The 11 Best Moisturizing Body Washes of 2023

CeraVe Body Wash for dry skin is fragrance-free and designed by dermatologists.

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11 Best Moisturizing Body Washes of 2022

Amazon / Dr. Bronner's / Walmart

Dry skin is often uncomfortable and can manifest in a range of symptoms such as itchiness, redness, flaking, and pain. Chronic skin conditions, allergies, and environmental and seasonal changes can all be possible causes for dry, itchy, or sensitive skin. A moisturizing body wash is the first line of defense for anyone looking to maintain comfortable, healthy skin. Joshua Zeichner, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and an associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. He says that “the right cleanser can help respect the skin barrier, but the wrong cleanser can contribute to skin barrier dysfunction and make skin conditions worse.” 

Reviewed & Approved

The CeraVe Body Wash for Dry Skin wins our Best Overall category as it’s fragrance-free and packed with ceramides that help restore the skin barrier. For those looking for a gentle, organic, cruelty-free option, you can’t go past the Mustela Organic Cleansing Gel, which is even gentle enough for babies aged three months and up.

The skin conditions he’s referring to are the likes of eczema, psoriasis, itchy skin, and sensitive skin in general. Claire Wolinsky, MD, a board-certified dermatologist who practices out of New York, says that “eczema is actually called atopic dermatitis, which is an inborn genetic issue with the skin barrier. So you have a compromised skin barrier and you don't have all the building blocks to protect the skin against the outside environment. So things like soap can add to dryness. And water can be adding to dryness because you don't have that barrier protection.” 

Adding a moisturizing body wash into your routine is not just about chasing supple skin for aesthetic purposes, it’s also about offsetting the overall drying nature of our surroundings because, as Dr. Wolinsky says, “Water is drying in and of itself.” Tiffany Libby, MD, a double board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon, adds, “Age plays a role in skin hydration levels. As we age the skin is less capable of maintaining moisture, and by 60 years of age, most individuals will experience dry skin. Ethnicity and genetics play a role as well as research shows that transepidermal water loss, water content, ceramide levels, and skin reactivity differ across races and various skin types.”

With all of these factors to consider, a good quality moisturizing body wash will help you protect your skin. And, according to our expert dermatologists, the best body washes are less about which cleansing agents are included and more about which moisturizing ingredients are added.

Our Recommendations

Best Overall: CeraVe Hydrating Body Wash

CeraVe Hydrating Body Wash

Amazon

Available at Amazon, Walmart

Why We Like It: The inclusion of urea makes this formula gently exfoliating and hydrating at the same time.

It’s Worth Noting: The gentle foaming formula may not be suited to everyone.

Any cosmetics that are developed with dermatologists are worth considering, and CeraVe is a tried and true brand that delivers effective skin care across the board. This gentle moisturizing body wash should tick many boxes for many people. That includes those with sensitive and itchy skin or those with keratosis pilaris, often nicknamed “chicken skin.” 

This wash features a range of humectants and skin barrier protectants which offers a two-pronged moisturizing strategy. One of its active ingredients is urea, which Dr. Wolinsky says is a “great ingredient that's actually naturally [occurring] in urine and it breaks down the top layer of skin cells so that it's exfoliating…and it’s also very hydrating.” It’s worth noting that this formula is a gentle foaming wash. So for those who prefer a thick lather, this may not be your favorite cleanser. 

Price at time of publication: $11

Product Details:

  • Skin type: Normal – dry skin 
  • Key moisturizing ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, urea, soybean oil, ceramides 
  • Scent: Fragrance-free 
  • Size: 10 oz.

Best Budget: Olay Total Moisture Body Wash

OLAY Rough Dry Skin Total Moisture Body Wash

Target

Available at Target, Walmart

Why We Like It: You can find this product at most commercial retailers and it’s formulated without harsh parabens and dyes.

It’s Worth Noting: Sodium trideceth sulfate is considered a safe cleansing agent that may still be irritating to some.

