It just makes sense to cleanse your face with something that’s objectively clean. Other than upholding pure logic, the best organic face washes are certified organic by trusted third-party organizations like the Soil Association, NATRUE, ECOCERT, NSF, and the USDA, which ensures they’re formulated with naturally derived ingredients of the highest quality. These cleansers are also free of potentially irritating additives, like sulfates and parabens, so most are safe for skin that flares up at the mere thought of a synthetic fragrance.
That said, you’ll still need to cater your cleanser to your skin type and purpose: Creams and lotions for dry skin, gels for oily skin, oil cleansers for anything (but especially for removing makeup), generally speaking. Another shopping tip: To ensure that a face wash is truly organic, look for a seal from one of the aforementioned agencies on the label. A product may contain some organic ingredients (like, one), but some (or one) organic ingredients does not necessarily make the cut for these organizations’ rigorous standards.
Easier still: Take your pick from the five best organic face washes, rounded up ahead.
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1. The Cream
To trick your skin into thinking it’s actually being moisturized instead of cleansed, try a cream cleanser like this one from Pai. In addition to its poetic name that seems to hail from the Lord of the Rings universe, Middlemist is made with camellia and rose oils — two of the most nourishing, calming, and brightening plant-based ingredients in the (mundane) world. This order also comes with a dual-sided, reusable muslin and flannel cloth — a much more environmentally friendly alternative to single-use cotton pads.
- Soil Association certified
2. The Lotion
Cleansing lotions are thinner and runnier than creams (yet thicker than milks!), which means they feel soothing and hydrating, but not, to lift a Britishism, claggy. I like using lotions in the morning, when I need minimal cleansing action. This one from Weleda is a good organic choice, as the product description literally includes the term “mild cleansing action.” The ingredients list is refreshingly short and simple, with sweet almond oil, glycerin, and plum kernel oil as the headliners. This one’s made for sensitive skin, as it’s free of common irritants like fragrances and drying alcohols.
- NATRUE certified
3. The Gel
This Avalon Organics gel cleanser foams up nicely without the use of harsh sulfates — the lathering agent in here is coco-glucoside, a surfactant derived from coconut oil — so it won’t strip your skin of its essential oils. (Still, it’s a better choice for folks with combination or oily skin, since some Amazon reviewers with dry, sensitive skin say it’s a little intense for them.) Antioxidants like vitamin C, white tea, and lemon bioflavonoids help protect against free radicals and promote a brighter, clearer complexion overall. It smells like fresh oranges (courtesy of naturally derived essential oils), so it’s a great way to rejuvenate and energize your skin in the morning.
- NSF certified
4. The Oil
This Badger cleansing oil is literally only made of plant-derived oils, all of which you will certainly recognize, like sunflower, jojoba, lavender, apricot, and extra-virgin olive oil. They all work to melt through makeup and sunscreen, sweep away excess sebum, and infuse your skin with tons of nourishment. Rose oil also works as a gentle anti-inflammatory, so this particular iteration is ideal for skin prone to redness or acne. Otherwise, you might consider the argan, sea buckthorn, or unscented versions.
- USDA organic
5. The Splurge
It is a truth universally acknowledged that an organic skin care lover in possession of a virtually unlimited budget must use it on Tata Harper. Everything is plant-based, and most ingredients are sourced straight from the brand’s own, organic farm in Vermont. Peak luxury, peak “cleanliness.” They make a few cult-y cleansers, but this Regenerating Cleanser is arguably the fan favorite. This exfoliating cleanser relies on willow bark (a natural source of salicylic acid) and rose clay to unclog pores, apricot seed powder for some gentle polishing, and aloe to plump and rehydrate your skin. Use a couple times per week if you're sensitive, daily if you're not.
- COSMOS/ECOCERT certified