The 13 Best Hydrating Body Washes to Revive Dry Skin

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Best Body Washes for Dry Skin

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

Effectively combating dry skin requires a multi-pronged approach. There are lifestyle and habitual changes to make (think drinking more water or taking shorter showers) as well as important product protocols (like layering moisturizers with serums or oils). In terms of products, it’s important to remember that you can combat dryness at every step in your routine, not just with the moisturizer you choose. Exhibit A: Picking a hydrating body wash that will add back moisture to your skin, rather than stripping it.

Keep reading for the best body washes for dry skin on the market now.

Our Top Picks
This body wash works to hydrate the top layers of your skin without disrupting your skin's microbiome.
Try this affordable body wash with shea butter to help soothe, moisturize, and nourish the skin.
Best for Sensitive Skin:
CeraVe Hydrating Body Wash at Amazon
Paraben-free, sulfate-free, and fragrance-free, this body wash hydrates without irritating sensitive skin.
Best for Face and Body:
Eucerin Face & Body Cleanser at Amazon
This specially pH balanced formula allows you to use it for both your face and body.
Formulated with coconut-derived surfactants, this body wash cleanses and soothes skin.
Natural lipids and omega fatty acids work overtime to moisturize skin and calm itch with every use.
Almond oil delivers a deep dose of moisture to dry skin, and it lathers into a soapy milky foam.
The aloe and cucumber fragrance is fresh, spa-like, and naturally derived.
Clean and sustainable ingredients make up this good-smelling formula.
This gel-oil formula is fragrance-free, non-irritating, and aims to promote skin's wellbeing.

Best Overall: Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash

Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash
What We Like
  • Won't disrupt skin's microbiome

  • Affordable

  • Lathers well

What We Don’t Like
  • Not Byrdie clean

True story: We like to buy this derm-approved pick in bulk at Costco to ensure that we never, ever run out (the horror). It boasts a unique moisturizing complex that includes, among other things, glycerin and lipids to penetrate those top layers of the skin where hydration is most needed. On top of that, it’s also specifically formulated not to disrupt your skin’s microbiome, which is noteworthy because more and more research shows that a disrupted microbiome is the culprit behind all sorts of skin issues. It also sudses beautifully, rinses cleanly, and has a subtle yet fresh scent. And it’s cheap!

Key Ingredients: Lipids, glycerin | Size: 34 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Budget: Olay Moisture Ribbons + Shea and Manuka Honey Body Wash

Olay Moisture Ribbons + Shea and Manuka Honey Body Wash
What We Like
  • Creamy texture

  • Affordable

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains fragrance

Byrdie senior editor Holly Rhue loves this cheapie pick. Despite the price, it feels just as luxe and special as much more expensive options, packed with shea butter to make it nice and creamy while you wash and leave skin feeling soothed and noticeably softer long after you get out of the shower, too. Olay offers several versions of this product, but we like this one for the subtly sweet honey scent.

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, manuka honey | Size: 18 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Sensitive Skin: CeraVe Hydrating Body Wash

Cerave Hydrating Body Wash
What We Like
  • Gentle formula

  • Approved by the National Eczema Association

What We Don’t Like
  • Doesn’t lather especially well

This formula omits pretty much anything and everything that could potentially stress out easily irritated skin. It’s paraben-, soap-, sulfate-, and fragrance-free, so instead, it's loaded with hydrating hyaluronic acid, emollients, and three different types of skin-strengthening ceramides. It’s so gentle that it’s accepted by the National Eczema Association, making it a great option for those dealing with eczema.

Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, ceramides | Size: 10 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Face and Body: Eucerin Advanced Cleansing Face & Body Cleanser

Eucerin Advanced Cleansing Face & Body Cleanser
What We Like
  • Non-comedogenic

  • Can be used on face and body

  • Affordable

What We Don’t Like
  • Doesn’t lather especially well

As a general rule of thumb, using the same cleanser for both your face and body may not be the best move, but this formula is an exception to that rule. The soap-free sudser is gentle enough to use on both and is specially pH-balanced to preserve the skin’s protective barrier. Plus, it’s non-comedogenic, so you don’t have to worry about it clogging pores if you do want to use it on your face.

Key Ingredients: Glycerin | Size: 16.9 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Soothing: Drunk Elephant Kamili Cream Body Cleanser

Drunk Elephant
What We Like
  • Gentle formula

  • Clean and cruelty-free

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

This brand may be best known for its skincare offerings, but don’t sleep on this body wash. Rather than using harsh sulfates for cleansing purposes, it relies on much gentler coconut-derived surfactants to do the washing. Meanwhile, maracuja oil and a special amino acid blend hydrate and soothe. It’s also formulated at the ideal pH to not stress your skin barrier.

