11 Best Face Washes For Kids — With Safe & Effective Ingredients

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by Megan McCarty and BDG Commerce
Originally Published: 
face wash for kids
Getty Images/damircudic

Remember needing face wash for kids? While we’d all love to relive certain parts of our childhood – endless time to play on swings, daily naps, kiddie pools in the summer – you couldn’t pay us enough to have to live through adolescent skin again. Layers of sand and dirt, compounded with flaring hormones, tend to lead to breakouts and mystery bumps. There are middle school yearbooks to prove it. (Hell, we’re still dealing with occasional breakouts and mystery bumps now.)

Now, as a parent, as if brushing and flossing your kiddos’ teeth and getting a comb through their hair every few days wasn’t enough, you also need to think about introducing gentle skincare into your kids’ hygiene routine. But how do you know what to trust on your little one’s skin?

Here to help are skincare chemists Victoria Fu and Gloria Lu, authors of Skincare Decoded and founders of Chemist Confessions. “There isn’t a set age where they have to start using a face wash,” says Fu, “but if you have a child with certain skin conditions, such as eczema, looking for a body wash, shampoo, and even face cleansers that cater to their skin needs can be helpful to their overall skincare.”

Children have thinner skin than adults, and generally speaking, children ages 10 and under hold less water than adults. “That means when you look for a face wash, you want to choose gentler cleansers that don’t feel stripping,” says Lu. Consider choosing a non-soap-based cleanser with a mild pH of ~5-6. “Cocoamidopropyl betaine is a good place to start since this surfactant is generally mild and found in a lot of ‘gentle’ claimed cleansers,” says Fu.

Another good place to start: this round-up of the best face washes for kids. Read on for our top picks.

Best Face Wash for Kids

For both the kids and pre-teens in your life, introduce them to face washing with this Natural Organic Family foaming wash that smells of sweet orange oil. It’s made with 99% natural and 80% organic ingredients, including aloe vera, and no harsh chemicals, so it’s gentle and won’t dry out sensitive skin.

One Reviewer Says: “My 11-year-old son likes this foaming face wash. It's always a struggle to get him to remember to wash his face and the soaps in the store are too harsh for his sensitive skin. He was JUST starting to get little bits of acne and this soap has cleared up his skin after only a few days of use.”

There’s a reason Cetaphil has been a fan favorite skin care brand for over 70 years. There’s nothing fancy about Cetaphil, and that’s why everyone loves it. This foaming, fragrance-free cleanser is gentle enough for everyday use on all skin types and for all ages and is a great intro to skin care for your littles.

One Reviewer Says: “I am absolutely IN LOVE with this cleanser!! I've been dealing with minor clusters of acne on my cheeks and forehead for a few years now, but in just one week of washing with this, I've already noticed a major difference. Even my family has commented on how much clearer my skin looks. It also seems to be helping some dry skin that I've been having in the same areas, which is a huge plus. Because of the foam texture, it feels so lightweight and gentle and washes away easily. I just love it.”

Here’s one way to convince your kids to start washing their faces: buy an oil-free face wash with a fresh watermelon scent, like this Clean & Clear one. Don’t let the word “scrub” trick you; this face wash is gentle enough for daily use while being tough enough to remove dirt and anything else your kids get into – all while hydrating with real watermelon juice extract.

One Reviewer Says: “To be honest, I mostly just got it because I wanted something that smells really good, (which it does!) but I definitely wasn't expecting my skin to improve so much, so quickly! I LOVE THIS PRODUCT and I need to buy the others in this set!”

Chances are you already have a few Burt’s Bees products around your bathroom. Here’s another one to add: their Face Cleanser for Sensitive Skin, good for both kiddos and parents alike. Infused with rice extracts and aloe vera, the 98.9% natural, fragrance-free cleanser will gently clear out your pores without causing redness or irritation.

One Reviewer Says: “This cleanser is The One. I've tried so many brands including for sensitive skin and for eczema and dermatitis specifically and nothing else compares to this. So smooth, it applies so easily to your skin, it lasts longer than I thought it would, it's 98.9% natural, it doesn't cause the slightest hint of irritation not a single time since I started using it (I'm almost done with my first tube), my face feels amazing after using it. It's cooling to your skin, and not a friend of inflammation or any itchy burn-y problems like I had. It didn't cure my eczema but it lets me forget I even have it.”

