5 Best Gentle Face Cleansers for Sensitive Skin

Let’s talk cleansers. More specifically – the 5 best cleansers for dry skin and/or sensitive skin. When searching for a face wash for dry sensitive skin one of the key elements is that it contains no fragrance. Essential oils are also on my no no list when choosing a gentle sensitive skin cleanser. Over the past 12 months or so my attitude toward fragrance in skin care has shifted dramatically. I am always on the hunt for the best gentle yet effective skincare – preferably with no added fragrance and no essential oils. My skin has become more sensitised lately and hunting the very best in fragrance free skincare is my mission. It’s a little bit of a task initially – but less added fragrance is catching on in the industry slowly but surely. I can’t say whether one day I will be entirely fragrance free – it’s quite possible.

The best cleanser for dry sensitive skin is the one that will do no further harm. Cleansing can be an upsetting step for your skin if you are reactive. Keep an eye out not only for formulations that are fragrance free but also ones that do not contain harsh surfactants such a SLS, drying alcohols or high amounts of acids.

5 best cleansers for dry sensitive skin
My top 5 Cleansing Choices for Dry or Sensitive Skin

I’ve chosen five of the absolute best cleansers that I am using right now which are perfect for dry, sensitive skin – or any skin really – they are all super gentle but of course they all work brilliantly.


Best Gentle Cleanser for Makeup Removal – Deviant Cleansing Concentrate

Deviant Skincare is the brainchild of instagrammer – Natalie Smyth of Road to Glow. She has successfully launched two products – this and the oil and is in the process of launching a liquid exfoliator. Her mission is to create beautiful effective products that are not bound by the constraints such as gender, age or trend.

The Deviant Skincare Cleansing Concentrate is a luscious cleansing balm and a cleansing dream. Dip your spatula into the golden balm and warm a little of this balm between your fingers before starting to massage. Instanly it will start to work breaking down makeup, grime, SPF and daily dirt. The best bit yet? It transforms from a balm to a milk and rinses perfectly clean. No need for a washcloth – especially if one may further irritate your skin. I’ve been there doll – when your skin is so sore, inflamed and burning that even the softest towel hurts your face. Rest assured this balm only helps to calm my face – never further hurt.

Deviant Skincare Cleansing Concentrate
Deviant Skincare Cleansing Concentrate

Ingredients – Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil*,  Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera (Camellia) Seed Oil*, Polyglyceryl-4 Oleate, Plukenetia Volubilis Linneo (Sacha Inchi) Seed Oil*, Di-PPG-2 Myreth-10 Adipate, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Blueberry) Seed Oil, Polyglycerol-3 Beeswax, Perilla Ocymoides (Perilla) Seed Oil*, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil,  Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Seed Oil*, Tocopherol (Vitamin E) *Certified Organic


Best Affordable Budget Buy -The Ordinary Squalane

Who doesn’t love a brilliant budget buy? Sometimes it can take a bit of convincing that ‘budget’ can be just as great as a ‘mid-high end’ product. But I’m here to tell you it absolutely can. From the very first time I used The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser I was blown away by its versatility. This can be used as a first/makeup removing cleanse, second cleanse or morning cleanse. The ultimate all-rounder.

The texture was completely surprising. Somewhere between a cream or gel when applied it begins to melt while massaging transforming into an oil type texture – shocking considering it’s oil free. It leaves my face always feeling soothed, balanced and perfectly clean but never stripped. Free from harsh alcohols, soaps and silicone and maintains that its pH sits at a skin loving 5.5-6.5. Vegan, Cruelty, Gluten and Nut free this cleanser is basically for EVERYONE.