For generations, Olay has proven that you can buy effective skin care products for under $10. We love that their Total Moisture Body Wash uses the humble cocoa bean to deliver some serious moisturizing power. 

The body wash also contains Olay’s vitamin B3 complex. Vitamin B3 is also known as niacinamide: a popular skincare ingredient that’s scientifically proven to help with a range of skincare concerns ranging from skin irritation to aging. Vitamin B3 can help improve the skin’s protective barrier by encouraging the production of ceramides which help to bond skin cells. However, this body wash includes sodium trideceth sulfate, which could be potentially irritating to those with an allergy or extra sensitive skin. For most, it shouldn’t be an issue though.

Price at time of publication: $8

Product Details:

  • Skin type: Combination skin 
  • Key moisturizing ingredients: Cocoa butter, vitamin B3 complex (niacinamide) 
  • Fragrance: Creamy cocoa scent 
  • Size: 17.9 oz.

Best Natural: Mustela Organic Cleansing Gel

Mustela Organic Cleansing Gel

Mustela

Available at Amazon, Bedbathandbeyond, Mustelausa

Why We Like It: This wash boasts a vegan and biodegradable formula that’s safe for babies, children, and adults alike.

It’s Worth Noting: Some reviewers didn’t like the packaging and had trouble pumping the product out of the bottle.

Dr. Libby directly recommends this product both for her patients and for Health readers. She says, “This is a gentle, sulfate-free body wash that nourishes skin with aloe and cleanses it without stripping natural oils.” 

Any product that’s safe for baby hair and skin is also a great option for adults too. Aloe vera is the key humectant drawing moisture into the skin while olive oil works hard to lock in that moisture. It’s also made from 97.5 percent natural ingredients and is sold in biodegradable packaging. However, some reviewers said the packaging made it hard to get the gel out of the bottle. With that being said, we think the environmentally-friendly packaging makes it worth the trouble.

Price at time of publication: $17

Product Details:

  • Skin type: Sensitive, dry, and normal skin 
  • Key moisturizing ingredients: Olive oil, aloe vera, glycerin 
  • Scent: Fragrance-free 
  • Size: 13.52 oz.

Best Scented: Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap

Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Pure Castile Liquid Soap

Dr. Bronner’s

Available at Amazon, Walmart

Why We Like It: This is a moisturizing favorite available in a range of refreshing or calming fragrances.

It’s Worth Noting: Scented products can be particularly irritating for those with sensitive skin.

Perhaps no moisturizing product lineup is complete without this versatile wonder. Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap is a concentrated formula featuring five different organic oils, meaning a little goes a long way, and that diluting is key to making sure you aren’t left with a greasy residue.

Dr. Bronner’s also features tocopherol or vitamin E—a popular skincare ingredient and antioxidant that slows skin aging and protects the skin barrier. Choose your own scented adventure as they have a range of fragrance extracts like peppermint, lavender and almond.

Price at time of publication: $17

Product Details:

  • Skin type: Normal – dry skin 
  • Key moisturizing ingredients: Coconut oil, hemp seed oil, jojoba oil, vitamin E
  • Scent: A range of scents from lavender to peppermint 
  • Size: 32 oz.

Best Fragrance-Free: La Roche-Posay Lipikar Wash AP+ Moisturizing Body & Face

La Roche Posay Lipikar Wash AP+ - 13.52 fl oz

La Roche Posay

Available at Amazon, Ulta, Laroche-posay

Why We Like It: A multifunctional cleanser gentle enough for your face and body. 

It’s Worth Noting: Some users said it was hard to pump the product through the bottle.

While we’ve included quite a few fragrance-free options on this list, we particularly love La Roche-Posay’s Lipikar Wash for a non-irritating formula that provides ample moisture. This face and body cleanser states it’s gentle enough for people with chemotherapy to use (as long as their doctor gives them the green light, of course). This French pharmacy staple brand uses the benefits of thermal water to supercharge this face and body wash. 

