This is the very first cleanser I bought and so I thought it would be appropriate to be one of my first reviews. I have to admit, it’s not the most exciting looking cleanser (I’m looking at you Tony Moly), but it’s a big bottle and it didn’t cost much. Win-win in my book! Let’s get to the review!

Product information:

From the CeraVe website:

Its unique, patented MVE® formulation releases ceramides and other essential ingredients throughout the day, to provide long term moisturizing benefit to hydrate and nourish the skin. While hyaluronic acid (a humectant) attracts moisture to the top layer of the skin, ensuring skin remains hydrated after washing.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

This cleanser has a pH of 6.


Purified Water, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-II, Ceramide 1, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol, Polyoxyl 40 Stearate, Glyceryl Monostearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Potassium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cetyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Phytosphingosine, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum.

Here is the CosDNA ingredient analysis for anyone interested!

Ingredient Highlights: 


Glycerin is a skin-identical humectant, meaning it is identical to a substance found in the skin and attracts and holds water molecules.  Part of its activity is to help enzymatic reactions in the skin and to promote the shedding of its top layer.  It exhibits water attracting abilities similar to that of natural moisturizing factor (NMF), which is a molecule found in the outermost layers of the skin that can absorb large quantities of water even if humidity is low; it allows the skin to maintain a suffucuent hydration level even in a dry environment.  Glycerin is a mimic of NMF.


Ceramides are a family of lipid molecules naturally found in high concentrations in the cell membrane and make up a major part of the lipid bilayer. They participate in cellular signaling and, together with cholesterol and saturated fatty acids, forms a water-impermeable barrier that helps prevent excessive water loss due to evaporation.  They act to repair dry skin, improve skin hydration, and increase skin softness.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid has an extraordinary ability to attract and retain moisture, up to 1000 times its own weight, making it a potent humectant. It is widely distributed in the skin and is involved in tissue repair and healing.  You can read more about hyaluronic acid in a previous post here.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

The cleanser is a thick white cream that spreads easily.


The CeraVe Hydrating cleanser comes in a large plastic bottle with a very hygienic (but unsexy) pump. The cleanser itself comes out as a thick white cream with no smell.  I have been using this cleanser for the last eight weeks and it is fantastic. Seriously, I could write a PhD dissertation about how awesome it is.  I apply a big blob to my fingertips and massage it very gently onto my face twice daily, morning and night. It leaves my skin soft and supple and smooth to the touch. After I cleanse I don’t feel any dryness or tightness.

How does it perform removing makeup?




As you can see from the image above, it doesn’t quite remove the black eyeliner (Magic Marc’er Precision Pen in Blacquer by Marc Jacobs) or the red lipstick (Cremesheen Lipstick in Brave Red by MAC).  I wouldn’t rely on this cleanser to be your sole makeup remover.  Make sure to use another makeup removing method first!  As a side note, I had to use the Tony Moly Broccoli Sprout cleanser (pictured at the beginning of this post) to get the rest of the makeup off my hand.

The CeraVe website claims:

Ideal for use on the face and body

– Ceramides help replenish the skin barrier

– Hyaluronic acid attracts needed moisture

– Emollients moisturize and soften very dry skin

I have to say that these claims are essentially true. As above, ceramides help repair the skin’s natural barrier. Hyaluronic acid helps the skin retain moisture. Emollients, such as behentrimonium methosulfate, reduce evaporation and allow the skin to retain moisture, making it softer and more supple.

I have not broken out or had any sensitivity reactions to this cleanser since I have been using it.


This cleanser has it all: barrier repair ingredients, humectants, and emollients all help to keep moisture in and repair the skin’s barrier function. If you have dry skin and are looking for a good all around cleanser that isn’t too hard on the wallet, this is it.

Repurchase? Big yes!


  • Hydrating ingredients
  • Gentle
  • Not so great at removing makeup
  • Inexpensive
  • Recommended to buy

Score: 4.5/5

Where to buy:



Baumann, L. (2009). Cosmetic Dermatology: Principles and Practice (2nd ed.). United States: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing.

Baumann, L. (2014). Cosmeceuticals and cosmetic ingredients. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional.

Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary A – Z: Cosmetics Cop Expert Advice. (n.d.). Retrieved 28 February 2015, from

Michalun, M. V., & Dinardo, J. C. (2015). Milady Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary (4th ed.). Clifton Park, NY, USA: Cengage Learning.

Winter, R. (2009). A consumer’s dictionary of cosmetic ingredients: complete information about the harmful and desirable ingredients found in cosmetics and cosmeceuticals. United States: Three Rivers Press.


Edited on November 19, 2015 for formatting.