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CeraVe Foaming vs Hydrating Cleanser – What’s the Difference?

If you are trying to choose between the CeraVe Foaming vs Hydrating Cleanser, this post lists all the differences and similarities between the two.

I have compared the texture, consistency, price and results between them, as well as analysed the difference in ingredients. I hope this post is helpful to you in choosing the best one for you.

cerave foaming vs hydrating cleanser

What’s the Difference Between CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser and Foaming cleanser?

Very generally, the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is recommended for dry skin, and the CeraVe Foaming cleanser is recommended for oily skin. They both contain slightly difference ingredients, and perform differently on the skin.

When comparing the two I took into consideration the texture, consistency, ingredients, price and results on the skin.

Comparison Between the Foaming Vs Hydrating Cleanser

Texture & Consistency

The Hydrating Cleanser and Foam Cleanser both have a completely different texture and consistency.

You can see from the photograph below that the Hydrating Cleanser has a thick, creamy texture. It also appears white. By comparison the Foaming Cleanser is clear, thin and runny, and has a gel like consistency.

What's the Difference Between CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser and Foaming cleanser?

When water is applied to each of the cleansers, the Foaming Cleanser forms a very light foam on the skin, but the Hydrating Cleanser doesn’t produce any lather at all.

You can see in the photograph below what each cleanser looks like on the skin after it has been mixed with water. The Foaming Cleanser (on the left) has created a delicate foam, but the Hydrating Cleanser (on the right) is hardly visible.

What's the Difference Between CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser and Foaming cleanser?



  • Non-comedogenic
  • Non-irritating
  • Fragrance-free
  • Contain Hyaluronic Acid
  • Contain Essential Ceramides

When it comes to the ingredients, both products contain CeraVe’s blend of three essential ceramides: Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP and Ceramide EOP.

They also both contain hyaluronic acid (listed as sodium hyaluronate), and glycerin. These ingredients help to strengthen the skin’s protective barrier, and add moisture to dehydrated skin.


  • Hydrating Cleanser contains extra glycerin
  • Hydrating Cleanser uses MVE Technology
  • Foaming Cleanser contains Niacinamide

The CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser has slightly more glycerin and ceramides in its formulation compared to the Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser. This means it’s more hydrating and moisturising.

The Hydrating Cleanser also uses CeraVe’s Multivesicular Emulsion (MVE) technology, which helps to keep the skin hydrated for up to 24 hours.

The Foaming Cleanser on the other hand contains niacinamide which can help to clear acne and reduce dark spots. This active ingredient is not found in the Hydrating cleanser.

CeraVe Foaming Cleanser Ingredients

Ingredients of CeraVe Foaming Cleanser

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Ingredients

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Ingredients


I found that the CeraVe Foaming Cleanser was slightly more expensive than the CeraVe Hydrating cleanser, but not by much.

I bought my products in the U.K. from Boots. At the time I purchased them the Hydrating Cleanser was £8 and the Foaming Cleanser was £10.

Summary Table: CeraVe Foaming vs Hydrating Cleanser

Foaming Cleanser Hydrating Cleanser
Best For Oily Skin Dry Skin
Texture Gel Cream
Consistency Thin Thick
Foams Yes No
Difference in
more glycerin
Non-Comedogenic Yes Yes
MVE Technology No Yes
Recommended by
No Yes


If you are looking for a cleanser to remove impurities, I found that both cleansers did a good job at this. Neither of them would be suitable for removing makeup, but both left my skin feeling clean.

I think different skin types may get different results but I found that for my own skin (which is very dry and sensitive), neither of the cleansers left my skin red or irritated, but both of them left my skin dry.

The table below lists my recommendations for each skin type.

Dry Skin CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
Very Dry Skin Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Oily Skin CeraVe Foaming Cleanser
Acne Prone Skin CeraVe Smoothing SA Cleanser
Combination Skin CeraVe Foaming Cleanser

For Drier Skin Types

My own skin is very dry and sensitive and I found that the CeraVe Foaming Cleanser was too drying for me. Even though the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is recommended for dry skin, I also found this a bit too drying.

If you have extremely dry or sensitive skin like me, I would recommend the Cetaphil Gentle Skin cleanser over both of these products. I have been using this cleanser for several years and found it never dried my skin out.

If you have normal to dry skin however, the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser may work well for you as it helps to clean the skin without skin irritation.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

For Oily Skin Types

If you have excess oil, you should probably choose the Foaming Cleanser over the Hydrating cleanser, however CeraVe also make another cleanser with salicylic acid called the CeraVe SA smoothing cleanser.

If you have especially oily skin that is prone to blocked pores, the SA Cleanser may also be worth a try. Salicylic Acid is good for clearing out the skin pores, removing dead skin cells and smoothing bumpy skin.

Cerave SA Smoothing Cleanser

Is CeraVe Foaming or Hydrating Cleanser better for acne?

If you suffer from acne-prone skin I would definitely choose the CeraVe Foaming Cleanser over the Hydrating Cleanser, since the Foaming Cleanser contains niacinamide.

Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory properties, and also inhibits the production of oil which makes it an excellent ingredient for reducing acne.

A study published in the International Journal of Dermatology showed that a topical mixture containing 4% Niacinamide was as effective as 1% clindamycin in treating acne.

What's the Difference Between CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser and Foaming cleanser?

Can I use CeraVe Foaming Cleanser if I Have Dry Skin?

CeraVe recommend the Hydrating Cleanser for dry skin and the Foaming cleanser for oily skin. The Hydrating Cleanser from CeraVe has even been recommended by the National Eczema Association for dry skin.

If you have combination skin however, which has both dry and oily patches, the Foaming Cleanser may be the best choice for you.

All CeraVe products are designed for sensitive skin types, and contain ingredients to protect the skin’s natural barrier. Although the Foaming Cleanser is slightly harsher on the skin compared to the Hydrating Cleanser, it’s still gentle enough not to strip the skin of its natural oils.

Personally I found that neither the Foaming Cleanser nor the Hydrating Cleanser worked well on my own skin, but then my skin is extremely dry. I found Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser was the best option for me.

Can I use CeraVe Foaming Cleanser if I have dry skin?

CeraVe Foaming vs Hydrating Cleanser

Thank you for reading my post about CeraVe Foaming vs Hydrating Cleanser. If you have tried out either of these products please leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts. If you are looking for a gentle cleanser to incorporate into your skincare routine, CeraVe products are a good option.