These 5 face washes for dry skin really work for me

I’ve been a wellness editor for a decade, which means brands have been sending me new products to try for 10 years. During that time, I’ve tried about 5,600 face washes and about 99.5% of them have left my skin feeling tight and dry (this math may not be verified literally, but it’s *spiritually* accurate, You know ?). I’ve been let down by many promises of a “non-stripping” or “moisturizing” formula. Even when I took the advice of the dermatologists I interviewed and searched for words like “mild” and “creamy” on the label, and avoided potentially drying ingredients, more often than not , my skin was always at least a bit parched, especially in the colder months.

Sometimes a supposedly moisturizing cleanser to start with seemed to deliver on its promise, but when I gave it my 15 minute test – in which I wait about 15 minutes after cleansing before applying moisturizer to see if my face feels dry or tight – it gave me failed. (Note that it’s generally a good idea to apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp to help seal in more water, but I thought the moisturizing hit was worth it in my search of a truly non-stripping formula.)

But if you, too, can relate to the experience of a dry, tight face and a series of disappointing cleansers, I have good news for you: all my trial and (mostly) error has resulted in a list of a few face washes for dry skin that actually! To be honest, they require a compromise – most of them don’t completely remove my foundation, so on makeup days I have to use a gentle micellar water like my favorite Drunk Elephant E-Rase Milki Micellar Water ($18, Sephora) first. (A makeup remover that doesn’t dry out is another elusive find for me, but that’s a story for another article).

They also don’t replace moisturizer; Whether or not your cleanser isn’t drying, applying a facial moisturizer is an important part of any skincare routine. And because I know everyone’s skin is different, I’ll never promise that these face washes will work for you just because they work for me. But since I also know how frustrating it is to feel that uncomfortable dryness after washing your face with a promising product and spending the money, I thought it might be helpful to share my picks for the best cleansers. for the face for dry skin. I really, really hope they help you too.

1. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Gentle Hydrating Facial Cleanser

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Gentle Moisturizing Face Cleanser

This long-time darling of dermatologists is the first non-drying face wash I’ve discovered, so it has a special place in my heart and in my medicine cabinet. It delivers on the “gentle” promise, it’s fragrance-free, and it leaves my face feeling calm and not even a tiny bit stripped.

2. Ursa Major Making Moves Milky Cleanser

Ursa Major Making Moves Milky Cleanser

This one is newer on the scene and reminds me a lot of the La Roche-Posay formula above. The results are also similar: a comfortable, hydrated and happy face. A friend of mine with ultra-sensitive, rosacea-prone skin is also a big fan.

3. Tula Super Calm Gentle Cleansing Milk for Sensitive Skin

Tula Gentle Cleansing Milk Sensitive Skin Super Calm

Speaking of sensitive skin, when mine is very dry and irritated (after winter runs, for example), I always take this Tula cleanser. It has soothing aloe and colloidal oatmeal and calms my face. I consider it my comfort cleanser.

4. Eight Saints Bright Side Cream Cleanser

Eight Saints Bright Side Cream Cleanser

This one also has soothing aloe and, in addition to keeping my skin comfortable, it leaves it feeling a bit smoother, perhaps because it contains exfoliating glycolic acid.

5. Coconut Oil and Milk Cleanser

Image may contain: human, person and bottle

Coco Kind Oil To Milk Cleanser Microbiome Nourishing Facial Cleanser

The application process was an adjustment for me – you apply it to your dry face with damp hands – but I love how this cleanser seems to remove most of my makeup without drying me out. And even though it’s oil-based, it didn’t make me break out either.

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