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What’s the Best Face Cleanser for Black Skin?

Written by Elizabeth Kessler • Updated on: 11/02/23

African-American skin is gorgeous. It’s dark and rich because of its ebony color, which many women worldwide have a beautifully gleaming pride for.

Building the best skincare routine to maintain the glow and even complexion in your brown skin starts with finding the best face wash & cleanser for African American skin to address different skin problems.

To do that, you have to be in the know regarding hydrating oils to plump up dry skin and botanical ingredients to brighten up acne scars.

It can be quite overwhelming to purchase a good face cleanser for black skin, so I’ve rounded up some of the best ones you can find in the market today. With any of these rich, purifying face washes, your black skin will glow radiantly and feel oh-so-fresh.

What's the Best Face Cleanser for Black Skin

What Should African Americans Wash Their Face With?

1. SheaMoisture Facial Wash and Scrub

While SheaMoisture is more popular for African-American hair products, it also boasts of this clarifying face cleanser to balance and manage oily, acne-prone skin.

The cleanser thoroughly refreshes the skin, eliminating impurities and grime sitting on your face. It also has fine grains to exfoliate the skin, getting rid of dead skin cells that can make your complexion look dull.

African black soap and tamarind extract work to brighten up the complexion, helping healthy, renewed cells to resurface to make your skin glow. It also has tea tree oil to absorb excess sebum production and mattify oily skin.

That said, the soap also replenishes healthy moisture into your skin. It’s formulated with shea butter, aloe, and oat to add some hydration and plumpness.

If you have sensitive skin, fear not. This cleanser doesn’t have any of those wildly irritating ingredients, such as phthalates, sulfates, mineral oil, and parabens.


  • Cleanses the skin of impurities and exfoliates to slough off dead skin cells
  • African black soap and tamarind extract for a brighter complexion
  • Features tea tree oil to mattify and purify oily skin
  • Nourishes the skin with shea butter, aloe, and oat
  • Doesn’t contain harsh chemicals like parabens, phthalates, and sulfates


  • The texture is quite runny, thus tricky to use for a vigorous scrub

This SheaMoisture cleanser is a superb exfoliating face wash for black skin. It comes highly recommended for oily skin types that need to manage sebum production without stripping the skin of healthy moisture.

2. O Naturals African Black Soap

This African black soap is formulated with natural botanical ingredients, the way traditional black soap is made. It has organic shea butter, plantain, and other natural components to make it highly effective.

This soap cleanses the pores deeply. It purifies the skin and treats pesky pimples, even cystic acne that can be painful on the skin. It also improves the skin texture to ensure there are no leftover bumps and marks from past pimples.

Speaking of painfulness, this soap has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe the skin. It heals irritation and redness while combating avid dryness too. That makes it the perfect soap for black women with sensitive skin types. It’s also a top choice for those with eczema, rashes, and other unique skin problems.

This soap is triple-milled, so you can trust the soap is high quality and can last longer than other cheap soaps.


  • Made with natural ingredients, like organic shea butter and plantain
  • Cleanses deep in every pore to treat pimples, even severe cystic acne
  • Improves the overall texture of your skin
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe and heal irritation
  • Perfect for sensitive skin with eczema and other skin problems
  • Triple-milled soap for the highest quality and longevity


  • Can leave black stains on white towels and light-colored fabrics

African black soap has always been a huge part of the African American skin care regimen, and for a good reason. O Naturals’ dark soap is fantastic at soothing irritated skin while treating complicated skin problems like cystic acne.

3. Alaffia Authentic African Black Soap

African black soap also comes in a liquid form, if that’s what you prefer. This one by Alaffia is unique because it’s not just a face cleanser. It’s also an all-in-one product for shampoo, body wash, and shaving needs! You can use it for practically anything in your regimen, from head to toe.

Since the formula is unrefined and unscented, you can trust that you’re only getting the natural ingredients that are good for your skin.

The cleanser is infused with organic shea butter from fair-trade communities. This rich shea butter nourishes and moisturizes the skin, which is much-needed if you have dehydrated skin.

That said, this cleanser is perfect for any skin type. It’s geared towards sensitive skin since it’s formulated without potentially irritating ingredients. It doesn’t have harsh sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil and is formulated without unnecessary irritants like artificial coloring or synthetic fragrance.


  • An all-in-one product: a face cleanser, shampoo, and body soap
  • Unrefined and fragrance-free, proof of only natural African black soap
  • Shea butter nourishes and moisturizes dehydrated skin
  • Suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive and dry skin
  • Formulated without sulfates, parabens, silicones, fragrance, and more


  • Doesn’t create that rich, bubbly lather other liquid soaps do

Whether you’re on the hunt for a natural face cleanser for black skin or a gentle shampoo and body soap in one product, you’ll love this African black soap by Alaffia. As it’s super nourishing and gentle on the skin, it’s sure to be loved by any skin type.

