Fine lines and wrinkles, loss of firmness, skin discoloration, age spots, hyperpigmentation, enlarged pores, dryness, dull tone and slowdown of cell turnover… Does this sound familiar? Aging is inevitable, but that doesn’t stop us from trying to slow it down and maintain a youthful-looking skin. Luckily, you can minimize visible signs of aging if you take care of your skin regularly and use effective age-defying products. Let’s take a look at some of the best anti aging cleansers at different price points, and discuss which anti aging ingredients are the most effective. After all, cleansing is one of the most important steps in daily skincare routine.
To begin with, the main job of a cleanser is to remove dirt, makeup, air pollutants and sebum excess. In fact, a good cleanser should be able to melt debris like cosmetics, surface oils, and dirt without drying and disrupting skin’s protective barrier.
With this in mind, cleansers come in different formulations like gel, foam, liquid, oil, or cream to accommodate different skin types. And those with aging and mature skin can benefit greatly from using a good quality cleanser that addresses several skin concerns.
At a glance:
- Best budget anti aging cleanser: Derma E Anti Wrinkle Cleanser
- Overall best: Eminence Monoi Age Corrective Exfoliating Cleanser
- Best luxury anti aging cleanser: Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser
Most Effective Anti Aging Ingredients
So, what should you look for when buying anti aging cleanser or face wash? As a matter of fact, numerous clinical studies demonstrated that ingredients such as retinol, alpha hydroxyl acids, vitamins B3, E and C, and other antioxidants provide strong anti aging benefits. That is to say, when choosing the best anti aging cleanser or face wash look for the following ingredients.
Vitamin A (retinol) – cell-regulating substance that decreases wrinkles, improves skin texture, improves hyperpigmentation, increases cell turnover and stimulates collagen production.
AHAs (alpha hydroxyl acids) – are nontoxic fruit-based or food-based organic acids like glycolic, lactic, malic, and citric. In addition to exfoliating dead skin cells and having brightening properties, AHAs also stimulate cell turnover, improve skin texture and diminish depth of wrinkles.
Peptides –building blocks that trigger collagen, elastin and keratin production. Unlike retinols, peptides don’t cause any skin irritation.
Antioxidants – compounds like vitamins, flavonoids, carotenoids, and many more that are man-made or naturally found in fruits, vegetables and plants. They fight free radicals before they attack cells and prevent cell damage. In fact, there are hundreds of substances that have antioxidant properties, and here are few most commonly used in anti aging skincare:
- Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) – improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, skin elasticity, skin barrier, lightens dark spots, increases production of collagen and ceramides.
- Vitamin C – repairs and protects skin from photodamage, reduces wrinkles.
- Vitamin E – moisturizes, improves fine lines and wrinkles, and prevents photodamage.
- CoQ10 – boosts production of energy within the cells, and has anti-aging properties.
- Green tea – provides UV protection and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Best Anti Aging Cleansers And Face Washes
There are so many cleansers and face washes available on the market that it is easy to get overwhelmed and confused. But no worries! We conducted thorough research, selected the best cleansers, and divided all anti aging cleansing products into three categories based on their price. Therefore, the following best anti aging cleansers represent budget (under $20), mid range ($20-$45) and luxury options ($45+).
Related: Best natural anti aging skincare that is effective.
$ Budget Options (Under $20)
for normal and dry skin
Mad Hippie Cream Cleanser
This nontoxic gentle cleanser supports skin’s natural balance, protects against free radicals, and also has anti-aging, healing, and moisturizing properties. That is to say, it is packed with antioxidants like algae, green tea, orchid extract and vitamin E. Additionally, this balancing cleanser is formulated with hydrating oil blend that includes sesame, shea butter, jojoba, and macadamia seed oils.
Key features: non-toxic, oil blend, antioxidants, algae, green tea, vitamin E
for combination and oily skin
Derma E Anti-Wrinkle Cleanser
Even though this is a gentle cleanser, it deeply cleanses, unclogs pores, reduces breakouts, diminishes the appearance of wrinkles, removes impurities, and brightens skin tone. In fact, you’ll be pleased to find here several potent anti aging ingredients like glycolic acid, vitamin A (retinol), bakuchiol (considered a plant-based retinol alternative), and horsetail extract. Moreover, this cleanser is also rich in antioxidants such as sea kelp and papaya extract, which contribute to younger-looking complexion.
Key features: exfoliating, vitamin A, glycolic acid, antioxidants, papaya, kelp
for dry and dull skin
Andalou Naturals Age Defying Probiotic Cleansing Milk
This natural nontoxic cleanser fights various signs of aging and rejuvenates dry and dull aging skin. For instance, the Fruit Stem Cell and Bioactive Berry complexes are packed with antioxidants and restores and supports skin wellbeing. Meanwhile, apricot, borage and sweet almond oils are used as hydrating and rejuvenating ingredients. In addition, the probiotic complex helps to restore skin microflora and stimulates skin’s natural repair system.
