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If you have dry skin, it can be challenging to find a face wash that doesn’t make things worse. Many facial cleansers have harsh, stripping ingredients that remove the natural oils from your face and cause even more dryness. Dry skin is often sensitive, and you might find you react negatively to ingredients in your facial products, leading to redness and irritation as well as dryness.
Luckily, there is help out there! Our article will walk you through the causes and solutions for dry skin, as well as recommend the best tried and tested products.
What are the signs you have dry skin?
It is possible to have dry skin and not even know it! Read our list of the common symptoms of dry skin to see if any of these apply to you:
- Skin that has visible scales or flakes
- Red, irritated skin
- Skin that feels tight or itchy
- Premature fine lines or wrinkles
- Painful cracks in the skin, particularly around the mouth.
If any of these apply to you, read on to find out what might be causing the symptoms and what to do about them!
What causes dry skin?
Some people’s skin is naturally dryer than others, but there are other factors that can exacerbate dryness. These include:
- Using harsh products on your face, including soaps
- Winter weather conditions, particularly if you live in a cold, dry climate
- Not drinking enough water
- Having the water too hot in your shower or bath
- Medical skin conditions, most commonly eczema and psoriasis
- The aging process—your skin gets drier as you get older
How to choose products for your dry skin?
The products that you use on your skin can have a huge impact on dryness. The key is to avoid cleansers that strip your face of its natural oils and seek products that contain hydrating ingredients. Here are some elements to look for when choosing products:
- Ingredients that add moisture, such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid.
- Ingredients that prevent moisture loss. Oils such as coconut oil or shea butter form a barrier on your skin, keeping moisture sealed in.
- Products that are free from harsh chemicals and fragrances. Harsh ingredients can strip your skin of its natural moisture, making the dryness worse.
- pH is important for all skin types, but particularly essential for dry skin. Make sure you choose products that have a pH of between 4.5 and 5.5, which is the normal range of pH for the skin.
Bearing these issues in mind, we’ve put together a list of the 11 best face washes for dry skin that are on the market in 2023. From gentle cleansing foams to hydrating solid facial bars, we’ve got something that will suit everyone. Read on to find a cleanser that will work for you!
1. Blu Atlas Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser
Coming in at the top of our list, one product that ticks all the boxes for dry skin is Blu Atlas Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser. Blu Atlas is known for its commitment to using natural ingredients that won’t damage your skin, and this product is no exception.
This product is perfectly pH-balanced, which is possibly the most essential thing you need when protecting your dry skin. It won’t strip your skin of its natural oils, or disrupt its delicate pH balance.
As well as being pH balanced, Blu Atlas Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser contains lactobacillus ferment filtrate, a groundbreaking ingredient that works to support the skin’s natural microbiome. This means it works to make your skin better able to protect itself—how great is that!
For some people with dry skin, the challenge is finding a cleanser that will remove impurities and bacteria from their skin without stripping it. Some dry skin formulations go too far in the other direction and don’t leave your skin feeling clean, but not Blu Atlas! This product uses bentonite, a form of volcanic ash, to absorb impurities from the skin without causing dryness. The bentonite also leaves your pores tighter and less visible, leading to a smoother, more youthful appearance.
Another standout ingredient in this product is the pomegranate seed oil, a super ingredient that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to high levels of Vitamins A, C, and K as well as containing essential fatty acids to plump and moisturize your dry skin.
One of the biggest issues with dry skin can be unsightly skin flakes on the face, but the exfoliating properties of Blu Atlas Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser take care of that. This cleanser will remove dead skin cells, leading to an overall improvement in your skin texture and a glowing, radiant complexion.
Blu Atlas Cleanser is so gentle that it can be used daily, even on dry, sensitive skin—simply massage a small amount onto damp skin and rinse away. If you want even better results for your skin, be sure to pair it with Blu Atlas Face Moisturizer, an indulgently rich moisturizer that will leave your skin supple and hydrated.
This cleanser comes in three scents—classic, coconut apricot, and fragrance-free—all of which are suitable for dry skin types. So what are you waiting for? Try this product today! You won’t be disappointed.
2. Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel
When you think of enzymes, you don’t automatically think of something to put on your face, but Mario Badescu’s Enzyme Cleansing Gel is actually perfect for your dry skin! This non-foaming gel cleanser cleans with enzymes instead of soap, meaning that it will strip your skin far less than traditional soap-based cleansers.
The enzymes work to remove excess oil and any impurities from your skin without damaging the skin microbiome or stripping away your natural oils. It does this through two natural ingredients: grapefruit extract and papaya extract.
The grapefruit extract is designed to gently help to remove dirt and impurities from your face without drying your skin out. The papaya extract provides gentle exfoliation, which will work to get rid of any of those unsightly skin flakes that are so common with dry skin, without causing irritation. This gentle exfoliation leads to improved skin turnover, which will leave your complexion bright and glowing, instead of dull and flaky!
This cleansing gel is so gentle you can safely use it every day, and it is also a cruelty-free, vegan option, meaning you can feel good about using it on your skin. And did we mention it smells absolutely amazing? The fresh, fruity notes from the grapefruit and papaya will make you excited to wash your face every morning.
3. Moon Juice Milk Cleanse Gentle Wash
This product is a little more of a splurge than some of the others on our list, but we think it’s worth it! Moon Juice Milk Cleanse Gentle Wash aims to provide a gentle yet thorough clean for your face, without resorting to any harmful ingredients, such as parabens, sulfates, or artificial fragrances.
When you first squeeze the product from the tube, you might think you’ve bought moisturizer by mistake—this cleanser feels so creamy and luxurious. Don’t be fooled though—despite its gentle formulation, this cleanser is still plenty effective at removing makeup and other impurities; it just does it without stripping your skin of its natural oils at the same time.
There are some truly groundbreaking ingredients in this product, including coconut ferment, adaptogenic reishi, and silver ear mushroom. The coconut ferment provides moisture to the skin while it is being cleansed, meaning that you don’t lose any hydration. The silver ear mushroom then works to lock in hydration into the skin, preventing moisture loss throughout the day.
The adaptogenic reishi in the cleanser helps to improve the skin’s barrier, meaning that your skin is left more resilient and less likely to dry out. Lastly, the Vitamin E in the cleanser provides antioxidant protection, which ensures your skin is protected from dryness causing environmental stressors.
As well as being free from nasty chemicals, Moon Juice products are also vegan and cruelty-free, making it an excellent ethical choice.
4. Korres Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cream Cleanser
When you hear the words “Greek yogurt,” you might think of a protein-rich breakfast food rather than something to put on your face! This product proves that it has the ability to be both, providing soothing skin cleansing with its pre and pro biotic powers. The Greek yogurt strengthens the skin’s microbiome and barrier while it nourishes and moisturizes.
This face wash is unique in that it is a foaming cream cleanser—most foaming face washes are gels, which can be more drying than creams. And even though this product foams as it cleans, it is completely soap-free, making it gentle enough to be used on even the driest of skin.
As well as Greek yogurt, this product also contains amaranth seed extract and milk proteins, which soothe and hydrate the skin, particularly important for easily irritated dry skin.
The creamy texture makes it easy to massage into your skin, ensuring you get great product coverage and your skin has time to absorb all the beneficial ingredients. This will also allow it to promote circulation in your face, leading to a brighter complexion and a healthy glow.
Although not vegan, this cleanser is certified cruelty-free, and we love its unique creamy formulation. If you’re a fan of great yogurt in your diet, why not try it as part of your skincare routine as well!
5. Ethique Bliss Bar Face Cleansing Bar
Our list of best face washes for dry skin wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t add in a solid face cleanser. Solid face washes are becoming more popular as a great sustainable alternative to plastic packaged products, and we think Ethique’s products speak for themselves!
When you first use this product, you’ll be struck by how luxuriously creamy it feels. And a little goes a long way; just rub the bar between damp hands and then massage the product into your face, before rinsing off. Used in this way, one bar can last for up to 120 uses. Talk about good value!
This face cleansing bar ticks all the boxes of what to look for in a product for dry skin. Completely soap-free, this bar is also pH balanced, which means it won’t disrupt your skin’s natural moisture barrier.
It also contains several natural ingredients that are designed to help moisturize and protect your dry skin. Creamed coconut butter not only smells delicious, it is super moisturizing, nourishing your dry skin and leaving it feeling soft and smooth. If you’re worried about your dry skin showing unsightly flakes, you won’t need to any more after using this bar. It also contains vegetable glycerin, which hydrates and soothes the skin, reducing the appearance of flakiness.
