If you have spent some time in the cosmetics aisle, you’ve likely seen the term “paraben-free”. It’s plastered on many beauty products, especially skincare. This is an ingredient many people like to avoid in their beauty products. This can be from makeup to skincare, and haircare products.
Below, I will be taking a closer look at the harmful effects of parabens found in skincare products. I have also gathered 14 brands that create some of the best paraben-free face wash. Let’s get started!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site! Read more about my disclosure policies here. All prices are accurate at the time of the article and are subject to change.
What is Wrong with Parabens?
What is so wrong with parabens anyway? And what exactly are they?
Parabens are a group of chemicals used in cosmetic products dating back to the 1920s. Their basic function is to increase the shelf life of a product. Specifically, by preventing the growth of bacteria and mold.
Despite their best intentions, parabens are harmful to both the body and the planet. Parabens can primarily cause skin irritation.
According to the UN Environment Programme, parabens disrupt hormones in the body. This can harm fertility, affect birth outcomes and increase the risk of cancer.
Linked to ecological harm, parabens are also found inside sea creatures. They also have the ability to kill coral. This is why many people like to avoid them in their skincare.
Best Paraben Free Face Wash
Our face is one of the most sensitive parts of our skin. That’s why it’s especially important to protect it from harmful parabens.
With this in mind, I have curated a list of the 14 best paraben-free face wash products. These products help protect both you and the environment.
Plus, I’ll touch on sustainability initiatives from the below brands. This is so you can feel good about your new face wash, beyond the ingredients!
CeraVe is a part of the L’Oréal Group. It follows the sustainable initiatives of this corporation at large.
Water waste, a huge pain point in the beauty industry, has become a key focus for L’Oréal’s sustainability efforts. The corporation has reduced its water usage by 51% and has begun to adopt waterloop factories. This means all industrial water is retreated, recycled, and reused in a loop. L’Oréal is also making strides toward preserving natural resources. 59% of its raw materials are currently derived from renewable sources.
CeraVe is a staple for sensitive skin girls everywhere. The brand specializes in gentle, fragrance-free formulas that are dermatologists certified. This, coupled with its affordable prices makes it a stable option. Especially for those with delicate skin.
The CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is a lotion-based formula. It adds a layer of moisture and hydration to the skin. This paraben-free face wash is perfect for dry, winter months. It’s also great for those who struggle with dry skin year-round
This product also includes hyaluronic acid which has a multitude of benefits. This includes improving elasticity and adding moisture. Also, reducing the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles.
Beyond this, it contains ceramides. Ceramides help restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier. This helps prevent the loss of moisture. It also shields the skin from environmental aggressors.
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Like CeraVe, Clinique has initiated many sustainable ventures. The All About Clean Liquid Facial Soap is a part of the brand’s first 100% sustainable packaging beauty line. This launched in 2020. The products in the All About Clean line contain plant-derived plastic. They also contain post-consumer recycled material reducing the use of fossil-fueled plastic. The brand claims that by 2025, 75% of packaging will be recyclable.
Clinique is largely known for committing to producing allergy-free products. Every Clinique product goes through a series of rigorous evaluations. This is to ensure product safety. Further, the brand uses ingredients such as aloe vera, green tea, vitamin c, and hyaluronic acid. All these ingredients are free of parabens, phthalates, and fragrance.
The All About Clean Liquid Facial Soap is a paraben-free face wash that is suitable for all skin types. The product contains sucrose. It’s an ingredient that calms and soothes the skin. It also contains hyaluronic acid. This prevents stripping of the skin by adding a layer of moisture. This product is perfect for removing makeup as it cleanses while also hydrating the skin.
Products made by Deramlogica are FSC-certified. This means that all paper and cartons used in packaging are sustainable for forests. Further, the brand does not use any artificial colors or fragrances. They are also certified vegan by PETA (except for two products).
Dermalogica grew from the desire to provide skin therapists with quality skincare. With this, Dermalogica provides skin assessments for customers. Then, a skin therapist is assigned. This person then provides tailored skincare recommendations.
The Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel is a paraben-free face wash. It calms and soothes the skin through its inclusion of lavender, balm mint, and aloe vera. Further, it includes bark extract. This is a foaming ingredient that lathers the skin with a small amount of product.
This paraben-free face wash is also ph-balanced. This allows it to remove impurities from the skin. All without sacrificing your skin’s natural moisture balance.
Drunk Elephant commits to creating safe skincare products. But, the brand does not market itself as a sustainable company. The only sustainable claim the brand has made is its recyclable packaging.