Key features: natural, antioxidants, CoQ10, probiotics, vitamin C, oil blend
for normal, oily and combination skin
Paula’s Choice RESIST Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser
Yet another option for those with normal, combination and oily skin. This advanced anti aging cleanser reduces enlarged pores, hydrates and preserves skin’s protective barrier. As a matter of fact, this cleanser is infused with skin-restoring ingredients like ceramides, antioxidants, and amino acids. Also, there are few moisture balancing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, aloe, cholesterol and lipids.
Key features: ceramides, antioxidants, aloe, hyaluronic acid
for all skin types
Pacifica Rose Kombucha Face Wash
This budget-friendly face wash is developed for all skin types. It provides gentle cleansing, and has gel-like texture that lightly foams with somewhat strong floral scent. Some of the potent ingredients include rose and fermented tea, argan and olive oils, papaya, hydrolyzed rice and quinoa proteins. In brief, this face wash removes impurities, tones and protects skin from photodamage.
Key features: antioxidants, oils, fermented tea, rose, hydrolyzed proteins
for all skin types
InstaNatural Vitamin C Cleanser
And last but not least in our collection of the best anti aging cleansers on a budget is InstaNaturals Vitamin C cleanser. It is packed with a large number of potent botanicals, which help to brighten skin, reveal radiant complexion, reduce dullness and the appearance of dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles. For example, the ingredient list includes antioxidants like vitamin C, green tea, aloe, cucumber, herbal and floral extracts as well as lactic acid. Also, the formula of this cleanser is balancing, so it won’t leave residue but also won’t strip surface oil from the skin.
Key features: antioxidants, vitamin C, aloe, green tea, lactic acid, coconut water
$$ Mid Range ($20-$45)
for combination, dull skin and uneven tone
Juice Beauty Green Apple Brightening Gel Cleanser
One of our absolute favorites anti aging cleansers! This cleanser has gel-like texture and light pleasant citrusy smell. Since it’s formulated with fruit enzymes, AHA’s and malic acid, it gently exfoliates dead skin cells and reveals brighter skin and even-toned complexion. At the same time this cleanser has purifying and hydrating ingredients like algae, aloe, sage, lemon and other potent botanicals.
Key features: organic, exfoliating, natural AHAs, algae, sage, brightening
for normal and dry skin
Eminence Monoi Age Corrective Exfoliating Cleanser
This gentle anti aging cleanser is packed with some of the best ingredients for aging and mature skin. To begin with, the cleanser has gentle exfoliating properties thanks to finely grounded olive seeds, fruit enzymes and naturally derived alpha hydroxyl acids. In addition, it contains chicory root and tara tree gum, which are both an excellent natural retinol alternative. And to top it off, this cleanser is infused with potent antioxidants and hydrating oils that protect skin and improve elasticity. Not only you’ll love its milky texture but also be delighted with light luxurious scent, and soft and fresh after-wash feel.
Key features: organic, retinol alternative, natural AHAs, antioxidants
for acne-prone and oily skin
Murad Anti Aging Acne Cleanser
Unfortunately adult acne is real and a common issue that can be frustrating. But luckily, there are products on the market like this Murad Acne cleanser that was developed especially for acne-prone aging skin. In this case, the medicated cleanser treats blemishes and unclogs pores with the help of encapsulated 0.5% salicylic acid (BHA) that helps to clear skin. At the same time, hyaluronic acid, amino acids, vitamin C and various fruit extracts are addressing signs of aging skin while providing hydration and locking in moisture.
Key features: 0.5% salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, amino acids, fruit extracts
for dry and dehydrated skin
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
This balancing cleansing oil is great for all skin types especially dry and dehydrated skin, as it has ability to deeply hydrate but won’t clog pores. Moreover, the deep cleansing water-soluble formula can remove even a waterproof makeup without leaving oily residue. The main ingredients here are organic olive oil, which is naturally rich in antioxidants, rosemary leaf oil and vitamin E.
Key features: organic olive oil, vitamin E, rosemary oil, antioxidants
for all skin types
Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser
What makes this brightening cleanser special is that it can double as exfoliating mask if left on face for five minutes. It is packed with potent antioxidants and vitamins including strawberry seed and coconut oils, tomato extract and hydrolyzed wheat proteins. In addition to having brightening and anti aging properties, this cleanser also treats dark spots, overall dullness and uneven skin tone.