4. SheaMoisture Facial Wash and Scrub

Who says the best facial cleanser for African American skin should exclusively be for women? Black men need some skin-loving too! This SheaMoisture cleanser is designed just for male African Americans who need smoother, softer skin after suffering from razor bumps and roughness.

This cleanser is made with African black soap to soothe skin irritation and redness. It also has rich and creamy shea butter to moisturize the skin intensely. This softens and smoothens the skin, preventing painful razor burn as you shave on rough skin.

The formula features jojoba beads and kaolin clay to scrub and exfoliate the skin. These slough off dead skin cells and any other grime, dirt, and oil sitting on your face and making it look and feel dull. This helps dissolve excess sebum in the pores, unclogging them to eliminate the risk of acne.

The cleanser leaves your skin feeling and smelling fresh, which is sure to add a boost of confidence to any man.


  • African black soap helps soothe irritation from razor bumps
  • Shea butter moisturizes and softens the skin to prevent razor burn
  • Jojoba beads and kaolin clay exfoliate the skin for a deeper cleanse
  • Dissolves excess sebum stuck in the pores to unclog them, preventing acne
  • Smells fresh and clean to give you added confidence


  • Consistency can become runnier when exposed to higher temperatures

Cop this African American facial cleanser for your boyfriend, dad, or brother today! It leaves their black skin soft and silky while still smelling fresh and masculine. It’s a confidence booster like no other.

5. Hera Nature African Black Soap

This African black soap by Hera Nature is imported from Ghana, where Africans in fair trade communities farm and work hard to produce these soaps. So in buying this face cleanser, you can be sure your money is going to a fantastic cause.

The soap is made of many nourishing ingredients, such as unrefined shea butter, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, cocoa pods, and more. These provide intense moisture, so it’s excellent for dry skin that needs more hydration.

The cleanser is also infused with plantain skin rich in antioxidants to protect your skin from free radical damage. It also has some vitamin C, known to help brighten acne scars and dark spots.

This cleanser has many anti-aging properties, so it’s a great option for maturing skin. It can delay the onset of skin aging. As a result, you don’t have to worry about fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging for a while longer.

The best thing about this soap is that it comes in a huge, one-pound slab that’s sure to last you many months without repurchasing.


  • Imported from fair trade communities in Ghana
  • Unrefined shea butter, coconut oil & palm kernel oil for intense moisture
  • Infused with plantain skin, rich in antioxidants and vitamin C
  • Has anti-aging properties that can delay the onset of wrinkles and sagging
  • Comes in a huge one-pound block of soap to last you months


  • Cutting the soap into many tiny pieces can be challenging

This authentic soap is the best face wash for black women who want a lifetime supply of their favorite African black soap. While it provides a large quantity, it doesn’t skimp on quality, vitamins, and nourishment for your skin.

6. Sky Organics Liquid African Black Soap

Sky Organics’ vegan African black soap formula is rich in oils and butters to provide intense moisture to your skin. It has cocoa butter, shea butter, and aloe vera to hydrate your skin and leave a healthy dew and glow to your face.

It’s also infused with plantain skin ash, which helps purify your skin and detoxify your clogged pores. This combats acne and pimples, helping your complexion become smoother.

This cleanser is also rich in vitamin E, known in the skincare world to strengthen the skin barrier and improve elasticity.

This soap can even reduce the appearance of blemishes and dark spots on the face—presumably due to pimples or rashes. This evens out your complexion, allowing your rich, dark skin to look more flawless.

It has a gentle formulation that doesn’t contain irritants like sulfates or synthetic fragrances, so it’s perfect for sensitive skin.


  • Cocoa butter, shea butter, and aloe vera provide hydration
  • Has plantain skin ash to purify and detoxify your pores
  • Rich in vitamin E for added strength and elasticity
  • Can reduce the appearance of blemishes and dark spots
  • Gentle and vegan-friendly, without the harsh irritants


  • Doesn’t foam up that easily because of its gentler formulation

When scouting for good face products for African American skin, you’d be a fool not to add this one from Sky Organics to the list. Not only does it have highly moisturizing butters for dry skin, but it also has vitamin E and antioxidants to strengthen it.

Best Face Masks for Dark Spots

7. Incredible by Nature African Black Soap

This soap by Incredible by Nature is sourced and produced in Ghana in West Africa, so you know you’re getting an authentic soap with a traditional African recipe.

