Are you looking to add a new gentle cleanser to your skincare routine? Here are the best gentle face washes for dry skin.

Our Recommendations

1. Gentle Facial Cleanser

Vanicream Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser

This mild, soap-free cleanser is excellent for dry and sensitive skin. It gently cleanses without irritating or drying out the skin.

Skin types: Normal, Dry and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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This Vanicream cleanser was made specifically with sensitive skin in mind. It is incredibly gentle on the skin, and contains hydrating ingredients like glycerin to keep the skin moisturized. This formula is also soap-free, meaning it gently cleanses without irritation.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance

Cons

  • May not be effective enough for acne-prone skin

This cleanser is free of common irritants that can negatively affect sensitive skin, including dyes, fragrances, and essential oils.

Purified water, glycerin, coco glucoside, sodium cocoyl glycinate, acrylates copolymer, caprylyl glycol, mica, sodium chloride, 1,2-hexanediol, titanium dioxide, sodium hydroxide, disodium EDTA

  1. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Aug. 26, 2021.

2. Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Facial Cleanser

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Facial Cleanser

La Roche-Posay Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Facial Cleanser

This gentle and hydrating cream cleanser is one of the best La Roche-Posay cleansers for normal to dry skin. It effectively removes dirt and debris from the skin while still retaining its essential moisture.

Skin types: Normal, Dry and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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If you have dry skin, finding a cleanser that cleans without stripping the skin of its natural moisture is essential. This cleanser contains ceramides and glycerin, which are excellent for keeping the skin adequately moisturized.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Oil-free
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Gentle

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

In addition to the ceramides and glycerin, this cleanser contains niacinamide, which helps soothe the skin. Additionally, this cleanser is suitable for those with more sensitive skin.

AQUA/WATER/EAU, GLYCERIN, PENTAERYTHRITYL TETRAETHYLHEXANOATE, PROPANEDIOL, AMMONIUM POLYACRYLOYLDIMETHYL TAURATE, POLYSORBATE 60, CERAMIDE NP, NIACINAMIDE, SODIUM CHLORIDE, COCO-BETAINE, DISODIUM EDTA CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, PANTHENOL, TOCOPHEROL (CODE FIL: D242855/1)

3. Fragrance Free Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

Sebamed Fragrance Free Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

Sebamed Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Sebamed Fragrance Free Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

This gentle, hydrating cleanser is specifically formulated for dry and sensitive skin. It effectively cleanses without irritating or drying out the skin.

Skin types: Normal, Dry and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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This fragrance-free cleanser contains a variety of soothing ingredients that support the skin and prevent irritation. Antioxidant-rich vitamin E and panthenol both hydrate, nourish, and fight irritation while the soap-free formula cleanses.

Pros

  • Hydrating
  • Gentle
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

This gentle cleanser is suitable for a variety of skin conditions, including atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and dehydrated skin.

Water (Aqua), Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Citric Acid, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E),Glyceryl Laurate, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Sodium Benzoate

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.

4. SoonJung pH 6.5 Whip Cleanser

Etude House SoonJung pH 6.5 Whip Cleanser

Etude House Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Etude House SoonJung pH 6.5 Whip Cleanser

This soothing and gentle foam cleanser is excellent for daily use, and is particularly beneficial for sensitive and drier skin types. It contains a variety of ingredients that moisturize and nourish to keep the skin adequately hydrated and balanced.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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This simple but effective cleanser contains panthenol, glycerin, madecassoside (derived from the centella asiatica plant), and camellia sinensis leaf extract. These ingredients hydrate, soothe, and repair the skin, while cleansing ingredients effectively wash away dirt and debris.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Hydrating
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

98.9% of the ingredients in this gentle cleanser are naturally derived, and it is also free of common irritants (like fragrance and artificial color).

Water, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Propanediol, Lauryl Glucoside, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Panthenol, Madecassoside, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate, Ethylhexylglycerin

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.
  2. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.

5. Gentle Skin Cleanser

Cetaphil Gentle Skin CleanserCult favorite

Cetaphil Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

This cult-favorite cleanser is known as one of the best Cetaphil products of all time. The creamy formula gently removes debris from the skin without stripping it of its natural oils.

Skin types: Normal, Dry and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: First, wet the skin with lukewarm water. Dispense the cleanser into your palms, and then gently massage into the skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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This gentle cleanser is perfect for everyday use, and is appropriate for all skin types (although it is best for normal, dry, and sensitive skin). It has been clinically proven to be gentle on sensitive skin, and leaves the skin feeling soft and moisturized, rather than tight and dry. This cleanser contains vitamins B3 and B5, as well as glycerin, which hydrate and nourish the skin.

Pros

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Fragrance-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Gentle

Cons

  • May not be effective enough for acne-prone skin

This award-winning cleanser has been clinically tested and shown to be hypoallergenic, which means it won’t irritate the skin. The mild, soap-free formula was crafted with sensitive skin types in mind.

Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben

  1. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Aug. 25, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations"

    Accessed Aug. 25, 2021.

6. Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

Neutrogena Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

This cream cleanser is an excellent daily face wash for those with drier skin. It is gentle on the skin and effectively cleanses without further drying it out.

Skin types: Normal, Dry and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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This cleanser is one of the best Neutrogena cleansers for those with drier skin. It contains glycerin (a humectant), which keeps the skin moisturized while cleansing ingredients gently remove dirt and debris. It is also non-comedogenic, meaning it doesn’t contain ingredients known to clog pores.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Fragrance-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Dermatologist developed

Cons

  • Some reviewers complain about the pump

This cream cleanser was developed by dermatologists, and is suitable for sensitive skin, including those with rosacea and eczema.