Key features: potent antioxidants, vitamins, omega 3, doubles as a mask
for all skin types (except sensitive)
Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel
This exfoliating cleanser is pretty strong as it contains both AHA and BHA like glycolic and salicylic acids. Even though it is considered safe for all skin types, those with dry or dehydrated skin might find it too drying for daily use. That being said, this product provides chemical exfoliation, minimizes wrinkles, clarifies imperfections, and improves skin tone and texture. In addition, it has a pleasant peachy scent and lightly foaming texture.
Key features: glycolic and salicylic acids, fruit extracts, exfoliating
$$$ - Luxury ($45+)
for normal and combination skin
OSEA Ocean Cleanser
This all-natural mineralizing marine cleanser is one of the best anti aging cleansers on the market. That is to say, the ingredient list includes potent antioxidants, mineral rich algae, balancing oils, gentle exfoliants, and other nourishing ingredients. In addition to providing anti-aging benefits, this cleanser also gently exfoliates, decongests pores, balances oil production, hydrates, and leaves skin soft and smooth.
Key features: 100% natural, seaweed, lactic acid, oil blend, vitamin E, amino acids
for dry, normal and combination skin
Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser
What makes this luxurious 100% natural cleanser special is that it’s packed with a large amount of high performance and high concentration ingredients. In addition to containing natural BHA from white willow bark, it also includes 15 active botanicals that gently exfoliate, hydrate and regenerate tired skin. Also, this exfoliating cleanser has a creamy texture with micro grains, and will work best for those who have congested skin, dull and uneven complexion.
Key features: natural, exfoliating, BHA, botanical extracts
for all skin types
Eminence Stone Crop Cleansing Oil
Non-greasy cleansing oil is a great way to cleanse your skin without compromising moisture balance. The luxurious formula of this cleanser includes antioxidants, oil blend, and skin rejuvenating botanical extracts. For example, stone crop extract regenerates, brightens and moisturizes the skin; detoxifying microgreens complex protects from photodamage, while sunflower, olive, avocado and jojoba oils are rich in vitamins and provide nourishment.
Key features: microgreens, antioxidants, green tea, CoQ10, oil blend
for all skin types including sensitive
Naturopathica Manuka Honey Cleansing Balm
Unlike other traditional face cleansers, this cleanser comes in a form of a balm. It is formulated with manuka honey, probiotics, peptides, rich oil blend, and herbal extracts, and is suitable for all skin types even sensitive. In brief, this nourishing cleansing balm helps to improve skin barrier, moisturizes, helps to restore skin microflora and stimulates skin’s natural repair system.
Key features: manuka honey, probiotics, peptides, oil blend
for all skin types
Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Oil Cleanser
This 2-in-1 oil cleanser is packed with unique Japanese ingredients. In addition to vitamin rich Camellia oil, Tatcha also included potent Japanese anti-aging complex, which contains Uji green tea, algae and Akita rice. Overall, this product is highly hydrating, non-comedogenic, and rich in antioxidants. It leaves skin well-balanced, hydrated, and helps restore radiant and youthful complexion.
Key features: anti-aging complex, camellia oil, antioxidants
Related: Best face emulsion for extra skin hydration.
Are you washing your face properly?
You will be surprised how many people are misusing skincare products including face cleansers. Firstly, the most common mistake is using face wash or cleanser for removing eye makeup. To clarify, even though some face cleansers indicate that they are safe for removing makeup (even waterproof one), note that this does NOT specify “eye makeup!” This simply means that the cleanser has the ability to dissolve and remove makeup from the surface of your skin such as foundation, powder, blush, or bronzer. Moreover, it is dangerous to use face cleanser for removing eye makeup, as it can be damaging to your eyes.
To put it differently, eye makeup removers are formulated differently than most of the face cleansers. In particular, eye makeup removers don’t contain cleansing agents (surfactants) in them, but instead are made of oils and water. That being said, when you use face cleanser for removing eye makeup, the cleansing and exfoliating compounds will inevitably get into your eyes. As a result, your skin around eyes can become dehydrated, your eyes can get irritated, and temporary cloudy vision is possible. For this reason, it is highly recommended to use on your eyes only makeup removers that are specifically formulated for the eyes and marked as “safe for eyes.”
Face Cleansing Steps:
- Always read product label carefully and avoid assumptions
- Do not use cleanser for removing eye makeup
- For best results, try double cleansing (use oil-based cleanser or make up remover to remove make up, followed by gentle cream, gel or exfoliating cleanser)
- Use gentle circular motions
- Spend at least 30 seconds massaging cleanser into your face
- Rinse with lukewarm water or use warm towel/muslin cloth to remove cleanser
- Apply toner immediately after cleansing to restore skin’s pH balance after cleansing.
Related: Anti aging face tools for at-home use.
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Levin J, Momin SB. “How much do we really know about our favorite cosmeceutical ingredients?” The Journal of Clinical And Aesthetic Dermatology, Feb. 2010, Vol. 3