It’s infused with gorgeous palm oil, coconut oil, and shea butter for the utmost moisture level for your skin. It softens and conditions your skin, making it silky to the touch.

These oils are also rich in vitamins A and E, which strengthen the skin barrier and protect it from free radical damage that can cause aging and dark spots.

The cleanser contains small particles of ash from plantain skin. These particles add a slightly grainy texture to the soap, allowing you to exfoliate and scrub away dead skin cells and dirt trapped on your skin.

The soap is great for combating the signs of skin aging, which includes fine lines, wrinkles, and stubborn age spots.


  • An authentic soap recipe made in West Africa
  • Palm oil, coconut oil, and shea butter soften and nourish the skin
  • Rich in vitamins A and E protect your skin from free radicals
  • Contains particles of plantain to scrub off dirt and dead skin cells
  • Combats skin aging, including signs of wrinkles and age spots


  • May be too strong and even cause a burning sensation for sensitive skin

This is the best face soap for black skin that is resilient and not too sensitive to potent formulas. It’s impressively rich in the vitamins and exfoliating ingredients you need for radiant, glowy, spot-free skin!

8. CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

This CeraVe non-foaming facial cleanser doesn’t have a singular magic ingredient to brighten up the skin and fight acne or dark spots. Instead, it’s a simple, skin-strengthening formula that keeps your skin healthy and hydrated to face whatever skin conditions you face.

It’s rich in hyaluronic acid, three essential ceramides, and glycerin to hydrate your skin as you wash. This hydration restores and strengthens your skin barrier, making it more resilient against skin damage and impending breakouts.

The formula is non-comedogenic. As a result, you don’t have to worry about it clogging your pores and causing pesky breakouts that litter your face with red, inflamed pimples. It’s also non-foaming, so it’s super gentle and doesn’t strip your skin of natural moisture with harsh sulfates and unnecessary suds.

This dermatologist-developed face cleanser is amazing for sensitive skin because it’s non-irritating. It has no soap, parabens, and fragrances in the formula.


  • Hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin hydrate the skin deeply
  • Restores and strengthens your skin barrier to be more resilient
  • Has a non-comedogenic formula that won’t clog your pores
  • Non-foaming for the most gentle cleanser possible
  • Perfect for sensitive skin since it is non-irritating, soap-free, fragrance-free


  • Can leave a greasy feeling on the skin when not rinsed properly

This CeraVe cleanser is a holy grail for those that need more nourishment. It’s the best facial cleanser for black skin that is dry, arid, and needs extra moisture to look healthy and glassy again.

Face Masks for Black Skin

9. Aspen Kay Naturals Organic Turmeric Soap

Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory and brightening properties that are terrific for those with acne-prone skin and scarring.

The turmeric root powder and extracts in this cleanser calm pimples and breakouts on the skin. It also helps fade dark spots left behind by your pesky blemishes, so you can restore your smooth and even skin tone.

It’s infused with shea butter, olive oil, and sunflower oil. These ingredients soften the skin and give it the utmost hydration for proper skin health. It also contains chamomile and calendula extracts to soothe redness and irritation that may come with acne issues.

This cleanser is versatile in that it can be used as a body soap and shaving lubricant as well. It’s a multi-functional product that will be super useful in the bathroom.

This environment-friendly cleanser comes in plastic-free packaging, which is made of 25% recycled materials. You’ll get an awesome soap while helping the planet!


  • Turmeric calms breakouts and fades dark spots
  • Shea butter, olive oil, and sunflower oil soften and hydrate the skin
  • Chamomile and calendula soothe redness and irritation
  • Versatile and can be used as a body and shaving soap
  • Comes in plastic-free packaging made of recycled materials


  • It can make sensitive skin types feel tingly

This turmeric bar soap is the best face wash for black skin suffering from inflamed pimples and terrible hyperpigmentation. It’s a great way to soothe your irritated skin while speeding up the fading process of the dark spots left behind.

10. TruSkin Naturals Daily Facial Cleanser

Another powerhouse ingredient for acne scars and hyperpigmentation is vitamin C. This cleanser by TruSkin gives you your daily dose of this brightening vitamin to give you the smooth complexion you strive for.

In this gel cleanser, vitamin C works with rosehip oil to brighten dark spots on your face, creating a smoother and more flawless, blemish-free complexion.

It also has some tea tree oil and aloe vera to hydrate lightly and soothe breakouts on your skin. Olive oil and borage seed oil, on the other hand, provide rich moisture to the skin, making it feel soft and plump.

This cleanser is also rich in antioxidants that prioritize collagen production. That means it does well in refining and smoothing out your skin texture. It brings back that glow in your dark skin, eliminating dullness.

