Moisturising & Gentle: Top-Rated Cleansers Formulated For Dry Skin

'Made for you' skin care.
Liv Tyler

Dry skin has a special set of needs that your skin care routine has to meet. For example, your face doesn’t simply need a cleanser, it needs the best cleanser for dry skin. But first, back to those needs…

Most importantly (and most obviously) is the lack of moisture, which is undeniably the main culprit for that dry, tight-skinned feeling you get post-shower, and those unsightly dry patches that your foundation annoyingly clings to.

Although the most obvious solution to the aforementioned quandaries would be to slather yourself in the thickest moisturiser you have in your bathroom cabinet, the key to keeping your skin moisturised all day is actually a formative skin care step that you probably don’t pay much attention to.

That’s right, the cleanser that spends all of five minutes on your face could be setting your skin up for failure if the formula is not intended to be used on dry skin.

Why? Well, traditional cleansers tend to be formulated with foaming agents and soaps that help to remove dirt, oil, sebum, and dead skin from the surface of the skin. This sounds great in theory, but when it comes to dry skin, these foaming agents can remove natural oils, which are vital in helping to keep the skin moisturised.

The solution? Try switching to a cleanser that clearly advertises itself as a cleanser for dry skin. Alternatively, cream and gel-based cleansers are also great options for dry skin as they tend to be formulated with moisture-replenishing ingredients rather than foaming agents.

Stuck on where to start? Not a problem. Keep scrolling to discover marie claire’s favourite top-rated cleansers for dry skin…

The best cleanser for dry skin 2024


Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser

from $40.70 at Amazon Australia

This gentle pick works into a creamy lather that helps to buff away impurities without impairing the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Infused with squalane, apricot kernel oil, vitamin E and avocado oil, it simultaneously nourishes and refreshes the complexion.

Sizes: 150ml

Key features:

  • Infused with squalane, apricot kernel oil, vitamin E and avocado oil
  • Creamy, foaming formula
  • Effectively cleanses skin without drying it out
  • Nourishes and refreshes the skin

Available at:


Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

from $50 at Amazon Australia

Soy proteins replace foaming agents in this skin-softening formula. Fresh has prioritised hydration (alongside purifying the complexion, of course) to create a cleanser that helps to enhance the skin’s hydration levels long after you’ve finished washing your face.

Sizes: 50mL/150mL/400mL

Key features:

  • Enriched with soy proteins, cucumber extract, rose extract and aloe
  • Helps to hydrate skin after cleansing
  • Soy proteins replace foaming agents to purify the skin
  • Softens skin

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First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser

from $39 at Look Fantastic

Boasting a unique whipped texture, this powerful skin purifier combines the elements of your favourite cleanser and moisturiser, transforming into a rich cream when combine with water. The result? Oil, dirt, impurities, dead skin, makeup and more are all washed away with ease, without affecting the balance of your skin.

Sizes: 226g / 142g

Key features:

  • Contains soothing allantoin and aloe, moisturising glycerin, and an antioxidant blend to combat free radicals
  • Whipped texture transforms to a rich cream
  • Cleans away dirt, impurities, makeup and excess oil
  • ph-balanced

Available at:


The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

from $18.30 at Priceline

The Ordinary has pumped this emulsifying cleanser full of moisturising squalane to help combat moisture loss during the cleansing process. Essentially, the brand has effectively managed to create a luxurious experience for less than $20. Genius.

Sizes: 50mL/150mL

Key features:

  • Infused with squalane
  • Creamy, emulsifying formula
  • Specifically formulated with dry skin in mind
  • Replenishes moisture levels
  • Doesn’t strip skin of its natural oils

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Youth To The People Superfood Cleanser

from $66 at Sephora

Inspired by body-replenishing green juices, this superfood cleanser contains a blend of potent cold-pressed antioxidants extracted from superfood ingredients such as kale, spinach, and green tea. Together, this healthy cohort protect and replenish essential fatty acids and enhance the overall radiance of the complexion.

Sizes: 59ml/237mL

Key features:

  • Enriched with superfood ingredients (kale, spinach and green tea)
  • Replenishes essential fatty acids
  • Enhances radiance
  • Antioxidant-rich formula
  • ph-balanced

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CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

from $22.99 at Chemist Warehouse

Infused with CeraVe’s signature triple ceramide blend and hyaluronic acid, this hydrating, gentle cleanser works to reinforce the skin’s natural moisture barrier during the cleansing process.

Sizes: 236mL/473mL/ 1L

Key features:

  • Contains CeraVe’s signature triple ceramide blend and hyaluronic acid
  • Reinforces the skin’s natural moisture barrier
  • Gently cleanses skin
  • ph-balanced
  • Non-comedogenic

Available at:

What is the best cleanser for dry skin?

When cleansing dry skin, it’s important to pick a cleanser that’s gentle on skin. Cream and gel based cleansers are both great options as they help to purify the skin without stripping it of its natural moisture, whereas a foaming cleanser might prove to be too astringent and make dry skin feel even drier as a result. It’s also a good idea to be mindful of the temperature of the water you’re using to wash your face with, as hot water tends to strip and dry skin also. Tepid or warm water is ideal. We’d also recommend against patting your face dry after cleansing, as the excess water on skin can help additional skin care such as serums and moisturisers penetrate deeper, rendering them more effective at maintaining moisture levels in the skin.

Looking to save money on cleanser for dry skin? Check out our coupon codes for MECCA, Sephora and more.

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