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Best cleanser for oily skin 2022: Banish shine with these great options

Aimee Jakes
7 Oct 2022
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Leave your skin feeling balanced and clean with our pick of the best cleansers for oily skin

When trying to control your skin’s oil balance, a good place to start is right at the beginning—by giving your humble cleanser a well-needed glow-up. Although your face wash is often chosen without a second thought, picking the right one for your skin type can be revolutionary for your skin’s overall condition.

Aside from expertly removing makeup and general dirt, grime and bacteria, a great and dedicated face wash for those with oily skin will help combat excess shine and unclog pores, without compromising your skin barrier. A true balancing act, if you will.

If you are a member of the Oily Skin Club, it’s worth noting that a greasy T-zone is usually down to the sebaceous glands in your skin making too much sebum. Sebum is your skin’s way of naturally hydrating itself, but too much of it can lead to excess shine, clogged pores and pesky blemishes.

The good news is that there are plenty of cleansers out there which are marketed to transform oily skin and to save you traipsing through all the reviews, we’ve tested a whole range and found the absolute best ones to buy for different skin types and budgets.

READ NEXT: Our pick of the best makeup removers


Best cleanser for oily skin: At a glance

  • Best overall: CeraVe Foaming Cleanser | Buy now
  • Best on a budget: Boots Ingredients Salicylic Acid Cleanser | Buy now
  • Best for removing stubborn make-up: Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish | Buy now
  • Best sensitive skin: COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser | Buy now
  • Best for mature skin: Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Cleanser | Buy now
  • Best for blemish-prone skin: The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser | Buy now

How to choose the best cleanser for oily skin

When choosing a cleanser for oily skin, it can be tempting to choose the toughest and most hardcore product you can find. However, using too harsh a formula will strip your skin of its natural oils, meaning your skin goes into overdrive to try and replace them. The result? You guessed it; irritated and angry skin which may be, ironically, even oiler than before.

The ideal cleanser will gently mattify the skin and control oil, whilst ensuring the skin is glowing, clean and comforted. It’s commonly thought that oily skin should not be moisturised, but nothing can be further from the truth. A good cleanser for oily skin will be able to remove excess oil without stripping your skin and leaving it feeling too dry and tight.

How often should I cleanse if I have oily skin?

Like above, it can be tempting to want to wash your skin multiple times a day to make your skin feel ‘super clean’ and banish the grease. Yet, overwashing skin can lead to a compromised skin barrier, irritation and leaving you more prone to breakouts.

Instead, try cleansing twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening with a dedicated cleanser for your skin type. This will help slough away the build up of dirt and bacteria (as well as SPF and makeup) without allowing your complexion to go into overdrive.

The best way to cleanse oily skin is by doing a good double cleanse at night to remove makeup and pollutants that you will have gathered throughout the day and, in the morning, just one cleanse will do. Then follow up with your treatments, a good moisturiser for oily skin, and don’t forget the SPF!

READ NEXT: The best facial cleansers to buy

The best cleansers for oily skin to buy in 2022

1. CeraVe Foaming Cleanser: The best cleanser for oily skin

Price: £8 | Buy now from Look Fantastic

CeraVe’s Foaming Cleanser helps to gently wash away dirt, excess oil and impurities while keeping your skin barrier intact. The fragrance-free formula contains a potent blend of ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide for healthy and plump skin.

This is one of the most popular and best-performing cleansers for oily skin—and for good reason. Customers loved how it cleaned their skin ‘without stripping or drying’ but still gave them that ‘clean feeling’. It’s a brand loved by celebrities and at just £8, we love how affordable it is, too.

Key details – Volume: 236ml; Texture: Gel; Star ingredient: Niacinamide

Buy now from Look Fantastic


2. Boots Ingredients Salicylic Acid Cleanser: The best budget cleanser for oily skin

Price: £5 | Buy now from Boots

If you’re on a budget, you will adore this salicylic acid cleanser from Boots Ingredients. It’s non-drying, yet still manages to deeply cleanse your skin of dirt, oil and makeup (even waterproof mascara). The added beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), make it a great option for anyone suffering from breakouts or uneven skin texture.

Boots has a great range of budget-friendly and truly effective products and this is one of the fan faves. It’s worth pointing out that the product is on the smaller side at just 50ml, but for £5 you really can’t go wrong. It’s also a handy size for when you’re travelling.

Key details – Volume: 50ml; Texture: Gel; Star ingredient: Salicylic acid

Buy now from Boots


3. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish: The best make-up removing cleanser for oily skin

Price: £20 | Buy now from Boots

The Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish has stood the test of time for transforming lacklustre skin. Although it’s not specifically targeted towards oily skin, the formula helps balance all skin types and leaves skin hydrated, happy and healthy. This starter kit comes with a muslin cloth which will help ensure a thorough cleanse.

It’s been rated five-stars online thousands of times thanks to its ‘game-changing’ formula with reviews hailing it as a ‘must-have for oil, acne-prone skin.’ One customer said they would pay ‘10x the price’ for these products, which is a true testament to the chokehold Liz Earle has us all in.

Key details – Volume: 100ml; Texture: Cream; Star ingredient: Chamomile extract

Buy now from Boots


4. COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser: The best for cleanser for oily and sensitive skin

Price: £14 | Buy now from Beauty Bay

The COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser is the new kid on the block that has already gained a loyal fanbase in the beauty community, in addition to many other of the brand’s skin-perfecting products. COSRX’s hard-working cleanser helps refine the skin's texture, as well as clarifying and removing impurities from the complexion.

The low pH in this cleanser helps to restore skin’s optimal pH level, protecting it from external aggressors. We love how it ensures your skin feels clean and fresh, without feeling one bit dry or tight. It provides the perfect everyday cleanse for anyone with oily and sensitive skin.

Key details – Volume: 150ml; Texture: Gel; Star ingredient: Tea tree oil

Buy now from Beauty Bay


5. Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Cleanser: The best cleanser for mature oily skin

Price: £45 | Buy now from Skinceuticals

Contrary to popular belief, mature skin can indeed be oily. Not only does the Skinceuticals Blemish + Age cleanser help to banish unwanted shine and refine pores for more mature skin, but it’s also packed with helpful acids to leave skin bright, smooth and glowing.

The formula contains the ultimate double act, glycolic acid and salicylic acid, to help exfoliate dead skin cells which can ultimately lead to blocked pores. Some customers found the upside down bottle a little annoying, but the product is so sublime, it’s not a dealbreaker.

Key details – Volume: 240ml; Texture: Gel; Star ingredient: Glycolic acid

Buy now from Skinceuticals


6. The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser: The best cleanser for oily, blemish prone skin

Price: £11 | Buy now from The Inkey List

Yet another economical and extremely effective cleanser for oily skin is this salicylic acid version from The Inkey List. Blemished skin sufferers: do not underestimate this golden cleanser. It contains 2% salicylic acid to expertly deal with excess oil as well as annoying zits.

It expertly removes makeup and dirt while penetrating deep into pores to help reduce blackheads and breakouts. It’s a really great choice for anyone with spots or uneven skin texture and don’t worry, despite the 2% acid level, the majority of customers found that it wasn’t drying or harsh on their skin.

Key specs – Volume: 150ml; Texture: Gel; Star ingredient: Salicylic acid

Buy now from The Inkey List


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