Which CeraVe Cleanser Is Best For You? A Cleanser Comparison (2023)

When it comes to high-quality, affordable cleansers, CeraVe is a hard brand to ignore. CeraVe cleansers are famous the world over due to their gentle formulas that cleanse without stripping the skin, but there’s one small downside: there’s just too many of them! If you’ve ever found yourself struggling to choose the best CeraVe cleanser for your skin type and skin needs, trust us: you’re not alone.

To make things a little easier, we’ve decided to run an in-depth CeraVe cleanser comparison. We’re gathered our team, tried every cleanser, and we’re here to report back on our findings. Come along!

CeraVe Cleanser Comparison: Our Analysis

Before we dive deep into our CeraVe cleanser comparison, let us tell you how we did things. First, we gathered our team. Then, we gathered our six CeraVe cleansers, and analyzed each according to the following criteria:

  • The key ingredients in each formula;
  • The suitability of each cleanser for each skin type;
  • The texture of the product straight out of the pump;
  • The textire of the product after emulsifying;
  • How each cleanser feels on the skin

Keep in mind that, here at Care to Beauty, we stock the European version of each cleanser, so our analysis is based on those specific formulas.

Another important thing to keep in mind that, yes, CeraVe cleansers are all different, but they’ve also got a few things in common:

  • CeraVe cleansers doen’t contain fragrance, alcohol denat, or parabens;
  • They are all supposed to be rinsed off the skin with water;
  • They are all suitable for sensitive (as is CeraVe in general).

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get to the comparison!

What is the best CeraVe cleanser?

Each CeraVe cleanser has a legion of fans, but that doesn’t make it right for everyone–or right for you. Here at Care to Beauty, we don’t believe in one cleanser to rule them all! Instead, we believe that the best cleanser for you is the one you can see yourself using on the daily, without breaking out (or drying out) your skin. We don’t expect you to try every CeraVe cleanser in order to figure that out, so we’re doing the hard work for you.

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Keep reading to get our full CeraVe cleanser comparison, or skip right to the cleanser you’re more curious about:

  • CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
  • CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser
  • CeraVe Hydrating Foaming Oil Cleanser
  • CeraVe Foaming Cleanser
  • CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser
  • Cerave Micellar Cleansing Water

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

Which CeraVe Cleanser Is Best For You? A Cleanser Comparison (1)

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Normal to Dry Skin

The Hydrating Cleanser is a crowd pleaser; TikTok and Reddit users are crazy about it! It’s a creamy lotion that doesn’t lather, so it feels like you’re washing your face with a body lotion.

Even though the packaging suggests this cleanser is ideal for “normal to dry skin”, our experience has shown that it’s also an absolute winner for sensitive skin, or for acne-prone skin undergoing acne treatments. If you’ve got combination to oily skin, maybe proceed with caution with this one: we’ve had reports of skin breakouts, due to the coconut derivatives in the formula.

Lastly, if you’re a fan of foaming cleansers–or need extreme makeup removal–, this may not be the cleanser for you. Plenty more to see, though!

Key ingredients:3 essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid
Best for:Normal to dry skin
Acne-prone skin during acne treatments
A compromised skin barrier, rosacea, eczema
Combination to oily skin, depending on personal tolerance
(see photo)
Creamy lotion
How it feels on the skin:Like cleansing with a light body lotion, without any lather

CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser

Which CeraVe Cleanser Is Best For You? A Cleanser Comparison (3)

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CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser Normal to Dry Skin

This cleanser is another versatile little wonder. Although the bottle states that it’s suitable for dry to very dry skin, anyone can use it. In fact, this one is super popular among our team members who have oily skin! This cleanser comes out of the pump as a light lotion, but it creates a soft lather it comes into contact with water.

The foaming formula is very good at removing makeup and sunscreen, making this cleanser a great choice for anyone who’s looking for a deep, thorough cleanse. The only downside to this cleanser? It’s only available in the small size!

Key ingredients:Amino acids, 3 essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid
Best for:All skin types
Dehydrated skin
Anyone who has dry skin but enjoys the feeling of washing the face with water
(see photo)
Light lotion,
How it feels on the skin:It turns from lotion to soft foam after adding water

CeraVe Hydrating Foaming Oil Cleanser

Which CeraVe Cleanser Is Best For You? A Cleanser Comparison (5)

CeraVe Hydrating Foaming Oil Cleanser

This cleanser is the newest addition to the range of CeraVe cleansers. The first thing you need to know about is that, contrary to the name, it’s not oily at all. Think of this cleanser as a gel cleanser that is enriched with plenty of lipids–making it ultra-nourishing.

You may have guessed by now that this cleanser is perfect for anyone with dry to very dry skin, but also for those who sometimes forget to moisturize after cleansing. (We’ve got some of those in our team!) Just keep in mind that this is definitely not an oil cleanser in the style of those you would use as the first step of double cleansing. Always think of it as a rather nourishing foaming gel, and you won’t be disappointed by your purchase.

