MoonKitty wrote a great review below, summarizing the pros & cons of this cleanser.
It's a simple, straightforward, no-frills cleanser that does what it says: cleans without irritating or drying sensitive skin.
I have combo skin and trying to cut costs, bought this as a less-expensive replacement for my Clinique extra mild facial cleanser. I don't miss the clinique at all.
I really liked the foaming cleanser, but sadly, it was a bit drying for my dehydrated oily skin. The hydrating cleanser, which has a very lotion-like consistency, isn't drying in the least bit, but I have been experiencing some breakouts.
I'm not sure what is causing my clogged pores but I suspect it is because the cleanser cannot break through the oil on my skin, or because of the slight film the cleanser leaves on my face.
In regard to my comment about oil: My skin is dehydrated but it is still very much oily skin. When I wake up in the morning, my T-zone is especially oily. If I try to use this cleanser, my skin still feels unclean and a bit slick, as if the cleanser cannot break through the oil on my face.
I guess it's a bit obvious, but I don't think this would be a very good cleanser for the very oily, either because it might not be effective against a good amount of oil, or because the slight film it leaves might be particularly clog-prone on oilier skin types.
Bought this after switching to a higher percentage retinoid and experiencing too much sensitivity to use my old face washes for oily skin. My face was dry and peeling, and burned when I put on most products. This stuff hasn't irritated it (even Cetaphil bothers my skin sometimes) and leaves my skin feeling neither greasy nor parched, just clean. I like that it has some nice ingredients (hyaluronic acid, ceramides, niacinamide), but not sure how much they do since it's only on my face for a minute at a time. Still, a gentle, effective product. If I notice a rise in breakouts after using this for a longer period, I'll update. For now, though, I'm adding this to the rotation, along with my arsenal of CeraVe products, which are all pretty amazing as far as I can tell.
The important thing for me with facial cleansers is not what they do- but what they don't do. My skin is pretty sensitive and reacts badly to almost every facial cleanser ever, but this cleanser does nothing bad. It doesn't do anything wonderful either, but it cleans gently, removes makeup, and doesn't hurt my skin- no break outs, no dryness, no itchiness. No strong scents. Just gently cleans.
This is by far my favorite cleanser! I am currently on my second bottle. It is so affordable; $16CAD for a 10oz / 355mL bottle with pump at my local drugstore. The cleanser doesn't foam up or dry out my skin, and it has a gel texture to it. It feels like I am putting on a light serum on my face and then rinsing it off.
You don't need to use a lot of the product if you don't have makeup on (I always use my makeup remover before I use my cleanser), I usually do half or one pump and then rub it all over my face with my hands, avoiding the eye area.
The packaging is alright, just simple and durable. The only downside is that the label will start to peel off in bits after half a year or so. It's not a big deal for me since I always put this cleanser in a prettier bottle.
I think this cleanser may very well be the most ideal choice for cleansing my dry, flaky and sensitive skin!
-This product is very economical: it costs about 1 dollar per oz. Sometimes less, depending on where you buy from. Fabulous!
-Doesn't contain any fragrances or irritants. Score!
-Very gentle; my skin has never felt overly dry prior to using this product. It makes my skin feel very balanced.
-Does a fair job of removing makeup. (Pre-cleansing with a makeup-removing oil or lotion is recommend, though.)
-Contains some really beneficial ingredients, like Ceramides and Hyaluronic Acid. Not sure how much they'll actually benefit the skin, since they are washed off after about a minute, but it's a nice bonus.
-Great packaging; pump dispenser has a lock so if you're traveling, there's no risk of spillage.
A few potential cons:
-To me, it seems like the thin texture of this product makes me doubt whether I'm using enough. It makes me feel inclined to use more product than may actually be necessary.
Also, note: I did experience an increase of acne breakouts when I first began using this product. I'm not POSITIVE that this product was to blame, but it seemed to correlate at the time. However, after a short amount of time, the acne subsided and my skin has returned to normal with continued use of this product. In fact, my skin is better than ever. I know most dermatologists scoff at the whole "skin purging" concept, but for me, I felt like my skin did need a little bit of time to get used to this product. What I'm trying to say is, if you start getting a slight increase in acne after beginning use of this product, don't give up on it right away. Keep it up for a few weeks if you can. It's a really great cleanser, and I hope many more people find success with this product!
