The Best Cleansers for Dry Skin
Boosting your complexion's hydration levels starts with a gentle, nourishing face wash.
The skincare industry has a way with marketing, targeting each and every product launch to a specific type of skin—including dry, oily, sensitive, and combination. But this isn't just a ploy to sell products: There's something to be said about tailoring your products to suit your skin's specific needs.
We often think of serums, moisturizers, and masks as the workhorse products of our skincare regimen, but given that cleansers are the first step in said routine, it's important to recognize their role, too. With that in mind, let's take a look at the best cleansers for dry skin. Having a dehydrated, flake-prone complexion means your moisture barrier is weak—in turn, you'll find that retaining hydration is anything but easy. Fortunately, there are many cleansers on the market designed to specifically replenish that moisture loss. The trick is to look for formulas made primarily with hydrating ingredients (like hyaluronic acid, jojoba seed oil, and ceramides), as well as gentle exfoliating ingredients that are able to slough away any dead skin cells to clear the path so moisture can reach those dehydrated cells. Calming ingredients, like rose extract, are just as critical; they ward off any irritation, which can result from the dryness.
Here's the thing: There are a ton of options out there. To save you from trial and error—and to direct you straight towards the products you need to know about right now—we culled several of our favorite hydrating facial cleansers for dry skin. Whether you prefer a gel, oil, or cream base, with added scent, natural aromas, or no fragrance at all, you're sure to find a worthy match, here.
Made with hyaluronic acid, this gentle facial cleanser is designed to deeply hydrate skin while rinsing away oil, dirt, and other impurities in the process. And since it's made with honey (a natural humectant), it will seal in moisture for hours.
Shop Now: Farmacy Clean Bee Ultra Gentle Facial Cleanser, $28, amazon.com.
Get spa-quality results from the comfort of your own bathroom with this rich, balmy wash. It's made with linoleic acid, sunflower seed oil, papaya seed oil, grape seed oil, and jojoba seed oil, all of which work together to strengthen the moisture barrier and prevent skin from drying out.
Shop Now: HoliFrog Kissimmee Vitamin F Therapy Balmy Wash, $42, dermstore.com.
Soap and water aren't the only pathway to clean, smooth skin. Case in point: Drunk Elephant's new micellar water. The creamy liquid formula is made with a blend of ceramides, wild-melon seed oil, and fatty micelles to lift dirt and impurities up and away from the skin, leaving it hydrated and crystal clear. Plus, since it doesn't require rinsing, it's especially great for on-the-go cleansing.
Shop Now: Drunk Elephant E-Rase Milki Micellar Water, $28, sephora.com.
Youth To The People
Thanks to vitamin B5, this best-selling cleanser works wonders to prevent moisture loss and keep skin hydrated long after washing.
Shop Now: Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser, $36, nordstrom.com.
Looking for a fragrance-free option that gets the job done? This tried-and-true cleanser from Neutrogena is no-frills; its formula is as gentle as it gets, which means it's perfect for those who suffer from dry skin and other conditions, like inflammatory acne and rosacea.
Shop Now: Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Daily Cleanser, $8.09, amazon.com.
Not only will this top-selling clean cleanser rinse away the day's dirt and impurities, it will also shrink the appearance of pores, heal and prevent breakouts, and make skin look more radiant as a whole.
Shop Now: Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Creamy Bubbling Cleanser with Fruit Enzymes & AHAs, $36, credobeauty.com.
A cleanser that caters to dry skin while removing every trace of makeup and dirt? Sign us up. This one is made with moisturizing tremella mushroom and makeup-melting squalane, making it a must for anyone who prefers a one-step approach to cleansing and makeup removal.
Shop Now: Herbivore Pink Cloud Rosewater + Tremella Creamy Jelly Cleanser, $24, sephora.com.
Profoundly gentle, this enzyme-packed cleansing oil is as beneficial for your skin as it is beautifully packaged. Infused with papaya, pineapple, grapefruit, and pumpkin enzymes, the rich oil hydrates, softens, and brightens skin after each use.
Shop Now: Mara Chia + Moringa Algae Enzyme Cleansing Oil, $58, credobeauty.com.
This creamy, lightweight cleanser is made with milk oil and white leaf tea water to gently remove makeup and infuse skin with moisture.
Shop Now: Laneige Cream Skin Milk Oil Cleanser, $34, sephora.com.
Here's another scent-free cleanser that you'll turn to each and every day. It won't strip skin (it's gentle enough for the most sensitive of skin types, including post-procedural complexions!), so feel free to make it the foundation of your routine.
Shop Now: Neocutis Neo Cleanse Gentle Skin Cleanser, $38, dermstore.com.
Part of why dry skin becomes so dehydrated is because dead skin cells block moisture's path from entering the dermis. For that reason, this gentle exfoliating cleanser comes in handy. It's made with Japanese luffa fruit to hydrate and exfoliate, as well as Japanese wild rose, which soothes skin and shrinks the appearance of pores.
Shop Now: Tatcha The Deep Cleanse Exfoliating Cleanser, $38, sephora.com.
Dr. Barbara Sturm
This smoothing, milky wash, designed specifically for dehydrated complexions, removes impurities and caters to the skin's own moisture replenishment process.
Shop Now: Biologique Recherche Lait E.V. Cleansing Milk, price upon request, shoprescuespa.com.
You wouldn't necessarily connote gel cleansers with dry skin, but this one is made with exfoliating PHA and hydrating orange, lemon, rosehip, goji berry, and seabuckthorn extracts, making it a winning addition to any dehydrated skin routine.
Shop Now: OLEHENRIKSEN Truth Juice Daily Cleanser, $28, olehenriksen.com.
Eleven replenishing amino acids, restorative Maris Sal, and hydrating vitamin E work together in this deliciously-scented cleanser. Best of all, the product is clean and green, ensuring it's a wholesome choice to your natural dry skin routine.
Shop Now: Summer Fridays Super Amino Gel Cleanser, $38, summerfridays.com.