Water, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Cetearyl Glucoside, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol

  1. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Aug. 25, 2021.

7. Squalane Cleanser

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

The Ordinary Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

The Ordinary’s one and only cleanser is a great daily cleanser for all skin types, because it is gentle and moisturizing but cleanses effectively.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Dispense the cleanser into clean, dry hands, and then rub your hands together to allow it to melt. Gently massage the cleanser onto dry skin, and then rinse with warm water.
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This squalane cleanser emulsifies from a balm to an oil-like consistency (despite being oil-free). It leaves the skin feeling moisturized, rather than tight and dry.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Moisturizing
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

The main ingredient in this cleanser is squalane, a skincare ingredient that has an oil-like consistency (but isn't actually an oil). Squalane is a derivative of squalene, which is naturally found in human sebum. It is excellent for lightly hydrating the skin.

Squalane, Aqua (Water), Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Glycerin, Sucrose Stearate, Ethyl Macadamiate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sucrose Laurate, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Sucrose Dilaurate, Sucrose Trilaurate, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Isoceteth-20, Sodium Polyacrylate, Tocopherol, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Malic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Chlorphenesin.

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Moisturizers: The Slippery Road"

    Accessed Aug. 9, 2021.

8. Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser

Paula's Choice Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser

This cream cleanser is one of the best Paula’s Choice cleansers for dry and sensitive skin, as it is super gentle on the skin, and softens and hydrates.

Skin types: Dry and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: First, wet the skin with lukewarm water. Dispense the cleanser into your palms, and then gently massage into the skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

Those with sensitive skin need a cleanser that won’t cause any irritation. This hydrating cream cleanser was formulated with sensitive skin in mind, and is even suitable for those with eczema.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Gentle
  • Moisturizing

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

This creamy cleanser was formulated with hydrating and soothing skincare ingredients, including soja oil and matricaria flower extract.

Water (Aqua), Hydrogenated Polydecene (texture-enhancing), Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate (cleansing), Glycine Soja Oil (soybean oil/antioxidant/emollient), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (emollient), Polysorbate 80 (texture-enhancing), Laureth-4 (texture-enhancing), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer (texture-enhancing), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (cleansing), Chamomilla Recutita Matricaria Flower Extract, Beta-Glucan (skin-soothing), Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate (texture-enhancing), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Hexylene Glycol (preservative), Caprylyl Glycol (preservative), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Chlorphenesin (preservative).

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils"

    Accessed Aug. 5, 2021.

9. Calm Redness Relief Cleanser

Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin

Paula's Choice Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin

If you’re struggling with redness, this calming cleanser will help soothe the skin while gently cleansing away dirt and debris.

Skin types: Normal, Dry, Combination and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: First, wet the skin with lukewarm water. Dispense the cleanser into your palms, and then gently massage into the skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

This milky cleanser is super gentle on the skin and easy to rinse off, so it won’t cause any further redness. It contains plant extracts and other replenishing ingredients that hydrate and soothe the skin. Additionally, this cleanser was made to be gentle enough for those prone to rosacea.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Gentle
  • Moisturizing

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

Two of the key soothing and hydrating ingredients in this gentle cleanser are chamomile extract and aloe leaf juice.

Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (cleansing), Glycol Stearate (texture-enhancing), Methyl Gluceth-20 (emollient), Glyceryl Stearate (texture-enhancing), Hydroxyethylcellulose (texture-enhancing), Chamomilla Recutita Matricaria Flower Extract (chamomile/skin-soothing), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (hydration/skin-soothing), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (cleansing), Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate (cleansing), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration/skin replenishing), Sodium PCA (hydration/skin replenishing), Caprylyl Glycol (preservative), Hexylene Glycol (preservative), Propylene Glycol (hydration), Citric Acid (pH balancer), Phytic Acid (stabilizer), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils"

    Accessed Aug. 5, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Pharmacological attribute of Aloe vera: Revalidation through experimental and clinical studies"

    Accessed Aug. 5, 2021.

FAQs

Which face wash is best for sensitive dry skin?

If your dry skin is also sensitive, there are many great face washes for you on this list, and there are options for every budget. The Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Cleanser, the Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser, the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Facial Cleanser, the Sebamed Fragrance Free Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, and the Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser are all excellent options for dry and sensitive skin.

How often should I wash my face if I have dry skin?

If you have dry skin, you should wash your face one to two times everyday. Everyone should wash their face at the end of the day, because it’s important to cleanse away any sweat, dirt, sebum, and debris from the day. Many people will also cleanse their face in the morning before applying skincare products. This is an especially important step if you workout and break a sweat in the morning. However, some people are fine just cleansing at night. Avoid cleansing more than two times per day (even with a gentle cleanser), because cleansing the skin too frequently can lead to irritation and dryness.

How do I choose a face wash?

When looking for a new face wash, you’ll want to take into consideration your skin type, any skin concerns you may have, and your budget. For example, if you have dry skin that is prone to redness, you’ll want to look for a gentle cleanser formulated for dry skin that is meant to help minimize redness (like the Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Cleanser). 

The Bottom Line

If you have dry skin, there is an abundance of great gentle cleansers on the market formulated for your skin type. Consider adding one of the above face washes to your routine to maintain a healthy complexion.