(Last Updated On: February 2, 2018)

Can we cleanse dry skin?

Yes We Can!

Sounds mighty grand, doesn’t it?

But easier said than done

Did you know even moisturizers can dry out your skin?

So you can’t just go ‘eenie meenie mynie moe’ to select a cleanser for your dry skin

You need to make an informed choice

I know that is difficult. So I did it for you. I reviewed the 20 hottest cleansers for dry skin available right now and made a list of the top 5.

Welcome to Unsullyd’s Best Cleansers for Dry Skin.


At A Glance: My Choices For The Best Cleanser For Dry Skin

Health Priority Natural Products’ 100% Natural Vitamin E Facial Cleanser is a good choice with lots of antioxidants and a pH adjuster/buffer.

Aveeno’s Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser was featured in Allure’s Best of Beauty 2012 list.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Face Wash Cleanser comes with pro-Vitamin B5 and Vitamin E.

Mary Kay’s Timewise 3 in 1 Cleanser Normal/Dry Skin will cleanse, exfoliate and freshen your face.

Mederma’s (Aqua Glycolic) Advanced Dry Skin Therapy Facial Cleanser is good at removing blemishes and lines.

The Best Cleanser For Dry Skin

01. Health Priority Natural Products’ 100% Natural Vitamin E Facial Cleanser Review

With a light lavender and palmarosa scent to calm you down and a host of skin-replenishing and antioxidant agents, this one is an easy pick to the list of top cleansers for Dry Skin.

It contains citric acid as a pH adjuster/buffer.

I’m appending the key ingredients below for you.

EmollientJojoba Oil, Avocado Oil
Skin ReplenishingAvocado Oil
Cleansing Decyl Glucoside
Anti-BacterialRadish Root
AntioxidantD-Alpha Tocopherol, Chamomile Extract,
Lavender Oil, Aloe Vera
SoothingAloe Vera, Colloidal Oatmeal*,
Marshmallow Root Extract
pH adjustingCitric Acid

*Colloidal Oatmeal is recognized by the FDA as a skin protectant.

Directions: Take one or two pumps of the cleanser in your palm and rub it gently to form a lather. Apply the lather to your face, neck and chest. Rinse off with water.

What I Liked

Great at removing makeup and eyeliner.

A small amount generally lathers well.

Easy to apply.

No animal testing.

Should not irritate or burn your skin.

What I Didn’t Like

Jojoba Oil and Avocado Oil are mildly comedogenic.

Lemon Balm Extract and Xantham Gum may irritate your skin; however that is unlikely.

Lavender Oil may damage your skin. This is because its constituents like linalool can sensitize your skin.

The Best Cleanser For Dry Sensitive Skin

02. Aveeno’s Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser Review

This lightweight and fragrance-free foam will leave your skin soft after cleansing.

It has a humectant (moisturizer), skin soothing and conditioning agents AND 3 mild cleansing agents which make it a specifically suitable cleanser for dry skin.

This product was featured in Allure’s Best of Beauty 2012 list.

Dr Fran Cook-Bolden, MD, notes that pigment-creating cells in black skin may become hyper-active, forming dark spots on the skin.

So she recommends black women use mild cleansers like Aveeno’s Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser.

I am appending a list of the key ingredients.

CleansingDecyl Glucoside, Polysorbate 20,
Cocamidopropyl Betaine
PreservativePhenoxyethanol, Methylparaben,
Propylparaben, Ethylparaben
AntioxidantSodium Citrate
pH adjuster/bufferSodium Citrate
Skin SoothingFeverfew Extract
Skin ConditioningSarcosine, Potassium Aspartate,
Magnesium Aspartate

Directions: Moisten your face with lukewarm water. Take 2-3 pumps of the cleanser into your palm and work into a lather. Apply the lather to your wet face. Rinse it off.

Warning: This product contains Feverfew Extract. If that Extract contains parthenolide it may irritate your skin.

What I Liked

 Generally effective against makeup, eyeliner and mascara.

 A small amount suffices. It may not lather very well but still easy to apply.

 Should not irritate or burn your skin.

 People with sensitive skin should not face any problem.

 You can safely use it around your eyes.

 Very mild product; especially useful for black women.

What I Didn’t Like

Butylene Glycol (enhances the product texture) is mildly comedogenic.

Some of the cleansing agents may irritate your skin.

Contains 3 parabens – Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben.

03. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Face Wash Cleanser Review

This cream cleanser from La Roche-Posay is from their proprietary ‘Toleriane’ range of skincare products that is based on the new ‘Microbiome’ approach to skincare.

This does a good job of keeping your skin pH balanced. That is what makes the experience refreshing.

Below are the main ingredients.

HumectantGlycerin, Propylene Glycol,- Panthenol (pro-Vitamin B5)
SurfactantPolysorbate 60, Coco-Betaine
Skin ReplenishingCeramide NP
Skin Soothing/ConditioningNiacinamide, Caprylyl Glycol
Chelating AgentDisodium EDTA
PreservativeCaprylyl Glycol
AntioxidantNiacinamide, Tocopherol (Vitamin E)

Directions: Dampen your skin with lukewarm water. Put 2-3 pumps of the cleanser into your palm and work into a lather. Massage that onto your skin. Rinse it off and then pat your face dry.

What I Liked

 Can be used safely around your eyes.

 Especially suitable for a face brush.