Despite this pain point, Drunk Elephant is a popular choice for those with sensitive skin. The brand focuses on creating products that avoid what they deem the “suspicious 6”. This consists of essential oils, alcohol, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrances/dyes, and SLS.
The Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser is a gentle cleanser that includes cantaloupe fruit extract. This extract is rich in antioxidants and soothes/hydrates the skin. It also contains glycerin, which replenishes hydration levels lost during the cleansing process.
This paraben-free face wash is made with a gel base, so it is lighter than most cleansers. Due to its light, non-frothy formula, it is perfect for removing makeup, sunscreen, and oils.
First Aid Beauty focuses on creating vegan, cruelty-free products. They focus on no artificial fragrances and preservatives. It is of note that the brand does sell products in China, where animal testing is mandatory. First Aid Beauty claims that these products are domestically manufactured. Therefore animal testing is not required.
First Aid Beauty is formulated for sensitive skin. The brand focuses on ph levels to maintain moisture retention and fight redness.
The Pure Skin Face Cleanser is one of the brand’s most sought-after items. This paraben-free face wash is popular amongst those who struggle with rosacea. It is made with ingredients such as aloe and allantoin that calm, soothes, and nourish the skin.
This paraben-free face wash is made from a unique whipped texture formula. It’s perfect for dry skin and cleanses the face without stripping.
Glossiers’ sustainable initiatives include the option to receive orders in Limited Packaging. They also use 100% recyclable shipping boxes.
Glossier commits to creating beauty products that reflect consumers’ everyday needs. They focus on strong communication with their community. They consistently ask for feedback to improve their product quality and presentation.
The Milky Jelly Cleanser is amongst the brand’s top-selling items. This paraben-free face wash is a lightweight, gentle cleanser. It’s made for removing makeup with only one pump. A quarter of the H20 content in this product is replaced with rose water. This soothes the skin and adds a calming scent. Further, it includes Vitamin B5. This is a nutrient found in many plants, It acts as a natural moisturizer for the skin.
The most interesting aspect of this cleanser is the fact that it is made with Poloxamer. This is instead of traditional soap like other face washes. It is the same mild cleansing agent found in contact lens solution. This means it is safe for the eyes, does not sting, and cleanses without overdrying the skin.
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The INKEY List is a carbon-neutral brand. This means they offset their carbon emissions annually. They have also begun to incorporate recycled materials for their product packaging.
The INKEY List is a play on the term “international nomenclature of cosmetic ingredients”. This refers to the long list of ingredient names you find on most product packaging. The brand’s entire goal is to create skincare with as few ingredients as possible. It also aims to offer products at an affordable price point (products range from $10-$20).
The Salicylic Acid Cleanser fights acne, through the presence of salicylic acid. This is a gentle exfoliant that unclogs pores. This, coupled with Zinc Compound, helps to reduce blackheads and breakouts. It also promotes an even-toned complexion.
It is tricky to find an exfoliating face wash that is not made with harsh ingredients. Thus, the Salicylic Acid Cleanser is a great option for sensitive skin.
Kiehl’s is largely committed to sustainability. 98% of the brand’s formulas are made with at least three renewable ingredients. Over 80% of Kiehl’s packages are made with recycled materials. The brand allows consumers to bring empty Kiehl’s products to the store. Then, they earn rewards for every item recycled. This can go towards rewards such as travel size packs and reusable totes.
Kiehl’s focuses on creating products inspired by nature. Their scientifically proven products improve overall complexion. The brand’s simple ingredient lists and packaging give it a humble edge over its competitors.
The Ultra Facial Cleanser is a frothy, foamy cleanser. It removes impurities and prevents breakouts. This paraben-free face wash is perfect for all skin types, and it serves to brighten dull and uneven skin.
The key ingredients of this product include apricot kernel oil. It moisturizes and softens the skin. It also contains squalane, which allows the skin to absorb moisture.
La Roche-Posay follows the same sustainable guidelines as other L’Oreal brands. The brand recently launched the first cosmetic tubes incorporating a part of cardboard. Though not recyclable, this change decreased the use of plastic content. It also helped decrease the brand’s carbon footprint. These tubes are also product safe for marine ecosystems.
La Roche-Posay is a dermatologist-backed brand. They have strict safety guidelines for all their products. The brand is best known for its use of thermal water. Thermal water is naturally rich in minerals. It has scientifically demonstrated soothing and antioxidant properties.
