We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Cream
Deeply hydrating and moisturizing
Contains several effective, skin-nourishing ingredients
Not too occlusive or greasy
Accessible price point
Not Byrdie Clean
May take extra time to absorb fully
Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Cream
We put Cetaphil’s Rich Hydrating Cream to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.
Other than whether it contains SPF or not, what makes a moisturizer best for day or night? Plenty, actually, when you consider that during the night, when the sleep hormone melatonin begins to rise, the skin goes into a sort of repair mode, and adding a richer product containing hydrating, skin-soothing ingredients to your routine could aid that process.
However, as a guy with oily to combination skin and a beard, the last thing I need is something akin to Crisco spread all over my face. Or at least that’s what I thought before I tried the Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Cream. I’ve used my share of Cetaphil products before, and taking this richer version for a test drive to help my oft-irritated skin chill out was a pleasure.
How much of a pleasure? And did it have what it takes to become a regular part of my routine? Keep reading to find out.
Best for: All skin types, including sensitive skin.
Uses: Intensely moisturizes and hydrates to leave skin feeling replenished, smooth, and soft.
Star rating: 4.5/5
Potential allergens: Not likely
Active ingredients: Hyaluronic acid
Clean? No; contains PEGs.
About the brand: For over 70 years, Cetaphil has been the go-to skincare brand recommended by dermatologists, owing to its ability to calm, soothe, and care for all types of skin, including the most sensitive.
About My Skin: Combination, sensitive, and sometimes cranky
I’m a retinol user, which my skin tolerates well, so when it comes to the other products in my daily routine, my focus is on soothing and hydrating ingredients. I also have combination to oily skin, especially in the summer months. However, the one thing that my skin is best known for is its tendency to be unexpectedly cranky, turning red and irritated at a moment’s notice, especially after I shave. It’s then that I need something thick, moisturizing, and simple to do the double duty of calming my skin and helping to restore its moisture barrier. That’s where Cetaphil’s Rich Hydrating Cream came in.
The Feel: Thick, but not greasy
Cetaphil's Rich Hydrating Cream comes out thick, just as a proper cream should, but it spreads nicely onto the skin, almost melting. What you’re left with feels much lighter than the cream initially lets on, but I could definitely feel it on my skin. I think the ability to go from thick to thin so easily comes down to several primary ingredients, namely the presence of two humectants—glycerin and butylene glycol—as well as dimethicone, which adds that luscious slip. As the night wore on my face did get somewhat shiny, but not quite greasy, and in the morning, my skin felt plump and supple.
I feel compelled to mention that I’d never normally spring for a product this rich, and despite the label saying this cream is non-pore-blocking, I was still hesitant, but after two consecutive nights of usage, I didn’t have so much as a single blackhead.
The Ingredients: Straightforward and effective
- Glycerin: High up on the ingredients list is glycerin, a skincare multi-tasker that, as a humectant, helps bind water to the skin to boost moisture levels and prevent moisture loss as the night goes on. Glycerin also aids the skin’s natural barrier function, which is essential for glowing, healthy skin.
- Hyaluronic Acid: It seems that any product that gets headlines for being effective nowadays contains hyaluronic acid, known for its moisturizing, wrinkle-plumping, wound-healing, and hydration-boosting properties.
- Olive Oil: The superfood that helped popularize the anti-inflammatory Mediterranean diet contains a host of antioxidants that neutralize skin-damaging free radicals, as well as super-ingredient squalane, known for its intense moisturizing properties.
- Antioxidants: Further down on the list are vitamin C and vitamin E, both potent antioxidants that our skin can’t have enough of.
How to Apply: Smooth it in
You can apply this to clean, dry skin as you would any moisturizer. But because it's designed to last a full 24 hours, you needn't reapply (unless your skin is very dry). It's best to keep it on overnight and then wipe the skin in the morning with a toner or something very gentle, so as not to strip the skin.
The Results: Happy-looking skin
As far as short-term results go, I saw a noticeable difference using Cetaphil's Rich Hydrating Cream after the first night. I went to bed with red, blotchy skin that had been acting up that day, but after a proper night’s sleep slathered in this, my skin was calm and balanced. I repeated it a second night, excited at the prospect of spreading on such a feel-good product, and got the same happy-looking skin. As I’m not that dry, I think I’ll save this night cream for the day or so each week I need the extra skin TLC, but it’s nice to know I can depend on it to work every time.
The Value: Definitely worth the money
Despite containing some pretty impressive ingredients, Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Cream is pretty affordable, and because a little goes a long way, people with normal, combination, or oily skin should be set for a while on a typical tube or jar. Those with drier skin types may find they need to use a bit more, but overall it’s worth every penny.
Similar Products: You have options
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream: Another all-star brand that’s commonly recommended by dermatologists, CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream ($15) is stacked with three ceramides to help seal in moisture on the driest of skins.
St. Ives Renewing Collagen & Elastin Moisturizer: Although this version from oldie but goodie St. Ives ($6) contains mineral oil, its whipped consistency feels light and refreshing on the skin while it seals in moisture.
I like how using Cetaphil’s Rich Hydrating Cream feels like I’m going back to basics, sticking with dependable ingredients I know will work wonders on my skin. While it may not be the most glamorous product out there, it’s worth its weight in gold when it comes to results, so it gets my vote hands-down.
- Product Name Rich Hydrating Cream
- Product Brand Cetaphil
- Price $18.00
- Weight 1.7 oz.
- Full Ingredient List Water, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Marrubium Vulgare Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Phospholipids, Isopropyl Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Polyacrylate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Isohexadecane, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Methicone, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-40 Stearate, Stearteth-2, Stearteth-21, Retinyl Palmitate, Linoleic Acid, Lycopene
Rusanova I, Martínez-Ruiz L, Florido J, et al. Protective effects of melatonin on the skin: future perspectives. Int J Mol Sci. 2019;20(19):4948. doi:10.3390/ijms20194948
Fluhr JW, Darlenski R, Surber C. Glycerol and the skin: holistic approach to its origin and functions. Br J Dermatol. 2008;159(1):23-34. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2133.2008.08643.x
Pavicic T, Gauglitz GG, Lersch P, et al. Efficacy of cream-based novel formulations of hyaluronic acid of different molecular weights in anti-wrinkle treatment. J Drugs Dermatol. 2011;10(9):990-1000.
Lozano-Grande MA, Gorinstein S, Espitia-Rangel E, Dávila-Ortiz G, Martínez-Ayala AL. Plant sources, extraction methods, and uses of squalene. International Journal of Agronomy. 2018;2018:1-13. doi:10.1155/2018/1829160
Lin T-K, Zhong L, Santiago J. Anti-inflammatory and skin barrier repair effects of topical application of some plant oils. IJMS. 2017;19(1):70. doi:10.3390/ijms19010070
l-Niaimi F, Chiang NYZ. Topical vitamin c and the skin: mechanisms of action and clinical applications. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017;10(7):14-17.