(Video) Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser Review: Is It Any Good?!

Key ingredients:Hyaluronic acid, squalane, niacinamide, 3 essential ceramides
Best for:Dry to very dry skin
Anyone with eczema
Babies and children
Anyone who forgets to moisturize after cleansing!
(see photo)
Rich, nourishing gel
How it feels on the skin:Like a creamy gel transforming into a soft lather

CeraVe Foaming Cleanser

Which CeraVe Cleanser Is Best For You? A Cleanser Comparison (7)

CeraVe Foaming Cleanser Normal to Oily Skin

This cleanser is the closest to a traditional cleansing gel, but you can rest assured: it’s not stripping at all. We know some cleansing gels have gained a bad reputation for leaving the skin a bit too squeaky clean, but this isn’t one of them. In fact, this cleansing gel also contains the CeraVe ceramides that make these cleansers so gentle, as well as niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.

Overall, this gel is the best option for you if you have oily skin, or if you’re a fan of very foamy cleansers!

Key ingredients:Niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, 3 essential ceramides
Best for:Combination to oily skin
Anyone with normal to dry skin, provided they like the feeling of a gel cleanser;
How it feels on the skin:It transforms from gel to soft and abundant lather

CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser

Which CeraVe Cleanser Is Best For You? A Cleanser Comparison (9)

CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser Bumpy Skin

This gel is similar to the CeraVe Foaming Cleanser in consistency, but it brings an added bonus: it contains salicylic acid. So, what does this mean? It means that it can have a beneficial effect on your acne-targeted skincare routine. Not only this, but it’s also perfect to minimize ingrown hairs or keratosis pilaris (aka “chicken skin”).

(Video) Derm Reviews: Cerave Renewing SA Cleanser | NOT SPONSORED

Given that this cleanser contains an active ingredient, you should use it with caution on sensitive skin.

Key ingredients:Salicylic acid, niacinamide, 3 essential ceramides
Best for:Combination to oily skin
Acne-prone skin, or skin with blemishes
Keratosis pilaris;
How it feels on the skin:Like the CeraVe Foaming Cleanser, it transforms from gel to soft and abundant lather

Cerave Micellar Cleansing Water

Which CeraVe Cleanser Is Best For You? A Cleanser Comparison (11)

CeraVe Micellar Cleansing Water

Besides these five cleansers, there is a sixth option that you can choose from. It’s obviously very different from the others, but still worth mentioning: the Cerave Micellar Cleansing Water. This is the perfect option if you like to double cleanse with micellar water first, in order to remove makeup or sunscreen, and then follow with a face wash.

This micellar water is suitable for sensitive skin and contains no fragrance. However, it does contain the trademark ceramides that CeraVe is known for, along with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. Make sure to rinse it off too!

We hope we’ve helped you choose your CeraVe cleanser! Make sure to stop by the brand page to check out some interesting nourishing and affordable creams and lotions.


Which of the CeraVe cleanser is the best? ›

CeraVe's Foaming Cleanser is recommended by dermatologists due to the way it gently cleanses sensitive skin with a refreshing foam action and calms the skin with the B3 vitamin, niacinamide.

What's the difference between green and blue CeraVe? ›

The colors represent the different lines. The blue line is the moisturizers, the green is the cleansers, the purple is the Skin Renewing line (which can contain retinol).

What's the difference between CeraVe hydrating cleanser and SA cleanser? ›

Though both cleansers boast the same nourishing base of essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid, the Renewing SA Cleanser also contains: Salicylic Acid: exfoliates dead skin, keeps pores clean and unclogged, reduces sebum production, and its anti-inflammatory properties make it a prime ingredient for those with acne.

What is the difference between CeraVe foaming cleanser and SA Smoothing Cleanser? ›

This forms the basis of the biggest difference between the two: the Renewing SA Cleanser is an exfoliating cleanser - perfect for those with concerns regarding skin texture (such as rough/bumpy skin) - whereas the Foaming Facial Cleanser is a regular daily cleanser, primarily targeted at those with oilier skin types.

How do I choose the right cleanser? ›

Look for a cleanser that is hypoallergenic, free of fragrance, chemicals, or alcohol and has a non-foaming formula. It's also important to avoid antibacterial soaps and cleansers with exfoliators such as salicylic or glycolic acid, which can all dry out your skin.

Can I use CeraVe SA cleanser everyday? ›

It is safe to use products with salicylic acid in everyday skin care, unless it is specified otherwise on the product usage guidelines or by your health care professional. CeraVe's Salicylic Acid range includes products such as Cerave's SA Smoothing Cream and SA Smoothing Cleanser that are suitable for daily use.


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