We Tested $454 Worth Of Face Wash — & These Were The Top 5

In an effort to determine the best face wash of 2019, the Refinery29 internal testing team tried $454 worth of cleansers. We drained foams, exfoliating gels, and bottles of charcoal water, plus put our waterproof mascara to the test against unscented balms and biodegradable towelettes. All of that's to say that this year most definitely showed serious innovation in both the packaging and formulation of the once-boring cleanser category.
Of course, there were a few that reigned supreme as the most universally effective at removing all traces of makeup while leaving our skin clean, but never stripped. Ahead, find our definitive list of the five best facial cleansers that launched this year.

Check out the rest of the 2019 Beauty Innovator Award winners. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
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1 of 5

Clark's Botanicals Dual Charcoal Detox


Charcoal and detox can be scary words for anyone with dry skin. But this multi-layered treatment cleanser is nothing to be afraid of: While it uses charcoal powder to exfoliate, loosening and lifting dead skin cells, it also has encapsulated jojoba oil that melts upon application to leave even the driest skin supple. Testers say using it gave them softer, brighter skin, with tighter pores and zero congestion — so, very high praise.
2 of 5

Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser


We knew the Drunk Elephant Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser was innovative right when it launched this past March. What we didn't know was then was that the oil-based unscented balm would be unanimously loved across our entire Beauty Innovator Awards testing team, and quickly make the smooth, waxy solution the gentle makeup remover we never knew we needed.
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3 of 5

Pixi Beauty In-Shower Steam Facial


You can practically feel your skin exhale just thinking about an in-shower steam facial. Keep this peach-pink tube next to your shampoo and let the warming acacia collagen help plump your skin while you let your conditioner sit — like a trip to the spa every time you shower.
4 of 5

Olay Sensitive Calming Liquid Cleanser Fragrance-Free


If you're looking to save on your next face wash, you'll definitely want to grab this $5 bottle by Olay. It's a no-frills cream with zero fragrance that works into a nice lather and is designed for super sensitive skin, so you can trust it won't leave you feeling the bad kind of squeaky-clean.
5 of 5

Venn Skincare Moisture-Balance All-In-One Face Cleanser


If you're picky about cleansers — foams are too drying, some oils leave a film... — then you'll probably be into this non-foaming cleanser, which spares no detail when it comes to active ingredients, perfect pH level, and safe, dermatologist-approved everything. By using humectants rather than surfactants to cleanse skin, this formula works to hydrate and heal as it removes makeup and mildly exfoliates.
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