REVIEW: CeraVe Hydrating Cleansers

by - May 17, 2018

Whenever I get the chance to try out new cleansers, I'm always excited about it. More than anything else - even all of the actives I use in my skin care routine - I find that maintaining a good cleansing routine that cleans the skin without stripping it or damaging my moisture barrier has made the biggest difference in the overall appearance and health of my skin. Recently, I got the chance to try out three hydrating cleansers from CeraVe, and I was 100% all in.

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I've admittedly gotten pretty picky about what I use to cleanse my skin, specifically because I've become really aware of the way different types of cleansers ultimately effect my skin. The promise of these cleansers being hydrating was a huge selling point for me, because I've learned that nothing good comes from that dry, tight feeling that I - and many other people - always associated with my skin being clean. One of the things that has really helped to balance my skin and keep it looking and feeling healthy has been ditching those very stripping cleansers and reaching for more hydrating options instead. CeraVe's promise of gentle, yet effective cleansers formulated with hyaluronic acid and ceramides to restore and replenish my skin's moisture barrier definitely had me intrigued, particularly because these products are all really affordable and widely available. Seemed to be ticking all of the boxes for me.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser*
I'm just going to jump right to it - this is a great cleanser! I don't personally think this works very well as a makeup removing cleanser, though if you do prefer a one step cleansing routine I would recommend using this with a washcloth for the best results. For me, this is definitely a morning or second evening cleanser that I use to actually clean my skin. The texture is light and sort of lotiony and it works into the skin really smoothly and rinses cleanly both with warm water or with a washcloth - the latter being my personal preference with whatever cleanser I'm using. Often with cleansers labelled as hydrating, I find that I avoid the dry, tight feeling but don't really feel any added hydration to my skin, but with this cleanser my skin actually feels really healthy and bouncy once I've rinsed it and I really feel like there is added moisture.

I highly, highly recommend this cleanser for anyone looking for something affordable that really balances cleaning the skin while also protecting the moisture barrier and adding hydration to the skin. For people with really dry or sensitive skin, I think this could actually be just what you've been looking for  because it is so gentle and soothing, but also really does do what it claims. Two very, very enthusiastic thumbs up to this cleanser.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar*
I have to admit, this was never going to be my personal favorite because I just don't like using a bar to wash my face and would absolutely always rather reach for something in a pump or squeeze tube. Still, I wanted to test it out and let you guys know what I think. Like the previous hydrating cleanser, this bar is definitely best used as a morning or second evening cleanse for me and my preference is to remove it with a washcloth. The way I apply it is to wet my hands and sort of roll the bar between them to work up a lather - yes, this cleanser does lather - and then work what's on my hands into my face. I'm not really into putting a bar of soap directly on my face and I find that this technique works really well. Once rinsed, I don't feel like this cleanser leaves my skin feeling quite as hydrated as the last one and I do feel a little bit of tightness on the skin after. I do want to be clear though, I don't find this to be drying or stripping, just that it doesn't have that same hydration of the CeraVe Hydrating Cleaser*.

While testing this, I started thinking about who I personally think this would work best for and I definitely have some opinions. For someone who has always washed their face with soap, this could be a great transition to something that's going to be less stripping on the skin, and I would definitely say the bar format will make that transition easier. I also think it's a fantastic option for travel if you, like me, prefer to carry on all of your beauty products and you're trying to limit your liquids. I would personally say that this will probably work best for normal skin, but I would also say that if you're combination and you want a hydrating cleanser this could be a great option. Overall, I'm not as in love with this one as the first, but I do think it's a good product that has its place and will have its fans.

CeraVe Hydrating Micellar Water*
I was very, very excited to see that CeraVe had released a micellar water and I've actually found myself reaching for this a lot. While this does say that it has a no rinse formula, I personally never really recommend using a micellar water as your only cleanse because I know that I'm not the only one who has had small breakouts from doing it that way. For me, these formulas are best used as a makeup remover as a part of your nighttime routine or earlier in the day if you just want your makeup off but don't want to do your full skin care routine. In my life, this has definitely been a product I've been using both to remove my makeup at the end of my work day or as a clean up product when applying my makeup, and I think it works really well.  When using it this way, even if I do use it on a cotton pad to remove my makeup and then don't do a full cleansing routine for several hours, I haven't seen any breakouts while I've been testing this. 

I do have one small complaint - and a little piece of advice when using this - which is to be careful not to overload your cotton pad with product because when I have gotten drops of this in my eye I have experienced some irritation. This isn't a problem if I'm using a light hand, but when I use too much I do end up with some burning feelings in my eyes that last a couple of minutes and then go away. This is a problem that I've had with some other micellar waters that I've used, so it isn't just this one, but it is something to be aware of.

Overall, I think this is a solid, affordable option for micellar water. It does the job well in removing my eye and face makeup and I haven't seen any reactions of my skin when I don't cleanse or rinse afterwards. I will definitely keep using this.

Overall, I'm really impressed across the board with all three of these products from CeraVe. The clear winner and the one I will definitely continue to repurchase is the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser*, which I would even go so far as to say has probably taken the top spot as my favorite drugstore cleanser. I would absolutely recommend this product to pretty much anyone. I also think the CeraVe Hydrating Micellar Water* is a solid product and would recommend it as well. For me, the CeraVe Hydrating Cleansing Bar* isn't exactly to my personal tastes, but I definitely think that if you're looking for a cleansing bar, struggling with balancing combination skin, or looking to transition from bar soap to something much more gentle, it's definitely worth a look.

CeraVe products are widely available in Canada and the US and are also available online at!

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