Best Affordable Facial Cleansers: 13 Under $10

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These Beloved Cleansers Not Only Work Well, They're Cheap!

Woman drying face with towel in mirror
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You can find a decent facial cleanser in the drugstore. Why spend a lot of money on something that literally stays on your skin for seconds before being washed down the drain?

I've researched and found the top cleansers for under $10. The best bets include quite a few oldies but goodies, the standbys that have been on the "Best Lists" for years (Pond's, Neutrogena, Burt's Bees) and quite a few new trends in skincare that have cult followings, including charcoal, cleansing oils, micellar water and snail mucus. Yes, you read that correctly. 

Choosing a good cleanser has less to do with your budget and more to do with your skin type. You'll want to choose one that's formulated for yours: dry, oily, combination, sensitive acne-prone, aging or blemished. You'll find great options for each of these on this list. 

Few women really know their skin type. I explain how to tell exactly what yours is in my article, How to Tell What Type of Skin You Have. Keep in mind that most of us actually have combination skin -- a blend of oily and dry skin. 

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CeraVe Cleansers

CeraVe cleansers. Amazon

CeraVe makes what may be the best drugstore cleansers out there. Beloved and recommended by dermatologists (at least the ones not shilling their own brands), CeraVe's Foaming Facial Cleanser pumps out in liquid form and foams as you massage it into skin. Rinse with warm water or a warm washcloth. 

You have two options:

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Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser

Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser. Amazon

Another huge trend in facial cleansers is charcoal. Charcoal is a natural ingredient known for its incredible absorbency. It's been used for years in hospitals to leach toxins (drugs and alcohol, for example) from the stomach lining before they hit the bloodstream. Someone had the bright idea that using charcoal in beauty products would do the same -- remove makeup, dirt and oils -- from the skin.

While there has been little research on charcoal use on skin, people swear by the stuff and there are a lot of charcoal cleansers, masks, pads and even toothbrushes on the beauty market today. This Biore cleanser gets great reviews and is one of the few under $10.

Buy it online from Amazon

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The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Light Oil

The Face Shop - Rice Water Bright - Cleansing Light Oil. Amazon

Buy it online from Amazon

Korean-made skincare products are all the rage at the moment and this light cleansing oil made with rice water and Moringa oil gets great reviews. 

Moringa oil comes from the Moringa tee in India known for its purifying, detoxifying qualities. Cleansing oils are great for the skin -- even oily skin -- but you have to use them correctly for the best results. Always apply to dry skin and massage in. You can then remove with a cotton pad or by rinsing with warm water. But I don't recommend applying oils to damp skin. 

Pair it with The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Foam for best results or if you wear a lot of makeup. 

This is just one of many amazing oil cleansers. I list many more in my list of the Best Cleansing Oils for the Face

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Burt's Bees Cleansers: Take Your Pick

Burt's Bees. Amazon

Burt's Bees is a company renowned for its natural skincare products. The good news is they make some very nice facial cleansers that are affordable. The 6 oz. cleansers are under $10 and while 6 ounces may seem a tad small, consider that this way you can try a product out and if you love it, you can splurge on the larger bottle.

There are many cleansers from Burt's Bees for various skin types. These get the best reviews:

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Alpha Hydrox Foaming Face Wash

Alpha Hydrox Foaming Face Wash. Amazon

Buy it online from Amazon

Alpha-hydroxy acid cleansers are wonderful for both aging and acne-prone skin. They are made up of fruit enzymes, the acids of which unclog pores and help increase cell turnover without any harsh man-made ingredients. 

They work as a chemical peel in a way and are therefore great at improving the complexions of anyone with acne or ashen skin from aging. 

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MIZON Snail Foam Cleanser

Amazon.

Buy it online from Amazon

Snail mucus. Yes, that is one of the main ingredients in this cleanser which gets many, many 5-star reviews on Amazon. Apparently, snail slime (basically slug guts) is in great supply because this bottle costs less than $10. Granted, the bottle is TINY -- less than 2 ounces -- but users swear you need only a drop or 2 to get the sudsy fabulousness that is this product. 

What are the benefits of snail mucus? Apparently it's deep-cleansing. Read more about snail slime on the my favorite blog, Into the Gloss

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Simple Cleansing Water, Micellar 6.7 oz

Simple Cleansing Water, Micellar 6.7 oz. Amazon

Buy it online from Amazon

Micellar water is another huge makeup remover trend that shows no signs of diminishing. 

Here's how it works: soak a cotton pad the water and cleanse the face and eyes to remove any makeup. Repeat the application until the cotton pad comes clean. 

The reviews on Amazon.com are very good. 

Another inexpensive micellar water bet is Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser and Makeup Remover, which you can also find in drugstores. Buy it from Amazon.com

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Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Deep Pore Cleansing

Aztec Healing Clay. Amazon

Buy it online from Amazon

Many people think of this Aztec healing clay as a mask, which it is. But get this: it's a cleansing mask. It removes all impurities, cleaning your pores and leaving skin super soft.

Here's how to use it:

  • Mix the clay with water or apple cider vinegar (if you have oily or cystic acne).
  • Apply to the paste to the skin and let dry for 10 minutes. 
  • Rinse and slather skin with moisturizer or use a toner if you have oily skin. 

Some users recommend putting a large amount in a Ziploc, add the vinegar, slosh it around and cut off a corner to squeeze out just the right amount. It will keep for awhile in the refrigerator. 

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Olay Foaming Face Wash

Olay-Foaming-Face-Wash-Sensitive-Skin.png
Olay Foaming Face Wash, Sensitive Skin. Olay

Buy it online from Amazon

This basic drugstore cleanser works well for sensitive skin because it contains no harsh ingredients that will inflame skin.

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Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash

purpose_gentle_cleansing_wash.jpg

Buy it online from Amazon

This was my cleanser of choice for many years when I had oily skin. This soap-free, oil-free liquid lathers away dirt, makeup and oil but can be drying on dry skin. I found as I got older, I needed a creamier cleanser, so I no longer use this but I still recommend it for oily to normal skin types.

Purpose makes most of the "Best" lists in magazines and is recommended by dermatologists, including one of the NYC dermatologists I consult, Dr. Maryann Mikhail of Spring Street Dermatology. 

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Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

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Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, Acne Treatment. Neutrogena

Buy it online from Amazon

Neutrogena is one of the best drugstore beauty brands, hands-down, and you can't go wrong with this simple acne wash for acne-stricken skin. It's an Allure Magazine Reader Choice Awards winner, as well. Readers love it because the salicylic acid gel is gentle and soothing -- spiked with aloe and chamomile. It also dries out breakouts without drying out sensitive, irritable skin, according to Allure.

Get the full list of Best Facial Cleansers for Acne-Prone Skin.

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Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser for Sensitive Skin

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser. Amazon

Buy it online from Amazon

If you suffer from rosacea or sensitive skin in any form this is a good drugstore bet. It does contain a bit of fragrance, which is odd since any product touting to be good for sensitive skin should not, but it's worth a try and gets great reviews. 

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Pond's Cold Cream

ponds.png

Buy it online from Amazon

Cold cream is an age-old cleansing method used to this day. Massage this in and wipe it off with a cotton pad. It removes oils, makeup, dead skin and the day's grime. I find I sometimes need to slather my face twice to remove all traces of the day.

This is best for normal to dry skin. It leaves the face a tad greasy so I would not use it on oily skin. 

You can make your cold cream. Get the recipe.  

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Next: The Best Facial Moisturizers

Well, if you made it all the way here, you must have liked something you saw (or read). And the good news is there's much more information on this site about skincare.

Here's some more: