I Tried the CeraVe Cleanser Bar for Softer, Clearer Skin—Here’s My Honest Review

A bar of soap with hyaluronic acid? Sign me up.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar

Byrdie / Leigh Weingus

What we like
  • Dermatologist-tested

  • Uses hyaluronic acid

  • Doesn’t use any plastic

  • Affordable

What we don't like
  • A little heavy

  • Scent is nothing special

The CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar is hydrating and packed with good ingredients—exactly the kind of bar soap you want for your face, body, and hands. It’s also a great option if you struggle with breakouts.


CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar

Byrdie / Leigh Weingus

We put the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review. 

After a bout of postpartum acne, my dermatologist and I have been on a year-long mission to clear up the hormonal breakouts that pop up on my chin once a month like clockwork. One of her top recommendations? CeraVe, a brand known for being gentle on the skin.

While I’m used to face wash coming in a bottle, I was pleased to see that the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar can be used on the hands, body, and face—making it a great soap option for my shower caddy and my bathroom sink. In addition to being gentle on skin, it promises to keep skin moisturized, which is always a goal of mine, especially as I apply various topical creams to my face to clear up my skin. Long story short: I tried CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleansing Bar to see if it would work the magic I hoped it would.

Here’s how it worked for me.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar

Best for: Anyone prone to dry skin who’s looking for a bar of soap that can get the job done

Uses: Body wash, handwash, face wash.

Active ingredients: Sodium cocoyl isethionate stearic acid aqua, water, eau sodium isethionate CI 77891, titanium 

Byrdie Clean?: Yes

Cruelty-free?: No

Price: $6.99

About the brand: CeraVe is a top dermatologist-recommended skincare brand, famous for helping to hydrate and restore the skin’s natural barrier.

About My Skin: Not too dry (but not that hydrated either), and acne-prone

In the winter, the skin on my body and hands tends to get very dry and flaky. The summer is a different story—as long as I’m drinking water, nothing seems to dry it out—but since my daughter was born at the end of 2019, I’ve dealt with annoying hormonal acne every month.

About eight years ago, I had a sulfur-based cleanser clear up another bout of acne, and I’ve been clinging to it ever since. My dermatologist insists it isn’t doing much for me anymore and has been recommending brands like CeraVe and Cetaphil as an alternative. So when the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar showed up at my door and I realized it was made with a non-comedogenic formula that promised not to clog pores, I decided to give it a go. 

The Feel: A little heavy

As far as bar soap goes, the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar is a little on the heavy side. I found it to be more difficult to wash off than other soaps, but not in a way that really bothers me—all I care about is that it moisturizes my skin and helps keep acne at bay.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar

Byrdie / Leigh Weingus

The Smell: Nothing special

The CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar smells like, well, a bar of soap. Compared with the sulfur-based cleanser I’ve been using on my face, it’s a dream (anyone who has ever come into contact with any form of sulfur knows how awful it smells). That being said, I wouldn’t say it’s unscented as advertised—while the smell is mild, it’s a little unpleasant for me. 

The Ingredients: Filled with everything I want to put on my face

I’ve done a lot of research on acne in the past year-and-a-half, and the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar checks off a lot of boxes. First, it’s non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores—and clogged pores are famous for causing acne. It’s also made with hyaluronic acid, an ingredient dermatologists are obsessed with for its ability to help retain the skin’s natural moisture. It’s also free of added fragrances and parabens. 

The Results: Moisturized, calm skin

The CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar kept the skin on my body and hands very moisturized, to the point where I’m excited to try it out in the winter when it’s prone to drying out.

But perhaps more importantly, I finally had the courage to break away from my smelly sulfur-based cleanser, and so far I haven’t had a single breakout while using it. As a nice bonus, it doesn’t come in a bottle, which means I’m using less plastic—and I’m always trying to use less plastic.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar

Byrdie / Leigh Weingus

The Value: Affordable

Retailing around $6.99 for 4.5 ounces, there are cheaper bars of soap out there, but considering that cleansers for acne-prone skin tend to cost a lot more than this—especially when you get into the really high-end stuff—this is a great value. 

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar

Byrdie / Leigh Weingus

Similar Products: If you’re looking for a bar of soap for your face, this is a great option

L’Occitane Extra-Gentle Lavender Soap Bar ($13): I’ll admit that I haven’t used bar soap on my face often, but I did recently try the L’Occitane Extra-Gentle Lavender Soap Bar. While I’ll admit that that one smelled better (using it on my body in the shower at night is great for giving me an ultra-calm pre-bed experience), I didn’t feel nearly as comfortable using it on my face, because it isn’t made with the same acne-fighting ingredients that the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar is. 

Final Verdict

If you’re looking to replace our body wash that comes in a plastic bottle with a bar of soap, the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar might not be the best choice. But if you want a bar of soap that will help keep acne at bay while keeping your skin moisturized, this is the bar of soap for you. 


  • Product Name Hydrating Cleanser Bar
  • Product Brand CeraVe
  • Price $7.00
  • Weight 4.5 oz.
  • Ingredients Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate Stearic Acid Aqua / Water / Eau Sodium Isethionate Ci 77891 / Titanium Dioxide Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine Potassium Phosphate Ceramide Np Ceramide Ap Ceramide Eop Carbomer Glycerin Cetearyl Alcohol Ceteareth-20 Dimethicone Behentrimonium Methosulfate Sodium Chloride Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate Sodium Hyaluronate Cholesterol Phenoxyethanol Disodium Edta Dipotassium Phosphate Tocopherol Caprylic/capric Triglyceride Petrolatum Phytosphingosine Xanthan Gum Ethylene Brassylate Cetyl Alcohol Ethylhexylglycerin

Related Stories