While face washes are made to, well, cleanse, they can sometimes wash away more than what you want them to. They can erase the hydration your skin needs along with the dirt, grime, and excess oils. And when the weather gets cold, it becomes even more crucial for those with dry skin to introduce a cleanser with the right stuff into their skin-care routines.
When picking out a face wash for dry skin, New York City-based dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali suggests seeking out formulas that, of course, contain moisture-retaining ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides, as well as chamomile and glycerin, which work to calm irritated skin. Bhanusali also suggests picking out a cleanser that scales back on the number of ingredients. He says less is more when it comes to this skin type.
Furthermore, those with dry skin should be wary of strong acids (think: alpha- hydroxy acids and beta-hydroxy acids). "They can do more harm than good," Bhanusali says.
With the help of dermatologists, we’ve curated some of the best cleansers for dry skin — the ones that stunned us with how they left even our most parched patches feeling baby-soft yet successfully swept away makeup and grime.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
This Cetaphil cleanser is beloved by both dermatologists and editors — it's practically an ishonest Best of Beauty staple at this point. "It's inexpensive, available at drugstores, and is soap-free, so it can be wiped off," Jeannette Graf, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, says of the classic cleanser. There's zero fragrance, and it's very mild, but it gets the job done.
Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser
This gel's slick texture makes rubbing it into your skin totally gratifying. Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser doesn’t foam, but it manages to sweep away makeup and dead skin, leaving it feeling super-clean.
Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser
Drunk Elephant's unscented Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser lathers into a foam to gently remove the day's grime off of your skin. Our tester, who was experiencing a mild rash on her face, found that this no-fuss formula soothed her inflamed skin.
Eve Lom Gel Balm Cleanser
This gel is a lighter version of the solid-balm form of Eve Lom Cleanser — no muslin cloth required). It smells like raw oatmeal, and its balmy texture feels nourishing as you rub it into your skin.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel
Bhanusali recommends Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel, which feels bouncy under your fingertips. It lathers, gently removing dirt and oil, and uses hyaluronic acid to keep skin hydrated long after you wash.
Curél Foaming Facial Wash
Curél Foaming Facial Wash is part of Japan’s top-selling collection for sensitive skin. It coddles and hydrates skin with its ceramide-rich formula, sweeping away excess oils, dirt, and debris.
Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser
With the Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser, multiple steps of your skin-care routine are covered. The emollient balm deeply cleanses, washing away waterproof makeup and moisturizing with its lengthy lineup of oils (like marula, baobab, and mongongo). It also comes with a vial of bamboo powder that you can mix in with the butter to create an exfoliator.
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
Like CeraVe's other products, its Hydrating Facial Cleanser is loaded with ceramides to retain skin’s moisture and keep it feeling soft. Instead of lathering, this creamy formula smears across your face and adheres to dirt and grime to sweep them right off.
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser
Use this milky gel to soothe your dry skin when it’s feeling irritated. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser contains calming cucumber extract and rosewater, as well as soy proteins to help keep skin feeling plump and resilient.
Kinship Naked Papaya Gentle Enzyme Face Cleanser
Inside a bottle made from ocean-waste plastics is an all-star formula that will cleanse and soothe dry skin. Kinship Naked Papaya Gentle Enzyme Face Cleanser contains gentle exfoliators, skin-softening oils, and hyaluronic acid to leave you with softer and more radiant complexion.
Then I Met You Soothing Tea Cleansing Gel
Then I Met You Soothing Tea Cleansing Gel looks like honey and leaves skin feeling so silky. We have its skin-softening glycerin and hyaluronic acid to thank for that, which work together to ensure skin doesn’t feel stripped post- wash.
Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser
Glow Recipe’s fruity-scented cleanser has a jelly-like texture that grips onto sweat, dirt, and makeup for a deep cleanse. It’s also loaded with antioxidant- rich blueberry extract, the gentlest alpha-hydroxy acids, and hydrating hyaluronic acid.
Renée Rouleau Moisture Protecting Cleanser
This face wash by aesthetician Renée Rouleau forms a featherweight froth that feels cooling and calming on dry, irritated skin. It makes sense, as it contains a blend of hydrating hyaluronic acid and soothing aloe vera. Our tester, who has an easily-inflamed complexion, gravitates toward it when her skin is particularly parched.
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