While many people like to splurge on luxury moisturizers, such as Crème de la Mer and Augustinus Bader The Cream, we’ve found that many drugstore moisturizers work just as well — or sometimes even better!
One example is Vanicream, a brand that specializes in formulating affordable products for sensitive skin. They not only offer moisturizers for your face and body, but also cleansers, body wash, sunscreen, and more.
But how well do Vanicream skin care products perform? To answer this question, we’ll have to evaluate the formulation details, including the key ingredients in Vanicream skin care products and the research that supports (or doesn’t support) their use in skin care. We’ll also share some Vanicream reviews so that you can get an idea of what customers really think of these products.
What Are The Top 10 Best Vanicream Skin Care Products?
Vanicream offers products for each step of your skin care routine, including cleansers, body wash, moisturizers, sun care, and more. Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 best Vanicream skin care products.
Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser
If you have sensitive skin, you know how hard it is to find a cleanser that is a good balance between gentle and effective. Some cleansers contain harsh surfactants that leave the skin feeling stripped and tight, while others are so gentle they aren’t able to remove excess oil or makeup.
Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser offers the best of both worlds. It’s a soap-free, pH balanced formula that uses coconut-derived surfactants (like coco-glucoside and sodium cocoyl glycinate) to remove excess oil, dirt, makeup, and other impurities from the skin.
These surfactants are combined with humectants, like glycerin and caprylyl glycol, in order to help the skin retain moisture.
And like all Vanicream products, this cleanser is free of dyes, fragrance, masking fragrance, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde, and other preservatives, making it an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin.
Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream
Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream is a body moisturizer that has a rich texture due to the high concentration of petrolatum (aka Vaseline) in this formula.
Petrolatum is an occlusive agent that reduces the rate of water loss through skin. Since petrolatum has a melting point that is close to body temperature, it softens upon application and forms a water-repellant film around the applied area. This film prevents evaporation of the skin’s natural moisture and increases skin hydration by causing buildup of water in the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin).
The rest of the formula consists of humectants (sorbitol, propylene glycol) and emollients (cetearyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate). Together, these ingredients help restore and maintain a normal moisture level while also soothing red, irritated skin.
Vanicream Z Bar
Vanicream Z Bar is formulated with 2% pyrithione zinc, an ingredient that helps relieve itching, irritation, redness, flaking, and scaling associated with seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff.
According to Healthline, pyrithione zinc has antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties. The growth of yeast is a major factor in dandruff, so by inhibiting the growth of yeast, pyrithione zinc can help to control this condition.
Plus, the pyrithione zinc is formulated in a cream base with emollients like stearic acid and petrolatum in order to keep the skin moisturized and soft.
Vanicream Cleansing Bar
This cleansing bar is not medicated like the Vanicream Z Bar. Rather, it’s a gentle cleansing bar that produces a rich lather thanks to surfactants like sodium cocoyl isethionate, sodium isethionate, and sodium lauroyl sarcosinate.
A surfactant molecule contains one end that is hydrophilic (attracted to water) and one end that is lipophilic (attracted to oil). This allows surfactants to attract and suspend oils, dirt, and other impurities that have accumulated on the skin and wash them away.
These surfactants are combined with emollients like stearic acid and petrolatum in order to keep the skin moisturized and soft. This is a great cleansing bar for those with sensitive skin because the formula is free of dyes, fragrance, masking fragrance, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde, botanical extracts, and essential oils.
Vanicream Gentle Body Wash
If you prefer to use a body wash over a cleansing bar, then the Vanicream Gentle Body Wash is a good option. It’s formulated to gently remove dirt and oils without drying the skin. Like many of the Vanicream cleanser formulations, the key ingredients in this body wash are surfactants and emollients.
There are many 5-star reviews for this Vanicream body wash from customers with very dry skin who share how well this wash works. For example, one review says, “From the moment this product goes on my bathing sponge and touches my skin it glides and softens and smooths. After a shower I sometimes don’t even need cream. My skin is so hydrated. Lovely product that I will buy again and again.”
Vanicream Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50+
This Vanicream sunscreen provides broad spectrum SPF 50+ protection thanks to zinc oxide, a type of physical sunscreen that protects your skin by using physical UV filters to block or deflect UV light.
Zinc oxide is combined with supporting key ingredients like allantoin and emollients. Allantoin is a very gentle, moisturizing ingredient. It’s also a keratolytic, which means it has the ability to smooth skin through exfoliation of the top layer of dead skin cells. Allantoin can help to increase skin smoothness, aid in wound healing, and promote cell proliferation and longevity.
