13 Best Skin Expert-Approved Facial Cleansers For African-American Skin – 2024

A subtle cleanser that doesn't leave a white tint behind for radiant and glowy skin.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Anna H. Chacon, MD, FAAD Dr. Anna H. Chacon Dr. Anna H. ChaconMD, FAAD facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature), Diploma In Health & Wellness Aditi Naskar MA (English Literature), Diploma In Health & Wellness linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 11 years
 • 
All products recommended on StyleCraze are independently selected by our editorial team. If you make a purchase through any of these links, we may receive a commission. Learn more about our product selection process.

African-American skin has different skin care needs due to its high melanin content. So, we have curated a list of the best cleansers for African American skin. These products are specifically formulated for this skin type which is usually acne-prone and susceptible to inflammation and hyperpigmentation. They can have a gel, foam, and cream-based texture. They are gentle on the skin, so they help you remove dirt, sweat, grime, and other impurities without aggravating the skin further. They are non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free to avoid irritating this particular skin type. Scroll down to pick your favorite facial cleanser for healthy, refreshed, and glowing skin.

Top Picks
CHECK PRICE
Best Fragrance-Free:CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
Price on Amazon
Price on Walmart
Best Dermatologist-Tested:Cetaphil Facial Cleanser
Price on Amazon
Price on Walmart
Best Non-Comedogenic:VANICREAM Gentle Facial Cleanser
Price on Amazon
Price on Walmart
Best Gluten-Free:Sebamed Clear Face Cleansing Foam
Price on Amazon
Best SLS-Free: philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser
Price on Amazon
Price on Walmart
Best Vegan: MARIO BADESCU Glycolic Foaming Cleanser
Price on Amazon
Price on Walmart
Best pH-Balanced:First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser
Price on Amazon
Price on Walmart
Best For Oil-control:La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser
Price on Amazon
Price on Walmart
Most Gentle: Differin Daily Deep Cleanser
Price on Amazon
Price on Walmart
Best For Deep Cleansing Action:Proactiv Green Tea Foaming Cleanser
Price on Amazon

13 Best Facial Cleansers For African American Skin (Buying Guide)

1. Best Fragrance-Free:CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.6
CeraVe Foaming Face Cleanser Image: Cerave

The facial cleanser from CeraVe works up a good foamy lather when massaged onto your skin. This non-irritating cleanser for black skin effectively cleans your face of dirt, oil, grime, dead skin buildup, and makeup. The dermatologist-recommended formula is perfect for oily, acne-prone, and sensitive skin types. It does not make your facial skin feel dry, tight, or stripped of moisture and nutrients.

This scientifically formulated cleanser is enriched with essential ceramides naturally present in the skin, along with niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. The ceramides restore the skin’s natural lipid barrier, while hyaluronic acid hydrates the skin and locks in moisture. Niacinamide repairs the skin barrier and improves the skin texture. The cleanser helps fade acne scars and sunspots and is a great addition to your daily skincare routine. This hydrating cleanser for black skin from CeraVe can truly work wonders on oily skin. You can take a look at a review of the product if you require more convincing.

Skin Type: Oily, Sensitive, Dry, Normal | Product Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.5 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 1.21 Pounds

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Non-drying
  • Non-irritating
  • Dermatologist recommended

Cons

  • May cause redness.

protip_icon Quick Tip
After cleansing your face, apply the Cerave AM Face Moisturizer to plump and nourish your skin.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 4,149 rave reviews on Amazon prove why we are so in awe of this product.

2. Best Dermatologist-Tested:Cetaphil Facial Cleanser

The Cetaphil Facial Cleanser is formulated by experts to remove excess oil and deeply cleanse the layers of the skin, including the pores. This dermatologist-recommended facial cleanser is suitable for oily skin types and provides the best skin care for black women with mature skin. This hypoallergenic cleanser for black skin lathers up to remove dirt, surface oils, residue buildup, and makeup. Monisha, a makeup artist and beauty blogger, has used this cleanser to check if it is effective in treating her breakout-prone skin. She says, “I have been using the Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser for two months. I love this product. It is very gentle on my skin and it does not dry my skin like many cleansers (i).” It is a must-have in your daily skincare routine.

