Google’s ‘Best Things’ List Again Proves It Doesn’t Matter If You Spend $8 or $800 on a Cleanser

Photo: Getty Images/Yulia Shaihudinova
Cleanser, which is of course, the first step in your face-washing routine only stays on your skin for a few seconds before it's washed down the drain (along with the dirt and oil that it's whisked away), which is why dermatologists say it doesn't matter if your spend $8 or $800 on a cleanser. Drugstore picks have long been known to get the job done just fine, which explains why the most popular ones on the market all cost less than $12.

While it can be worth shelling out the big bucks on leave-on topicals with heavy-hitting actives, like antioxidants and retinoids, dermatologists agree that there's no point in spending major money on a cleanser.  “A cleanser is not the place where you necessarily need to splurge,” Chaneve Jeanniton, MD, a board-certified oculofacial plastic surgeon previously told Well+Good. “By all means, there are amazing drug store cleansers, so you can save your coins there."

Experts In This Article

Of course, you want to pick your cleanser based on what your complexion needs. If you've got an oilier complexion, reach for a gel cleanser. If you have a dry or sensitive complexion, opt for something that's cream or gel-based. And if you have no idea what to opt for, we're here to help you out. Consumers seemed to have picked up on the fact that some of the best cleansers come in inexpensive bottles because Google's "Best Things" list—which is curated based on what people are searching and shopping for—is made up entirely of budget-friendly face wash buys. Keep scrolling to shop 'em for yourself.

Google's Best Under-$12 Cleansers

Cerave Foaming Cleanser Normal to Oily Skin — $11.00

If you’ve got acne-prone skin, you’ll want to be sure your cleanser can remove unwanted dirt and oil without disrupting your skin barrier, and this one does the trick. Derms love it thanks to the fact that it’s gentle, yet effective, and for $11 a pop can be used both morning and night.

First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser — $11.00

Made with aloe, allantoin, and glycerin, this gentle cleanser will clear away dirt and grime without stripping your skin. Its hydrating properties make it a great pick for dry skin, and it will add a nice base of moisture before you layer on the rest of your routine.

DHC Face Wash Powder — $12.00

When mixed with water, this powder cleanser instantly transforms into a cotton-candy-style foam. It gently exfoliates with finely milled silica and enzymes, and has a calming-yet-refreshing effect, thanks to lavender flower and licorice root extracts.

Tula The Cult Classic Purifying Face Cleanser — $11.00

There’s a good reason why this face wash has achieved “cult classic” status. It’s got a lightweight gel texture, and fully cleanses skin without stripping it. It’s made with the brand’s signature probiotics and superfoods, which will leave your complexion nourished and balanced after every lather and rinse.

Gentle Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin — $9.00

If you’ve got sensitive skin, you can’t go wrong with this $9 pick. It successfully removes impurities without causing any irritation, and since it’s soap and oil-free, it’s friendly to both dry and acne-prone sensitive complexions.

To find out which other steps in your routine aren't worth splurging on, check out the video below.

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