Humans have been reaping the benefits of thermal spring water for centuries which is known to be anti-inflammatory, soothing, and protective of the skin’s microbiome with prebiotic and probiotic properties. La Roche-Posay’s thermal water is rich in selenium, which is an anti-inflammatory mineral that protects the skin from UV damage keeping it firmer and stronger for longer.

Price at time of publication: $16

Product Details:

  • Skin type: Dry – extra dry skin, sensitive skin, eczema-prone
  • Key moisturizing ingredients: Shea butter, glycerin, thermal spring water 
  • Scent: Fragrance-free
  • Size: 13.52 oz.

Best Soap-Free: Vanicream Gentle Body Wash

Vanicream gentle wash

Walgreens

Available at Amazon, Walgreens

Why We Like It: This is a soap-free dermatologist favorite from a trusted brand.

It’s Worth Noting: While the product is free of added fragrance, a minority of reviewers noted an unpleasant scent.

Is it possible to wash your body without soap? Absolutely. Many of the products included in this article are soap-free which means they’re free from harsh surfactants and cleaning agents, which can mess with your skin’s PH balance. However, we particularly recommend Vanicream’s gentle body wash because it’s safe for even the most sensitive of dry skin.

“Soap can add to dryness”, says Dr. Libby. “Different soaps can have different PH levels, which can determine how much they strip the skin,” she explains. This creamy formulation is PH-balanced to match your skin and has been created to give you a good and safe wash in soft or hard water.

Price at time of publication: $11

Product Details:

  • Skin type: Sensitive skin 
  • Key moisturizing ingredients: Glycerin, panthenol 
  • Scent: Fragrance-free
  • Size: 12 oz.

Best for Sensitive Skin: Eucerin Advanced Body and Face Cleanser

Eucerin Advanced Cleansing Body & Face Cleanser

Target

Available at Amazon, Target, Walmart

Why We Like It: A 2-in-1 product that is recommended by dermatologists and cruelty-free to boot.

It’s Worth Noting: Some readers may prefer to use a wash that includes more moisturizers.

Those with sensitive skin will often feel a range of uncomfortable skin symptoms such as stinging, burning, and redness (with or without swelling) as well as flares of rashes or hives. People who have sensitive skin are also prone to dryness, but not everybody with dry skin also has sensitive skin. Chemical irritants are one of the causes of sensitive skin, along with allergies and more chronic conditions such as eczema. 

Dr. Libby particularly noted the Eucerin Advanced range as some of her favorite moisturizing body washes for sensitive skin. She says, “I find that their soap is very, very gentle and fragrance- and soap-free. So you'll find that it's a very gentle cleanser.”

Price at time of publication: $10

Product Details:

  • Skin type: Sensitive skin 
  • Key moisturizing ingredients: Hydrogenated castor oil
  • Scent: Fragrance-free 
  • Size: 16.9 oz.

Best for Eczema: The Honest Company Eczema Soothing Therapy Body Wash

Honest Soothing Therapy Eczema Body Wash

Amazon

Available at Amazon, Walmart, Target

Why We Like It: A cruelty-free, natural formula that protects that skin as it moisturizes.

It’s Worth Noting: A relatively small size and relatively high price mean that some readers may feel this product delivers the least bang for their buck. 

Dr. Zeichner says that “eczema is a condition where the skin barrier is not functioning as well as it should be, leading to microscopic cracks in the skin barrier with loss of hydration. This causes a red, itchy rash.” When looking for a product suitable for eczema, the key is to focus on ingredients that draw moisture into the skin and lock it in. 

This aptly named, soothing therapy body wash features various ingredients proven to soothe and treat inflamed skin. The inclusion of colloidal oatmeal, in particular, is an important ingredient hailed for its anti-inflammatory benefits. 

Price at time of publication: $14

Product Details:

  • Skin concern: Eczema-prone, dry skin, sensitive skin 
  • Key moisturizing ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, glycerin, coconut oil, prebiotics, vitamin E, aloe vera, panthenol 
  • Scent: Fragrance-free 
  • Size: 8 oz.

