The 8 best cleansers for sensitive skin


If you have sensitive skin you have likely fought a lifelong battle with cleansers. From harsh exfoliants to overly drying and irritating formulas, finding something you can use twice (yes, twice) a day without inducing a flare up, isn’t as easy as you maybe once thought. 

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What we’ve learnt from our time in beauty, is that what isn’t in a formula is often as important as what is in it, so from creams, to balms, to the humble micellar water, we’ve rounded up our favourite formulas to ensure your skin is squeaky clean, without the drama. 

The Original – Avène Extremely Gentle Cleanser

Hailing from France, Avène’s thermal spring water skin care was one of the first to cater for sensitive skin types. One of the most trusted brands in the category – this ‘extremely gentle cleanser’ is just that – super soothing and free of potential irritants, it manages to remove all grime and leave your skin soft and clean. Find out more here.

The Balm – Clinique Take The Day Off Balm

Dissolve SPF, stubborn makeup and environmental pollution with Clinique’s lightweight cleansing balm. The non-greasy, non-drying formula transforms from a solid balm into a silky oil upon application. 

Plus, the addition of Safflower seed oil and vitamin E help to enhance radiance, reduce redness and hydrate tired skin.

Read more Clinique Take The Day Off Balm reviews here…


The Cream – Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser

Inject moisture into dry skin, remove stubborn makeup and keep sensitive skin nourished and supple with the ultra-creamy Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser.

Read more Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser reviews here… 


The Micellar – Bioderma Sensibio H2O

As a non-rinse, non-fragranced product micellar waters as a general rule are a great way to remove makeup for those with sensitive skin. This one in particular is a holy-grail product to those in the know (I, personally use it religiously), being gentle on the skin while removing even the heaviest of eye makeup. Find out more here.

The Splurge – SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser

Formulated specifically for sensitive or traumatised skin this emollient and skin-conditioning rich cleanser is worth every penny. And considering its $70 price tag, that’s really saying something.

Read more SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser reviews here…

The Steal – Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

This cleanser has been passed down through generations for good reason. With no fragrance or soap it is super gentle and cleanses skin without drying it out. It’s even gentle enough for babies. Find out more here.

The Foam – Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser

Described as being as gentle as a milk and more effective than a soap, The Gentle Foaming Cleanser from Clarins gently sweeps away impurities. It utilises the power of ingredients hazelnut, jojoba, cottonseed and soapwort to purify the skin while respecting the skin’s natural pH. 

Read more Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser reviews here…

The Exfoliator – Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant

Exfoliating cleansers for sensitive skin are hard to come by, so Dermalogica’s non-abrasive hydroxy acid is the gentle solution we’ve been dreaming of. 

Formulated with lavender and aloe vera to soothe redness, plus salicylic acid to remove dead skin cells, incorporating this into your routine twice a week will keep the skin smooth, hydrated and free from dead skin.

Read more Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant reviews here…

Do you have sensitive skin? What’s your go-to cleansing product? Main image credit: @brookedevard

Share your thoughts

Comments 45

  1. I do have sensitive skin that can be very reactive. I do have several cleansers that my skin is happy about and they are not always ones designed for sensitive skin. The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Cleanser is awesome. So are most cream cleansers.

  2. I’m currently using Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser. It’s great! I remove my makeup with Clinique Take The Day Off cleansing balm, and then use the Kiehl’s under the shower.

  3. I'm so grateful that I don't have sensitive skin. I love Clinique Take the Day Off Balm & Cetaphil Cleanser. I keep a giant tub of Cetaphil in my shower to use as a body wash before a date – it makes my skin freakishly soft! I've been trying to find an Aussie-made alternative, but nothing makes my skin so soft to the touch.

  4. Bookmarking this article to work through the list. My stupidly sensitive skin thanks you BH.

    I can attest to the Bioderma Micellar Water, that one definitely is kind to skin. Have not used it to remove makeup though.

  5. Avene products gave me more pimples their moituriser would make my skin really oily, and accidentally get close to my eye and burn me like crazy! I love ultracuticals cleanser so much !

  6. I have sensitive skin and being older struggle to control sun damage. I use La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid Facial Sunscreen and found that it does not cause any problems for my otherwise very sensitive skin. Its light and easy to apply and provides SPF50+ protection. My dermatologist recommended it thus the reason I tried it

  7. I have very sensitive skin and I just have to add La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micro Peeling Cleanser and Dermaveen Foaming Facial Cleanser to this list. Both of these are fantastic and don't irritate my skin at all.

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