I've been using this $18 drugstore cleanser for years — here's why I love it

Alyssa Tria
·Shopping Editor
·4 min read
This dermatology-approved cleanser has been my go-to for years and it’s on sale right now for only $13
This dermatology-approved cleanser has been my go-to for years and it’s on sale right now for only $13

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A solid foundation to good skin starts with a good cleanser. But with an endless stream of products filling the skincare aisle, finding the right one to cater to your skin type and concerns is easier said than done. So, where do you start looking when considering an update to your nighttime routine? While I completely support the idea of splurging on a luxurious do-it-all cleanser, I say a good place to start looking is the drugstore.

Whether you’re dealing with acne, severe dryness, enlarged pores and/or ageing skin, thankfully brands like Cetaphil, Neutrogena, Vichy and reputable names make effective cleansers for a reasonable price. But for years I’ve been relying on this one particular drugstore formula as my everyday go-to. Rivalling all the high-end PR samples I receive to review is the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser — honestly, I haven’t come across a formulation that has reacted better to my skin.

During a time when I had struggled the most with hormonal acne, my dermatologist suggested I switch up my skincare routine to help tackle the severe dehydration of winter — because in the mix of enlarged pores and breakouts across my forehead and chin, I also had to deal with the sensitive dry patches around my nose and cheeks. That’s when he recommended I try this gentle cleanser by CeraVe.

Developed with dermatologists and powered with essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid, the Hydrating Cleanser effectively cleanses and hydrates without disrupting the natural skin protective barrier making it the perfect choice for all skin types.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

CeraVe
CeraVe

Shop it: Amazon, $18


Even without an initial cleanse (micellar water or an oil cleanser), this hydrating texture carefully melts away makeup, dirt and debris and leaves my face feeling extremely clean. Since incorporating this face wash into my nighttime routine, I’ve not noticed a drastic improvement in the number of breakouts I get. I mean, there’s really no way around avoiding a cystic pimple (I’ve accepted it), but it has really helped me control my acne in the simplest way possible.

Perfect for those with chronic skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, the Hydrating Cleanser gently penetrates pores without painfully stripping away the skin’s moisture. It’s lotion-like texture lathers extremely well with water, so it leaves your skin a soft, smooth finish without leaving any heavy residue and scent.

CeraVe
CeraVe

“I love this product, it took about 1-2 weeks to see results and of course, I do still get acne (bigger ones almost never small normal acne anymore) but damn does this product reduce it. Confidence has risen thanks to this product! Highly recommend, at least it works for me,” reads one five-star Amazon review.

“I use this twice daily and used it while taking Accutane. Its the perfect gentle cleanser that doesn't dry out your skin. My skin is never tight after use, always super soft,” reads another.

“This cleanser is awesome,” adds another reviewer. “It is the one and only cleanser that doesn’t strip my face of moisture and leave it feeling dry and tight.”

However, the same commenter does warn that there’s one downside.

“It does contain parabens though, so if you are anti-paraben, then this isn’t for you,” the comment warns. “Not an issue for me, so it’s my go-to cleanser which I use morning and night.”

Looking for more options? Scroll our edit of the best drugstore cleaners.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Shop it: Amazon, $16

Burt's Bees Brightening Daily Facial Cleanser

Burt's Bees Brightening Daily Facial Cleanser
Burt's Bees Brightening Daily Facial Cleanser

Shop it: Shoppers Drug Mart, $13

Neutrogena Daily Foaming Facial Cleanser

Neutrogena Daily Foaming Facial Cleanser
Neutrogena Daily Foaming Facial Cleanser

Shop it: Walmart, $8 (originally $10)

Yes to Charcoal 2-in-1 Scrub & Cleanser Stick

Yes to Charcoal 2-in-1 Scrub & Cleanser Stick
Yes to Charcoal 2-in-1 Scrub & Cleanser Stick

Shop it: Walmart, $14

Bioré Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser

Bioré Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser
Bioré Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser

Shop it: Amazon, $9

Olay Regenerist Cleansing Whip Facial Cleanser

Olay Regenerist Cleansing Whip Facial Cleanser
Olay Regenerist Cleansing Whip Facial Cleanser

Shop it: Amazon, $10

Vichy Deep Purifying Cleansing Gel

Vichy Deep Purifying Cleansing Gel
Vichy Deep Purifying Cleansing Gel

Shop it: Vichy, $19

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser  
Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser

Shop it: Amazon, $11

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