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Cetaphil's $10 Face Cleanser Has a Cult Following

You may feel tempted to try every type of face wash (waters! gels! lotions!), but when it comes to taking care of your dry skin, simple — and hydrating — is better. "Gentle cleansers are best, with no fragrances," says Amy McMichael, M.D., a professor and chair of the department of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Health. "Cleansers with ceramides can be particularly moisturizing as well."

The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab has a long history of testing face washes for cleansing efficacy and effects on skin. The beauty team scours the market for the best face washes, which are then vetted by Beauty Lab scientists. The product labels are then masked to eliminate brand bias before they are distributed to hundreds of consumers across the country. Testers use the products in their regular routine then evaluate them on criteria including ease of application, texture, scent, and how effectively they wash away makeup, impurities, and excess oil without irritation. In the most recent GH Beauty Lab face washes test, 4,512 data points were tallied to find the best face wash for dry skin.

How to find the best face wash for dry skin

When shopping for the best face cleansers for dry skin, including sensitive skin, choose a formula by looking for the same hydrating ingredients you'd find in moisturizers, like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and botanical oils and butters. On product packaging, seek out key words such as moisturizing, moisture, hydrating, hydration, nourishing, softening, and for dry or dehydrated skin to find formulas that are tailored to dry skin types. And don't stop at face wash: "Dry facial skin will really require a moisturizer, since cleanser alone is not usually enough," Dr. McMichael explains. (Luckily, we've got you covered with the best face moisturizers.)

Whether you prefer a liquid, gel, foam, cream, or balm formula (or something in between!), we've got an option for you. These best face washes for dry skin tested by the scientists in the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab and recommended by dermatologists and shoppers will help hydrate, smooth, and nourish your complexion in no time through any season, from winter and beyond.