As this cleanser has a vegan formula, you can use it if you’re cutting down on animal-tested products. It also doesn’t have sulfates, phthalates, and parabens, which sensitive skin types will adore.


  • Vitamin C and rosehip oil work to brighten dark spots
  • Tea tree oil and aloe vera soothe breakouts
  • Contains olive oil and borage seed oil for rich moisturizing
  • Refines your skin texture with antioxidants that smoothen the skin
  • A vegan formula that doesn’t have any sulfates, phthalates, and parabens


  • It can sting if it gets into your eyes

If hyperpigmentation is one of the issues your black skin faces often, this vitamin C gel cleanser is bound to be your new favorite. It brightens the skin, soothes acne, and makes your overall complexion even and radiant!

11. Bioré Rose Quartz Daily Face Wash

This cleanser by Bioré features the purifying properties of charcoal and radiant rose quartz to give you fresh and luminous skin without the oiliness.

Charcoal pulls out excess sebum and impurities from your skin, giving you a deep cleanse. It uses a skin purifying technology that cleans deep in the pores to prevent your chances of developing acne.

Meanwhile, rose quartz adds a glow and luminosity to your skin. You’ll look healthy and radiant without looking like a total greaseball!

It has a non-comedogenic formula; therefore, you don’t have to suffer from congested, clogged skin. That means no pesky, painful pimples!

If you enjoy cute and charming skincare products, you’ll love the pink formula this skin cleanser has. It looks exciting and girly, making it a fantastic addition to your skincare shelf.


  • Charcoal purifies oily skin for a deep cleanse that gets rid of excess oil
  • Uses a skin purifying technology to clean pores and prevent acne
  • Rose quartz adds luminosity, making the skin glowy without greasy
  • Non-comedogenic formula that doesn’t congest the skin and cause pimples
  • Cute pink design as a pop of color among skincare products


  • It can sting a bit on sensitive skin

This Bioré cleanser is perfect for an oily skin type because of charcoal and how it penetrates deep into the pore to pull out excess oil. Try this out and see how grease-free your skin can be.

12. Tree to Tub Soapberry Facial Cleanser

Uber-sensitive skin will appreciate the gentle formulation of this cleanser, as well as its natural botanicals that soothe irritation.

Soapberry, aloe vera, and chamomile are some of its star ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties to soothe breakouts and red rashes on the skin from skin problems like eczema or acne.

To add light moisture to the skin, the cleanser is infused with coconut cleansers and rich shea butter for some hydration. The cleanser maintains the skin’s natural pH level at 5.5, which helps it retain this hydration and plumpness.

Even though this cleanser doesn’t contain sulfates (as well as other irritating chemicals like parabens and unnecessary silicones), it still creates that rich, creamy lather that makes washing your face feel luxurious.

It also has a relaxing lavender scent that calms the senses as you wash your face. It’s perfect if you love floral and therapeutic fragrances.


  • Soapberry, aloe vera, and chamomile soothe breakouts and rashes
  • Coconut cleansers and shea butter add light moisture
  • Maintains the skin’s natural pH at 5.5 to help it retain plumpness
  • Creates a rich, creamy lather even if it doesn’t have harsh sulfates
  • Has a relaxing lavender scent to calm your senses


  • Might not be moisturizing enough for super dry skin types

This is a fantastic natural facial cleanser for black skin that needs to treat stubborn and inflamed pimples. It’s also super effective on sensitive skin conditions like eczema and itchy rashes.

13. Buttah by Dorian Renaud Facial Cleanser

One of the gel cleansers on our list, this cleanser by Buttah cleanses the skin of stubborn dirt and debris stuck in your skin after a long day. Instead of using harsh sulfates that strip the skin of its natural oil, it’s made with coconut-derived surfactants for a more gentle wash without much irritation.

It’s infused with lavender flower extracts that help calm and soothe breakouts and irritation on your skin, combating redness and rashes. It’s perfect for days when you have a couple of stubborn zits.

It also has citric acid, an alpha-hydroxy-acid that exfoliates the skin gently. It buffs away dead skin cells sitting on your face to make room for new, brighter, more renewed skin lying underneath.

This cleanser has a non-comedogenic formula, meaning there are no ingredients that can clog your skin and make your pores feel congested and suffocated.


