Looking to add a hydrating cleanser to your skincare routine? Here is our guide to the best hydrating face washes.

Our Recommendations

1. Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm

Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm

Paula's Choice Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm

This hydrating cleansing balm contains a variety of ingredients that nourish and moisturize the skin to keep it hydrated and soft and it is being cleansed.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Massage the cleansing balm into wet or dry skin, and rinse with lukewarm water. This can be used as the first cleanser in a double cleansing routine.
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This fragrance-free cleansing balm is packed with effective ingredients that help ensure the skin stays hydrated and soft while cleansing. This includes omega-rich jojoba and meadowfoam seed oils.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Hydrating
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

This Paula’s Choice cleansing balm contains additional ingredients that hydrate and nourish the skin, including vitamin E and rapeseed oil.

Ethylhexyl Palmitate (emollient solvent), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (skin-replenishing), PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate (emollient cleansing agent), Diisooctyl Succinate (emollient), Olive Oil PEG-7 Esters (emollient cleansing agent/emulsifier), Trihydroxystearin (texture enhancer), Glyceryl Stearate (emulsifier), Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil (non-fragrant antioxidant/skin-softening omega fatty acid), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil (non-fragrant antioxidant/skin-softening omega fatty acid), Hydrogenated Rapeseed Oil (non-fragrant antioxidant/skin-softening omega fatty acid), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant)

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

    Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.

2. Oat Cleansing Balm

The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm

The Inkey List Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm

This calming, gentle cleansing balm helps wash away makeup, sunscreen, and other impurities on the skin without causing irritation. It’s the perfect product to use as the first step in a double cleansing routine.

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, and then follow up with a second cleanser. Alternatively, this can be used as your one and only cleanser if not double cleansing (best suited for drier skin types).
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This affordable cleansing balm contains oat kernel oil and colloidal oatmeal. These ingredients support the skin’s moisture barrier, minimize redness, and soothe irritation, making the balm a particularly great choice for sensitive skin. The thicker consistency of the balm is great for helping to get rid of all traces of makeup and sunscreen from the day.

Pros

  • Gentle and soothing
  • Fragrance-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • Some reviewers complain about the thicker consistency
  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this gentle face wash contains additional oils that hydrate and nourish the skin, including sweet almond oil and sunflower seed oil.

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil, Candelilla Cera (Cire de candelilla), Silica,Sorbitan Stearate, Tribehenin, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Aqua (Water/Eau), Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Lecithin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil

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

    Accessed Nov. 9, 2021.

3. Face Cleanser

First aid beauty Face Cleansers

First Aid Beauty Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser

This fragrance-free face wash is an excellent hydrating, gentle cleanser that is suitable for all skin types, and packed with antioxidants.

Skin types: All Skin Types
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 gentle cleanser effectively cleanses without stripping the skin of its natural oils. It contains additional ingredients that help calm and hydrate the skin, including aloe, glycerin, and allantoin.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Fragrance-free
  • Oil-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Dermatologist tested

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

In addition to the ingredients noted above, this vegan and cruelty-free face wash contains the First Aid Beauty antioxidant booster (a blend of licorice root, feverfew, and white tea extracts) to help fight environmental aggressors.

water/aqua/eau, sodium cocoyl isethionate, glycerin, stearic acid, stearyl alcohol, allantoin, chrysanthemum parthenium (feverfew) extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, tocopherol, ascorbyl palmitate, caprylyl glycol, sodium pca, coco-glucoside, glyceryl oleate, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, hydrogenated palm glycerides citrate, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, lecithin, phenoxyethanol, sodium chloride, disodium edta, citric acid, maltodextrin, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, tetrasodium edta

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

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Pharmacological attribute of Aloe vera: Revalidation through experimental and clinical studies"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.

4. 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.

5. Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Foam

Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Foam

Hada Labo Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Foam

This hydrating cleansing foam effectively cleanses the skin while maintaining moisture levels for balanced, supple skin.

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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The star ingredient in this Hada Labo cleanser is hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid pulls moisture to the skin, helping to increase hydration levels.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Hydrating
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

This cleanser contains additional ingredients that increase hydration (including glycerin), and is free of fragrance and color additives.

Water, PEG-8, Butylene Glycol, polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, TEA-Cocoyl Alaninate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Glycerin, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Starch Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Succinic Acid

6. Hydrating Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Face Wash for Daily Cleansing

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

This cleanser is gentle on the skin, but still cleanses away dirt, debris, and oil. It both cleans and hydrates, and doesn’t strip the skin of its natural moisture or disrupt the protective barrier.

Skin types: Normal and Dry
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet the skin with lukewarm water, then gently massage the cleanser into the skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
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It’s incredibly important that people with dry skin use a cleanser that strikes a balance between effectively cleansing and not stripping the skin. This is one of the best CeraVe products for dry skin, because it’s hydrating and gentle, but still actually cleanses. Since it is important to cleanse your face on a daily basis, this product makes it easy to do so without disrupting the skin’s barrier.

Pros

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Non-irritating
  • Fragrance-free
  • Accepted by the National Eczema Association

Cons

  • May not be be effective enough for acne-prone skin

This hydrating cleanser features glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which hydrate and lock in moisture. It also contains three essential ceramides, which restore the skin’s barrier.

Purified Water, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-11, 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

FAQs

Which face wash is best for dry skin in the winter?

Many people notice that their skin becomes even drier during the cooler winter months, since humidity levels drop. If you’re looking for a face wash that is great for extra dry skin, the Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm and The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm are excellent options. These rich balms contain ingredients that will keep the skin soothed and hydrated throughout the winter.

Which face wash is best for sensitive skin?

If you have sensitive skin, The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm and the Sebamed Fragrance Free Gentle Hydrating Cleanser are particularly great choices. Both of these cleansers are gentle on the skin, and are free of common skin irritants.

How do I choose a face wash?

When picking out a face wash, you’ll want to consider your skin type and any skin concerns or needs you might have. From there, you can find an option that fits your skin’s requirements. For example, if you have oilier skin and want a foaming cleanser that effectively cleanses but keeps the skin hydrated, you’ll look for an option that fits those needs (like the Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Foam).

The Bottom Line

There are a variety of excellent hydrating face washes available on the market. If you need a cleanser that will help replenish hydration, consider adding one of our recommended face washes to your skincare rotation.