Cerave Moisturizing Cream (Cerave in a Tub)

Woooof. Cerave in a tub was the holy grail of all holy grails on r/skincareaddiction at one point. I used this cream a lot when my acne was bad, because I convinced myself that my breakouts were because of a weakened moisture barrier. Even those four or five years ago, I never thought the cream was phenomenal. Even though I was only using it at night, I had major issues with the product pilling on application, faint burning, and being too chalky when I woke up the next morning, so it was difficult to wash off.

But the brand Cerave, at the time, was a huge step up in my skincare game compared to my former late-teens mainstay Clean and Clear. Just push through it! I told myself. Spoiler alert: my skin condition did not improve.

Cerave’s been doing a huge advertising push lately, and I’ve seen good ol’ “Cerave in a Tub” being advertised just about everywhere. It seems like the emphasis is more on it being a body cream, but it can still be used on your face. The advertising won me over to try it again in 2020. Whoops.

I washed my face before bed with water. I didn’t use exfoliants, in order to get the “full” Cerave in a tub experience. This thick white cream is pretty difficult to spread around and does not absorb well into the skin. Fair enough, it is a cream, and not a gel, after all. I had a fair bit of whitecast left over even a good amount of time getting it to sink in — not that it matters when all you’re doing is heading to bed, but still!

Five minutes pass. The faint, familiar burning returns. This persists for another twenty minutes until I decide to partake in the difficult task of rinsing it off. In the spirit of “maybe I’m just not used to it yet!”, I tried this two more nights during the week, but to no avail: I had the same results. Worst yet, I woke up the next morning with a few spots.

There are a few morals to this story. First of all, if it’s a moisturizer, I am fairly certain there should be no, or a very short, break-in period where your skin is getting used to it. Also, a moisturizer shouldn’t burn! Even if you think the ingredient listing is tame, if your skin starts burning, just stop using it! And last, apparently a tiger never changes its stripes. Or, well, in the case of Cerave PM moisturizer, it occasionally does change it’s stripes (ingredients), but then the product ends up worse for wear.

I tried putting this cream on my knees and elbows since it’s being touted as a body cream too — it was still a little bit too heavy and chalky to feel hydrating. If you still want to try it out, $15 for a pretty substantial tub of product will go a long way and keep you covered for a few months — but only if your skin can tolerate it! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 0/5 (ouch!)

Longevity: 4/5

How much I actually like this product: 0/5 (ouch again!)

Recommended for sensitive skin: NO!

COSRX Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream

Finally, a CosRX product that is compliant with my skin, and one I’m in absolute love with! If you’re looking for a heavy moisturizer, I very heavily recommend this one.

My story about this moisturizer begins with another, the coveted Cerave-in- a-Tub. At the height of my cystic acne, I wanted so bad for Cerave to be my HG, second-to-last step moisturizer, convinced that the weight of it was locking in a supreme amount of moisture which would help my skin recover from all the retinol and benzoyl peroxide I was applying to it. Maybe this was the case, but it was SO difficult to work with. It never played well with any other products, and the whitecast was difficult to rid of. I woke up the next morning feeling sticky, moreso than hydrated.

A couple other heavy creams came after this one, but this CosRX honey ceramide cream ended up ticking off all of the boxes, and being everything Cerave was not – the only gripe being the ridiculously small amount in the package for the price ($17), and perhaps a slightly shorter listing of ceramides in the ingredients.

This alcohol-free, odorless white cream spreads very easily into the skin, and you don’t need to go overboard on product – a few pea-sized amounts should do. It won’t pill with any other skincare product you have underneath, unless you apply it too soon in succession. I use this exclusively at night due to it’s weight, but I did try it once with makeup, and it didn’t make too much of a mess – obviously, the longer you wait between application, better. Immediately after application, I feel like my skin was bouncier. When I wake up in the morning, my skin STILL feels hydrated. This being my first honey cream, I was under the impression that the honey would make me feel sticky, but it didn’t.

As a bonus, this did not cause me to break out! I suppose I had pictured honey clogging every single pore in existence and causing a mess, but it absolutely did not. I felt, in fact, my pores had shrunk a bit overnight. All in all, this stuff is great. This is a new HG for me, and I’d recommend even those with sensitive skin give it a try. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 5/5

Longevity: 5/5

How much I actually like this product: 4.75/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes