15 Best Esthetician-Approved Gel Cleansers Of 2024

The consistency and efficacy of these gentle gels leave you feeling clean and loved.

Reviewed by Melissa Jannes, Licensed Esthetician Melissa Jannes Melissa JannesLicensed Esthetician facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Commerce Editor Shiboli Chakraborti Commerce Editor Experience: 4 years
Edited by , Associate Commerce Editor Krati Darak Associate Commerce Editor Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , Commerce Editor Medha Deb Commerce Editor Experience: 5 years
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A gel cleanser is the best option if you want a gentle cleanser that revitalizes your skin. That’s why we say that choosing the best gel cleansers for your skin will help you maintain a healthy skincare routine and skin barrier too. The secret is in their gel formula, which melts when it comes into your skin’s contact, cleansing it thoroughly without irritating the dermis. Its mild texture works great as it helps eliminate excess oil and unclog pores without leaving any dulling residues.

Feel free to navigate through our list of the finest gel cleansers for all types of skin that would leave your skin looking fresh and oil-free.

Benefits Of Using A Gel Cleanser On Your Face

  1. Deep Cleansing: The non-stripping action of gel cleansers ensures the natural moisture balance of the skin is maintained while it thoroughly cleansing your skin of dirt, impurities, and excess oil. The mild and gentle formula does not irritate the skin while unclogging pores and exfoliating the dead skin cells.
  2. Fights Acne: Many gel cleansers have antibacterial and antiseptic properties that combat acne and prevent future breakouts. Since they have mild formulas, they are gentle on sensitive skin and do not cause any irritation.
  3. Moisturizing And Calming: Gel cleansers moisturize the skin, easy to rinse off, and do not cause any irritation. They also minimize redness and inflammation.

Apart from these benefits, gel cleansers help in sebum control and gentle exfoliation to brighten your skin tone while keeping it soft and smooth.

Let us check out the 15 best gel cleansers available right now.

Top PicksCheck Price
Best Hydrating:Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing GelPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best For Acne-Prone Skin:La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser Price on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best For Dual Exfoliation:Obagi Clinical Kinetin+ Exfoliating Facial Cleansing GelPrice on Amazon
Best Lightweight:Dermalogica Special Cleansing GelPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best For Skin Brightening:Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing GelPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best Non-Dryingr:Honest Beauty Gentle Gel CleanserPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best For Sensitive Skin:Eau Thermale Avene Cleanance Cleansing GelPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best For Oily Skin:Obagi Nu-Derm Foaming GelPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best Vegan:Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly CleanserPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best Anti-Aging:Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing GelPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart

15 Best Gel Cleansers For Every Skin Type – Top Picks Of 2024

1. Best Hydrating:Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel

4.6
Neutrogena HydroBoost Hydrating Cleansing Gel Image: Neutrogena

The quick-foaming Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel is formulated with hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture while leaving the skin refreshed and clean. This dermatologist-recommended lightweight gel is easy to use and creates a soft lather that cleanses dirt, grime, and acne-causing bacteria without stripping away your skin’s natural oils. In addition, the foaming cleanser effectively clears away all makeup residue to keep your pores unclogged. This daily cleanser is clinically-proven to lock in hydration and can be used morning and night to keep the skin supple and youthful. Licensed Esthetician, Melissa Jannes, adds, “This cleanser is also chock-full of glycerin, a humectant that also binds to moisture like hyaluronic acid.” Multiple reviews online indicate that users have experienced visible results with this product. If you’re still on the fence, click this video for more information about the product based along with the reviewer’s experience of using it.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.69 x 1.69 x 6.81 inches | Weight: 0.18 Ounces

Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Soap-free
  • Oil-free
  • Paraben-free

Cons

  • Strong fragrance
protip_icon Quick Tip

Dry skin needs special attention; the wrong products can worsen dryness and flakiness. If your face feels tight after washing, switch up your cleanser. Ensure the product removes makeup and dirt, restores skin pH balance, and does not contain alcohol.

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

A whopping 20,571 reviews on Amazon make it obvious that users genuinely love this product.

2. Best For Acne-Prone Skin:La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser 

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

The micro-exfoliating La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser is formulated with 2% salicylic acid to minimize surface oil that is the cause of acne breakouts, pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads. The presence of lipo hydroxy acid in this facial cleanser offers precise cell-by-cell exfoliation of dirt and grime from areas prone to oil accumulation, making it ideal for oily or acne-prone skin. This AM/PM non-comedogenic cleanser can combat acne breakouts for a smooth and even skin tone. Check this video to learn more about the product and the tester’s experience of using it.

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

Key Ingredients: Lipo hydroxy acid and Salicylic acid

Pros

  • Fights acne
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Fragrance-free
  • Allergy-tested
  • Oil-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Non-comedogenic

Cons

  • May dry out the skin

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product has more than 11,588 reviews and is a top choice all around the world.

3. Best For Dual Exfoliation:Obagi Clinical Kinetin+ Exfoliating Facial Cleansing Gel

4.5
Obagi Clinical Kinetin+ Exfoliating Facial Cleansing Gel Image: Obagi

The Obagi Clinical Kinetin+Exfoliating Facial Cleanser comes with a three-in-one effective formula. It contains plant growth factors like plant cytokines, pro-vitamin B panthenol, and physical and chemical exfoliators. This potent combination helps rejuvenate and renew the skin, resulting in healthy skin. It effectively cleanses the skin of dirt, sebum, and impurities and brings back brightness to dull complexion. The exfoliator removes dead skin from deep within the cells and unclogs the pores. This helps in better absorption of other skincare products. Kinetin+ Complex reduces the signs of aging. Biodegradable wax exfoliates and Papain beads offer gentle massage which stimulates blood circulation and helps in skin conditioning. Another good news is that no animal testing was done in the making of this product.

Skin Type: Oily, Combination, Dry, Normal

Key Ingredient: Kinetin Complex

Pros

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Offers anti-aging benefits
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Controls sebum production
  • Paraben-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Dermatologist-tested

Cons

  • None
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel
Best Hydrating
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser
Best For Acne-Prone Skin
Obagi Clinical Kinetin+ Exfoliating Facial Cleansing Gel
Best For Dual Exfoliation
Skin Type All Oily, Sensitive, acne-prone Oily, Combination, Dry, Normal
Dimensions 1.69 x 1.69 x 6.81 inches 2.95 x 1.9 x 7 inches -
Weight 0.18 Ounces 8 Ounces-
Rating
Reviews20,57111,588-
Price$8.82$15.99$38

4. Best Lightweight:Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel

4.6

The calming Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel is made of naturally foaming Quillaja saponaria that gently clears away dirt and helps in detoxifying your skin to leave it silky smooth. It is also enriched with balm mint and lavender extracts to soothe the irritation and inflammation caused due to acne. This lightweight cleanser has a refreshing lather that does not harm your skin’s natural moisture barrier and has no drying effects. It is an effective cleanser that is gentle enough for everyday use to purify the skin and improve skin health.

Skin Type: Acne Prone,Sensitive | Product Dimensions: 0.94 x 0.71 x 2.56 inches | Weight: 0.07 Ounces

Key Ingredients: Quillaja Saponaria, Balm mint, and Lavender

Pros

  • Soothes the skin
  • Soap-free
  • Lightweight
  • Gluten-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan

Cons

  • May cause redness

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product is so liked by shoppers that it has gained over 3,995 great reviews on Amazon.

5. Best For Skin Brightening:Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel

4.4
Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel Image: Mario Badescu

The non-foaming Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel is packed with papaya and grapefruit extracts. These fruit extracts contain exfoliating alpha-hydroxy acids, which are active ingredients, that prevent the build up of surface impurities. It effectively removes dirt, makeup, and excess oil to rejuvenate and revitalize the complexion. This oil-free formula can be used twice daily to keep your skin smooth and bright while combating acne breakouts and blackheads.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches | Weight: 0.71 Ounces

Key Ingredients: Papaya and Grapefruit extracts

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Non-drying
  • Brightens the skin

Cons

  • Strong fragrance

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It has received 3,539 reviews on Amazon and is a popular choice among shoppers.

6. Best Non-Dryingr:Honest Beauty Gentle Gel Cleanser

4.5
Honest Beauty Gentle Gel Cleanser Image: Honest

The gentle Honest Beauty Gentle Gel Cleanser is infused with yuca root to remove impurities from the skin without drying it out. This morning-evening skin care treatment is a blend of soothing botanicals like chamomile and calendula to calm and irritation and inflammation. It refreshes the skin while opening and cleansing the pores to minimize acne breakouts, blackheads, and pimples. Its lightweight gel formula is suitable for all skin types.

Skin Type: All

Key Ingredient: Yuca root, Chamomile, and Calendula

Pros

  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Gentle formula
  • Non-drying
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • SLS-free
  • Dye-free
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Strong fragrance
protip_icon Pro Tip

After gel cleansing, add micellar water to your cleansing routine; no rinsing is needed. If you do not have micellar water, try an essential oil-free, lightweight, and watery toner.

7. Best For Sensitive Skin:Eau Thermale Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel

4.6
Avene Image: Eau Thermale Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel

The hypoallergenic Eau Thermale Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel is enriched with Avène thermal spring water that offers soothing and anti-irritating properties. This multi-tasking cleanser can be used on the face and body to eliminate impurities without stripping away your skin’s natural oils and moisture level. It is infused with zinc gluconate and patented monolaurin to deliver anti-inflammatory and sebum-regulatory benefits. Its ingredients combat acne breakouts while delivering a purifying and refreshing cleansing experience.

Skin Type: Oily, Sensitive, acne-prone | Product Dimensions: 2.76 x 1.3 x 6.06 inches | Weight: 7.05 Ounces

Key Ingredient: Avène thermal spring water, Zinc gluconate, and Monolaurin

Pros

  • Controls oil production
  • Fights inflammation
  • Does not cause irritation
  • Combats acne
  • Paraben-free
  • Soap-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Alcohol-free

Cons

  • None

8. Best For Oily Skin:Obagi Nu-Derm Foaming Gel

The Obagi Nu-Derm Foaming Gel deeply cleanses clogged pores while removing dirt, makeup, and excess oil from your skin. The gentle skin cleanser is enriched with aloe vera to offer antioxidant and soothing properties to give you a radiant complexion, revealing healthy and younger-looking skin. Its ingredient list consists of oat amino acids, which are naturally derived water-binding agents that retain moisture while softening and conditioning your skin.

Skin Type: Sensitive, Dry

Key Ingredients: Oat amino acids and Aloe vera

Pros

  • Brightens the skin
  • Gentle formula
  • Fights the signs of aging

Cons

  • Contains parabens

9. Best Vegan:Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser

4.6
Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser Image: Drunk Elephant

The non-stripping Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser is enriched with makeup-dissolving emollients and gentle coconut-based surfactants that are rich in fatty acids that create a rich lather to cleanse the skin deeply. It is enriched with glycerin to boost hydration levels that may be depleted during cleansing. Cantaloupe extract and virgin marula oil are high in antioxidants and omega fatty acids to nourish and soothe your skin. This purifying cleanser has a pH of 6.1 to maintain your skin’s natural moisture barrier without leaving any residue.

Skin Type: All

Key Ingredients: Glycerin, Cantaloupe extract, and Virgin marula oil

Pros

  • No residue
  • Balances the skin’s pH
  • SLS-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Essential oil-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Vegan
  • Silicone-free
  • Alcohol-free
  • Dye-free

Cons

  • None

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

Almost 2,033 happy users have mentioned the value and quality of this product.

10. Best Anti-Aging:Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel

4.5

The unique exfoliating and cleansing action of the Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel helps combat signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. It is formulated with glycolic and salicylic acids to chemically exfoliate your skin, cleanse clogged pores, reduce oil, and dissolve makeup. White oak bark extract is included in this anti-aging formula to brighten and clarify your skin to give it a revitalized and youthful appearance.

Skin Type: All

Key Ingredients: Glycolic acid, Salicylic acid, and White oak bark extract

Pros

  • Fights the signs of aging
  • Exfoliates the skin
  • Just a little product required per use

Cons

  • None

11. Best Fragrance-Free:L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Cleansing Gel

4.5

The non-drying formula of the L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Cleansing Gel is fortified with 3.5% pure glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and aloe extract to gently dissolve surface impurities or dead skin cells. This daily-use cleansing gel minimizes enlarged pores and gives your skin a smoother and brighter look while preparing it for serum application. It has a gently foaming action and is further enriched with menthol for a refreshed and clean feeling.

