You know I love me a cleanser, so I’m going to start doing cleanser lineups to give you the tea on all the cleansers of a specific brand. Most of the larger brands will have an array of cleansers to treat multiple different skin concerns. Hopefully by doing this you’ll be able to narrow down which one is right for you. CeraVe is a brand that has shot to superstardom in recent years, and as a result they’ve developed a splendid selection of cleansers.
They were founded in 2005, developed with American dermatologists and pride themselves on developing simple, good, products. Their first line came out in 2006 with the moisturising cream, moisturising lotion and hydrating cleanser. Still classics within their line. In the advent of Youtube and certain bloggers that particularly favoured them, the brand have increased in popularity and spread globally (I believe Australia was launched in March 2019).
CeraVe are quintessentially american in their approach. If the humble country farm boy was a skincare brand, it would be CeraVe. They do good basics. They’ll never let you down, but they won’t transform your skin beyond belief, if you know what I mean? They’re not going to contraindicate, so some of their SKUs will be very suitable if your skin is feeling a bit spicy. Their mission is to restore and maintain the skin barrier after all.
Like all brands that have shot to fame over a relatively short amount of time, they do have a subsection of fans that do tend to border on cultish. That’s not a terrible thing necessarily, but it does border on problematic when fans compare every brand that has a different approach negatively to CeraVe.
Their cleanser lineup is, to me, particularly aimed at younger skins or skins without huge amounts of damage.
Each SKU has some level of foaming action in it, the level of which and the base determines the skin type that the product is aimed at. This is a particularly (I hate to say it) American approach. The American consumer typically likes to see a level of foam in their products. Non-foaming oil cleansers aren’t typically popular sellers over there, and I’d argue that it’s only pretty recently that the balm cleanser has started to catch on.
That being said, let’s get into the lineup.
The classic normal-oily skinned cleanse. This foams up to deeply cleanse without stripping moisture from the skin excessively and supporting the skin barrier as it does so. This is absolutely more aimed at a younger user, and I have no hesitation in recommending this for your oily skinned teenagers up to 30s. It’s a good, stock standard, gel to foam wash. It’s not going to provide a superior experience, but it’ll get it and get the job done. Also would be pretty good for sweaty boys, and their unusual habit of vigorously rubbing their face as they wash it. It has the classic CeraVe ceramides in a glycerin base. Other nourishing agents include cholesterol and phytosphingosine.
Cream to Foam Cleanser*:
My second fave of the line, this is a good milky cleanser that (shockingly) gives you a little bit of foam. It’s perfect for all ages, though again it’s geared younger. Twenties up to forties I think would enjoy, and it’s a definite gentler approach than the Foaming or Hydrating Cleanser. It has a glycerin base again, but with the added impact of hydrating amino acids, sodium pca, sodium hyaluronate and hydroxyethyl urea. If you’re a bit unsure about creamy cleansers, but want to move off a gel wash for winter, this would be a good place to start.
The star child of the CeraVe lineup in the eyes of consumers. This is the best seller and probably the most well known product in the line. To be perfectly honest, I don’t love the Hydrating Cleanser. It is a good gel cleanser for normal skins – particularly the under 30s. It suits a lot of people. I find it rather similar to the Foaming Cleanser, with perhaps a little less lather. I think there are much better cleansers out there, and certainly better cleansers within CeraVe’s own family. A glycerin and fatty alcohol blend, with sodium hyaluronate of course.
Foaming Oil Cleanser*:
This is my personal favourite amongst the lineup, and the one which I would recommend to almost all skins (the very driest excepting). It replenishes the skin, but without overdoing it. Do I think we needed the foam part of it? No. I’d argue in fact that it would do more for the industry for CeraVe to stand behind the power of a typical oil cleanser. But baby steps. At least we are getting the American market used to putting oil on their face. That being said, and all the possible criticisms I could make from an industry standpoint: this is a beautiful cleanser for the twenties to forties. I need to stop being so nickpicky. I adore this particularly as a morning cleanse. It leaves skin feeling nourished but not heavy, perfectly prepped for skincare, spf, and makeup.
SA Smoothing Cleanser*:
Perhaps the one surprise in the lineup is the Smoothing Cleanser. As the SA suggests, this contains salicylic acid, perfect for treating blemishes. Salicylic works by targeting build ups of sebum inside pores and at the base of hair follicles. It will help exfoliate this out, directly treating pimples. The cleanser is definitely aimed at blemish-prone skin. Thought it must be said that this can be used nicely by all skins that want an occasional exfoliating cleanser. I’d argue even menopausal skins that have broken out would enjoy this. I’ve also heard good things about using this on KP. Whether or not it gives results, I cannot claim, but it’s a very nice cleanse. One that I’d happily keep in my stash. They’ve also added gluconolactone in it. This is a PHA (polyhydroxy acid) which will lightly exfoliate the surface layers of the skin and input a little hydration.
So, my final thoughts? I adore the idea of CeraVe. I love accessible products that perform well. The Oil, SA and Cream to Foam are highlights for me in the cleanser range. Would I want to reach for them daily? No. They don’t give me the self care joy that other cleansers do. Would I reach for them on days where I don’t want to think and need something that will just work? Yes. Would happily keep them on hand for that.
What do you think about CeraVe? Let me know over on instagram or in the comments below!