 Cleans away makeup. May be a bit more difficult to totally remove eyeliner and mascara.

 Doesn’t lather that well but still easy to use. A minimal amount suffices for a clean.

 Moisturizes your skin without irritating or burning it.

 People with sensitive skin should not face any problem.

 A mild cleanser.

What I Didn’t Like

 Tocopherol is mildly comedogenic.

 For some people it may be too mild and not clean away makeup completely. For that a DIY trick is described below.

04. Mary Kay’s Timewise 3 in 1 Cleanser Normal/Dry Skin Review

This is especially good for older women. Who knows, perhaps its Arianna Huffington’s age-defying secret cleanser.

When you massage this into your hand you get a nice milky spread. It doesn’t lather but has great consistency and is easy to apply.

Some people think it’s a cream due to its milky spread and smooth texture but it really is a good cleanser.

Note: ‘3 in 1’ means the cleanser will cleanse, exfoliate and freshen your face. You may use a moisturizer with it (Mary Kay offers a moisturizer as part of their TimeWise line)

Directions: Dampen your face and neck with lukewarm water. Take a small amount (dime-sized should suffice) and rub it into your face and neck. Rinse with lukewarm water or dab off with a warm wet towel.


What I Liked

Does not lather that much but easy to apply

Good for removing makeup

Good choice to get a facial using your face brush

Cleans your skin without burning irritating it

Very good for sensitive skin

In all a mild product that exfoliates your skin well

What I Didn’t Like

You should not apply this near your eyes. So NOT suitable for removing mascara or eyeliner

05. Mederma’s (Aqua Glycolic) Advanced Dry Skin Therapy Facial Cleanser Review

This is good at removing blemishes and lines and many people have added it to their anti-aging regimen.

You can use this as a shaving cream to shave sensitive areas like your bikini line, face and underarms. If you have razor bumps or other irritation, shave only once a week to begin with and gradually increase frequency.

I am appending a list of the key ingredients.

ExfoliantGlycolic Acid, Ammonium Glycolate
pH adjuster/bufferAmmonium Glycolate
EmollientCetearyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol
Cleansing AgentAmmonium Lauryl Sulfate
PreservativeMethylparaben, Propylparaben

Directions: Massage a quarter-sized amount onto your dry face. Now you can rinse off. Or you can add water and massage some more before rinsing off.

Directions for Shaving: Dampen your skin with lukewarm water. Apply a moderate amount and massage it down gently. Wait for 10-20 seconds and then shave. Pat dry.



What I Liked

 Can also be used as a shaving cream.

 Will soothe razor irritation and shaving bumps.

 Good at removing makeup. Difficult to remove eyeliner or mascara.

 Should lather OK. Easy to apply.

 pH balanced to the level of the pH of your skin so less chance of irritation.

What I Didn’t Like

 Cetearyl Alcohol and Stearyl Alcohol are mildly comedogenic.

 Difficult to remove eyeliner and mascara.

 The chance of getting sunburnt is a major problem (See Sunscreen Precaution above).

What did I look for?

You will remember how I kept talking about the ingredients having properties like emollient, skin-replenishing and so on.

Well, this is the lowdown of why those properties are so crucial.

Skin Replenishing ingredients enrich your skin surface, keeping it smooth, soft and supple

Dry skin may start to irritate. So your cleanser should be smooth

You need your cleanser to moisturize your skin (well, duh!). So you should be on the lookout for moisturizers, emollients and humectants

Dry skin aggravates signs of aging. Antioxidants can reverse many signs of aging by destroying free radicals. To keep your skin young and supple you would look for antioxidants in your cleanser

You’d want your product to have decent preservatives so it doesn’t get spoilt while sitting on your shelf. Remember you use a small amount each time so the cleansers should last a long time!

You want dead skin cells exfoliated off else you could develop acne. So you look for exfoliants

If the cleanser pH varies too much from your body’s pH it will irritate your skin. A pH adjuster/buffer will ensure maintenance of pH

A chelating agent protects your cleanser from becoming contaminated

Well that was a looong list…

Yeah, it was, and you know I won’t leave you hanging.

Of course, you’re free to choose any cleanser you want but I think there’s a clear winner you should check out

And that is….

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Face Wash Cleanser

You can apply it near your eyes to clean away eyeliner and mascara

It will clean your face without drying it or leaving it tight or irritated. You won’t even feel tight in winter.

Their microbiome approach is one that is getting a lot of notice these days in academic and industrial circles.

This is perfect for applying with a brush.

Quick DIY Tip: If for some reason you find your eyeliner or mascara stubbornly clinging on, apply some lukewarm coconut oil around your eyes. That will break up your eyeliner or mascara and then the cleanser will definitely wash it off. This applies to all the cleansers in this list of cleansers for dry skin.

You probably knew this but….

You’d generally associate oily skin with acne but dry skin can lead to acne as well.

What’s the bottomline in breaking out? Your pores getting clogged.

So if your pores get clogged with dead skin cells (a possibility if you have dry skin) you could experience a breakout.

And…trust me….you do NOT want to get acne on top of dry skin. So you need to watch out for that.

One Final Word

Dry skin may not be a skin condition alone. A serious underlying disease like psoriasis or diabetes could be causing your skin to dry out.

Needless to say our cleansers are no match for those. So, if you feel any problems simultaneous with dry skin OR if your dry skin does not respond to your chosen cleanser within a month, consult your physician.


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