Skin Type: Sensitive | Product Dimensions: 1.93 x 2.97 x 6.88 inches | Weight: 8.16 Ounces.

Key Ingredient: Glycolic acid, Salicylic acid, Aloe extract, and Menthol

Pros

  • Non-drying
  • Fragrance-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Allergy-tested
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Dye-free
  • Dermatologist-tested

Cons

  • Strong menthol fragrance

12. Best For Even Skin Tone:RoC Multi Correxion Revive + Glow Gel Cleanser

4.3
RoC Multi Correxion Revive + Glow Gel Cleanser Image: Roc

The invigorating RoC Multi Correxion Revive + Glow Gel Cleanser offers instant action that dissolves daily impurities to reveal a brighter complexion with a radiant glow. This clinically tested formula is enriched with glycolic acid and vitamin C to exfoliate skin-dulling impurities and reveal an even skin tone. This citrus-scented cleansing gel smoothens rough patches, reduces discoloration, and maintains the natural skin moisture balance. It combats the signs of aging by tightening your skin and giving it a youthful appearance.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.75 x 2.2 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 8 Ounces.

Key Ingredients: Vitamin C and Glycolic acid

Pros

  • Fights the signs of aging
  • Clinically tested
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Dermatologist-tested

Cons

  • Not suitable for sensitive skin

13. Best Oil-Free:Glytone Mild Gel Cleanser

The rejuvenating Glytone Mild Gel Cleanser is formulated with a 4.7 free acid value of glycolic acid to gently exfoliate dead skin cells and thoroughly cleanse the skin of makeup and impurities. This non-comedogenic cleanser unclogs blocked pores and minimizes blackheads to leave the skin feeling smooth and soft. It is enriched with a blend of moisturizing and conditioning agents that protect your skin from irritation while strengthening its moisture barrier. It visibly reduces signs of premature aging by smoothening away fine lines and wrinkles.

Product Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 4 inches | Weight: 8 Ounces

Key Ingredient: Glycolic acid

Pros

  • Fights the signs of aging
  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic

Cons

  • Leaves a residue

14. Best Nourishing Formula:Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel

The botanical amino acids in the Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel remove impurities, dirt, and debris while balancing your skin’s moisture barrier without stripping away its natural oils. This gentle sulfate-free cleanser contains nourishing ingredients like a green tree, jojoba, and rosemary that combat free radical damage and soothe the skin irritation caused by acne or inflammation. The inclusion of hydrangea leaf in the cleanser purifies the skin and minimizes the appearance of open pores, making it ideal for oily and combination skin types.

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

Key Ingredients: Green tree, Jojoba, Rosemary, and Hydrangea leaf

Pros

  • Unclogs pores
  • Non-drying
  • Antibacterial properties
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Hydrates the skin
  • Sulfate-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Preservative-free
  • Color-free
  • Artificial fragrance-free

Cons

  • Does not lather well

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The overwhelming 1,014 positive reviews on Amazon show how popular this product is with happy users.

15. Best Non-Comedogenic:Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser

The Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser is made from powerful botanical extracts, including willow bark, date fruit, lavender, and marshmallow root that blend together to effectively cleanse your skin of harmful bacteria, dead skin cells, excess oil, and impurities. This refreshing cleanser is enriched with menthol and orange fruit extract to soothe irritated skin without stripping away its natural oils or drying it out.

Skin Type: Oily, Combination | Product Dimensions: 1.69 x 1.69 x 6.73 inches | Weight: 8 Ounces

Key Ingredients: Willow bark, Date fruit, Lavender, Marshmallow root, Menthol, and Orange fruit

Pros

  • Natural ingredients
  • Removes excess oils
  • Exfoliates the skin
  • Antibacterial properties
  • Paraben-free
  • Non-comedogenic

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.

Now, let us understand how you can choose the best gel cleanser for your skin’s needs.