Key Ingredients: Passionfruit oil, amino acid blend | Size: 8 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Anti-Itch: Eucerin Skin Calming Body Wash

Eucerin Skin Calming Body Wash
What We Like
  • Reduces itch

  • Affordable

What We Don’t Like
  • Can leave a residue

There are lots of annoying side effects that come with dry skin (flakes, ashiness), but itchiness is arguably the most annoying and toughest to combat. Enter this solution. Natural lipids and omega fatty acids both moisturize and calm the itch, so skin generally feels more comfortable after each wash. Plus, it’s free of soap, fragrance, and dyes, which are all things that can exacerbate itch. Top tip: Give it a good shake before using it.

Key Ingredients: Soybean oil, castor seed oil | Size: 8.4 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Oil: L'Occitane Cleansing and Softening Shower Oil

What We Like
  • Lathers well

  • Can use as a shaving cream

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

  • Almond scent can be polarizing for some

Oils are (obviously) one of the best ways to add a major dose of moisture to parched skin, so it should come as no surprise that shower oil is a good option for those dealing with dryness. This particular one is our choice for the moisture it imparts (credit almond oil, which is rich in softening omega-6 fatty acids), but also because it transforms into a milky foam as you massage it in. This way, you still get that same sensorial experience of sudsing up as you would from a traditional wash. Plus, it rinses completely cleanly and never leaves a greasy residue.

Key Ingredients: Soybean oil, castor seed oil | Size: 8.4 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Scent: Odele Soothing Body Wash

Odele Soothing Body Wash
What We Like
  • Smells good

  • Clean and cruelty-free

  • Affordable

  • Chic packaging

What We Don’t Like
  • Bottle can be hard to squeeze

One of team Byrdie’s favorite hair care brands to launch as of late recently expanded into the body category, and we couldn’t be more excited. They now have several body wash variants, but this is our favorite for dry skin, touting a combo of glycerin and oats, which are ultra-soothing. (Fun fact: colloidal oatmeal is even FDA-approved as a skin protectant.) Per the scent part of the things, the aloe and cucumber fragrance is fresh and spa-like, and, best of all, totally naturally derived.

Key Ingredients: Glycerin, oats | Size: 16 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Scent, Runner-Up: Hand in Hand Sweetgrass Body Wash

Hand in Hand Sweetgrass Body Wash
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Smells good

  • Sustainable

  • Has a charity component

What We Don’t Like
  • Aluminum bottle leaves rings in the shower

We’re also suckers for the scent of this body wash, a sophisticated combo of lemon zest and vetiver, with touches of lily and cedar. It’s uber-fresh and also extremely gender-neutral, a universal staple to keep stocked in your shower at all times. The gentle formula is sulfate-free with a focus on clean and sustainable ingredients. And in related news, the 100% aluminum bottle is completely recyclable and for every body wash purchased, the brand donates a bar of soap and water to a child in need.

Key Ingredients: Glycerin | Size: 10 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Fragrance-Free: Nécessaire The Body Wash

necessaire body wash
What We Like
  • Gentle formula

  • Sophisticated packaging

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

  • Not cruelty-free

On the flip side, if you prefer an entirely fragrance-free body wash, this is the way to go. Relying on plant-based surfactants to do the cleansing part of things, it’s full of niacinamide (AKA vitamin B3) an ingredient that both improves skin barrier function to help keep natural moisture locked in and is a good protective antioxidant. And for those who do like a little scent? There are two other options, eucalyptus and sandalwood, both with essential-oil derived fragrances. The chic packaging is just the icing on the cake.

Key Ingredients: Niacinamide | Size: 8.4 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

What We Like
  • Lathers well

  • Smells good

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

Another good example of one of our favorite haircare brands moving into the body space, this pick is choice for those who love a good, luscious lather. Broadly speaking, since body washes for dry skin tend to be on the creamier, milkier side they may not always deliver the highest levels of foam, but this one does. The gel formula lathers up beautifully, though still imparts plenty of moisture, thanks to the addition of moringa seed oil and aloe vera. The light, grapefruit scent is an added plus, too.

