CeraVe Cleanser Review | Sometimes the best skincare comes from the drugstore

cerave cleanser 1

If you have yet to hear about my love for CeraVe skincare products, prepare for some seriously rave reviews. Today I’ll be talking about both of their cleansers. There’s the Foaming Facial Cleanser for normal to oily skin and the Hydrating Cleanser for normal to dry skin. I’ve used both but the one I usually prefer for my skin is the Foaming Facial Cleanser. I have very acne prone, dehydrated skin. An odd combination, I know. The Foaming Cleanser is my personal favorite. Compared to the Hydrating Cleanser, it cleans a bit better without leaving my face tight and dry afterwards. The Hydrating version leaves my skin very soft and moisturized, but using it consistently leads to clogged pores. My aunt started using this one on recommendation from me and she thinks it’s been the cure for the dry flaky patches she used to get on her chin. If you’re a bit older and acne is no longer a major concern I think that version will be right up your street!

Both formulas contain glycerin, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and cholesterol making them hydrating for each respective skin type. If you’d like a brief scientific babble about why each of these work, keep reading. (If not skip ahead to the next paragraph.) Glycerin is a humectant that attracts moisture, although in its pure form it loves moisture so much it can actually have a drying effect on the skin. Ceramides are naturally occurring as part of skin’s cellular structure and moisture barrier. Including them in skin care helps repair the moisture barrier, enabling skin to hold onto whatever moisture it’s given. Cholesterol has a similar function. Hyaluronic acid helps skin retain moisture and may help reduce inflammation. Ceramides, cholesterol, and hyaluronic acid have also been shown to support cell to cell communication. Your cells have to be able to talk to each other if they’re going to work together to fix skin issues. The Foaming cleanser also contains niacinamide which is supposed to help prevent discoloration, presumably from acne scars since it’s marketed for oilier skin (1).

cerave cleanser 3

I’ve gone through at least three bottles of the Foaming Facial Cleanser and I haven’t had the urge to stray. It cleans my skin thoroughly without leaving it dry, comes with a convenient pump dispenser, and can be found at most drugstores which means I can pick up multiples when CeraVe is buy one get one half off! One pump is sufficient for my entire face and a bottle lasts me about two months. In the morning I use just my fingertips to massage it into damp skin and in the evening I use my Clarisonic. One important note: Do not get this in your eyes! It itches like nothing else I’ve ever experienced and takes longer to rinse out of your eyes than other cleansers I’ve tried.

Ingredients: Purified Water, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Terastearate, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric, Glycerides, Niacinamide, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-II, Ceramide I, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol, Sodium Chloride, Phytosphingosine, Citric Acid, Edetate Disodium, Dihydrate, Sodium, Lauroyl Lactylate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum.

cerave cleanser 2

The Hydrating Cleanser is a non-foaming, semi-opaque formula with a consistency similar to a runny moisturizer. One pump is again sufficient for my entire face and I’ve used it with and without the Clarisonic with good results. I just find that it doesn’t rinse away all of the sebum that loves to collect in my pores. It leaves the skin very soft and hydrated; so much so in fact that I’ve used it as an in-shower moisturizer! I’ll use this for my face if I’m having a particularly dry day. My favorite way to use this is actually as an emulsifier for a homemade sugar scrub. Mixed with an oil and sugar it keeps the hydration from the oil but rinses clean and doesn’t leave the tub super slippery (if you’d like to know how I make it I’d be happy to do a post).

Ingredients: Purified Water, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate And Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-II, Ceramide I, 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.

The Verdict

Both are excellent picks for a basic, no frills, non drying cleanser. Each bottle also has a lovely little stamp saying they’re accepted by the National Eczema Association, so they should be suitable for very sensitive or reactive skin types. Chock full of ingredients that support skin repair at a reasonable price, I don’t think there’s any better cleanser to be found at the drugstore. Or possibly even the department store for that matter. Choose the one that best suits your needs and you’re sure to have happy skin.

Animal Testing: CeraVe products are not tested on animals.


CeraVe Cleanser (both)
$13.99 USD (MSRP)
12 fl oz/355 mL


Will one of these make it onto your skincare shopping list? What are your favorite skincare bits from the drugstore? Share in the comments!


1. Sources: Beautypedia Ingredient Dictionary, CosmeticsInfo.org

12 thoughts on “CeraVe Cleanser Review | Sometimes the best skincare comes from the drugstore

  1. Great post!! Thank you!! I was looking for a review that talked about the consistency and type of formula of the hydrating cleanser, and this was the only one I could find. I like how you also showed a picture of the actual product on your hand. Very nice review. Keep up the great work!!! 🙂 🙂


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