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22 Best Face Washes & Cleansers for Dry Skin: Reviews & Buying Guide

by  Doris Harris -  Last Updated On 16th December 2020
Best Face Washes & Cleansers for Dry Skin

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After you wash your face, does the skin feel tight?

When you look in the mirror, can you see how dry it is?

If so, you need the best face wash and cleanser for dry skin.

If you’re not convinced that switching soaps will make a difference, you haven’t tried something better.

Quick Comparison

If you don’t have time to read the complete article, here are our top picks.

22 Top Face Washes & Cleansers for Dry Skin (2021 Update)

Check the reviews below to shop for the best type of cleanser for dry skin.

1. Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Daily Facial Cleanser

Neutrogena is a dermatologist-recommended brand. They developed this hydrating cleanser, which was clinically proven to be safe for sensitive skin.

This ultra-gentle face wash doesn’t have soap, parabens, perfumes, or oil in it. It won’t clog pores, either.

If you have eczema-prone skin or rosacea, you can still use this cream cleanser twice a day without aggravating the conditions.

The creamy texture makes a pleasant lather. It can dissolve makeup, but it won’t leave your skin dry or tight. We feel these are the best face washes for dry skin. This is paraben-free and includes natural oils.

2. Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser

Aveeno’s cleanser has calming feverfew that reduces redness and soothes irritated skin. It’s an ingredient that’s related to chamomile.

Use this cleansing gel twice a day as it removes dirt and makeup while leaving the skin balanced and smooth.

Plus, it’s free of artificial fragrances and soap. Unfortunately, it contains parabens.

What’s the deal with parabens? They are preservatives that are linked to endocrine disruption. But in a product like this one that’s rinsed off the skin, they may not be as high of a risk. They appear in many cosmetics and even in food. We feel these are the best face washes for dry skin.

3. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser

Here is a gentle moisturizing cleanser that checks all the boxes.

The La Roche-Posay hydrating facial cleanser is designed for sensitive faces in that it’s free of oil, fragrances, soap, and sulfates. (I checked the label and didn’t see parabens, either.)

This gentle cleanser is based on prebiotic thermal water that’s rich in minerals that repair the skin. It also has glycerin to draw in moisture and ceramides to prevent dehydration. It will also break down oils while leaving your skin barrier moisturized.

Finally, there’s niacinamide to encourage healing and reduce redness. We feel these are the best face washes for dry skin.

4. CETAPHIL Gentle Skin Cleanser

Cetaphil’s face wash is popular. This cleansing gel is fragrance-free and comes from a brand recommended by dermatologists.

Regrettably, it contains both sulfates and parabens. Sulfates are surfactants, the ingredient that makes the lather to lift away oil. If the formula has enough moisturizing ingredients, sulfates aren’t necessarily a problem.

If you’ve had luck with other products from Cetaphil, it’s worth giving this cleanser a try. We feel this is the best face wash for dry skin. This cream cleanser will ensure it leaves skin feeling silky.

5. CeraVe Hydrating Face Wash

In contrast to Cetaphil’s offering above, the CeraVe face wash doesn’t have sulfates or parabens. It’s unscented and non-comedogenic as well.

The formula of this cleansing gel refreshes dehydrated skin with hyaluronic acid and ceramides. The former is an excellent humectant that attracts water into the skin. Then, the latter repairs the skin’s barrier against moisture loss.

When you wash with a hydrating face wash, you might feel like you don’t even need a moisturizer afterward. We feel this is the best face wash for dry skin.

6. Dove Derma Series Dry Skin Relief Face Wash

Dehydrated skin can benefit from this mild cleanser. It doesn’t have drying surfactants to strip the natural oil from the skin. Instead, it replaces lipids to heal the tissue.

Try this cleansing gel if you have eczema or psoriasis. It was developed to manage these conditions. The formula refreshes dehydrated skin with hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid and ceramides.

Over time, it clears up flaky skin to leave it soft and smooth. We feel this is the best face wash for dry skin.

7. Eucerin Gentle Hydrating Foaming Cleanser

Soothe irritated, dry skin with Eucerin’s fragrance-free face wash.

This soap-free cleanser creates a mild lather to remove impurities. Then, it rinses clean so that the skin feels renewed, never sticky with residue.

Eucerin points out that it’s soap-free. What does that actually mean? The formula refreshes dehydrated skin with hyaluronic acid and ceramides. It will also break down oils while leaving your skin barrier moisturized.

Generally speaking, “soap” is an alkaline cleanser. It’s made to remove dirt and oil. But skin is naturally acidic. If you overwhelm it with an alkaline soap, it becomes dry and irritated. That’s why washing your face with bath soap is a terrible idea.

8. Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser

For the ultimate hypoallergenic face cleanser, look no further than Vanicream. People with sensitive skin types find it’s the only thing they can use.

It’s based on a handful of mild ingredients that get the job done without leaving a film or dehydrating the skin.

Compare the label to the list of what’s in similar products. We feel this is the best face wash for dry skin.

You’ll see that Vanicream doesn’t depend on artificial fragrances or masking fragrances, artificial colors, formaldehyde, formaldehyde releasers, Cocamidopropyl betaine, or gluten. This perfectly suitable for dry, sensitive skin types.

9. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Foaming Face Wash

Have you heard about micellar water? It was invented in France to counteract the drying effects of hard water.

Micelles are tiny molecules that bond with impurities. They make it easy to remove oil, dirt, and makeup without the need for scrubbing. Plus, they rinse off easily.

Garnier turned micellar water into a gel that creates a gentle cleansing foam when it contacts water. It has no fragrance and no color. There’s also no alcohol or oil. It will also break down oils while leaving your skin barrier moisturized.

This perfectly suitable for dry, sensitive skin. You can remove your makeup without stripping your skin. This is also suitable for acne-prone skin.

10. Clarisonic Gentle Radiance Foaming Milk Cleanser

Some beauty experts recommend regular exfoliation to keep dry skin in check. Removing the dead skin cells brightens the complexion and keeps it renewed.

One of the gentlest and most efficient ways to exfoliate is to use a Clarisonic brush. It doesn’t rotate but rather vibrates ultrasonically.

To get the most out of its cleansing action, you need a face wash like this product. The Gentle Radiance cleanser was created, especially for the Clarisonic brush. It is perfectly suitable for dry and irritated skin.

It’s based on soothing ingredients like green tea, licorice root, and peppermint leaf. There’s also ginkgo biloba with potent anti-aging properties. This is also suitable for acne-prone skin.

The pH-balanced face wash doesn’t contain parabens. It promises to revive dull, tired skin and leave it healthy.

This perfectly suitable for dry, sensitive skin. This is paraben-free and includes natural oils.

11. Paula’s Choice RESIST Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser

Is it possible to moisturize when you cleanse mature skin? It is if you use a face wash like this one.

The RESIST cleanser resembles a creamy lotion. It softens and relaxes dehydrated skin while removing makeup and impurities.

An independent consumer panel surveyed users about this product. Ninety-eight percent of them said it left their skin refreshed.

Moreover, it’s mild enough to use around the eyes as it won’t sting. You can remove your makeup without stripping your skin.

Just like other products from the same company, it’s fragrance-free and avoids harsh ingredients. You can also go for the Neutrogena hydro-boost cleansing gel, which is a great choice.

12. Garnier SkinActive Gentle Foaming Face Wash

Garnier offers this face wash that’s been tested by ophthalmologists and dermatologists for safety and mildness.

It’s free of alcohol, sulfates, parabens, and oil. It proves that you don’t need any of those ingredients to get your face clean.

The first few ingredients are water and glycerin, followed by coconut-based cleansers. Glycerin is a valuable humectant that draws moisture into the skin.

Meanwhile, coconut-based cleansers appear in an ever-growing number of face washes. They are replacing harsher detergents like sulfates. It is perfectly suitable for an irritated skin type.

The formula refreshes dehydrated skin with hyaluronic acid and ceramides.

13. Olay Sensitive Facial Cleanser

I was curious as to what the Hungarian Water Essence could be. It turns out to be a blend of cucumber and aloe.

What could be more soothing to dry skin?

Cleanse pollutants from your face morning and night with this calming formula.

14. Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash

I heard from several dedicated consumers of this face wash. They purchase it again and again.

They love it because it removes makeup quickly. It also keeps their skin comfortable and nourished.

It’s made for sensitive skin as it avoids fragrances and problematic ingredients. Instead, it contains anti-inflammatory bisabolol and plenty of vitamins to encourage healing.

The formula refreshes dehydrated skin with hyaluronic acid and ceramides. You can also go for the Neutrogena hydro-boost cleansing gel, which is a great choice.

15. Bioderma – Sensibio – Foaming Gel

For starters, Bioderma’s foaming gel cleanser has a skin-friendly pH level.

Then, it’s free of harsh sulfates and fragrances to protect sensitive faces.

But the label does list anything you might automatically recognize as a skin conditioner. It’s all very scientific.

For example, it washes away dirt, oil with plant-based cleansers like coco-glucoside. Then it contains a variety of emulsifiers like glyceryl oleate. These help the ingredients mix together correctly.

Finally, there’s rhamnose, a potent anti-aging ingredient that stimulates the growth of new skin cells.

The formula refreshes dehydrated skin with hyaluronic acid and ceramides.