  • Cleanses the skin thoroughly and lifts stubborn dirt and debris
  • Coconut-derived surfactants for a creamy lather without irritation
  • Lavender extracts calm and soothe irritated skin
  • Contains citric acid to exfoliate the skin and smooth out its texture
  • Has a non-comedogenic formula that will never clog your pores


  • Can be a bit drying for sensitive skin

This black-owned cleanser from Buttah is amazing for a simple, fuss-free, everyday facial cleanser that still has top-notch ingredients for calming and rejuvenating the skin. It’s a no-brainer for anyone who wants a no-frills cleanser without compromising on ingredient quality.

14. Natural Outcome Oily Skin Cleanser

This cleanser by Natural Outcome was designed primarily for oily skin. It works hard to wash away impurities and excess sebum clogging your pores to prevent impending breakouts.

The cleanser is infused with extracts from grapefruit, orange, and lime. These extracts have an AHA component that purifies the skin and even dry out pesky, inflamed pimples. They’re also rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and C to strengthen, brighten, and clear up the skin of blemishes.

The formula clarifies oily skin to keep greasiness at bay. This results in skin that looks more matte immediately after washing your face. It’s a great option if you need to get rid of the oily look for a few hours.

This facial cleanser is terrific to use in the morning because it has an invigorating tropical citrus scent that will refresh and wake you up as you cleanse your skin.


  • Washes away impurities and sebum in your pores that might cause acne
  • Grapefruit, orange, and lime extracts purify the skin and dry out pimples
  • Rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and C to promote clear skin
  • Clarifies your oily skin to make it look more matte
  • Has a tropical citrus scent to wake you up as you cleanse your face


  • Only controls shine for a few hours

This Natural Outcome foaming cleanser is perfect for oily skin that needs detoxifying and purifying. Because of its tropical ingredients and citrusy scent, it’s super exciting to use every day to wake you up in the morning!

What to Look for When Buying Face Cleansers for African-American Skin

Buying Face Cleansers for African-American Skin
  • Thoroughly gets rid of dirt, oil, and impurities on the skin surface
    Always go for face washes that cleanse and refresh your skin thoroughly. You have to ensure that your cleanser will work deep into your pores to pull out all the dirt and oil that can clog and congest your skin. Your goal is fresh, clean, and radiant skin.

  • Features brightening and hydrating ingredients to keep your African-American skin healthy Look for brightening ingredients that can fade dark spots and allow your brown skin to shine through. These include vitamin C, tamarind extract, salicylic acid, and more.

    You should also keep your eyes peeled for hydrating botanicals, like aloe vera and shea butter. These can replenish moisture in your skin to keep it healthy and plump-looking.

  • Formulated without harsh ingredients that can end up irritating the skin
    If you have a sensitive skin type susceptible to multiple skin issues (like acne and irritation), always make sure your cleanser is formulated gently. Avoid face washes ridden with sulfates, parabens, and unnecessary fragrances and dyes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Face Wash for African-American Skin

There are tons of face washes that can be considered the best out there for black skin. If you have combination skin, you might want to try out something both purifying and hydrating, like SheaMoisture face washes that control oil production but also moisturize the skin with shea butter.

Authentic African black soaps from brands like Hera Nature, Incredible by Nature, and Sky Organics are also some of the best traditional soaps for black skin.

If you love products on the more natural side and want to cut down on costs, you can even make a homemade face cleanser for African American skin. You can follow traditional African black soap recipes if you have shea butter and plantains lying around at home, or you can make your own cocktail of vitamins, minerals, and brightening ingredients you know your skin will respond to.

What is Good for African-American Skin

Building a skincare routine specific to African-American skin means keeping an eye out for products that will work for your deep, rich color and skin sensitivities.

What’s good for your skin will differ depending on your skin problems (not your skin tones, obviously) —hydration is good for dry skin, while detoxifying face cleansers are better for oily skin types.

The first step to being good to your skin is finding an efficient skin cleanser for black skin with super-effective ingredients.

For example, hyaluronic acid and shea butter are fabulous additions to facial cleansers for dry skin types, since it’s able to nourish your skin back to health. Meanwhile, tea tree oil and vitamin C are godsend ingredients for brightening acne scars, which many black women are susceptible to.

Another key skincare product to care for your complexion is a good face moisturizer for African American skin. This allows your skin to be plump and nourished throughout the day. It’s crucial for all skin types, from dry to oily.


As long as you incorporate the best face wash & cleanser for African American skin in your skincare routine, you’re all set to maintain your complexion’s natural glow.

Whether it’s a black-owned face wash from a small business or a mass-produced soap that’s friendly to black skin, your unique skin will thank you for giving it a cleanser that brightens, hydrates, controls sebum production, and allows it to shine with pride.

Just ensure you wash your face religiously without slacking in your daily beauty regimen, and you’ll reap the benefits of luminous skin that is brown and proud.

Best Face Washes & Cleansers for African American Skin