The 10 Best Face Wash For Tweens And Teens of 2021

Nourish and cleanse

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To keep skin clean and clear, a face wash is often the first product teens and tween integrate into their skincare routine. The best face washes for tweens and teens should be gentle and effective and address the skin concerns like acne and oily skin that are common for that age group.

The good thing about face washes and cleansers is that they are generally the least expensive products in a skincare line. Although you can splurge on something from a luxury brand, you can usually find something perfect for your skin type and lifestyle within your budget. 

Here, the best face washes for tweens and teens, broken down by formula and skin concern.

Our Top Picks
Ideal for all skin types, the one-step makeup remover and face wash starts as a cream and turns into a foam as you cleanse.
Perfect for sensitive skin with its fragrance and paraben-free formula, the super-soft foam feels like velvet on your face.
Soothing, nourishing, and vegan, it can be used on dry skin to remove dirt and makeup or on wet skin as part of your routine.
Oily skin needs a cleanser that can wash away oil without drying it out, and this pick does just that with its anti-shine formula.
Keep acne at bay with this face wash, tested and approved by dermatologists, that can be used day and night.
A cleansing oil that's certified organic and composed of natural ingredients, it both removes eye makeup and moisturizes the skin.
Ideal if your teen is a looking for a tougher face wash, this exfoliating cleanser scrubs away everyday dirt and bacteria.
Safe enough for reactive skin, this mild face wash is allergen-free and gentle enough for those prone to eczema, acne, or rosacea.
Though a splurge, the gentle face wash promises to calm redness and can be used on wet or dry skin to wash away impurities.
A face wash bar that's ideal for shower use, it boasts multi-tasking abilities as it moisturizes, tones, clarifies, and balances.

Best Overall: CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser

CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser
  • Fragrance-free

  • All-in-one cleanser

  • Has not been tested in sensitive eye area

  • Does not treat acne

Even though this cream-to-foam cleanser is new for CeraVe, a drugstore cult-favorite brand, it’s already racked up thousands of rave reviews. Great for all skin types, the wash starts as a cream to remove dirt, oil, and makeup, then turns into a foam as you wash. In short, it's a one-step makeup remover and face wash that is effective, affordable, and won’t dry out delicate skin.

The cleanser’s active ingredients include hyaluronic acid for hydration, plus ceramides and amino acids complex to protect your skin’s moisture barrier and pH balance. It doesn’t contain soap or fragrance and is non-comedogenic. Teens, tweens, and adults alike will love it. 

Best Foaming: Clinique Extra Gentle Cleansing Foam

Clinique cleansing foam
  • Perfect for sensitive skin

  • No parabens/phthalates/fragrance

  • Some may not like foam texture

Foaming face washes aren’t everyone’s favorite, but they’re great for tween and teen skin because they cleanse quickly and effectively and rinse away with little effort and no leftover residue. 

Reviewers especially love Clinique’s Extra Gentle Cleansing Foam because it’s non-irritating, good for sensitive skin, and abides by the Clinique Clean Philosophy: no parabens, phthalates, or fragrance. This super-soft foam feels like velvet on your skin and is made for dry or combination skin types. For happy skin, try it with the rest of Clinique’s best-selling skincare routine.

Best for Dry Skin: Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser

  • Safe for eye area

  • Contains five skin conditioners

  • Costly

For trendsetters and dry skin types, Glossier Milky Jelly is everything you could want in a cleanser. Part of the OG Glossier skincare line, Milky Jelly is a gentle daily cleanser that’s perfect for all skin types and contains five skin conditioners that won’t leave their skin irritated or feeling tight.

Soothing, nourishing, cruelty-free, and vegan, Milky Jelly can be used on dry skin to remove dirt and makeup or on wet skin as part of your daily routine. The best part? The brand has some serious cool-vibes. Your teen will happily show it off on their bathroom sink and actually use it instead of sleeping in their makeup.

Best For Oily Skin: Cetaphil Pro Oil Removing Foam Wash

Cetaphil Pro Oil Removing Foam Wash
  • Removes pore-clogging oil

  • Great for acne-prone skin

  • Bottle may leak from pump

Oily skin is often the reason tweens start washing their faces in the first place. A good brand to start with to help them manage their newfound skincare routine is Cetaphil. A best-selling drugstore classic, their Pro Oil Removing Foam Wash is the perfect way to instantly wash away oil and deep clean the skin without drying it out.

Effective at removing pore-clogging oil, impurities, and makeup Cetaphil Pro Oil Removing Foam Wash’s formula has innovative zinc technology to reduce shine and is ideal for oily or combination skin—it won’t cause acne!

Best For Acne-Prone Skin: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Face Wash

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Face Wash
  • Promotes clear/smooth skin

  • Removes pore-clogging dirt/oil

  • Eye area must be avoided

While teenagers are prone to breakouts, the right medicated cleanser can help keep acne at bay. Reviewers and skincare experts love La Roche Posay Effaclar face wash because it’s tested and approved by dermatologists. 

Effaclar has 2 percent salicylic acid which targets oil, pimples, and blackheads and promotes clear smooth skin. It also has Lipo Hydroxy Acid to exfoliate the skin and remove pore-clogging dirt and oil. Best used day and night, this gel wash lathers easily and doesn’t leave your skin feeling sticky or dry once it’s rinsed away.

