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- Best vegan face wash for dry skin: First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser
- Best foaming face wash for dry skin: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser
- Best face washes for acne-prone dry skin: Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser, Differin Daily Deep Cleanser
- Best oil-free face wash for dry skin: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser
- Best face wash for dry, sensitive skin: Clinique Liquid Facial Soap
- Best alcohol-free face wash for dry skin: Hada Labo Tokyo Gentle Hydrating Cleanser
- Best face wash for dry skin and eczema: Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Nourishing Cleanser
- Best hydrating face wash for dry skin: CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
- Best gentle face wash for dry skin: Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Daily Facial Cleanser
When you’ve got dry skin, moisturizer might be the product that you reach for the most. But face wash can be just as important in your skin care arsenal for keeping your skin looking and feeling its best.
In fact, choosing the right cleanser for your skin type might just be essential to achieving the glowing, even skin tone you’re after.
Cleansing your face gets impurities and dead cells off the surface, which can prevent acne outbreaks, inflammation, and other skin conditions.
When you have dry skin, finding a cleanser that’s gentle, won’t clog pores, and that adds moisture to your skin is crucial. We rounded up 10 of the most highly recommended and best face washes for dry skin.
The products listed below all contain ingredients that dermatologists recommend for the specific conditions that they address.
We considered price points for each product, and we also considered the product’s negative reviews and any possibly hazardous ingredients to give you a well-rounded view of what each cleanser has to offer your skin.
- $ = under $2 per ounce
- $$ = $2–$3 per ounce
- $$$ = over $3 per ounce
Best vegan face wash for dry skin
This face wash has a creamy, moisturizing consistency when it mixes with lukewarm water. The whipped texture locks in moisture on your face while it works to cleanse.
The product is free from alcohol, as the American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD) suggests cleansers should be. It’s also vegan, cruelty-free, and free from phthalates, parabens, and oxybenzone.
Reviews: Some people have reported breakouts and red bumps on the face after using this product.
Best foaming face wash for dry skin
This face wash is fragrance-free and foams up when you use it. It’s also loaded with emollient ingredients, including apricot kernel oil and squalane. This cleanser contains vitamin E, which has a number of benefits for healthy skin.
Reviews: Keep in mind that Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser is advertised as being “for all skin types,” so it’s not specially made for dry skin. It also contains alcohol, which may strip or irritate your skin.
Best face washes for acne-prone dry skin
Cult favorite beauty brand Mario Badescu infuses this cleanser with extracts of thyme, aloe, and chamomile to soothe irritated skin. It’s also powered by salicylic acid, an ingredient known to deep clean and help prevent acne breakouts.
Reviews: This cleanser does contain alcohol, which the AAD advises against. It’s also got some paraben ingredients and lists “parfum” on its label, which could mean anything. Do a test run with this cleanser before you throw away the packaging.
It works well for lots of happy customers, but some ingredients might irritate your skin.
The active ingredient in this formula is benzoyl peroxide, a powerful anti-acne agent. Many forms of benzoyl peroxide are only available with a prescription, but this over-the-counter (OTC) cleanser has just enough (5 percent) to work to fight acne.
Reviews: Some people with acne swear by this cleanser because it gets rid of acne-causing bacteria and clears pores. But some users have reported redness and dry patches after use.
If you have skin that’s both dry and acne-prone, use this cleanser with caution. Start by cleansing your face with it once a day before bedtime, and work up to using it twice a day if your skin can handle it.
Best oil-free face wash for dry skin
This oil-free, paraben-free formula has been specifically tested on sensitive skin. Reviewers love how quickly it dissolves makeup, and how easy it is to rinse off of your face. It’s also got tocopherol, a naturally occurring type of vitamin E, which helps heal irritated skin.
Reviews: This product doesn’t foam or change textures when you apply it, which some users don’t like. It also has sodium chloride, an ingredient that strips moisture and causes redness for some skin types.