Skin Type: Oily | Product Dimensions: 3.85 x 2.15 x 7.35 inches | Weight: 1 Pounds

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Contains sulfates
  • May dry the skin out.

Our Tester's Experience

"This facial cleanser is gentle and works on my sensitive and acne-prone skin. Its fragrance-free formula is kind to my skin and leaves it feeling soft and refreshed. It is long-lasting which also works on my body breakouts. I mostly use it when I have to remove stubborn makeup as it gets the job done without triggering my skin issues."


3. Best Non-Comedogenic:VANICREAM Gentle Facial Cleanser

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.6
Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser Image: Vanicream

The facial cleanser from VANICREAM is safe to use on your facial skin as it does not contain chemical irritants and harsh cleansing agents. It is one of the best facial cleansers for oily skin as well as mature skin. The dermatologist-tested cleanser washes off makeup, dirt, and excess sebum from the pores without drying the skin out. Instead, it leaves the skin feeling soft and clean and offers a brighter complexion. This facial cleanser is recommended by dermatologists and approved by the National Eczema Association. You can check this elaborate YouTube video for more information on the tester’s experience and on this facial cleanser for sensitive skin.

Skin Type: Sensitive | Product Dimensions: 3.25 x 6.75 x 1.75 inches | Weight: 8 Ounces

Pros

  • Suitable for all age groups
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Soap-free
  • Oil-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Betaine-free
  • Gluten-free

Cons

  • Feels greasy

protip_icon Did You Know?
The VANICREAM Gentle Facial Cleanser was awarded the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product is so liked by shoppers that it has gained over 20,397 great reviews on Amazon.

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
Best Fragrance-Free
Cetaphil Facial Cleanser
Best Dermatologist-Tested
VANICREAM Gentle Facial Cleanser
Best Non-Comedogenic
Skin Type Oily, Sensitive, Dry, Normal Oily Sensitive
Dimensions 3.5 x 3.5 x 7.5 inches 3.85 x 2.15 x 7.35 inches 3.25 x 6.75 x 1.75 inches
Weight 1.21 Pounds 1 Pounds 8 Ounces
Rating
Reviews4,1491,03420,397
Price$15.49$13.69$8.86

4. Best Gluten-Free:Sebamed Clear Face Cleansing Foam

This cleanser from Sebamed forms a foamy rich lather that washes away germs, dirt, residue, and oil from your face. It contains Montaline C40 that penetrates deep into the skin pores and cleanses them from within. The formula also contains panthenol to soothe the skin and reduce irritation and inflammation. It fights against environmental stressors and helps clear breakouts without clogging pores. The anti-inflammatory property of this cleanser is best for oily and acne-prone skin. This pH-balancing facial cleanser for African American skin has a pH of 5.5, which helps maintain the skin’s acid mantle and discourages the growth of acne-causing bacteria. Sonali, a beauty and skin care blogger, has shared her experiences with this cleanser. She says, “I tried using the face wash in every possible manner only to find out that the face wash cleanses the skin gently. … It doesn’t give a squeaky clean feel post usage so this might be a good option for people who have dehydrated skin. … The face wash is a mild cleansing formula, and it does not dry out my skin at all (ii).” The product comes in a handy pump bottle.

Pros

  • pH-balanced
  • Soap-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Dermatologically tested
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Propylene glycol-free
  • Paraffin-free

Cons

  • Contains fragrance

Our Tester's Experience

"This cleansing foam has reduced my chin acne. It also helped clear blackheads and cystic acne. It is very gentle on my combination skin and does not trigger my skin issues. I usually use it with my morning skin care routine to effectively remove the sebum that gets collected in my skin throughout the night."


5. Best SLS-Free:philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.6

The One-Step Facial Cleanser from philosophy contains eco-consciously harvested meadowfoam seed oil that conditions your skin and keeps it youthful and glowing. The botanical ingredients used are sourced directly from producers cultivating organic and non-GMO crops. The facial cleanser has a 3-in-1 action – it deeply cleanses the pores, melts away makeup, oil, and dirt, and lightly hydrates and tones the skin. It is formulated for normal to dry skin types and

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 3.25 x 3.25 x 7.41 inches | Weight: 1.62 Pounds.

Pros

  • Non-drying
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Formaldehyde-free
  • SLS-free
  • SLES-free
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Overpowering fragrance
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It has gained over 1,173 positive reviews on Amazon, making it an all-time best-seller.

