10 of the Best Hydrating Cleansers To Leave Your Skin Happy and Hydrated

Leave behind gorgeous, glowing skin.
(Credit: @selenagomez via Instagram)

Cleansing is an essential part of our skincare routine. However, it’s easy to be put off by that taut, uncomfortable feeling post-cleanse.

If you’re reading this and can relate to the feeling, chances are you probably have dry or normal to dry skin and using a moisture-boosting cleanser is the best chance to inject some much needed hydration into your skin. 

The simple cleanser is an essential part of our routine. In fact, it’s recommended we double cleanse, stripping your skin of the grime and dirt built up over the day. The only problem? This can also strip our skin of moisture and nourishment our skin needs.

In order to prevent over-drying your skin while you cleanse, look for formulas that are specially made for dry to normal skin types. 

The best cleansers to look out for are: 

  • Cream cleansers (or milks)  have thicker textures that include deep-nourishing ingredients, which will cleanse while moisturising. 
  • Balms use oils and emollients (moisturising ingredients) to remove built up grime over the day while keeping skin hydrated.
  • Oil cleansers are the ideal cleanser for those with dry skin as it lifts oily substances and removes dead skin and makeup while protecting the natural ‘lipid’ layer of skin and keeping it moisturised. 

We’re taking a look at some of our favourite cleansers on the market for dry and normal skin to help you on your cleansing journey. 

The best cleansers to shop for dry to normal skin in 2024

Banila Co Clean It Zero cleansing balm
(Credit: Banila Co)


Banila Co Clean It Zero cleansing balm

$25.20 (usually $36) at Adore Beauty

Best for: Nourishing but effective

A Korean skincare favourite, this balm is designed to leave skin hydrated and cleansed. Apply it to dry skin and massage well to remove makeup and daily dirt, adding a splash of water to help emulsify the formula before rinsing thoroughly.

Key features:

  • Recommended for dry skin
  • Fragrance, sulphate, mineral oil and paraben free

(Credit: Neutriderm)


Cleansing balm

$40 at Neutriderm

Best for: Supporting skin barrier

Another balm that’s great at breaking down makeup, SPF and sebum. This one is enriched with ceramides that help maintain and enhance the skin’s natural protective qualities.

Key features:

  • Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin
  • Use as first step in double cleansing routine
(Credit: Paula’s Choice)


Softening cream cleanser

$34 at Paula’s Choice

Best for: A dewy finish

This cleanser is super gentle but effective. The creamy formula removes makeup and dirt, leaving skin glowing and dewy. 

Key features:

  • Suitable for very dry, dehydrated and sensitive skin
  • Gently cleanses and removes makeup
Dope Skin Co AHA/BHA exfoliating cleanser
(Credit: Dope Skin Co)


AHA/BHA exfoliating cleanser

$39.95 at Dope Skin Co

Best for: Light exfoliation

Remove the layer of dead skin and clear clogged pores with this gently exfoliating cleanser. Ingredients like glycolic acid, citric acid, salicylic acid and niacinamide help to reveal a brighter complexion without stripping the skin. 

Key features:

  • Formulated to combat acne-prone skin and uneven texture
  • AHAs and BHAs exfoliate skin
  • Use at night
(Credit: Ere Perez)


Ere Perez Fig All-Beauty jelly

$54 at The Iconic

Best for: Hydrating mask

This jelly formula doesn’t just melt away dirt and makeup; it can also be used as a mask to lock in hydration. Apply a layer all over your face before bed and wakeup with glowing skin.

Key features:

  • Can be used as a makeup remover, cleanser and hydrating mask
  • Free from parabens, sulphates and animal products

(Credit: CeraVe)


CeraVe hydrating cleanser

$17.99 at Adore Beauty

Best for: A classic all-rounder

A simple cleanser that does it all, including removing all of your makeup without disrupting the skin barrier with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerine. 

Key features:

  • Free from artificial fragrance, sulphates, alcohol and parabens
  • Suitable for both face and body
  • Gentle on sensitive skin types

Also available at:

(Credit: Kiehl’s)


Midnight Recovery Botanical cleansing oil

$70 at Kiehl‘s

Best for: A botanical blend

This cleanser is a cult product from the brand that emulsifies into a milk with water and cleanses using its signature blend of botanical oils. 

Key features:

  • Made with evening primrose oil and squalane
  • Scented with lavender essential oil
  • Ophthalmologist-tested
(Credit: Alpha H)


Alpha-H balancing cleanser

$54.95 at Adore Beauty

Best for: Subtle scent

Ingredients like Vitamin E and Aloe Vera are responsible for leaving skin soft and hydrated.

Key features:

  • A non-greasy, gently fragrant formula
  • Made for all skin types
  • Removes makeup and SPF
(Credit: Holifrog)


Holifrog Tashmoo Water Lily milky wash cleanser

$54 at Sephora

Best for: Milky feel

A Korean beauty classic the Tashmoo Water Lily milky wash cleanser feels thick and lush while nourishing and hydrating. 

Key features:

  • Gel formula
  • Combats dryness and dullness
  • Suitable for combination, dry, normal and oily skin types

Also available at:

(Credit: Sukin)


Sukin signature cream cleanser

$7.47 (usually $14.95) at Chemist Warehouse

Best for: Made in Melbourne

The signature cream cleanser from this Aussie brand includes a combination of natural ingredients like rosehip, avocado, sesame and more to soothe skin, cleanse and hydrate. 

Key features:

  • Free from sulphates, artificial colours, synthetic fragrances and parabens
  • Natural oils nourish and hydrate skin
  • For normal to dry skin types

Also available at:

What type of cleanser is best for dehydrated skin?

Dry and dehydrated skin can benefit from cleansers that promise to add moisture and oil back into the skin. Dehydrated skin loves milky or cream cleansers that are packed with moisture-boosting ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Oil and balm cleansers can also be good for dry skin that is lacking oil. It’s best to avoid harsh or exfoliating products if your skin is suffering from dryness or dehydration.

Is a hydrating cleanser the same as a moisturiser?

Cleansers and moisturisers are two products that can support the skin’s needs – but they are separate steps in a beauty routine. Cleansing is the first thing you should do. It’s important for washing away makeup, SPF and daily dirt build-up. You might want to try using a balm or cleanser as a first step and following up with a milk, hydrating cleanser to make sure your skin is fully clean. Moisturisers should be used on clean skin, following any toners, essences or serums to help lock in moisture and boost the skin’s barrier.

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