Best face wash for dry, sensitive skin
Clinique’s cleansing formula for sensitive skin is deceptively simple. Hydrating olive oil, soothing cucumber, and cleansing sunflower ingredients refresh your skin, while caffeine and vitamin E give your skin that “awake” feeling post-cleanse. It’s also free of parabens.
Reviews: Clinique Liquid Facial Soap does give off a distinct, slightly medical smell. If you’re looking for a cleanser that will lather up or create foam on your face, you might be disappointed in this formula.
In fact, some users described the greasy feeling of this product like “washing your face with lotion.”
Best alcohol-free face wash for dry skin
This product line is extremely popular in Japan, and for good reason. Hada Labo Tokyo Gentle Hydrating Cleanser is alcohol-free and paraben-free, so it’s safe to use.
It’s also packed with hyaluronic acid that seals moisture into your skin, and it uses derivatives of coconut oil for an extra moisture-sealing barrier.
Reviews: Users love that one bottle lasts a long time, as you only need a pea-sized amount to get a good clean.
Also, while some people aren’t affected by using coconut oil on their face, others find that it clogs their pores. If you’ve noticed that coconut oil clogs your pores in the past, you might not like this product.
Best face wash for dry skin and eczema
This extremely affordable pick lathers up your skin with vitamin E and blackberry extracts. These ingredients may soothe inflammation that aggravates eczema symptoms. It also contains vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid, which may
Reviews: Some people report a strong perfume smell and skin irritation after using this product.
Best hydrating face wash for dry skin
CeraVe often boasts that their formulas are developed with the help of dermatologists, making their products exceptionally gentle.
This cleanser is also packed with hyaluronic acid to seal moisture into your skin. It’s fragrance-free and noncomedogenic, so it won’t clog pores.
Reviews: This formula does contain alcohols and parabens. Some reviewers find the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser to be too creamy, leaving their skin feeling oily or cakey even after rinsing.
Best gentle face wash for dry skin
This drugstore favorite gets the green light from the National Eczema Association for being super gentle on your skin. This cleanser simply does what it’s supposed to: cleanses skin gently, without drying out skin.
It’s easy to get off and doesn’t have any essential oils that can be a trigger for some skin types.
Reviews: This really is a no-frills product. There isn’t much by way of fragrance, and there’s no lather when you apply it.
With so many cleansing products on the market, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Here’s how to narrow down what cleanser to select:
- Check the ingredients. Is it important to you that a product is cruelty-free or vegan? Are you concerned about ingredients like parabens or phthalates? Answering these questions will narrow your options considerably.
- Check that the product treats your condition. Are you concerned about skin that’s overly dry? Are you looking to prevent acne outbreaks? Most products excel in one or two areas, so be realistic about your expectations and find a product marketed toward your number one skin issue.
- Avoid harsh additives. Alcohols, fragrances, dyes, and other ingredients can be harmful to dry skin and cause further dryness. Look for products that are creamy and have hydrating ingredients like aloe and hyaluronic acid.
Using a gentle cleanser on your face is a good idea for most people. But there are some things you should know when you use a facial cleanser:
- If you’re using a prescription or OTC anti-acne product, you might not want to use an acne-fighting cleanser, too. Overuse of acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can dry out your skin and hurt you in the long run.
- If you’re using a cleanser that contains retinols (vitamin A), be extra careful to apply sunscreen whenever you go outside. Retinols can make your skin more prone to sun damage.
- As we mentioned above, the AAD suggests that cleansing products do not contain alcohol. However, many of them do, even the cleansers made specifically for dry skin. Read ingredient labels carefully and look out for alcohol and other potential irritants.
Figuring out a cleanser that works for you can take your beauty routine to the next level.
Even if you have dry, sensitive skin, or skin that’s prone to acne breakouts, chances are there’s a cleanser for you.
Be patient, as you might need to do some trial and error to find your perfect match.
If you’re concerned with the way that your skin looks or if you have visibly dry skin, speak with a dermatologist.