6. Best Vegan:MARIO BADESCU Glycolic Foaming Cleanser

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.5
MARIO BADESCU Glycolic Foaming Cleanser Image: Marioba Descu

The main ingredient used in the MARIO BADESCU facial cleanser is glycolic acid. It dissolves dead skin cells and exfoliates the skin, leaving it clean and refreshed. It helps deep cleanse excess sebum buildup, dirt, oil, and dead skin. This dermatologist-recommended facial cleanser for African American skin is enriched with chamomile, yarrow, marshmallow, sage, and St John’s wort. While chamomile and St John’s wort have calming benefits, marshmallows, and sage condition and smoothen the skin. Yarrow makes your skin look healthy, youthful, and radiant. This sensitive skin-friendly facial cleanser is perfect for normal, dry, sensitive, combination, and oily skin types. You can also check this review of the tester’s experience to understand more about the final results after using this cleanser from Mario Badescu.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 1.7 x 6 inches | Weight: 0.21 Ounces

Pros

  • Dermatologically tested
  • Formulated with herbal extracts
  • Smells good
  • Gluten-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Triggers allergic reaction in some.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You can also use this cleanser to decrease breakouts and uneven skin on your back and chest. Apply the cleanser with a gentle sponge during showers 2-3 times a week.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

With over 1,033 reviews, this product has become a fan favorite among users.

7. Best pH-Balanced:First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.6
First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser, Sensitive Skin Cream Cleanser with Antioxidant Booster, 5 oz. 5 Ounce (Pack of 1) Image: First Aid Beauty

The facial cleanser from First Aid Beauty is an effective antioxidant-rich facial cleanser for African American skin. It is tested to effectively remove surface oils, makeup, dirt, and grime. It has ingredients that improve the skin’s natural acidity, preventing flare-ups, acne, and pimples. Aloe vera and allantoin soothe, calm, moisturize, and nourish the skin, while glycerin is a natural humectant. This offers intense moisture and a healthy complexion to your skin. The licorice root, feverfew, and white tea extracts in the formula fight against environmental aggressors.

Skin Type: Dry Skin, Normal Skin, Combination Skin, Oily Skin | Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 3.7 x 2.3 inches | Weight: 4.8 Ounces

Pros

  • pH-balanced
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Allergy-friendly
  • 100% vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Nut-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Talc-free
  • Soy-free

Cons

  • Does not remove eye makeup.
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It has received over 5,667 rave reviews on Amazon, proving it is a mass favorite.

8. Best For Oil-control:La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.5
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser Image: Laroche Posay

The La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser is the perfect choice for people with acne. It contains 2% salicylic acid and lipo-hydroxy acid that reduce impurities while providing healthy, hydrated, and supple skin. This offers intense moisture along with a deeper cleanse of the skin. This expert-recommended oil-controlling cleanser for black skin removes excess sebum up to 47% from your face. It does not contain toxic chemicals like parabens or mineral oils. Apply on damp skin and massage well for best results.

Skin Type: Oily, Sensitive, acne-prone | Product Dimensions: 2.95 x 1.9 x 7 inches | Weight: 8 Ounces

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Alcohol-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Fragrance-free
  • Best for oily and acne-prone skin
  • Dermatologically tested

Cons

  • None
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 11,588 Amazon users have vouched for this amazing product.

9. Most Gentle:Differin Daily Deep Cleanser

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.4
Differin Daily Deep Cleanser Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Image: Differin

The Differin Daily Deep Cleanser is specially formulated for sensitive skin. It contains 5% benzoyl peroxide that treats acne without stripping the skin of its natural nutrients. This natural facial cleanser for African American skin uses active ingredients that instantly kill bacteria that cause breakouts and acne due to residue of sebum, dirt, and dead skin. Further, it eliminates the greasy feeling. The deeply penetrating formula reduces inflammation, itchiness, and redness considerably. This helps clear breakouts without clogging the pores and creates a protective barrier.

Skin Type: Sensitive | Product Dimensions: 2.38 x 2.38 x 6.5 inches | Weight: 4.32 Ounces

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Smells good
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Dermatologist trusted

Cons

  • Non-foaming
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

With 19,629 positive reviews on Amazon, this product has become a bestseller.

10. Best For Deep Cleansing Action:Proactiv Green Tea Foaming Cleanser

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.1
Proactiv Green Tea Foaming Cleanser Image: Proactiv

This foaming cleanser for black skin is a powerful and effective formula containing three indigenous Australian berries that help replenish the skin’s natural moisture and soothe it. This even-toning facial cleanser for African American skin uses Kakadu plum and green tea extracts that fight skin-damaging free radicals. This anti-aging product deep cleanses brown skin and helps fight radical damage and sun damage. This is a gentle cleanser for black skin with a long-lasting formula. It is tested to be suitable for all skin types and it removes makeup and dirt easily.

Skin Type: All, Oily, Combination, Sensitive, Dry, Normal

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Gentle formula
  • Smells good
  • Long-lasting

Cons

  • Expensive

Our Tester's Experience

"This green tea cleanser is gentle on my skin. It does not dry it out or cause irritation. It gives me a foamy lather that rejuvenates the skin and cleans it thoroughly. It is ideal for my daily cleansing, especially while removing makeup."


11. Best Non-Drying:Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.5
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser Image: Fresh

The Fresh Soy Face Cleanser is enriched with soy, cucumber extracts, rose water, and amino acids that effectively cleanse your skin and restore the lost nutrients. The cucumber extracts and rose water keep your face relaxed, smooth, and soothed.

The formula comes in a gel form that spreads well across the face and covers all areas for effective cleansing. This nourishing facial cleanser skin washes away everyday impurities, dirt, and bacteria without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. According to reviews, it is also effective in cleaning away everyday makeup and mascara, giving you a fresh face each day. The facial cleanser is tested to be suitable for all skin types. It gently cleanses the face and eyes and comes in an easy-to-apply squeeze tube.

Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 1.5 x 4 inches | Weight: 1.6 Ounces

Pros

  • Extra gentle
  • Non-drying
  • Light fragrance
  • A little goes a long way

Cons

  • Expensive

Our Tester's Experience

"I like how this cleanser refreshes my skin. It is gentle on my skin and moisturizes it while removing dirt and grime. It also works on my sister’s dry or sensitive skin type. It is a soothing option for those seeking a mild, non-irritating wash. I use it to remove stubborn makeup. The gel-like texture spreads easily and I do not have to rub it all over my skin, causing redness and irritation."


12. Best Glow:Boscia Facial Cleanser

The facial cleanser from Boscia contains detoxifying black activated charcoal and vitamin C to cleanse your face deeply. It also contains rose geranium oil, artichoke leaf extract, vitamin P, and licorice root. This vitamin-enriched facial cleanser for African American skin also has activated charcoal that absorbs all the excess oil from your face and blocks out unwanted pollutants in the environment and other such environmental stressors.

This cleanser is infused with a fragrance of rose and geranium and is tested to be suitable for all skin types – oily, sensitive, dry, normal, and combination. It reduces skin discoloration, unclogs and minimizes pores, and makes your skin clearer and brighter. This clarifying facial cleanser has a gel-like consistency and a warming effect that kills impurities while being gentle on your skin, as attested by reviewers.

Skin Type: Normal, Dry, Combination, and Oily | Product Dimensions: 1.88 x 1.88 x 6.59 inches | Weight: 7.6 Ounces

Pros

  • Smells good
  • Imparts glow
  • Cruelty-free
  • 100% vegan
  • Artificial fragrance-free
  • Chemical preservative-free

Cons

  • May dry the skin out.

13. Best Non-Drying:PCA SKIN BPO 5% Cleanser

The PAC SKIN BPO 5% Cleanser removes dirt, debris, and germs that cause acne. While 5% benzoyl peroxide removes impurities from pores, soothing herbs help minimize redness and irritation. Gluconolactone and phytic acid work together to remove dead skin cells and dirt, which reduces future breakouts. This exfoliating facial cleanser for African American skin comes with SPF 45, which protects the skin from the harmful effects of sunlight.

Skin Type: Oily | Product Dimensions: 1.75 x 1.75 x 7.25 inches | Weight: 7.01 Ounces

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Suitable for acne-prone skin
  • Long-lasting
  • Value for money

Cons

  • None
*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

In the next section, let’s look at the points to keep in mind while purchasing a cleanser.