The Hydrating Gentle Face Cleanser is an oil-free cleanser. It has a milky texture that leaves the skin feeling fresh and light. This paraben-free face wash includes naturally antioxidant thermal spring water. This helps soothe the skin. It also contains glycerin, which hydrates the skin.
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Murad is a skincare brand committed to scientifically-backed wellness. Murad creates products with powerful ingredients to support the skin. They help with any environmental damage and encourage healthy cell turnover.
Murad’s product cartons are made from FSC-certified material and are printed with vegetable-based ink. Additionally, the brand is continuing to replace virgin plastic with post-consumer recycled packaging. It has a goal to be 100% recyclable by 2030.
The Clarifying Cleanser is one of the brand’s most sought-after products. Especially for those with acne-prone skin. This paraben-free face wash includes two types of salicylic acid. One to clear existing blemishes and one to prevent future breakouts. It also contains green tea extract to help soothe the skin. This product is a clarifying cleanser. This means it eliminates excess oil, and prevents breakouts. It also clears existing breakouts and overall complexion. It great for those who are seeking a multi-functional paraben-free face wash.
Note from Hailey: This is my favorite paraben-free face wash! It helped rid my skin of any acne! Check out my in-depth review of Murad’s Clarifying Cleanser review here.
The Ordinary claims that they are not yet a sustainable beauty company. However, they have moved towards various sustainability initiatives. This includes transitioning to carbon-neutral cardstock, reducing their operational impact at their warehouse. They also offer an in-store recycling program.
The Ordinary provides skincare products made with simple, ordinary ingredients. They strive to communicate their product development in a minimalistic and transparent format. With this, the brand boasts low prices with most products ranging from $8-$15.
The Squalane Cleanser is perfect for double cleansing. This gentle paraben-free face wash is suitable for all skin types. Through its moisture-bearing ingredients, it removes makeup and moisturizes the skin simultaneously. Its star ingredient, squalane, reduces the appearance of pores and dark spots.
Origins have taken on multiple sustainable actions. This includes converting to 100% renewable energy in primary facilities. Further, the brand offsets the carbon emissions from shipping for every US order. They also use FSC-certified recycled paper for packaging.
Dedicated to consciously formulated ingredients, Origins offers some of the best paraben-free face wash. Its mission is to create truly clean products. Specifically formulated without parabens, SLS, and mineral oils. They also avoid animal ingredients (except for cruelty-free honey and beeswax).
The Checks & Balances Frothy Face Wash contains kelp extract, wheat protein, and tourmaline. These are all ingredients that serve to detoxify and brighten the skin. It also soothes and cools the skin with mint essential oil. This paraben-free face wash works for all skin types. It’s especially good for dry skin. This is due to its frothy and foamy texture adding an extra layer of moisture to the skin barrier.
Tula commits to sustainability through various avenues. The brand has recently launched a recycling program! It’s where customers can ship their empty jars and bottles to Tula directly. Tula’s FSC-certified product cartons allow for sustainable packaging. The brand gives shoppers the option to choose “carbon neutral shipping” at checkout. This is to offset the environmental impact of their delivery.
Founded by a gastroenterologist, Tula utilizes probiotic extracts and superfoods. This helps improve skin balance and calm skin irritation. It also nourishes skin to improve hydration.
The Cult Classic Purifying Face Cleanser is a gel-based cleanser. It cleans the skin without over-drying. It is made with prebiotics, probiotics, and turmeric. This leaves the skin purified and balanced. This paraben-free face wash works on all skin types. But, it’s especially good for dry skin, as it focuses on hydration.
Youth To The People is deeply committed to sustainability. The brand only uses glass for all bottles and jars. They provide refills for purchase to reduce waste even further. In terms of packaging, the brand uses FSC-certified recyclable paper. They also partner with an FSC-certified printing press to create product labels.
Youth To The People commits to creating products from the earth’s finest ingredients. The brand specializes in superfood and mineral-backed ingredients. This has a positive impact on both the planet and the skin.
The Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser is the perfect embodiment of the brand. This paraben-free face wash is powered by a number of ingredients. This includes kale, spinach, green tea, and vitamins. This superfood blend serves to both clear pores as well as moisturize and nourish the skin. Further, the lightweight gel texture of this cleanser makes it great for double-cleansing.
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I don’t know about you, but given the option between a paraben face cleanser and a moisture-loving, nourishing, and purifying paraben-free face wash, I would choose the latter. The brands mentioned above prove that you don’t have to spend extensive time or money to find natural and sustainable skincare. To the cosmetics aisle we go!