And before you worry that this bar is so gentle it’s not going to clean your skin properly, fear not! The clay in this product is perfect at drawing out impurities and oils without drying out your skin or stripping it of its natural oils.
This bar is also able to remove makeup effectively, saving you an extra step, so it’s a great option if you like to keep your skincare routine short and sweet.
Last but not least, this product is free of any harsh ingredients and is cruelty-free and vegan—not to mention that it comes in sustainable, compostable packaging. What’s not to love?
6. Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser
This unique product is very popular at the moment, and it’s not hard to see why. It operates in a distinctive two-phase approach, which both cleanses and conditions the skin. In the “jelly” phase, the cleanser dissolves oil, dirt, and makeup. As you rub it into your damp skin it moves into the “milky” phase, which moisturizes and conditions your skin.
As previously mentioned, one of the most important things to look for in a face wash for dry skin is that it is pH balanced. This cleanser is just that, making it gentle enough even for dry and sensitive skin types.
Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser contains five (yes, you read that right, five!) different skin conditioners, which leaves your skin hyper moisturized and super soft.
One unique aspect of this cleanser is that it cleans using poloxamer instead of soap. Poloxamer is an agent that is used in contact lens solution, meaning it is so gentle it is safe for your eyes. This is absolutely ideal for dry skin, which needs to be treated with the utmost care so that it doesn’t get irritated.
Other essential ingredients in this face wash are rose water and comfrey root extract. Rose water is soothing and smells amazing, plus will leave your skin looking refreshed and glowing. The comfrey root extract contains the moisturizing ingredient allantoin, which is particularly comforting and soothing to dry skin.
This product also contains aquaxyl, which helps the skin retain water and improves the skin barrier and microbiome, while the pro-vitamin B5 (found naturally in mushrooms, lentils and avocados) keeps your skin ultra moisturized and soft.
7. AVEDA Exfoliating Cleanser
If your dry, flaking skin is bothering you due to its unsightly appearance, AVEDA exfoliating cleanser is the perfect choice for you. Flakes and scales are often the most bothersome symptom of dry skin, and exfoliating is the best way to get rid of them. That can be a struggle, however—how can you remove the flakes without further damaging and drying your already delicate skin?
That’s where this gentle exfoliating face wash comes in. It uses gentle jojoba exfoliating beads, which remove dead skin and improve skin cell turnover, but doesn’t strip your skin of essential natural oils. The beads are soft and gentle, and won’t scratch or damage your skin in any way.
As well as its exfoliating ingredients, this cleanser also features super hydrating mango butter, which penetrates deep into your face and softens and conditions, leaving your skin plump and glowing.
And did we mention this product smells absolutely stunning? Scented with pure plant essences so you know there’s nothing nasty in it, the cleanser contains certified organic lavender, ylang ylang, geranium, and orange extracts, which make using this cleanser a soothing and calming aromatherapy experience.
Unsurprisingly from a brand that is so committed to natural and organic ingredients, this face wash is totally free of any drying artificial ingredients such as silicones, parabens, and animal-derived ingredients, making it a great choice for the ethical consumer.
8. Paula’s Choice Hydrating Gel to Cream Cleanser
If you’re seeking a great, budget-friendly face wash to deal with your dry skin concerns, this might just be the product for you. Paula’s Choice Hydrating Gel-to-cream Cleanser is super hydrating and moisturizing without breaking the bank.
Specially formulated for dry and sensitive skin, this face wash has won a SELF Healthy Beauty Award for the best cleanser for sensitive skin, so you know that it’s not just us who recommend this product! The secret to this cleanser’s success is its unique formula. It transforms from a soothing cleansing gel to a hydrating cream when you apply it to wet skin.
When it comes to ingredients, it contains a unique superfood formula that is designed to strengthen your skin’s barrier and help reduce damage from everyday pollutants, leaving your skin healthy and glowing.
This product is great when used as the first step in a skincare routine, and is best followed up with a deep moisturizing cream to further prevent dryness.