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser
The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

Ingredients – Squalane, Aqua (Water), Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Glycerin, Sucrose Stearate, Ethyl Macadamiate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sucrose Laurate, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Sucrose Dilaurate, Sucrose Trilaurate, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Isoceteth-20, Sodium Polyacrylate, Tocopherol, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Malic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Chlorphenesin


Best Australian Fragrance Free Cleanser – Cipher Cloud Melt Hybrid Cleanser

I absolutely could not have written this post without giving a huge shoutout to the Cipher Skincare Cloud Melt Hybrid Cleanser . I haven’t used it for long but immediately upon receiving, this became number one in my cleanser rotation.

With a creamy gel texture this cleanser immediately gets to work melting down makeup and grime but in the softest and most skin-loving way. It’s fragrance and essential oil free, so big plus right there. Perfect for cleansing either at the basin or in the shower – she rinses clean – so no unnecessary tugging at the skin with a washcloth if friction is a something that irritates your skin. My skin is always significantly calmer after I have cleansed with Cipher Cloud Melt and inflammation and redness is taken down a notch or four.

Cipher Cloud Melt Hybrid cleanser
Cipher Cloud Melt Hybrid Cleanser

Ingredients – aqua, camellia oleifera (tea) seed oil, sodium cocoyl glycinate, sodium lauroamphoacetate, sodium lactate, theobroma grandiflorum (cupuacu) seed butter, betaine, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, cetyl alcohol, cetearyl olivate, l-lactic acid, cucumis sativus (cucumber) seed oil, panthenol, lecithin, saccharide isomerate, allantoin, caffeine, hydroxyacetophenone, polyacrylate crosspolymer-6, sorbitan olivate, kaolin


Best in Shower Cleanser for Sensitive Skin – Dr Sam Bunting Flawless Cleanser

You like a true gel texture? Dr Sam has you. This fragrance free cleanser will do both tasks of removing makeup (I’d recommend a separate eye makeup remover though) and skin cleansing. If you are looking for a face wash for dry sensitive skin that will also work for spots and oily acne prone skin Flawless might just be it.

Flawless Cleanser is a gorgeous thick jelly type cleanser and something about it just works better when wet. Before cleansing dampen face and wet fingers… or just use it in the shower! Basically the ultimate lazy girls cleanser – I mean you’re gonna shower anyway right?! For me, Flawless Cleanser lives in the my shower for those moments when I just can’t with standing at the basin. Flawless is fragrance free and will work for all skin types – dry to oily and acne prone.

Important to note! While I use and recommend this to use in the shower – I do NOT recommend using hot water on your face. You can exacerbate flushing, irritation and even broken capillaries. Keep it cool/tepid on the face. K, thanks.

Dr Sams Flawless Cleanser
Dr Sams Flawless Cleanser

Ingredients – Aqua (Water), PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Poloxamer 188, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Polysorbate 20, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Disodium EDTA, BHT


Best Luxury Buy Cleanser for Dry Sensitive Skin Venn

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have heard me bang on a million times about Venn Skincare. This brand is pure class and if you are in search of a luxe range for your sensitive (or ANY) skin – Venn really is a must try. You can read more about my thought on Venn here and here.

Not quite a cream cleanser – The Moisture Balance All in One Cleanser markets itself as a quasi-semi-emulsion texture (which I’ve never heard of, but I have also never experienced this kind of texture so the description is spot on) that will dissolve makeup, dirt, SPF and daily grime with NO surfactants. Yep that’s right. Humectants are used to gently but effectively cleanse the skin and leave your face feeling hydrated and soft. The ultimate fragrance free cleanser for the luxe skincare lover.

Venn Moisture Balance All in One Face Cleanser
Venn Moisture Balance All in One Face Cleanser

Ingredients – Linked HERE. Vegan and cruelty-free. Free of fragrance, parabens, silicone, phthalates, mineral oil, sulfates, and colorants.


So that’s it. My 5 best cleansers for dry skin and sensitive skin. I’d love to hear your faves! In your opinion – What’s the best cleanser for dry skin? Or sensitive skin? I’d love to know your faves!

If none of these options tickled your fancy here’s a few fragrance free cleanser runners up that I’ve tried and also loved.

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