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If you continuously battle dry skin, you’ve likely tried to drink more water, source the most hydrating moisturizers, keep your shower short, bathe only in lukewarm water, and maybe even change up your diet. These all make a difference in the look and feel of parched skin, but you might be overlooking something just as important: bar soap. The truth is, some bar soaps can prove too harsh for dry skin, stripping the good stuff (your skin’s natural oils) along with the bad stuff (dirt, sweat, and toxins). Couple this with an extended amount of time in hot water, and it’s no wonder your skin might suffer some serious moisture loss.
Try turning to body wash instead because it’s generally gentler and more nourishing than traditional bar soap. Plus, a creamy, lathering formula feels ten times more luxurious than its slippery, squeaky counterpart.
Take your pick from this roundup of the best moisturizing body washes for dry skin.
Best Overall: Cerave Hydrating Body Wash
Accepted by the National Eczema Association for use on eczema and sensitive skin, this fragrance-free foaming wash is a favorite of dermatologists for anyone with dry skin. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid to attract much-needed moisture to the skin’s surface and three essential ceramides to repair the skin’s protective barrier. Free of soap, sulfates, and parabens, it gently cleanses without irritating and leaves skin feeling moisturized all day long.
Best Budget: Dove DermaSeries Body Wash
Ten times more nourishing than a regular body wash, Dove DermaSeries Body Wash is formulated with sunflower oil to create a skin barrier that locks in moisture and glycerin, a humectant, to draw in water into the upper layers of the skin. Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, this body wash is also free of steroids, sulfates, fragrance, dye, aluminum, phthalates, and parabens.
Best for Eczema: Eucerin Advanced Cleansing Body & Face Cleanser
When your skin barrier is compromised, it becomes prone to irritation and dehydration. This soap-free body wash helps to maintain skin’s optimal pH level, preserving the protective barrier and minimizing moisture loss.
Best Smelling: Sol de Janeiro Brazilian 4 Play Moisturizing Shower Cream-Gel
We’re not sure what’s more decadent: the creamy lather of this body wash or its delicious pistachio-caramel fragrance. Nourishing dull, dry skin with cupuaçu butter, coconut oil, and acai, Brazilian 4 Play is so rich it can double as shaving cream. Devotees love how the scent lingers long after toweling off.
Best Luxury: Moroccanoil Shower Milk
Infused with argan oil to hydrate dry skin, this silky body wash also improves skin’s tone and texture thanks to a nourishing blend of vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants. It’s pricier than your typical cleanser, but reviewers note that a little goes a long way when you use a loofah or sponge.
Best Vegan: Hempz Triple Moisture Herbal Whipped Creme Body Wash
Don’t be turned off by the name: This thick cleanser has the consistency of a creamy wash, not whipped cream! Its non-drying formula is enriched with 100% pure natural hemp seed oil, which is rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, to soften even the driest skin. Hydrating yangu oil and antioxidant-rich apple fruit extract and cogon grass extract work together to help retain skin’s moisture. This sulfate-free wash is 100% vegan.
Best Oil: L’Occitane Cleansing And Softening Shower Oil With Almond Oil
This is a “foaming oil-to-milk” cleanser that’s full of moisturizing almond oil and proteins. After you massage it into your skin (during which it transforms into a luxurious lather), it leaves skin feeling incredibly smooth and sweet-smelling.
Best Gel: Korres Guava Shower Gel
Korres’s shower gels are as sweetly scented as they are effective. There are six versions, but we love this guava one because it’s super fruity and fresh. The humectants and emollients found inside moisturize the skin, bolstering the natural moisture barrier over time.
Best Anti-Itch: Eucerin Skin Calming Body Wash
Eucerin is the drugstore brand for gentle, calming products, and this body wash is no exception. It’s formulated with natural lipids and omega oils to moisturize and calm any itchiness that results from dry skin so you can stay hydrated and comfortable.
Best Exfoliating: S.W. Basics Cream Scrub
For dry and flaky skin, reach for this product from clean skincare brand S.W. Basics. It’s made with only four ingredients: organic sugar, shea butter, coconut oil, and olive oil, leaving little room for irritation.
Squeeze a small dollop onto your hands and work into your skin to exfoliate, moisturize, and cleanse all in one step.
Best with Vitamins: The Seaweed Bath Co. Citrus Vanilla Body Wash
This body wash contains over 65 (count ’em, 65) vitamins and nutrients. Blue-green algae, neem oil, and kukui oil detoxify, hydrate, and cleanse even the driest, roughest skin.
Best for Sensitive Skin: The Body Shop Almond Milk & Honey Soothing & Caring Shower Cream
Almond milk, almond oil, and honey come together to not only moisturize but calm sensitive skin. As a bonus, it’s soft, subtle, and sweet.
Best with Shea Butter: SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Body Wash
Shea butter is a dry-skin sufferer’s best friend. It contains fatty acids and vitamins to nourish, moisturize, and protect the epidermis. This body wash from SheaMoisture has a healthy dose of the ingredient, along with coconut oil, Frankincense, and Myrrh extract, which is an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial to help heal dry, cracked skin.
Best Soap-Free: Caudalie Fleur de Vigne Shower Gel
This shower gel is soap-free, so there are no harsh oil-stripping detergents inside. It also balances the skin’s natural pH to protect against moisture loss.