Since it arrived on UK shores in 2018, CeraVe, thanks to its affordable range of hardworking products for our face and body, has earned a cult status among skincare fans.
It’s also found a huge fanbase on TikTok, with users raving about its effectiveness at treating everything from dehydration to acne. There’s no exaggerated performance claims or luxurious packaging, instead the brand focuses on science-led formulas that allow you to achieve realistic results.
While the US-born brand has an extensive line-up of products available stateside, for Brits, the range is much more streamlined. Not that we’re complaining – the 13 on offer is an impressive bunch and makes for easy shopping without the overwhelming choice often found on the skincare market.
Loved for its low prices and generous sized products that are easily accessible, you can shop the brand at Boots, Superdrug, ASOS, Amazon and Lookfantastic, to name just a few.
It taps into what many of us are looking for in our beauty routines; budget-friendly products that are simple to use and deliver effective results, whether you’re looking for added hydration, a fast-absorbing moisturiser or a cleanser that keeps skin free from irritation.
We’ve been putting the brand through its paces over the last few months, to find what products are worth the hype and your hard-earned money, exploring each one through the lens of oily, dry, combination and acne-prone skin types. These are our top picks.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
CeraVe hydrating cleanser, 236ml
Best for: Combination skin
The most widely-known product from the brand is this lightweight gel-cream cleanser, with one pump sufficient enough to wash your whole face with. It’s perfect for using first thing in the morning as it instantly softens skin and leaves you feeling refreshed. For less than £10, it holds a generous 236ml of product so lasts ages. It’s rich in ceramides and hyaluronic acid which work together to protect the skin barrier and retain moisture.
It’s our reviewer’s go-to cleanser when acne medication often leaves skin dry, rough, tight and generally uncomfortable. It’s also calming too, so if you’re finding your T-zone to be oilier than usual, struggling with a particularly bad breakout or are experiencing sensitivity, it feels soothing on the skin and won’t exacerbate any irritation. Basic but brilliant, it’s a great first step in any skincare routine.
Buy now £9.50, Boots.com
CeraVe smoothing cleanser, 236ml
Best for: Acne and oily skin
If acne is wreaking havoc on your skin and self-esteem, this affordable gel cleanser is a helping hand. It’s brilliantly gentle and won’t feel painful on angry, red breakouts but will effectively cleanse skin. The hero ingredient is salicylic acid, which exfoliates, reduces inflammation and redness while unclogging pores too, making it ideal for oily skin types.
Not only that, it can reduce sebum excess, which clogs pores and can lead to spots. Unlike the rest of CeraVe’s line-up, it’s the only pump bottle which is slightly see-through, so you always know how much you have left. When applied to damp skin, it lathers, but not excessively so and leaves skin feeling calmer and smoother.
Buy now £9.00, Lookfantastic.com
CeraVe facial moisturiser SPF25, 52ml
Best for: Normal to dry skin
If dry skin is your concern, this moisturiser is just what you need. It’s a thicker cream, which is to be expected for a product made for dry skin, but doesn’t feel heavy, and sits nicely under makeup without leaving skin looking greasy. It contains a broad spectrum SPF25, meaning it protects from UVA and UVB rays, and is an easy way to get in your sunscreen protection.
It lasted our reviewer four months before we needed a top up, pretty impressive considering the size. Formulated with ceramides, it helps to strengthen the skin barrier while simultaneously boosting hydration.
Buy now £12.00, Superdrug.com
CeraVe moisturising lotion, 236ml
Best for: All skin types
Body lotions tend to divide people into two camps; those that religiously apply it and those that can’t be bothered. This will keep everyone happy and is a must-have in your body care routine. It’s a lightweight consistency that takes literally seconds to absorb and just three pumps adequately covers your whole body. It’s not messy, sticky nor takes an age to rub in before you can put your pyjamas on.
Not only that, it’s versatile too – safe enough for use as your facial moisturiser if you’re finding it in need of a richer moisturiser, and again, it takes seconds to absorb. It’s the most fuss-free lotion we’ve ever tried. If you are using it on your face, just make sure to pump out less product to avoid over-applying.
Buy now £9.50, Boots.com
CeraVe hydrating moisturising cream pot, 454g
Best for: Normal to dry skin
This is your classic body cream, rich and thick but doesn’t look or feel greasy. There’s nothing worse than having to stand in your bedroom or bathroom waiting for cream to sink into your skin to avoid sticking to your pyjamas, but there’s nothing like that with this. A generous scoop is plenty to cover your whole body.
It’s fragrance-free, like all of CeraVe’s products so does lack a little in luxury, but makes up for it with its fast-acting formula to improve areas of dry skin, especially on legs post-shaving, elbows and knees. Our reviewer was happy to report it worked a treat on patches of eczema, too.
Buy now £16.00, Boots.com
CeraVe hydrating hyaluronic acid serum, 30ml
Best for: Dehydrated skin
This is the most recent launch from CeraVe, making it debut in the UK in March 2021 and the first serum Brits have been able to get their hands on from the brand. It’s a brilliant starting point if you’re looking to introduce a hydration-focused serum into your routine but want something simple and uncomplicated.
It’s more lightweight than most other hydrating creams we’ve tried, so is suitable for oily, dry or sensitive skin types, and is well worth adding into your routine – apply after cleansing and before your moisturiser. Its formula is, as the name suggests, rich in hyaluronic acid, a molecule that’s a thousand times its weight in water which attracts and retains moisture. It won’t leave your skin feeling tacky and we found it left our face feeling baby soft for hours after.
Buy now £17.00, Feelunique.com
CeraVe SA smoothing moisturising cream tube
Best for: Very dry skin
This is without a doubt, better than any luxurious, high-end body cream we’ve ever tried, outperforming products that cost three, four, five times as much. It’s very thick so will take longer to rub in, but is packaged in a tube which makes it easier not to over apply the product.
If you struggle with keratosis pilaris – dry skin and tiny bumps found on the arms, backs of the legs and bum – this is a godsend at smoothing rougher areas of skin that a regular lotion just can’t tend to. The formula is enriched with salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid and urea, which gently exfoliate and keep skin moisturised.
Buy now £12.00, Asos.com
The verdict: CeraVe products
Basic, but in the best way, it’s hard to pinpoint one product from CeraVe, as they all perform well, depending on what your skin needs. If you’re new to the brand, try the hydrating cleanser for a surefire way to keep skin feeling soft and clean.
But, if you’re keen to find a new, fuss-free body moisturiser for drier areas, then you can’t go wrong with the moisturising lotion.
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