This cleanser is packed with great ingredients like essential omegas, amino acids, and vitamins that’ll help keep your child’s face healthy. This cleanser foams with the help of organic coconut water and coconut juice, and happens to smell amazing. The brand originates from the USA, and has been tested by dermatologists.

One Reviewer Says: “I bought this for my pre-teen children to use. I wanted something that wasn't full of harsh chemicals that would get them clean. I found myself out of my own face wash and thought what the heck I'll try this. Y’all I love it. It is gentle, [and] the smell is light, but it does a wonderful job. I recommend it for kids and adults.”

Of course, the penguin in front is a selling point for this Bioderma water wash. But, it’s not the only one. Gentle enough for babies, this wash has an emollient effect without being greasy or unpleasant. It can be easily used and applied with a cotton ball. This product would be a great way to introduce your young child to face washing.

One Reviewer Says: “This product is amazing! It is so easy for my son to use which means he will actually use it! My young son has been struggling with clogged pores and getting him to wash his face on a regular basis has been a huge struggle. It is so easy to apply some of this product to a cotton round and just wipe all over. It has worked great to clear up his skin and is gentle enough not to cause any irritation. I bought the small bottle to try it out, but I will be order the larger size from now on! This is a keeper in his skincare routine!”

Eczema moms, rejoice! This face and body wash gently cleanses sensitive skin suffering from eczema, hydrating while cleaning your kiddos’ red, itchy skin. This cleanser is free of all the yucky stuff: it’s phthalate and paraben-free, as well as fragrance-free and animal cruelty-free. Bath time just got a little more fun.

One Reviewer Says: “My 4-year-old has had eczema on his upper arms since he was an infant. The doctors recommended products like Eucerin and Cerave, but they didn't work, and they aren't cruelty-free, so I decided to try TruKids. I have been using the eczema body wash and eczema cream every day for about a month, and the eczema is totally gone on one arm and about 95% gone on the other arm. I cannot say enough good things about these products.”

Acne Face Wash for Kids

This California Kids face wash is gentle and non-drying, specially formulated for kiddos with dry, sensitive skin. This face wash clears up mild breakouts and is meant to be used in the morning and at night to lightly exfoliate and deeply clean those dirty pre-teen pores, leaving your kids’ skin feeling fresh and oh-so clean.

One Reviewer Says: “I was surprised to see how small this is but it really doesn’t take much of the wash to use on your face. It went on very nice and it felt nice, especially after you wash your face, it has that smoothness like your face is silk. I will purchase again and I am a fan.”

Whether your kid is dealing with eczema, rosacea, or your everyday pre-teen acne, reach for this T-Blast foaming cleanser from Kidskin. This formula is specially made for kids – hence the name – and uses .4% natural tea tree oil, which cuts through the oil to clear up blemishes and breakouts without drying out their skin. It’s lightweight, foamy, and refreshing, while also being paraben, fragrance, and sulfate-free.

One Reviewer Says: “I am always skeptical about using acne products on my daughter who is 8. She’s had blackheads and pimples on her nose, chin, and forehead for about a year now. I thought it would go away but it didn’t. I finally decided to try and do something about it when she started talking about her zits almost daily. We tried a few different products for acne with nothing working. I don’t usually write reviews but felt I wanted to help someone else who has a child who struggles with acne. Try this product! It worked for my daughter within a few days. She uses it morning and night and it all cleared up.”

One to two daily pumps of this kid-friendly foaming face wash, and your kid’s oily skin will feel 100 times better. Instead of drying out the skin, though, TBH Spot Foaming formula helps your kids and teens gently exfoliate, deep cleaning their pores of day-to-day grime. This formula is made in the U.S. without any harsh chemicals, parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.

One Reviewer Says: “My 6-year-old loves it! She is getting into a routine for washing her face every day and this is perfect! Easy for her to use and safe enough for her to wash her face with.”

Prepare for the tough years ahead with this gentle foaming face wash. Good for preteens as well, this sulfate and paraben-free solution is a hit with many Amazon customers. It’s mild, easy to use, and can help fight acne and blemishes in their track.

One Reviewer Says: “This is the perfect facial cleanser for a teenager. My son absolutely loves it! He's been using it for almost 2 weeks and I can see a difference in the amount of acne he has and his skin has a healthier glow to it. It's a lightweight and oil-free cleanser with all organic ingredients, like orange extract, grapefruit extract, aloe vera, witch hazel, and salicylic acid that's naturally derived from white willow bark. I love that he's not putting synthetic products on his face.”

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