The formula is non-greasy and non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores. And like all Vanicream skin care products, the formula is free from common skin irritants, making this Vanicream sunscreen a good option for those with sensitive skin.
Vanicream deodorant is a solid stick antiperspirant/deodorant that is free of fragrance, botanical extracts, essential oils, baking soda, talc, and ethanol. While this may sound like the perfect option for those with sensitive skin, we have to point out that this product contains aluminum.
Aluminum antiperspirants are able to reduce sweating because aluminum creates a gel-like substance when exposed to sweat, which subsequently plugs up sweat ducts in the skin. This may sound like a good idea, but the truth is aluminum can cause problems over time.
For example, by plugging the sweat ducts in your underarms, it’s possible that your skin will become irritated, and you may even notice rashes, underarm pimples, and even color changes of the skin. Not to mention that aluminum creates stains that are nearly impossible to get out!
Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion
Formerly known as Vanicream Lite Lotion, the Moisturizing Lotion is a lighter version of Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream. The lotion formula actually has the same key ingredients as the cream, including petrolatum, sorbitol, propylene glycol, cetearyl alcohol, and glyceryl stearate. Together, these ingredients help restore and maintain a normal moisture level with also soothing red, irritated skin.
Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer
A rich yet lightweight facial moisturizer that can be used day or night to help hydrate and retain the skin’s moisture. It leaves the skin feeling soft and deeply moisturized while still being lightweight and suitable to wear under makeup.
The key ingredient in this moisturizer is the lightweight, non-comedogenic emollient squalane. Squalane is a saturated and stable hydrocarbon that mimics squalene (note the e), a natural compound in your skin that plays an important role in lubrication and protection. Squalane helps to replenish and strengthen the skin’s lipid barrier.
The formula also contains the moisture-magnet hyaluronic acid, as well as five different ceramides. Ceramides help to replenish the skin’s barrier and, therefore, help to promote healthier skin that retains moisture.
Vanicream Moisturizing Ointment
If you’re struggling with very dry and/or irritated skin, the Vanicream Moisturizing Ointment is for you. It’s a thick ointment that spreads onto the skin easily, creating a silky feel that isn’t greasy or heavy.
The formula primarily consists of hydrogenated polydecene, a synthetic emollient that forms a non-occlusive film on the surface of the skin to help protect the skin barrier and prevent water loss.
Vanicream Moisturizing Ointment is ideal for soothing dry, irritated, and itchy skin, as well as helping to improve dry skin associated with atopic dermatitis (eczema), psoriasis, ichthyosis, and winter itch.
Is The Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser Right For You?
Before purchasing Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser, here’s a summary of the most important factors to consider:
- Key ingredients? Coconut-derived surfactants, humectants
- Skin type? Ideal for dry and sensitive skin
- Texture? Light foam
- Fragrance? No
- Cruelty free? Unknown
- Cost? Depends on the retailer, $9.20 USD for 8 fl oz on Vanicream website
What Are The Key Ingredients in Vanicream Skin Care Products?
Vanicream products have very simple formulations, and they are all free of dyes, fragrance, masking fragrance, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde, botanical extracts, essential oils, and other common skin irritants.
All of the Vanicream skin care products contain humectants, emollients, and occlusive moisturizers. Here’s a brief overview explaining how these ingredients will affect your skin:
Humectants: Draw much-needed moisture into the skin
A humectant has a molecular structure with several hydrophilic (water loving) groups, such as hydroxyl groups (OH) and/or amine groups (NH2). These groups hydrogen bond with water, essentially “grabbing” it and holding it on the skin.
Humectants pull water from the dermis to the epidermis and stratum corneum in order to hydrate the upper layers of skin. In addition, humectants can draw water vapor from the air to help moisturize the skin if the humidity is over 50 percent.
A few examples of humectants in Vanicream products include glycerin, sorbitol, and propylene glycol.
Emollients: The key to soft, moisturized skin
The Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream, Daily Facial Moisturizer, and other moisturizers by this brand contain emollients.
An emollient is an oily substance that fills in the spaces between dead skin cells, thus creating a smooth skin surface. Basically, an emollient is a film forming substance that makes the skin feel and look smooth.
A few examples of emollients that you’ll find in Vanicream products include stearic acid, glyceryl stearate, and squalane.
Occlusives: Create a physical barrier to lock moisture
Many of the Vanicream products contain occlusive ingredients, such as petrolatum and dimethicone (a type of silicone).
Occlusives create a physical barrier on top of the skin that helps prevent trans-epidermal water. These ingredients feel thick and heavy after application since they are not absorbed into the skin.
