The Best Face Wash for Sensitive Skin

I used to be very anti cream cleansers. Most of the ones I’ve tried in the past feel like they move makeup and dirt around my face without actually removing either, and they tend to leave me feeling filmy with oil. But earlier this year, after a bout of harsh weather and too many rounds of overly enthusiastic exfoliation left my skin red and flaky, I decided to give the genre another shot.

It helped that one of my favorite holistic skincare brands, Naturopathica, had just launched a line specifically made for sensitive skin, including a cleansing cream. I’ve never used a product of theirs that I didn’t love (shout out to the pumpkin enzyme peel in particular), so I gave it a try. And thanks to a combination of highly effective ingredients and proper removal technique, I completely changed my tune on creamy cleansers.

A bit of technical background: Cream cleansers are well-suited for dry and sensitive skin because they don’t strip your face’s natural, beneficial oils or affect the pH of your acid mantle. Unlike foaming cleansers, which are easily removed with a splash of water, these thicker textures require some light physical exfoliation to get the job done—something I’d ignored on previous occasions. Naturopathica recommends removing theirs with moistened cotton pads, but I prefer to use a damp muslin cloth or washcloth. (If you’re removing any makeup, make sure you’re using a dark-colored towel so you don’t have to deal with stains).

With its pillowy, almost balm-like feel, Naturopathica’s cleanser leaves my skin feeling fresh, calm, and actually clean. It’s unscented, non-irritating, and contains a dose of marshmallow root, an herb that’s been used in Ayurveda as well as ancient Egyptian, Arab, Roman, and Greek cultures for millenia; it is known for its ability to soothe irritated tissue. The formula also includes grape seed and coconut oils, konjac root powder (a vitamin- and mineral-rich plant that can help gently unclog pores), and the probiotic lysate. (According to Healthline, there’s a growing body of research that suggests topical skin care products containing probiotics can rebalance the skin’s microbiome, which may help reduce eczema, acne, dry skin, and even prevent UV damage.)

While I’ll definitely keep a foaming cleanser in the shower for when I want a deep clean after a workout, a particularly hot day or a heavy sunscreen application, this game-changing product will always be my go-to whenever my face needs a little extra TLC.