The point of washing your face is to rid it of makeup, dirt, pollution, and excess oil. But, your skin shouldn’t feel deprived when you’re done cleansing. So, if your skin feels dry and tight after you wash your face, then you need to look into a hydrating cleanser. “Hydrating cleansers are specially formulated to gently cleanse the skin of dirt and oils without stripping the skin barrier,” board certified dermatologist Lina Kennedy, MD, FAAD, told 21Ninety.

How does a hydrating cleanser work?

As you’ve probably guessed by the name, hydrating cleansers keep your skin comfortable by incorporating a balanced amount of cleansing agents and moisturizing ingredients. The ingredients that clean your skin (also known as surfactants) wash away dirt, debris, and oil. 

Hydrating cleansers also contain a few types of moisturizing ingredients: emollients, occlusive agents, and humectants. “Emollients help to lubricate and soften the skin, occlusive agents form a layer on the skin’s surface to retain water, and humectants attract and hold water in the skin,” board certified dermatologist Faranak Kamangar, MD, told 21Ninety. 

How to find the best hydrating cleaner

In general, there are three things to consider when shopping for a hydrating cleanser. First, you want to know what type of skin you have. The main categories are dry, sensitive, oily, or combination skin. So, if you have oily skin you’ll want to use a hydrating cleanser designed for your specific skin type. 

Then, you’ll want to check the formula to make sure that you won’t be irritated by any of the ingredients. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to “avoid cleansers that contain harsh ingredients such as sulfates or fragrances,” per Dr. Kamangar’s recommendation. 

Finally, reach for a cleanser that is pH balanced. According to Dr. Kamangar the skin’s pH is around 5.5.

“Using a cleanser with a pH close to the skin’s natural pH helps to maintain the skin’s barrier function and prevent disruption of the skin’s acid mantle,” the board-certified dermatologist explained. 

All of that said, both experts recommend consulting a dermatologist if you’re ever confused on what you should use on your skin.

Krave Beauty Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser

If you have oily skin, reach for Krave Beauty’s Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser. It starts out as a gel and melts into a gentle lather that cleans dirt and light makeup in one wash. Plus, it has glycerin in the formula. Glycerin is usually used as a humectant so it will pull water into your skin and keep it there. The result? A comfortable clean.

SkinCeuticals Soothing Cleanser

Photo Courtesy of Dermstore

This Soothing Cleanser from SkinCeuticals is a gentle hydrating cleanser that was made with sensitive skin in mind. It’s made with a significant amount of glycerin and cucumber extract. More importantly, there’s no sulfates or added fragrances in the mix to irritate your skin.

Avène Tolerance Extremely Gentle Cleanser Lotion

Avène’s Tolerance Extremely Gentle Cleanser Lotion doesn’t need to be washed off – making it a great choice for dry skin. It’s a cleansing lotion that you apply to a cotton round (or reusable round) and swipe onto your face. It feels like you’re applying a milky toner. Plus, once you’ve wiped your whole face, your skin can still drink in the moisturizing formula.

Paula’s Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser

The Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser from Paula’s Choice is a hydrating cleanser with a lotion consistency. One of its main ingredients is glycerin. So, this cleanser is powerful enough to remove makeup and excess oil without leaving your skin dry or tight.

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser is a fragrance-free way to keep your skin clean and comfortable. The fragrance-free formula is packed with glycerin and ceramide. Ceramides are occlusive so they help your skin retain its moisture all day and night. Plus, depending on your skin, your skin might feel so comfortable that all you’ll need to do is apply SPF in the morning. And, a touch of cream at night.

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