CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser Review

Don't expect this cleanser to fully remove makeup or sunscreen—but it is gentle, non-irritating, and one of my favorites.

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is a gentle cleanser that reminds me of Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Gentle Skin Cleanser, another favorite of mine. It doesn’t lather, and it contains many of the same ingredients as CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion. It also feels quite similar to that lotion in texture, except a little runnier. In this post, I’ll share my thoughts on why I like this cleanser, what not to expect from this cleanser, and we’ll take a look at how much its ingredient list actually overlaps with CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion’s.

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser Review

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser ingredients

purified water, glycerin, behentrimonium methosulfate, cetearyl alcohol, ceramide 3, ceramide 6-ii, ceramide 1, hyaluronic acid, cholesterol, polyoxyl 40 stearate, glyceryl monostearate, stearyl alcohol, polysorbate 20, potassium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, sodium lauroyl lactylate, cetyl alcohol, disodium edta, phytosphingosine, methylparaben, propylparaben, carbomer, xanthan gum

Many of the ingredients in CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser actually sound hydrating enough to actually belong in a moisturizer: ceramides, hyaluronic acid, phytosphingosine, cholesterol, glycerin. It sounds a little counterintuitive to include these high-quality ingredients in a product that you’re going to rinse off. But at least you know that any remaining residue is likely to be gentler and less irritating than a foaming cleanser.

I also like that it contains parabens, since I personally don’t have anything against parabens, and I’d rather use a cleanser that includes effective preservatives, especially because I like to store it in the shower (probably a favorable breeding ground for mold and bacteria). I saw this Reddit thread about finding a gargantuan blob of mold in a cleanser, and haven’t been able to sleep since. I think effective preservatives are a great thing, so we should use them, not fear them. But YMMV, that’s just my personal opinion.

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser vs. CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion ingredients

Let’s compare this hydrating cleanser to the ingredient list for CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion: purified water, glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, behentrimonium methosulfate and cetearyl alcohol, ceteareth-20 and cetearyl alcohol, ceramide 3, ceramide 6-ii, ceramide 1, hyaluronic acid, cholesterol, dimethicone, polysorbate 20, polyglyceryl-3 diisostearate, potassium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, sodium lauroyl lactylate, cetyl alcohol, disodium edta, phytosphingosine, methylparaben, propylparaben, carbomer, xanthan gum

Indeed, these two lists look quite similar. Both products contain glycerin, behentrimonium methosulfate, cetearyl alcohol, ceramides, hyluronic acid, cholesterol, polysorbate 20, potassium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, cetyl alcohol, disodium edta, phytosphingosine, methylparaben, propylparaben, carbomer, and xanthan gum.

There are only three ingredients in the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser that aren’t in the moisturizing lotion:

According to my ingredient database, here are the products reviewed on My Dad the Chemist that also contain stearyl alcohol:

  • CVS Moisturizing Cream
  • Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream
  • Kirkland Signature Moisture Conditioner
  • Olay Regenerist Whip Facial Moisturizer SPF 25
  • Olay Complete All-Day Moisturizer
  • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

I haven’t reviewed any products that contain either polyoxyl 40 stearate or glyceryl monostearate.

And only a handful of ingredients in CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion aren’t in the hydrating cleanser:

  • caprylic/capric triglyceride
  • ceteareth-20 and cetearyl alcohol
  • dimethicone
  • polyglyceryl-3 diisostearate

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser review

I like this cleanser quite a bit. I don’t think it’s noticeably different than the Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Gentle Skin Cleanser, and despite its moisturizing ingredients, I don’t know if it actually lends any noticeable moisturizing benefits for your skin. This cleanser feels pretty gentle, and doesn’t contain any fragrances. However, it does contain fatty alcohols, specifically stearyl alcohol and cetearyl alcohol, so it may aggravate certain skin types. This product is accepted by the National Eczema Association, but that website shows a different ingredient list. It looks pretty much the same, except the version on the National Eczema Association website has been sorted in alphabetical order, and replaces the parabens with phenoxyethanol, another type of preservative.

cerave hydrating facial cleanser review

CeraVe’s website claims that this cleanser is strong enough to remove oils and makeup. But in my experience, it isn’t very effective at removing Australian Gold Tinted Face Sunscreen. I have to use it as a second step after an oil cleanser, or after using a makeup-removing towelette. So if you’re looking for an all-in-one cleanser that can remove makeup and/or sunscreen, look elsewhere, because this hydrating cleanser isn’t going to fit the bill.

I like that this cleanser is so gentle that I feel like I’m rubbing lotion on my face, almost like a pre-moisturizing step before I actually moisturize. Perhaps it’s similar to those wet skin moisturizers I’ve seen on the market. To me, it works well as a first step in a series of skincare products that help moisturize and pamper my skin.

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