Best for Psoriasis: CeraVe Psoriasis Cleanser

CeraVe Psoriasis Cleanser

Walmart

Available at Amazon, Walmart

Why We Like It: A steroid-free product that targets the itchiness and flaking specific to psoriasis.

It’s Worth Noting: This product is at the higher end of the price scale. 

Psoriasis can be a particularly frustrating skin condition that causes a buildup of skin cells that result in scales and dry, itchy patches. This is a chronic condition that is often linked back to the immune system and triggered by infections, stress, or excessive alcohol consumption. 

While many psoriasis sufferers may benefit from taking a holistic approach to their condition, this cleanser can offer some relief. The combination of urea and salicylic acid offers gentle exfoliation removing the buildup of skin, while the ceramides and niacinamide rebuild the skin barrier and return moisture to it. Though this product is slightly more expensive than other options on this list, we think it’s targeted approach to psoriasis makes it well worth it. 

Price at time of publication: $21

Product Details:

  • Skin type: Psoriasis-prone 
  • Key moisturizing ingredients: Ceramides, niacinamide, lactic acid, urea
  • Scent: Fragrance-free 
  • Size: 8 oz.

Best for Itchy Skin: Eucerin Skin Calming Body Wash

Eucerin Skin Calming Body Wash

Walmart

Available at Amazon, Walmart

Why We Like It: It’s soap-free and stacked with moisturizers

It’s Worth Noting: Some buyers said that the narrow design and thick formula made the bottle difficult to grip.

Itchy skin is very likely linked to dry skin which can occur seasonally, particularly in winter when heating and hotter showers can zap moisture from our bodies. And it can also occur on a more chronic level in the form of xerosis cutis (the medical term for excessively dry skin). 

Many Health readers will be able to find relief from itchy, dry skin by purchasing an over-the-counter product like this one. The first two ingredients listed in the Skin Calming Body Wash are oils, which means that they take the lion’s share of the formulation. With any of the skin concerns listed in the article, Dr. Zeichner says “if you are experiencing dryness, itching, or rashes, and they are not improving, despite using a gentle cleanser, and a hydrating moisturizer, then it is time to touch base with a dermatologist for prescription health.”

Price at time of publication: $15

Product Details:

  • Skin type: Dry, itchy, or sensitive skin
  • Key moisturizing ingredients: Soybean oil, castor seed oil
  • Scent: Fragrance-free 
  • Size: 16 oz.

Best with Men’s Scent: Harry’s Cleansing Body Wash

Harry's Men's Cleansing Body Wash Redwood Scent

Walmart

Available at Walmart

Why We Like It: The redwood scent is great for anyone who is looking for a more masculine fragrance while still tackling dry skin.

It’s Worth Noting: The added fragrance could be irritating for those with sensitive skin or an existing skin condition.

This sulfate- and paraben-free body wash promises to foam up nicely without entirely stripping the skin of moisture. While we love the redwood scent, it’s also available in four unique fragrances, which can add a touch of luxury to your shower experience for a fraction of the price. 

However, when shopping for products, our expert dermatologists were quick to state that there is a very limited difference between men’s and women’s skin and that products targeted at men are more likely to include fragrances with more masculine notes. 

Dr. Wolinksy says “Men prefer different scents or no fragrance at all.” Likewise, Dr. Zeichner adds that “the basic needs of the skin are very similar for men as they are for women. As a general rule, men’s skin tends to be more oily, and there’s more coarse hair. However, there’s no data showing that man’s skin is any less sensitive or any more dry than women’s.” Dr. Zeichner also adds that “men tend to prefer gel or lathering textures, versus women who tend to gravitate more towards creamier consistencies. However, for those with extra sensitive skin, I always recommend choosing a fragrance-free product.” 

Price at time of publication: $7

Product Details:

  • Skin type: Dry – normal skin
  • Key moisturizing ingredients: Lauric acid 
  • Fragrance: Redwood, shiso, wildlands, grove
  • Size: 16 oz.