Since occlusive ingredients form a protective barrier on the surface of skin, they are best for those with very dry skin and conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
How Much Do Vanicream Skin Care Products Cost?
The price of the Vanicream products will depend on the retailer where you purchase the product. Generally speaking, Vanicream products are in line with other drugstore brands, such as CeraVe and Cetaphil. For example, the Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser costs $9.20 for an 8 ounce bottle on the brand’s website.
Where to Buy Vanicream Skin Care Products?
Vanicream skin care products are sold on the brand’s website, as well as several third party online retailers, such as Amazon, Walmart, Walgreens, Target, and more.
What is The Vanicream Return Policy?
The Vanicream return policy states, “Your complete satisfaction with our products is guaranteed. Items may be returned within 60 days of the invoice date. Product must be returned by the original purchaser in the original packaging at the customer’s expense. Shipping charges are not refundable.”
Is Vanicream Cruelty Free?
According to Cruelty Free Kitty, Vanicream is in the grey area based on the following statement:
“Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us with your questions. We have not, nor will we ever, test on animals or use animal-derived ingredients. All our products go through extensive testing as well as we collect all documentation to ensure this to be true. The founders of this company have felt very strongly about this since day one, and that will never change—we take great pride in being cruelty free.
All of our sourced ingredients are selected based upon the ingredient manufacturers answering questions for us in regards to whether or not that specific ingredient has been tested on animals or is sourced from animals. We do not sell in China, and any countries outside the U.S that want to sell our products do sign a contract from us in which we state that we strongly discourage any 3rd party animal testing on our finished products.”
The last line of this statement says that they “strongly discourage any 3rd party animal testing” on their finished products. This part is relevant to animal testing in China. It means that although Vanicream as a company doesn’t test on animals, they do not monitor whether or not their distributors sell their products in the Chinese market.
Is Vanicream Vegan?
Vanicream is not a brand that is 100% vegan, but they do offer some vegan-friendly products.
Vanicream reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive. One product that has received a lot of positive feedback is the Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser, which has earned an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars after about 70 customer reviews.
On Amazon, this Vanicream cleanser has earned an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars after more than 13,000 customer reviews.
The positive reviews for the Vanicream cleanser mention how well it removes makeup without stripping the skin or causing the skin to feel dry or tight.
For example, one review says, “Washing with Vanicream cleanser is great because it removes things like sunscreen & light makeup but it will not leave your skin feeling stripped or tight. It’s “fragrance free” but does have a somewhat medicinal smell to it. It’s not too bad, but don’t expect it to smell like absolutely nothing. As for the consistency, many gentle cleansers don’t foam up but this one does.. it’s actually more of a lather than a bubbly foam. Overall I would recommend this cleanser to anybody and everybody “
And another very positive review for the Vanicream cleanser says, “Very gentle facial wash. Cleans your face and even removes makeup without burning your eyes. “
However, there are a handful of negative reviews for the Vanicream cleanser from customers who experienced breakouts after using this product.
For example, one review says, “Used twice a day, morning in the shower and at night before bed for 3 weeks but had to stop. Started to break out after 2 weeks and finally stopped the madness after the 3rd week. I tend to have greasy skin even in winter and this barely cleans it, leaving a weird film (or leftover grease) on my skin.”
And a similar review says, “This is supposed to be a gentle cleanser for those with problematic skin. I added it to my routine in exchange for CeraVe hydrating cleanser. Boy oh boy, I’ve never had breakouts on my forehead or cheeks and this did the trick. I had five little zits the next morning when I woke up. I stopped using it and my skin cleared up. BE CAREFUL if you have acne prone skin. You don’t want new breakouts!!”
Overall, we think that Vanicream skin care products are a good option for those with dry and/or sensitive skin. But the products have very basic formulations, so if you’re looking to improve signs of aging, we would recommend finding a different brand.
- Formulations are very simple
- Formulations are free from common skin irritants
- Key ingredients includes emollients, humectants, and occlusive agents
- Many positive Vanicream reviews
- It is unclear if Vanicream is cruelty free
What Are Some Alternatives to Vanicream Skin Care Products?
If you’re looking for skin care products to address the signs of aging, one brand we recommend is Formulyst. Formulyst maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in clinically advanced skin care solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin.
For hydrated and dewy looking skin, try Formulyst Super Hyaluronic Water Moisturizer. Hyaluronic acid helps keep skin plumped, hydrated, and dewy looking. This oil free formula is packed with multiple types of hyaluronic acid and it works as a moisture magnet by drawing water to the skin.
Another brand that balances the power of plants with cutting edge science is Carrot & Stick. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals commonly found in skin care products.