9. Clinique Facial Soap Bar Mild
Sometimes when it comes to skincare, simplicity is the best. This is especially true when dealing with the issues that come with dry, sensitive skin. This is why Clinique’s mild facial soap bar is on our list of best face washes for dry skin in 2023—you really can’t beat the classics!
Developed by dermatologists, this soap is hand milled and is designed to gently cleanse your skin, leaving no residue behind when rinsed away. This is ideal for dry, sensitive skin, which can react to product residue.
One thing that you might not know about dry skin is that it can cause premature aging. This is not something you want to think about, but it’s true! Dryness leads to lack of hydration, which can lead to premature fine lines and sagging. This soap bar is designed to prevent this. It removes pollution stress from the skin and protects the skin’s natural moisture balance, leaving it hydrated and fresh.
We’ve already talked about how dry, tight skin on the face is one of the hallmarks of this skin problem. This product is specifically designed not to do this—in fact, you’ll find your skin feeling supple and softer than ever after using it.
One of the most important ingredients for dry skin is glycerin, a humectant that can hold far more than its weight in water. The glycerin in this product works by drawing and absorbing water from the air, allowing the skin to retain moisture and a plump, dewy appearance.
Lastly, this product is totally free of fragrances, which can be drying, and parabens and phthalates, which are known to be irritating for dry skin. So if you’ve tried a wide range of expensive and complicated formulas trying to solve your dry skin, give this soap a try for a change. You may find you are pleasantly surprised—sometimes simple really is best!
10. Lanolips Face Base GelCream Cleanser
This brand is branching out from their tried and true lip balms with great success! The same ingredient that makes their lip products so effective is proving to be excellent for dry facial skin. First and foremost, Lanolips GelCream Cleanser respects the skin’s pH balance, while strengthening and protecting the skin barrier. It is totally non-stripping, so won’t rob your face of its precious natural oils (particularly precious when you have dry skin).
This cleanser contains lanolin, derived from wool, which is molecularly extremely similar to human sebum. This makes the product perfect for almost every skin type and particularly good for dry skin. The lanolin words to put moisture back into the skin while supporting the skin’s natural functions, meaning your face will feel smooth, soft, and healthy, and your skin will look glowing and bright.
This cleanser works as both a gel and a cream—it has the efficiency of a gel cleanser, but the moisturizing powers of a cream. As well as lanolin, this cleanser also contains glycerin, which draws water into the skin leaving it ultra supple and hydrated.
Lastly, this product is completely free from all the irritating nasties that you don’t want in your skincare, including parabens, petrolatum, mineral oil, and sulfates. This one’s an obvious choice if you have dry skin—try this product today. You won’t regret it!
11. Tatcha The Rice Wash
Finishing off our list we have a bit of a splurge item. Sometimes you just need to treat yourself, you know? You may have heard of using rice water as a hair rinse to strengthen and nourish your hair, but did you know that it is also an important ingredient in skincare? This cleaner reflects the ancient Japanese practice of using rice in beauty rituals and is designed to leave your skin smooth, hydrated, and clean.
The ingredients are really what make this cleanser—starting out with the rice powder. This ingredient gives your skin a natural glow, and that’s especially important for dry skin, which can sometimes have a dull appearance.
Other ingredients in the blend include Japanese algae and hyaluronic acid. Japanese algae helps to protect the skin barrier, and hyaluronic acid is famous for its ability to absorb several times its weight in water, meaning your skin stays incredibly well hydrated.
Another essential ingredient in this cleanser is Hadasei-3, which is a fermented antioxidant product that assists to protect your skin’s microbiome and strengthen it so that it retains more moisture.
As you would expect from such a high-end product, this cleanser is totally free of any synthetic fragrances and other unpleasant chemicals, meaning you can be confident there is nothing in it that will dry or irritate your skin. So give this product a try—we think it’s worth the price!
After reading through this list, you might be feeling overwhelmed by your options. Don’t be! Caring for your dry skin doesn’t have to be difficult, and any product on this list will do a great job. If you’re not sure where to begin, we recommend Blu Atlas Volcanic Ash Face Wash as a great place to start.
But remember, if you try something and it isn’t working for you, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed. You could be sensitive to a specific ingredient in the product you’re using. Don’t give up, and try a different product. You’ll be sure to find one that suits your skin!
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