Best Natural: CocoKind Facial Cleansing Oil

CocoKind Facial Cleansing Oil
  • Contains all-natural ingredients

  • Balances dry/oily combination skin

  • Pump and cap cannot be recycled

  • Costly

Cleansing oils make great face washes for teenage skin because they won't dry out or disrupt the skin’s moisture barrier. The CocoKind Facial Cleansing Oil is a popular choice because it’s certified organic and has all-natural ingredients like avocado oil, coconut oil, and tea tree oil.

With an easy-to-use pump bottle, the CocoKind Cleansing Oil works well at removing eye makeup and moisturizes the skin while they work so that it feels soft and smooth skin even if a face wash is the only step in your skincare routine. 

Best Exfoliator: Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub

Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Daily ScrubAveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub
  • Budget-friendly

  • Unique formula

  • Eye area must be avoided

A physical exfoliating face wash like this one from Aveeno is great for teens because it’s gentle enough for everyday use, yet tough enough to scrub away dirt, oil, and acne-causing bacteria.

It’s made with moisture-rich soy extract, naturally derived granules, and jojoba and castor oils. It’s soap-free, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic, so it won't clog pores. Thousands of reviewers agree—Aveeno’s Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Scrub will reveal softer, brighter skin and won’t break the bank.

Best For Sensitive Skin: Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Creamy Face Wash

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Creamy Face Wash
  • Affordable

  • Safe for sensitive skin

  • Pump is not covered

For sensitive and reactive skin, this creamy face wash from Neutrogena is extremely mild. It’s safe for all skin types and conditions, including acne, eczema, and rosacea but still effectively removes dirt, oil, and makeup.

Developed by a dermatologist, the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Creamy Face Wash has very minimal ingredients and has no allergens. The formula does, however, have skin-nourishing polyglycerin and glycerin.

Best Splurge: Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser

Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser
  • Calms redness

  • Can be used on wet or dry skin

  • Costly

For those ready to really invest in their teen's skincare, the Dermalogica skincare line is an excellent way to get them started off on the right foot. The Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser in particular is a fan favorite. It’s a super gentle face wash that helps calm redness and soothes sensitive skin.

The gel-to-cream formula is pricey but can be used on wet or dry skin to wash away impurities and keep your skin calm and blemish-free. The ingredients include oat to calm inflammation, lavender to reduce redness, and cucumber to soothe skin. 

Best Bar: Drunk Elephant Pekee Cleansing Bar

Pekee Bar
  • Easy to use during shower

  • Fragrance- and soap-free

  • Not as travel-friendly

Even though it doesn’t look like other face cleansers, the right face wash bar is easier to use in the shower for a young teenager and has all of the same benefits you’d find in a bottle. Also, it has less of an environmental impact because it doesn’t come in a single-use plastic container.

Drunk Elephant’s Pekee Bar, for example, is a popular gentle cleansing bar made with blueberry extract, honey, and marula oil. A true multi-tasking face wash, this bar moisturizes, tones, clarifies, balances the complexion, and is totally fragrance- and soap-free. The bar is formulated with clean, cruelty-free, and skin-friendly ingredients designed to cleanse and soothe the skin and last a long time.

Final Verdict

During their teen and tween years, your child is likely to be battling with their skin going through changes along with the rest of their body. To get them started caring for their skin, the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Facial Cleanser (view on Amazon) will cleanse away dirt, make, and bacteria while being gentle on sensitive skin.

For your teen that has a set routine but needs a brightening boost, the Aveeno Positively Radiant Exfoliating Scrub (view on Amazon) is gentle enough for daily use but effective enough to reveal soft, bright skin.

What to Look for When Buying Face Wash for Tweens and Teens


Teens have sensitive skin that is still developing. Thanks to puberty and flowing hormones, they are likely to have oily, reactive, acne-prone skin. Choose wash with ingredients that cleanse the skin, wash away acne-causing bacteria, all without drying out your teen's face.


By their teen and tween years, your child may start wearing and experimenting with makeup. Instead of filling up their bathroom cabinet with a makeup remover, toner, and cleanser, try to consolidate the process with a multi-use cleanser that can remove makeup, dirt, and bacteria all at once.


With hormone changes and fluctuations, your teen's skin is sensitive. Cleansers that are overly drying, packed full of intense chemicals, and overall too strong can actually cause their skin to break out more. Opt for cleansers that are designed for sensitive skin and target acne by cleansing pores and washing away bacteria.


When should tweens start using a face wash? 

Because hormones are developing and fluctuating, skin becomes more sensitive around the age of 10 for both boys and girls, give or take a few years. During this time, you will notice changes to their skin, like acne or dryness, and that’s when it is time to start using a face wash. For those who wear makeup, a face wash is even more important to help any pores clogged from makeup. 

What kind of ingredients should teens and tweens avoid?

Just because a product is on a shelf at your favorite retailer doesn’t mean it’s safe to use, especially when it comes to products we put on our children. There are many ingredients you want your tween or teen to avoid putting on their face. 

Check the ingredients on the product’s label, and avoid ingredients like parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and/or sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), fragrances, Phthalates, oils, and alcohol. These ingredients can damage the skin, causing more dryness, irritation, or even break down the skin’s natural barrier.

Why Trust Verywell Family?

Deanna McCormack is a freelance writer & creative consultant based in Scottsdale, Arizona. She regularly works with skincare and beauty brands and was a commerce review for skincare at Bustle for 2 years.

Along with her experience in the beauty industry, she spends much of her own time researching and testing the latest and greatest skincare products, formulas, and ingredients.

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