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The Best Moisturizing Body Washes For Your Silkiest, Smoothest Skin Ever


When dealing with dry skin, most of us immediately lather on body lotion. While lotions and body oils can certainly be beneficial products to help hydrate the skin, it's not the only way to soak up extra moisture. One underrated way to moisturize dry skin is to use a hydrating body wash. 

"Body washes can contain a number of ingredients to optimize hydration," says Nava Greenfield, MD, a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in Brooklyn, NY. "Ceramides, hyaluronic acid, vegetable oils (like avocado oil), jojoba oil, and oatmeal, are all great hydrating ingredients to add to washes." 

Dr. Greenfield also mentions that there are some irritating ingredients you may want to avoid if you're suffering from dry skin, like propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, and alcohol. "The first two are common but are becoming more recognized as potential drying, irritant ingredients," she says. Dr. Greenfield also points out that cream-based cleansers are typically more hydrating than foam-based cleansers.

With all of this expert knowledge, let's get to discussing some of the best body washes for dry skin. Below are our top 10 favorite products. 

An image of SOL DE JANEIRO Brazilian 4 Play Moisturizing Shower Cream-Gel.

1. SOL DE JANEIRO Brazilian 4 Play Moisturizing Shower Cream-Gel

With top fragrance notes of pistachio and caramel, this decadent body wash smells sweet enough to eat. However, it does much more than turn your shower into an aromatherapy session. This formula features key hydrating ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter. It also includes Brazilian favorite cupuaçu butter, which is full of fatty acids and phytosterols that support collagen production. With zero residue left behind, it will leave skin feeling smooth but never greasy. 

An image of ANDALOU NATURALS 1000® Roses Soothing Shower Gel.

2. ANDALOU NATURALS 1000® Roses Soothing Shower Gel

This gentle, natural body wash is an ideal choice for anyone with sensitive skin. This formula is packed full of rose in all different forms (rose stem cells, rosehip oil, and rose isolates), an ingredient that's ideal for delicate, dry, sensitive, and easily irritated skin. Rose is often helpful for anyone dealing with eczema-prone skin. This body wash is also packed with organic, natural ingredients like soothing aloe, plant-based antioxidants, and electrolyte-packed coconut water. 

When applying body wash to the skin, Dr. Greenfield advises against using loofas. "Use a soft washcloth or apply with your hands," she says. "Be gentle when washing. Don't rub too harshly and let the cleanser do the work for you."

An image of KLORANE Hibiscus Flower Shower Gel with Cupuaçu Butter.

3. KLORANE Hibiscus Flower Shower Gel with Cupuaçu Butter

With a mildly sweet and floral scent, this sensitive-skin-approved shower gel offers a soap-free formula, which means it cleanses the skin without stripping it of its natural oils. The key ingredient in this moisturizing body wash is hydrating cupuaçu butter. This Amazonian ingredient has a unique ability to penetrate the skin in record time, providing swift relief from dry, cracked, and itchy skin.

An image of LATHER Coconut Crème Body Wash.

4. LATHER Coconut Crème Body Wash

Here's a no-frills body cleanser that sticks with a cast of tried-and-trusted skincare ingredients. Coconut oil, avocado oil, and apricot oil work together to hydrate the skin without leaving any sort of greasy residue. Meanwhile, aloe vera and shea butter team up to soothe and soften the skin. This formula is free of all the bad stuff (so long, parabens, sulfates, and mineral oil) and is recommended for all skin types.

An image of H2O+ Milk Body Wash.

5. H2O+ Milk Body Wash  

This deliciously scented body wash provides deep moisture thanks to a combination of vitamin E and milk thistle extract. Vitamin E strengthens the skin's moisture barrier while milk thistle is an ancient natural ingredient that has been proven to help treat inflammatory skin conditions. Both ingredients are antioxidants and promote anti-aging effects in the skin. In addition to using this as an everyday hydrating body wash, also try adding this to running water to treat yourself to a foaming, super hydrating bubble bath.

An image of LOVE & TOAST Honey Coconut Shower Gel.

6. LOVE & TOAST Honey Coconut Shower Gel

With warming fragrance notes of honey, vanilla, and sandalwood, this just might be a shower gel you'll look forward to using (and smelling!). In addition to providing aromatherapy benefits, this natural cleanser uses apricot fruit and ginger to boost the skin's radiance. Meanwhile, essential fatty acid-packed avocado oil moisturizes and leaves skin feeling soft and supple.

An image of ERBAVIVA Embrace Body Wash.

7. ERBAVIVA Embrace Body Wash 

For all you natural beauty stans out there, this is an ideal body wash choice. This sulfate-free formula uses a cast of all-natural ingredients to create a body wash that's both effective and extra gentle on skin. Aloe soothes while glycerin fortifies the skin's moisture barrier and leaves the your skin feeling soft and hydrated. The hero ingredient here is grapefruit essential oil, an ingredient that's antiseptic, packed with antioxidants, and makes this body wash smell great.

An image of DELECTABLE BY CAKE BEAUTY Coconut & Cream Supremely Rich Body Wash.

8. DELECTABLE BY CAKE BEAUTY Coconut & Cream Supremely Rich Body Wash 

The two primary hydrating ingredients in this creamy body wash are coconut oil and aloe vera. In addition to soothing irritated skin, aloe also has a number of lesser-known benefits. The enzymes in aloe vera exfoliate skin to make it smoother. It can also help treat any cystic acne you might be experiencing on the body. With a sweet lemon scent, this is another body wash that can be added to running hot water to create a decadent and nourishing bubble bath. 

An image of BASD BODY CARE Indulgent Crème Brûlée Body Wash.

9. BASD BODY CARE Indulgent Crème Brûlée Body Wash

Don't be surprised if lathering on this crème brûlée-scented body wash leaves you craving dessert. In addition to smelling delightful, the formula includes organic green tea extract, vitamin E, and organic sweet orange essential oil. The caffeine in the green tea extract promotes anti-aging benefits, calms irritation, and might even help diminish the appearance of cellulite. Meanwhile, sweet orange essential oil provides an invigorating aromatherapy scent.

An image of CAKE BEAUTY Heavy Cream Buttery Shower Wash.

10. CAKE BEAUTY Heavy Cream Buttery Shower Wash 

Transform your daily shower into a totally indulgent spa experience with the help of this buttery, vanilla-scented body wash. As is the case with all products from CAKE BEAUTY, this formula is paraben-free and made without phthalates or mineral oil. What is included is hydrating coconut oil, shea butter, and licorice root extract, which helps to create a more even skin tone.

To maximize the hydrating benefits of body wash, always remember to apply a moisturizer after you dry off. "What you use [to moisturize] depends on your skin type," Dr. Greenfield says. "Generally, I recommend cream-based formulations instead of body lotions, which can be more water-based and not as hydrating. I recommend alternating: one can be oil-based and one can be cream or petroleum-based. Use something that has a minimal or light fragrance and most importantly, something that feels comfortable on your skin."

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About the author
Cortney Clift
Cortney is a New York-based freelance writer who has written about beauty and wellness for more than six years. She was previously the senior writer and special projects editor at Brit + Co where she covered a wide range of news and lifestyle topics.
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Article Last Updated April 15, 2020 12:00 AM