Remember needing face wash for kids? While we’d just about kill 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, tends 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 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.
All Paloroma products nix the yucky stuff: parabens, phthalates, silicones, sulfates, dyes, petrolatum and, yucky or not, fragrances. “We think kids should smell like kids,” they say. (They haven’t smelled our kids’ feet, have they?) This gentle cleansing bar can be used on both the face and body and is formulated with colloidal oatmeal, roman chamomile and shea butter to moisturize, soothe and calm sensitive skin. We’re relaxed just typing those words. Dairy, soy and gluten free.
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 into skin care for your littles.
For their newly launched Buck Naked Baby collection, natural soap company Buck Naked uses all natural, high-quality ingredients, perfect for introducing a kiddo to skincare. The natural cleansing and moisturizing soaps are calming and soothing – especially this chamomile and calendula one – and make for an extra zen end-of-day bath.
We love a power duo, like this pair of Palorama products. While the chamomile of the wash nourishes, the lavender calms and aloe moisturizes. Then top your little one’s fresh face with the gentle, nutrient-rich cream, created with safflower seed, jojoba seed, sea buckthorn oil and shea butter, perfect for nourishing dry areas.
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.
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. “I don’t give out 5-star ratings easily, but this product deserves every one of the 5 stars!” says one Amazon reviewer.
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.
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.
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 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. “I’m so glad I found this little miracle of face wash for my son,” says one Amazon reviewer who bought this for her nine year old son. “He feels grown and loved adding this to his morning routine.” Made in the U.S. and without any harsh chemicals, parabens, sulfates or phthalates.