My Favorites:  
Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash 
Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser

Martha's Skincare Cabinet

For years, I was a Cetaphil-lover and I still have a soft spot in my heart for this skin-softening, dermatologist-beloved, non-soap cleanser. But because I only wash my face at night, I want to make sure it’s really clean. Both Kate Somerville and Neutrogena cleansers are just as gentle, but make my skin feel a little fresher, like there’s zero film left behind. Also, Cetaphil contains both sodium laurel sulfate and 3 types of parabens, but my Neutrogena choice is free of fragrance, soap, sodium laurel sulfate, parabens and dyes. The Kate Somerville is sulfate-free as well and contains soothing extracts such as lavender and sage.

How to Choose Yours:
Humphrey says that skin doesn’t need to be cleaned aggressively: “Keep it as basic as possible—something to remove makeup, dirt and debris.” She likes Cetaphil because it’s soap-free so it leaves the delicate moisture barrier intact. Humphrey also recommends avoiding any fragrances or active ingredients like glycolic acids or exfoliators in a cleanser. “Any of those can interrupt the barrier and lead to dryness.” 

The most important thing is to find a cleanser you will use, adds Alexiades, stressing that you never should go to sleep without taking off your makeup. “All kinds of things can happen overnight,” she explains. “Acne-prone skin starts to plug and there are substances in makeup that can cause yeast to fester, leaving skin red and flaky.” Alexiades also suggests staying away from any stimulating acid cleansers before bed. Instead, look for soothing ingredients such as green tea and aloe. “They’re anti-inflammatory—if you have acne or rosacea or redness this is extremely helpful,” she explains.