away essential oils and lead to dryness. That’s why you finish with a moisturizer. You want to lock in hydration. Skin can become dry year-round. So, don’t think during extreme weather conditions, hot or cold, is the only time you need to apply moisturizer either.

A tip to remember is too much moisturizer leads to clogged pores; ultimately, you are undermining all the work you have done previously if you apply too much. Moisturizer is best applied to damp skin, right after you wash your face is the best time. Gently pat your face leaving a small amount of water behind. Do not let your skin completely dry. Rehydrated is the perfect state for applying moisturizer. A common mistake is drying the face completely. Any product worth its weight will tell you on the back, use with damp skin. That’s for a reason.

An excellent product to consider is the Mattifying Face Moisturizer by Beau Brummell for Men.


If you find a moisturizer suitable for your skin type, and has SPF protection, then you found a win-win product. Sunscreen is important if you are out in the Sun. It is well known the damage sunlight can do to your skin. Harmful UVB and UVA rays, radiation from the Sun that causes skin damage, is unavoidable, especially during the Summer months when those two are at their worse.

Dermatologists recommend SPF 30. Broad spectrum sunscreen protects from both UVB and UVA rays. Maximum protection is going to be around SPF 30. Don’t let marketing tactics fool you into believe more is better. Unfortunately, higher SPFs do not offer more protection than what you would think. Stick to SPF 30 and if not SPF 15 is safe as well.


You are now better prepared to take your skin care routine seriously. As you should. You only have one face and you must maintain your healthy, looking skin. These simple, but essential tips are the bare-bone basics you need to ensure you are properly maintaining your skin. This minimalistic approach should not take much time to complete.

Wash your face twice a day, exfoliate twice a week, and moisturize after every wash.


Keep in mind, all this work could be for not if you are using the incorrect products for your skin type. And lower quality products as well. Research into what is best for your skin. Oily? Dry? Sensitive? Remember to ask yourself these questions before purchasing any product that could potentially irritate your skin, causing more problems than solutions.