How We Selected

The Health team spoke to expert dermatologists about the factors that create dry skin and the ingredients that go into a high quality, moisturizing body washes. We then researched the best on the market and narrowed them down based on dermatologist recommendations, ingredients, fragrance, and price to help you find a moisturizing body wash that could help you feel more comfortable in your own skin. 

What to Know About Moisturizing Body Washes 

When looking to minimize dry skin and shop for a moisturizing body wash, it’s important to pay attention to ingredients as well as how you apply the product. Dr. Wolinsky says that how often you use a body wash and where you apply it can also make a difference to how your skin feels. She says, “Most people believe that you have to wash your whole body with soap, but actually dermatologists will mostly recommend to wash the stinky parts like the folds and areas that obviously sweat and smell. But you don't necessarily need to wash your arms and legs and use lots of soap if you have a condition that you tend to be more dry. And that's particularly important going into the winter.” 

Which Ingredients to Look for When Shopping for a Moisturizing Body Wash

When it comes to body washes that protect the skin’s barrier, it’s less about looking for the right cleansing ingredients and more about looking at which moisturizing ingredients have been added. “Look for cleansers that contain the same types of ingredients found in moisturizers, as they help protect the skin barrier while you wash your skin,” explains Dr. Zeichner. Meanwhile, Dr. Libby adds that a good moisturizing body wash will have a combination of humectants and barrier repair ingredients. “Humectants help draw water to the skin’s surface,” she says. Humectant ingredients to look for include lactic acid, panthenol, hyaluronic acid, colloidal oatmeal, glycerin, urea, and aloe vera. Skin barrier ingredients include shea butter, ceramides, manuka honey, and botanical oils like jojoba, olive, coconut, and avocado.  

Which Ingredients to Avoid When Shopping for a Moisturizing Body Wash

Many of the traditional foaming ingredients that we associate with “feeling clean” are the most drying, these include sulfates like sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate which are foaming agents and common skin irritants. Dr. Libby says to “avoid heavy fragrances, and if you have sensitive skin, to look for sulfate-free cleansers.” Dr. Wolinsky adds that “if you have sensitive skin, which sometimes goes hand in hand with dry skin, you pick something that doesn't have fragrances.” 

How Much You Can Expect to Pay for a Moisturizing Body Wash

Fortunately, purchasing a safe and effective body wash doesn’t have to break the bank as all of our expert dermatologists suggested that you can usually expect to pay a maximum of $20. Dr. Wolinsky says, “There's no reason to spend money on soap or moisturizer, but I think if you go into the drugstore for a big bottle, it's going to be around $20 to $25. If you had a smaller one, it could be $10.”  

Your Questions, Answered

Which body wash is the most moisturizing? 

As mentioned, the best moisturizing body washes will have a range of ingredients that draw moisture to the skin’s surface while protecting the skin barrier. Dr. Libby specifically recommends looking out for a “creamy or oil-based wash.” 

What is the No. 1 dermatologist-recommended body wash? 

There is a selection of safe and effective brands that dermatologists consistently recommend. These include Eucerin, Cetaphil, CeraVe, Vanicream, and even some Dove products. Dr. Zeichner adds that buyers should be careful with product packaging as some that say “#1 dermatologist brand” is often “marketing information that the companies use from their own surveys.” 

Do moisturizing body washes work?

“Moisturizing body washes actually work. Traditionally, people like the feel of a foaming cleanser and associate that with the process of cleansing. However, many formulations now do an excellent job of cleansing while also being creamier and non-foaming and are able to hydrate the skin and add back moisturizers so that skin feels clean, refreshed, and hydrated,” says Dr. Libby. For added comfort, you could consider locking moisture into your skin by adding a hydrating body lotion or cream to your shower routine. 

Who We Are

Isabella Ubaldi has 10 years of research and writing experience covering topics that range from the most comfortable high heels to how “femtech” helps to fill the gap in our medical understanding of women’s bodies. Her curiosity about the world feeds her keen interest in helping people reduce the shopping noise and make decisions that may just improve their quality of life or make the everyday a little bit sweeter.

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