These Hydrating Body Washes Do the Most for Dry, Cranky Skin

Dry skin isn’t seasonal. Sure, it might be more prevalent in the winter months, but that doesn’t mean it magically disappears once the weather warms up—not for us at least. Spending time out in the sun and swimming in chlorine or salt water (depending on where we find ourselves in the world) makes our skin look and feel parched… and tight and itchy and sometimes even flaky. To make matters worse, we’re usually wearing less come summer. Dry skin–disguising clothes like sweaters, coats, and scarves are replaced with shorts, tank tops, and swimsuits. No matter what time of year it is or how dry our skin becomes, we won’t despair, because we know how to fix it. Moisturizing body lotions are usually our first line of defense (along with protective sunscreen), but we also turn to certain body washes for help—those that are gentle and, most importantly, hydrating. Keep scrolling to see our 15 favorite hydrating body washes to use whenever dry skin strikes. 

This body wash comes courtesy of our favorite elevated basics brand, Nécessaire. It’s formulated with niacinamide and marula, cacay, and meadowfoam oils, so it hydrates and softens the skin while cleansing it. It’s also non-irritating and non-sensitizing, so it won’t cause any damage to dry, dehydrated skin. Try any of the four different versions it’s available in—sandalwood, eucalyptus, bergamot, or fragrance-free. 

If Nécessaire is our favorite elevated-basics brand, then Bioderma is our favorite French-pharmacy brand (or one of them, at least). This shower gel is formulated without allergens, soap, or dyes. Instead of irritating dry skin, it moisturizes and softens it on contact. 

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention this shower oil, which is from the same line as the aforementioned gel. It’s so gentle and moisturizing that it can be used on both the face and the body. As for the standout ingredients, there are coconut and sunflower esters, which soothe skin; glycerin, which moisturizes; and niacinamide, which supports the skin barrier. It’s basically a silky, moisturizing dream for dry skin. 

Don’t sleep on drugstore body washes. Not only are there some truly effective options out there, but they come at a good price, too. Take this one for instance. At only $10 a pop, its creamy formula, which is rich in soothing oatmeal, will cleanse and moisturize dry skin. 

This oil-based body wash was inspired by oil facial cleansers, which is evident from its luxurious scent and silky texture. It uses a blend of seven oils—including coconut, meadowfoam, olive, soybean, grape-seed, sesame, and sunflower seed oil—to moisturize and soften the skin. Its orange blossom and neroli scent is just the cherry on top. Oh, and if you really want to moisturize your skin, follow up this body wash with Glossier’s Body Hero Daily Perfecting Cream ($22). 

Fans of Sol de Janeiro’s iconic Brazilian Bum Bum Cream ($45) will love this moisturizing body wash. Just like the cream, it moisturizes with a blend of cupuaçu butter, coconut oil, and açaí oil. It also has the same warm and spicy scent, which honestly smells so good you could leave the house without wearing your daily perfume. 

Luxurious is the name of the game when it comes to this foaming oil-to-milk body cleanser. It contains almond oil, which leaves the skin super moisturized and super soft to the touch. It’s also what imparts the woody scent. (If you normally prefer fragrance-free options, beware. The almond fragrance is quite decadent.) 

If you love body washes that are super foamy and indulgent with an almost whipped texture, then this one’s for you. It suds up into a rich lather, cleansing and moisturizing the skin with ingredients like niacinamide and shea butter. 

How do we love this body wash? Let us count the ways. First, there’s the hydrating formula that combines jojoba and rose hip with skin-balancing probiotics. Then, there’s the rich lather. Finally, there’s the citrus scent, which makes us feel fresh, clean, and summery. 

Like other Drunk Elephant products, this cream body cleanser is cruelty-free, vegan, and packaged in recyclable materials. It soothes and moisturizes dry skin with passionfruit, sweet almond, and sacha inchi seed oils, plus amino acids and ultra-mild cleansing agents. 

This face-and-body cleanser is formulated with prickly pear extract and lipids to moisturize and protect the skin. It has a milky texture that foams up when it comes into contact with water. As for the scent, it’s fresh and slightly powdery. Whenever I use it, my skin feels soft, supple, and moisturized, and I feel like a sophisticated French girl. 

La Roche Posay is yet another French pharmacy brand we can’t get enough of. We love everything from the brand’s Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60 ($20) to the Anti-Aging Vitamin C Serum ($40). This face-and-body wash is no different. It contains shea butter and thermal spring water to hydrate and soothe even the most sensitive skin. 

This one is for fans of Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Body Lotion ($30), which is a super-moisturizing body treatment. The body-wash version is just as moisturizing thanks to an oil-based formula that consists of castor, grape-seed, coconut, and rice bran oils. 

CeraVe’s Hydrating Body Wash is chock-full of ceramides, which are lipids that play an important role in your skin’s moisture barrier function. Translation? The gentle, non-stripping formula will soothe even the dryest and itchiest of skin. 

The first ingredient in this body wash is organic aloe leaf juice, so you know it will be hydrating and soothing to dry, red, and itchy skin. Its soft and relaxing scent is also worth calling out. Italian bergamot, rose, and pink peppercorn make for a floral, woodsy fragrance. 

Next, check out 20 truly game-changing body lotions.