Ask a Beauty Editor: The Best Body Washes for Dry Skin

Bathe in hydration.

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Reader question: Can you recommend the best body wash for dry winter skin? — @kristin.g.davidson

I've answered a lot of Ask a Beauty Editor questions at this point—and I have to say this is an easier one to tackle. As someone who grew up with eczema patches all over my body, finding the best body washes for dry and sensitive skin has become part of my skill set.

But it hasn't always been so easy—body washes require a lot of trial and error. It's hard work finding a body wash that lets you leave the shower more hydrated than before—or at the very least, not itchy, dried-out, and irritated. The key is finding formulas infused with moisturizing ingredients (think shea butter, green tea, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide). Texture is important, too—creamy milks and indulgent oils will sink into skin like a hydration wrap. And no matter what, steer clear of sulfates, which can strip skin of its natural oils and leave it feeling parched.

Hydrating body creams and oils are essential as well, of course, but moisturizing body washes are your first line of defense against the elements. When rough winds, scorching sun, and drying HVACs suck the moisture from your skin, soak your poor pores in these body cleansers to restore hydration levels.

Dove Refreshing Body Wash

Dove Refreshing Body Wash

Target

My tried-and-true body wash for over a decade, Dove's beloved formula combines the brand's moisturizing blend (a combo of lipids, skin-natural nourishers, and plant-based moisturizers) with soap (glycerin). Although you can find this in any of its hydrating scents, I'm partial to the green bottle, which has even more nourishing properties thanks to cooling cucumber and green tea extract. If you have skin conditions like eczema, you'll also be happy to know that it's pH-balanced and sulfate-free.

Want a double dose of hydration? Pair it with the brand's new Body Love collection, a series of luxe-feeling body lotions and cream oils that you can slather on on post-shower.

While most body washes just, well, wash your body, this formula (designed with sensitive skin in mind) cranks it up a notch and improves your skin tone while it's at it. Not only is it fragrance-free and pH-optimized to be non-irritating, it also contains niacinamide to smooth the skin's surface. And I'd be remiss not to mention the gel texture, which includes mild plant-derived surfactants to gently cleanse skin without stripping it.

Olay Nourishing Vitamin B3 and Hyaluronic Acid Body Wash with Pump

Olay Nourishing Vitamin B3 and Hyaluronic Acid Body Wash with Pump

Target

You might be familiar with hyaluronic acid serums for your face, but have you tried the wonderful experience that is hyaluronic acid all over your body? PSA: It's a game changer. Find it in Olay's nourishing formula, which also contains vitamin B3 to help treat dryness at the source.

Odele Moisturizing Body Wash

Odele Moisturizing Body Wash

Target

Armed with eight powerful B vitamins, washing with this pH-balanced formula is essentially like taking a multivitamin for your skin. The smell is also a real treat, but don't worry—the fragrance is 100 percent natural from grapefruit and orange peels.

Drunk Elephant Kamili Cream Body Cleanser

Drunk Elephant Kamili Cream Body Cleanser

I can confirm that Drunk Elephant's body line is just as good as its facial collection—its body cleanser is infused with fatty acid-rich marula oil, sweet almond, and sacha inchi seed oils, plus a multi-amino-acid blend to deliver maximum hydration benefits. Sensitive skin will also benefit, since it has a pH of 5.0 and is free of any fragrance, dyes, and drying alcohols.

CeraVe Hydrating Body Wash

4.5
Cerave Hydrating Body Wash

Amazon

When your complexion seems to feel tight and dry no matter what, the problem could lie within a compromised skin barrier. The key is adding more ceramides into your skincare routine—these are found naturally in the skin and help repair that barrier. This body wash is buffed with three essential ceramides, along with hyaluronic acid and glycerin—together, they form a hydrating powerhouse trio.

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Wash AP+

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Wash AP+

Courtesy of Amazon

The fact that this formula is approved by the National Eczema Association already says a lot about its hydration capabilities—it uses the brand's prebiotic thermal water as the base, an exclusive blend that is rich in selenium (a natural antioxidant) and helps protect skin from the drying effects of hard water. Add some niacinamide into the mix, and you've got yourself an A(P)+ formula.

Embryolisse Foaming Cream Milk

Embryolisse Foaming Cream Milk

Amazon

This decadent formula makes my humble bathroom shower feel like an uber-bougie experience—the milky smooth cream texture turns into a foamy blend that softly wraps around your skin when applied (it also smells like what I'd expect a classy French girl would smell like). But the experience doesn't end in the shower; the hydrating formula infused with prickly pear extract, fatty acids, and lipids means that your skin feels just as luxe after you rinse off.

Kiehl's Creme de Corps Oil-to-Foam Body Cleanser

Kiehl's Creme de Corps Oil-to-Foam Body Cleanser

Kiehl's body wash has a formula featuring two underappreciated (and hydrating) oils in the body wash industry. Its antioxidant-rich grapeseed oil (extracted from the seeds of various varieties of grapes) is paired with castor oil to create an oil-based cleanser that magically transforms into a light foam on application.

Love, Beauty and Planet Bountiful Moisture Body Wash

Love Beauty And Planet, Bountiful Moisture Body Wash

Amazon

This silicone- and sulfate-free body wash is made entirely with plant-based cleansers, leaving both your skin and the planet a better place to live in. The key to hydration lies in the organic murumuru butter, a moisturizing substance similar to coconut oil that comes from the white fat in the nuts of the Amazonian murumuru palm tree. I'm also obsessed with this feminine scent, which comes from roses ethically sourced from Bulgaria.

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