A lady looking in a mirror and touching her face.

Best cleanser for oily skin

Combination skin getting you down? Having a skincare routine which uses products designed explicitly for your complexion is one of the best ways to eliminate excess oil and reduce the appearance of acne and blemishes.

From why you need to cleanse to which ingredients you should be looking out for, here’s our guide to the best cleansers for oily skin.

Why is cleanser good for oily skin?

Cleansing is perhaps the most crucial step in caring for your skin and should definitely be something you do – regardless of your skin type!

For people with particularly oily skin, though, cleansing is even more critical. That’s because it helps clean out your pores and remove any excess sebum, dirt, or makeup which could go on to cause breakouts or blackheads.

Depending on the ingredients, your cleanser may also help your skin cells to regenerate, in addition to offering them some protection against things like harmful UV rays and pollution.

Cleanser ingredients for oily skin

Like many things, not all cleansers are made equal! Luckily, there are loads of different options out there which come packed with beneficial ingredients for those who struggle with greasiness or breakouts. Here’s what to look out for in the best cleansers for oily skin:


Antioxidants are great for the entire body, not just the skin! Put simply, they’re molecules which help combat free radicals – compounds which could potentially harm your cells and lead to various skin concerns1. When it comes to skincare, antioxidants can help purify your skin, bring down sensitivity, and even brighten up your complexion2. Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant which features in many cleansers for oily skin3.

Salicylic acid

This form of beta hydroxy acid is a common ingredient in many skincare products, not just cleanser. Why? As an exfoliator, it’s able to penetrate deep into the skin and unblock pores which may have become clogged up with dead skin, oil, and other nasties4. To keep on top of your oily skin, try cleansing twice a day. You should follow this up with a lightweight, oil-free moisturiser which will smooth out and hydrate the skin without re-clogging your pores5.

And what should I avoid?

Now you know what you should be looking out for in your hunt for the best cleanser for oily skin, it’s worth learning what you should avoid.

Using cleanser regularly is one of the best ways to take care of your skin. Why not give your complexion some TLC by browsing our full range of cleansers and toners? You’ll find numerous options from some of the best natural beauty brands, including Sukin, Weleda and Trilogy. Shop Natural Skin Care

Last Updated: 7th December 2020
Expertly reviewed by:

Author: Manisha Taggar

Reviewer: Manisha Taggar

  • Joined Holland & Barrett: May 2019
  • Qualifications: BSc Hons in Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science
Manisha started her career at a Cosmetics distributor as a Regulatory Technologist followed by a Regulatory Affairs Officer, ensuring the regulatory compliance of cosmetic products from colour cosmetics to skincare. After 3 and half years in this role, Manisha joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019. Manisha specialises in Cosmetic products, both own-label and branded lines, ensuring that these products and all relating marketing material comply to the EU Cosmetics Regulation.
  1. https://www.wellandgood.com/antioxidants-for-skin-benefits/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/skin-care-routine-for-oily-skin-2
  4. https://www.elle.com/uk/beauty/skin/a37721/how-to-get-rid-oily-skin/