CeraVe Hydrating Skin Cleanser

Best facial cleanser for sensitive skin

  • Gentle, soothes sensitive skin
  • Hydrating
  • Contains several good-for-skin ingredients
  • So-so makeup removal

Bottom line

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is a gentle, moisturizing cleanser that looks and feels like a lotion (it doesn't lather). It's a gentle, soothing cleanser for all skin types except for oily, and contains many beneficial ingredients including glycerin, hyaluronic acid and ceramides. If you wear makeup, you may need to use a washcloth or sponge to get your face completely clean.


Soothes sensitive, irritated skin. If you have dry, sensitive skin or rosacea, CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is an excellent skin cleanser. Paula Begoun, skin care expert and author of "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me," praises this cleanser for its good-for-skin ingredients including glycerin, hyaluronic acid, ceramides and fatty acids -- although she notes they'd be more effective if left on the skin instead of being rinsed off. On the downside, CeraVe's hydrating cleanser isn't the best at removing makeup; using a washcloth or sponge to apply the cleanser helps.

Feel and smell

Softens skin, but doesn't lather up much. Users with dry skin praise the fragrance-free CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser for how well it cleans and refreshes without stripping their skin of moisture or leaving behind heavy residues; it looks and feels like a lotion. A few complain that it doesn't lather up much, but experts point out that the lather isn't what cleans skin; non-lathering formulas are actually best for those with sensitive skin. "It leaves my skin fresh, clean, and dewy soft. It never burns or stings and my skin is never irritated from using it. I swear by it," writes a Drugstore.com reviewer with severe skin problems.

Where To Buy
CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, 12 Ounce

 (2,328 reviews)
Buy new: $16.99 $8.59   39 New from $7.99

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Our Sources

1. PaulasChoice.com

Paula Begoun gives CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser her highest rating. She said the formula is effective and gentle. It contains several good-for-skin ingredients that are best left on the skin (rather than being rinsed off), but she says every little bit helps when dealing with dry or impaired skin.

Review: Hydrating Cleanser, Paula Begoun, April 1, 2014

2. InStyle

InStyle magazine editors pick CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser as the best cleanser for dry skin from 2010 through 2014. They say its ceramides and hydrating fatty and hyaluronic acids will leave your skin feeling hydrated and squeaky clean.

Review: Best Beauty Buys, Editors of InStyle magazine, As of May 2014

3. RealSimple.com

An unidentified panel of testers selects CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser as the best cleanser for dry skin. They say it feels like a lotion and acts like one too, leaving your skin moist and soft.

Review: The Best Facial Cleansers, Jenny Jin, Not Dated

4. MakeupAlley.com

More than 470 reviewers at MakeupAlley.com give CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser an overall rating of 3.8 lipsticks out of 5. Several say the formula is excellent for sensitive skin and has a calming effect on irritated skin. However, it doesn't remove makeup very well.

Review: CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, Contributors to MakeupAlley.com, As of May 2014

5. Drugstore.com

More than 200 Drugstore.com users give CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Most say the gentle formula leaves skin feeling soft and moisturized without being too oily. It doesn't remove makeup very well, however.

Review: CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, Normal to Dry, Contributors to Drugstore.com, As of May 2014

6. Amazon.com

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser earns a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars from more than 500 Amazon.com users. Several say they prefer it over Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, which is often recommended for those with sensitive skin. Most say the formula calms irritated skin, leaving it feeling soft.

Review: CeraVe Facial Cleanser, 12 ounce, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2014

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