When it comes to cleansing, consistency is key—and we don’t just mean sticking to a regular routine. The actual physical consistency of the formula is one of those features that we get super picky about, not to mention it’s vital in actually sweeping dirt, debris, and excess oil off your face and delivering good-for-you ingredients to the surface of your skin. And if jelly highlighter was any indication of what the beauty industry is digging right now, you already know that cleansing gels are having a moment.
Cleansing gels are lighter than your standard cream and easily glide over your skin. They’re often touted for being ultra-hydrating, but you can find a gel in every skincare genre, whether it’s one that controls oil, adds moisture back into your skin, or delivers anti-aging actives while washing away foundation. Here, we rounded up a few of the best options—like enzyme cleansing gels to transformative gel-to-foaming formulas for every single option.
1. LA MER THE CLEANSING GEL
La Mer’s claim to fame is the company’s Miracle Broth, a compilation of nourishing, moisturizing, and revitalizing ingredients gathered from sea kelp and enhanced in a fermentation process. InStyle editors have claimed its truly transformative, and now that same formula was added to the brand’s gel-to-foam daily cleanser. After gently rubbing it on your face, the consistency makes a switch, but it won’t leave your skin dry, flaky, and uncomfortable.
2. MARIO BADESCU ENZYME CLEANING GEL
One of the most popular gel cleansers out there, Mario Badescu’s formula is packed with AHAs from papaya and grapefruit extracts to exfoliate the surface of the skin, preventing breakouts, while wiping your skin free of makeup.
3. TATCHA THE DEEP CLEANSE
One InStyle editor dubbed this formula a “detox for your face.” Once in contact with your skin and water, it transforms into a rich foam that gently breaks up makeup, unclogs pores, and exfoliates thanks to the addition of Luffa fruit.
4. LA ROCHE-POSAY EFFACLAR PURIFYING FOAMING GEL
If you have acne-prone skin or struggle with excess oil, this super affordable daily cleanser is one to consider. A gel-to-foam consistency, the soap-free cleanser works to gently cleanse without stripping your skin. But at the same time, it picks up the oil you don’t need.
5. PETER THOMAS ROTH ANTI-AGING CLEANSING GEL
Infused with AHAs and BHAs, Peter Thomas Roth’s iconic orange bottle is famed for exfoliating, increasing cellular turnover, and brightening the skin. All this, in turn, makes your skin look more youthful, fresh, and healthy.
6. SIMPLE MICELLAR WATER GEL CLEANSER
This affordable gel cleanser won’t mess with even the most sensitive skin types, and is a great alternative if you’re looking for something a tiny bit more powerful than traditional micellar water.
8. NEUTROGENA HYDRO BOOST CLEANSING GEL
Hyaluronic acid delivers moisture back into the skin, while plumping it up and helping it look youthful and healthy. Now imagine those benefits added to your daily cleanser. The reality is here in Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost cleanser, a gentle gel that glides over your skin with ease, while removing makeup in seconds.