cerave hydrating facial cleanser review

Do you feel like giving up on cleansing in winter? No matter what you do, your skin ALWAYS feels so tight and dry after cleansing.

Blame it on surfactants. They help oils and dirt mix with water so they can easily be rinsed off. But if your skin’s dry and sensitive, they’ll remove too much oil, damage your skin’s protective barrier, and leave your skin worse for wear.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser takes a different approach. One that makes it much gentler for all your cleansing winter needs:

What’s In CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser?


CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser uses emulsifiers like Ceteraryl Alcohol and Cetyl Alcohol that bind oil and water together. You know what that means?

They remove both water-soluble and oil-soluble grime, such as dirt and makeup. Plus, they moisturise skin to boot. Win win.

The catch? Emulsifiers are good at removing a light face of makeup but if you’re using those stubborn long-lasting foundations, they’ll struggle.

Struggling to put together a skincare routine that banish flakiness and keeps skin soft and supple? Download your FREE “Best Skincare Routine For Dry Skin” cheatsheet to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):


The cleanser has a translucent white texture that feels more like a lotion than a cleanser. 


It’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

Morning and night, it’s the first step of your skincare routine.

Performance & Personal Opinion

I use CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser only in the mornings because I swear on Clinique Take The Day Off Balm or Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser to remove my makeup anyway.

As I mentioned, if you’re wearing as much makeup as a Kardashian, you’re better off with an oil-based cleanser.

For everyone else, this cleanser is all you need. For starters, it’s super gentle: if I swipe a cotton pad imbued with toner afterwards, it comes out perfectly clean – a telltale sign the cleanser has removed everything.

Yet, my skin doesn’t feel tight or dry in the least. On the contrary, it’s – dare I say it – a little hydrated. If your skin is flaky and sensitive, this’ll be a game changer for you.

Related: My Full Review Of Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser

cerave hydrating cleanser

Who Is This For?

  • Dry skin
  • Sensitive skin

Who Is This NOT For?

  • Oily skin
  • If you wear heavy makeup, this isn’t enough for you


A white and green bottle with a pump applicator. It’s practical and HUGE. It’ll last you for ages.

Does CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Live Up To Its Claims?

A hydrating and soothing facial cleansing lotion for normal to dry skin on the face and body. True.
Specifically formulated for sensitive facial skin that is normal to dry and prone to irritation, including eczema.True.
This soap free, non-foaming lotion gently removes dirt and oil while increasing skin hydration after just one use.True.

Price & Availability

$14.99/£9.50 at Asos, Dermstore, Feel Unique, Look Fantastic, and Ulta

Do You Need It?

Yes! This is one of the best cleansers for dry and sensitive skin types. At this price, it’s a steal, too!

Dupes & Alternatives


Water, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-40 Stearate, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Glyceryl Stearate, Polysorbate 20, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, Potassium Phosphate, Disodium EDTA, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, Phytosphingosine, Cholesterol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Tocopherol, Ceramide EOP