UPDATE: Downgrading from 5 lippies to 3. Now that it's summertime AND since I've resumed using makeup (a CC cream with SPF & a little setting powder), I find this does NOT effectively cleanse my skin. I'll keep it around for winter time when I tend to get dry, or in case my skin becomes 'reactive' and irritated for some reason, but it's not the HG cleanser I initially thought it was. I appreciate its mildness, but for daily makeup removal, particularly in the warmer months, it's simply TOO mild. And to those who claim some reviews are being too harsh and that this product 'isn't intended to remove makeup', the cleanser's own description clearly states, "use daily, morning and night, to remove dirt, oil, and makeup." MAKEUP. So, there you have it. I'm just saying.
(Initial review) Recently I got a little too enthusiastic about wanting to improve my skin's the texture, the tone, the whole bit. I used retinol serums, exfoliated, blended my own vitamin C serum, all in the name of better skin . . . and it was a disaster. I began breaking out, and when I wasn't breaking out I was experiencing little bumps beneath my skin, redness and general irritation. Why didn't my skin appreciate all I was trying to do for it?
No matter - I realized I needed to put down the serums, step away from the exfoliators, and simply, gently, cleanse my skin.
Enter CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. It's super mild, doesn't lather, and doesn't really contain any "exciting" ingredients. But it's lovely - after just one use I could almost hear my skin sigh in relief. Rather than my skin feeling squeaky clean and tight, it just felt . . . nice.
I should mention that because I have oily skin and live in a warm, humid climate, I first tried the Foaming Cleanser but found it a bit too drying for daily use, so I quickly switched to the Hydrating version and have been SO pleased with the results. My skin is soft, I've not had any breakouts (knock on wood!), and the little bumps and redness I was experiencing are gone. It could be my imagination, but I also believe my skin is less oily as well. Hmmmm.
Also worth mentioning: I don't wear heavy foundation, most days just a little CC cream and powder at the most, so I can't vouch for the makeup removal capabilities, and I use an entirely different cleanser to remove eye makeup. BUT, if you're looking for an affordable, readily available, gentle and effective cleanser (from a company that does not test on animals, by the way), give this one a try.
I used Cetaphil for a few years ago a while back, but stopped when I started wearing more heavy-duty makeup and realized it wasn't cleaning it all off when I'd wash my face at night. I"m also not too fond of its ingredients. After that I kind of jumped from facewash to facewash, sticking with a few for a while but then realizing it was drying my face out, giving me itchy bumps, burning and irritating my eyes, etc. I always try to use cleansers full of mostly all-natural ingredients, and sulfates are a big no-no for me. So I usually tend to avoid drugstore cleansers. But recently, out of desperation, I finally decided to give this a try and was pleasantly surprised. No cleanser has ever left my skin feeling so hydrated and supple. My only complaint about it is that it doesn't do a very good job of removing eye makeup (eye liner and mascara) but for such a gentle cleanser, I wouldn 't really expect it to. For some odd reason I don't really like the separate eye m/u removers, so I bought a pack of the Simple brand Cleansing Wipes to gently remove most of the eye makeup before using the Cerave and that works just fine. I've gotten more into wearing tinted moisturizers and BB Creams lately so I don't have a ton of heavy foundation to remove, and it cleanses the rest of my face just fine. I will definitely repurchase this!
Just a side-note - I see a lot of people actually being disappointed with this product overall simply because it doesn't lather. Please keep in mind that most of the ingredients that cause a nice, big lather are also harmful to your skin, and just for you in general. I know it's a more "satisfying" experience and you really *feel* like your skin is getting clean with lather, but it's actually rather harsh and stripping for your skin (not to mention what those actual ingredients can do to your overall health). It can take some time getting used to, but I actually *avoid* products that lather now.
I was given a sample of this cleanser from my dermatologist when i was given a prescription for a retenoid. I used the cleanser 2X a day for a week and did not like it at all. It made me get white puss filled pimples around my nose!
This product is amazing. I'm 28, and I have struggled with hormonal acne throughout my 20's. My dermatologist recommended this product to use with Retin A Micro, and my skin looks amazing. Don't believe in all the hype that because it foams, that it works better. This has ingredients in it that bind to dirt and oil in your skin and removes them without upsetting your skin barrier. I used to use Clinique mild cleanser (not mild whatsoever) and Beauticontrol oily cleanser, and both are way too harsh for my skin. If you are using a tretinoin product, you need to be that much more gentle to your skin. My skin no longer feels tight when I wash it, so now I'm able to wash it twice a day!!! Yay! Also, if you wear a lot of makeup like I do, go get those makeup wipes from Walmart in the white container, and use Bioderma makeup remover, pour it on there and remove your makeup before you wash your face. I don't think Cerave hydrating cleanser considered people wearing makeup when they made it. Fantastic product!!! HG!!!! :)