Key Ingredients: Moringa seed oil, aloe vera | Size: 8.4 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Clean: Everist Waterless Body Wash Concentrate

Everist Waterless Body Wash Concentrate
What We Like
  • Lathers well

  • Great for travel

  • Clean, cruelty-free, and sustainable

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

  • Dispensing it can take getting used to

This 100% plant-based body wash—free of parabens, silicones, dyes, synthetic fragrance, and more—is unlike any body wash we’ve ever seen. That’s probably because it’s not a body wash in the traditional sense. Nine times out of 10 the first ingredient listed on a body wash ingredient label is water, but that’s not the case here. Per the name, it’s a completely waterless formula that’s super-concentrated; all you have to do is take a teeny-tiny dollop and mix it with water to turn it into a cleanser. That’s why the small tube (which is both completely recyclable and great for travel, we should add) can be as small as it is but still contains enough for about a two-month supply.

Key Ingredients: Glycerin, aloe vera | Size: 3.4 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Eczema-Prone Skin: Babo Botanicals Fragrance-Free Hydra Therapy Face & Body Wash

Babo Botanicals Fragrance-Free Hydra Therapy Face & Body Wash
What We Like
  • Multi-tasking formula

  • Gentle formula

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

If you’re battling both dry skin and eczema flares (true story, the two often go hand-in-hand), reach for this gentle pick. Clinically tested, it contains only a handful of ingredients, many of which are plant-based super soothers, think things such as aloe vera, calendula, and oat protein. It’s ideal for cleansing without stripping the skin and is so mild that it can even be used on the face and/or body.

Key Ingredients: Aloe vera, glycerin, shea butter | Size: 16 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Final Verdict

If you have dry skin, body lotion is important, but so is the body wash you use. You truly can’t go wrong with the Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash (view at Amazon), an affordable, super hydrating yet still, very gentle classic that we couldn’t love more. If you have extremely sensitive and/or irritated skin, consider either the CeraVe Hydrating Body Wash (view at Amazon) or the Babo Botanicals Fragrance-Free Hydra-Therapy Face & Body Wash (view at Amazon), both very mild options. And if you’re a sucker for scent, try the Odele Soothing Body Wash (view at Odele). It’s a wallet-friendly pick that touts a delightful fresh—and naturally-derived—cucumber and aloe fragrance.

What to Look for in a Body Wash for Dry Skin

Emollients

If you have dry skin, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King recommends looking for a body wash that’s rich in emollient ingredients, which work to support the skin’s natural barrier. Body washes that are rich in plant butters, oils, lipids, and fatty acids are great examples of emollient-rich products.

Occlusives

In addition to emollients, Dr. King says to look for occlusive ingredients, which help lock moisture into the skin. Plant-based ingredients like shea butter, castor oil, and squalane are great examples of occlusives, and other common ones include petrolatum, silicones, and beeswax.

Avoid Harsh Detergents

Finally, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner says to avoid using any harsh detergents or soaps that may strip the skin of its natural oils if you have particularly dry skin. “Overly scrubbing or using harsh soaps can disrupt the outer skin layer, making dryness even worse,” he says. “Look for gentle, non-soap cleansers that provide hydrating benefits alongside its cleansing effects.”

FAQ
  • What are the benefits of body washes for dry skin?

    Simply put, they help to add another dose of moisturizing ingredients to your skin while you shower. This is important because showering (especially when the water is too hot) can actually end up stripping your skin of its natural moisture, so adding it back in at this point is a good move.

  • How often should you use body washes for dry skin?

    Daily or every time you shower—there’s no such thing as overusing these.

  • Do body washes for dry skin expire?

    Like any body wash, yes, they can. Many will have an expiration date on the bottom of or somewhere on the packaging; if not, toss it if it starts to smell or look funny. (Though if you’re using one regularly/daily, you will likely go through the whole bottle before this happens.)

Why Trust Byrdie?

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She’s had dry skin her whole life, meaning she’s tried pretty much any and every body wash for dry skin under the sun. Many of the ones on this list are her personal favorites, and yes, she does, in fact, buy the Dove option in bulk at Costco.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Hadley King, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology. She is also a clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD, is a dermatologist as well as the Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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  2. Spada F, Barnes TM, Greive KA. Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin's own natural moisturizing systemsClin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2018;11:491-497. doi:10.2147/CCID.S177697.

  3. Kurtz ES, Wallo W. Colloidal oatmeal: history, chemistry and clinical propertiesJ Drugs Dermatol. 2007;6(2):167-170.

  4. Wohlrab J, Kreft D. Niacinamide - mechanisms of action and its topical use in dermatologySkin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(6):311-315. doi:10.1159/000359974

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