16. Eau Thermale Avene Extremely Gentle Cleanser Lotion

Avene’s cleansing lotion starts with thermal spring water to rehydrate dry skin.

But this isn’t a typical face wash. It’s a no-rinse gel.

Put a dab on a cotton pad, then use circular motions to remove makeup and dirt.

It leaves the skin silky soft and calm.

Furthermore, the simple formula doesn’t have a fragrance or parabens. This gentle hydrating cleanser will never leave skin feeling dry or oily.

17. Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Cream Cleanser

This award-winning cleanser is clinically proven to increase moisture levels in the skin. It’s 98.9% natural and free of parabens, petrolatum, and phthalates.

It contains clary sage, a pore-refining ingredient that helps minimize blackheads. The same ingredient hydrates the skin. It also contributes to the mild fragrance. This gentle hydrating cleanser will never leave skin feeling dry or oily.

18. ELEMIS Rehydrating Rosepetal Cleanser

The Elemis cleanser comes from England. It’s perfect for sensitive, mature skin.

The feature ingredient is rose petal flower water. It refreshes and purifies the complexion.

Long-time users say that this cleanser helps them maintain a youthful glow.

What’s more, it’s based on plant extracts, not artificial ingredients. This gentle hydrating cleanser will never leave skin feeling dry or oily.

19. Bliss Makeup Melt Jelly Cleanser

The name is intriguing, isn’t it? What’s a jelly cleanser, and how does it melt makeup?

Further investigation reveals that it has a milky gel texture that refreshes the skin. Apply it to a cotton pad to remove makeup anywhere on the face.

Happily, this face cleanser won’t make your eyes sting.

Once you add lukewarm water, the cleanser rinses easily.

On the other hand, you can simply put a dab on wet skin, massage, and rinse.

This face cleanser is free of sulfates, parabens, pathology, DMDM hydantoin, petrolatum, mineral oil, and formaldehyde.

20. Mederma AG Hydrating Facial Cleanser

Mederma’s face wash contains glycolic acid. This exfoliating ingredient moisturizes while it sweeps away dead skin.

It’s a gentle treatment for acne that renews aging skin as well.

Besides acting as a cleanser, this product is also a shaving cream. I can’t help but think that it must eliminate ingrown hairs.

The downside is that the formula contains parabens. But it is fragrance-free.

21. Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil with Coconut & Argan Cleanser

If you’re familiar with the Korean beauty routine, you’ve heard about oil cleansers.

They can serve as a standalone product, or you can utilize them to remove makeup before you use a foaming face wash.

The Burt’s Bees oil cleanser is 100% natural. It combines argan and coconut oil to dissolve impurities and condition the skin.

There are other ingredients, however, so check the label if you have sensitive skin.

22. Natural Cleansing Oil by Vera Botanics

On the other hand, this cleansing oil contains only four ingredients.

It comprises olive oil, a medium-chain triglyceride, an emollient, and a touch of geranium oil.

The geranium provides a pleasant scent, and it’s good for the skin. It helps minimize signs of aging, and it treats acne.

The vegan formula dissolves makeup to leave the skin clean and smooth.

Tips for caring for dry skin on the face

Dermatologists recommend these tips to rejuvenate dry skin (and keep from making it worse).

First, use a mild cleanser, wash with lukewarm water only, and pat it dry with a soft towel.

Second, apply moisturizer within two minutes as it is designed to trap water in the skin. Don’t let that water escape!

It’s that simple.

But what qualifies as a mild face wash?

What is the best moisturizing face wash?

It’s incredible the difference you’ll see and feel when you switch to a moisturizing cleanser.

Sometimes, the improvement is noticeable after the very first use. Other times, it may take a few days to rehydrate the skin.

Moisturizing face washes contain ingredients like glycerin that attract water. They cleanse impurities, yet they quench thirsty skin, too.

The best face wash, if you have dry, sensitive skin, will avoid ingredients like artificial fragrances and sulfates. Both of those can trigger allergic reactions.

Stay away from synthetic fragrances, sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, and artificial dyes.

Some experts also warn against formaldehyde releasers and petroleum derivatives. These include ingredients with names that include “DEA” and “TEA” and mineral oil or petroleum.

Use a mild face wash instead. You don’t need harsh ingredients to get clean.


Keep your face hydrated with a moisturizing cleanser.

A facial wash formulated for dry skin will take good care of your complexion.

Not only will you feel more comfortable, but your face will look healthier.

If these reviews help you find your new favorite skin-care product, please come back and tell us about it.


1. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/dry/dermatologists-tips-relieve-dry-skin

2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324935#gentle-cleanser by Jamie Eske,

3. https://www.livescience.com/64862-what-are-parabens.html by Rachel Ross,

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