How To Choose The Best Gel Cleanser

Before you choose your gel cleanser, it is important to keep some factors in mind:

  • Look for gentle and soothing ingredients.
  • Choose cleansers that have natural and organic ingredients and ones that are sulfate-free.
  • Exfoliating cleansers deeply cleanse the skin of dead skin cells and impurities.
  • Steer clear of harmful chemicals and toxins.
  • If you have a sensitive skin type, opt for dermatologically-approved and clinically-tested ingredients that can address your skin concerns.
  • After buying a new cleanser, make sure to do a patch test to see if it suits your skin.

Now, let’s talk about how to use a gel cleanser to get visible results.

How To Use A Gel Cleanser To Maximize Its Effectiveness

To maximize the effectiveness of gel cleansers, it is essential to follow certain steps in your cleansing routine.

  1. If you wear waterproof makeup, it is most effective to first cleanse with a remover, such as micellar water or an oil cleanser. This ensures you are getting an effective result.
  2. Wash your face with lukewarm water. It is important to have the water at the right temperature to open your pores without harming the skin surface. If the water is too hot, it will damage the skin cells.
  3. Take a pea-sized amount of the gel cleanser onto your finger and gently massage it onto your face using circular motions. Start from the center of your face and then move to the sides. Pay particular attention to the T-zone as this is where oil and dirt accumulate.
  4. Rinse off the cleanser with water. The last rinse should be with room-temperature or cold water to close the pores.
  5. The effectiveness of a gel cleanser can be further increased by following up with micellar water or facial toner. These don’t need to be rinsed off, so they form a protective barrier on the skin.

Infographic: Key Ingredients To Look For In Gel Cleansers

A gel cleanser is perfect for revitalizing your skin. It removes excess oil and unclogs pores but leaves no residue. The market is flooded with many gel cleanser options, and picking one is challenging. The following infographic will walk you through the key ingredients in a gel cleanser. Check it out!

Key Ingredients To Look For In Gel Cleanser (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

The Bottom Line

A gel cleanser offers a refreshing cleansing solution for all your skincare concerns. With this product in your beauty arsenal, you are all set to face the dirt and grime that the world may throw at you. The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel offers deep exfoliation and smoothens the skin texture, while the Obagi Clinical Kinetin+ Exfoliating Facial Cleansing Gel boosts blood circulation and controls oil production. But if you are looking for something to maintain the skin’s natural barrier and balance its pH levels, try the Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser. So, step out with the confidence of knowing that you have a product that will get rid of everyday pollutants, makeup, and excess oil in seconds. Go ahead and choose one from our list of the best gel cleansers for all skin types that will remove impurities for clear skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Gel cleanser vs. foam cleanser – which is better?

Gel cleansers have a gel-like consistency, whereas a foam cleanser has an airy and soapy texture. A foaming face wash may remove dirt, impurities, and makeup effectively but can be harsh on the skin. Gel cleansers maintain cleanse the skin gently.

Are gel cleansers good?

Gel cleansers are definitely good for the skin as they cause relatively no irritation as compared to foaming face washes. They are especially good for unclogging pores and removing acne-causing bacteria from the skin surface. They may even offer exfoliating and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Are gel cleansers good for dry skin?

Gel cleansers offer high levels of hydration, making them good for dry skin. They are formulated to cleanse the skin of impurities without stripping away natural oils.

Can I use a cleansing gel every day?

Yes, you can use a cleansing gel every day. It is essential to wash your face, especially at the end of the day, to get rid of makeup residue and daily impurities. If you have combination or oily skin, it is recommended to wash your face twice daily. Those with dry skin may just need to wash it at night.

What is a gel cleanser?

Gel cleansers are water-based cleansers that have a gel-like texture and are intended for deep cleansing, unclogging pores, and removing dirt and excess oils.

Is gel cleanser a face wash?

Yes, gel cleansers are water-based face washes.

Do you use water with gel cleanser?

Yes, water activates gel cleansers, so begin by dampening the product in your palms with some water.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

Shiboli Chakraborti, the author of this article, is a certified skin care coach. She likes to learn more about the latest trends in the world of skin care. She researched the ingredients used to formulate the best gel cleansers for women and went through hundreds of user reviews on trusted online platforms to prepare this list. These cleansers help clear excess oil and unclog the pores.


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