What To Consider Before Buying A Cleanser For African-American Skin

  • Ingredients

African-American skin is more sensitive and prone to acne, pimples, and allergic breakouts. Hence, it is wise to choose a clinically-tested face wash with natural ingredients. Formulas with plant-based ingredients work well on all skin types, whether oily, sensitive, dry, combination, or normal. Also, make sure the product has a mild fragrance or no fragrance to avoid irritation.

  • Skin Type

When buying a face cleanser, consider your skin type. If you have sensitive skin, a mild and gentle formula works best. For dry skin, a highly hydrating, clinically-verified face wash is ideal. Avoid products containing alcohol, as it may further dry out the skin. Alternatively, opt for cleansers with emollient properties to moisturize dry skin. For oily skin, choose water or gel-based facial cleanser that gets rid of the excess sebum.

  • Purpose

If you want a facial cleanser that not only cleanses but also hydrates and treats your skin, check if it has ingredients like aloe vera or hyaluronic acid. If you only wish to wash off your daily makeup, dirt, dust, and pollution, a good exfoliating facial cleanser will do the trick. There are also other facial cleansers that scrub, exfoliate, hydrate, moisturize, and nourish your skin at the same time with clinically proven results. You can also opt for a cleanser that helps fade dark spots, acne scars, dark scars, dark bumps, and sun spots. Choose one, depending on your needs.

Infographic: Key Ingredients To Look In Facial Cleansers For African-American Skin

African-American skin requires unique skin care due to its high eumelanin level. Therefore, the cleansers are carefully formulated to eliminate dirt, sweat, dust, and other pollutants without damaging the skin. However, verifying the ingredients before purchasing a product for this skin type is essential to prevent acne, skin irritations, and hyperpigmentation. Check out the below infographic to determine the key ingredients while selecting a face cleanser for African American skin. Scroll down.

Key Ingredients To Look In Facial Cleansers For African American Skin(infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The Bottom Line

Facial cleansers must be able to remove sweat, dirt, grime, and other impurities that can aggravate the skin. African-American people need facial cleansers that can also reduce inflammation and hyperpigmentation while rejuvenating the skin cells. The CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser gently cleanses the face without stripping the skin’s natural oils and maintains the skin’s moisture barrier, while the Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser removes all impurities without causing irritation. If you have acne-prone skin, the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser with 2% salicylic acid exfoliates, unclogs pores, and reduces breakouts without over-drying the skin. Many people have sensitive skin that requires special care and attention. You should choose facial cleansers that can hydrate the skin and lock in moisture to renew skin cells with proven efficacy. However, steer clear of products that can cause unnecessary irritation and dry the skin out.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

The author of this article, Shiboli Chakraborti, is a certified skin care coach who loves reviewing different beauty products. She has curated this list of the best facial cleansers for African-American skin after carefully researching them, checking reviews online, and going through multiple forums for user feedback. She picked only the top-rated products that are gentle and can help you get rid of sweat, grime, and dirt.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should African Americans wash their face?

Professional-grade milk-based and cream-based cleansers are good for African American skin as they are gentle and effective in removing oil and dirt. However, over-cleansing or frequent face washing can damage your skin and strip its natural moisture.

Is Neutrogena cleanser good for black skin?

Yes. According to reviewers, Neutrogena is the best cleanser for black skin as it is ultra gentle, dye-free, and hypoallergenic.

Does black skin need a different face wash?

No. Black skin is a special color caused due to increased doses of melanin. Ingredients and types of skin care products needed to address skin concerns are the same irrespective of skin color.

Is rose water a cleanser for natural skin?

Yes. Rose water is the best cleanser for natural skin. It restores the skin’s pH balance and effectively removes oil and dirt from the pores to restore a natural glow with proven efficacy.

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

    (i) BlushnPout
    https://blushnpout.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/cetaphil-daily-facial-cleanser-review/

    (ii) Skincare Villa
    https://skincarevilla.com/2022/07/sebamed-clear-face-cleansing-foam-review.html

    Recommended Articles

    Dr. Anna H. Chacon

    Dr. Anna H. ChaconMD, FAAD

    Dr. Anna Chacon is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology with over 9 years of experience. She enjoys practicing all aspects of dermatology and is licensed to practice in 49 states.

    Read full bio of Dr. Anna H. Chacon