Vichy vs CeraVe

written by: Tom Qiao
last update: May 21, 2024

As someone who has tried countless moisturizers over the years, Vichy and CeraVe are two brands that always get a lot of buzz in the skincare world. Both make excellent, dermatologist-recommended daily moisturizers, but they each have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Let's break it down:


First, let's take a look under the hood at the key ingredients in each brand's flagship moisturizer. Vichy's Aqualia Thermal line is powered by their proprietary Mineralizing Thermal Water from the French volcanoes along with shea butter, glycerin, and vitamin E. It's a relatively simple yet hydrating formula.

CeraVe's cult-favorite Daily Moisturizing Lotion, on the other hand, contains ceramides (the brand's trademark ingredient that helps restore the skin's protective barrier), hyaluronic acid to retain moisture, and MVE technology to slowly release moisturizing ingredients over time. It's a more complex blend of barrier-repairing and moisture-boosting ingredients.


When it comes to actually moisturizing the skin, both of these daily lotions do an excellent job – though they accomplish it in slightly different ways. Vichy provides an immediate plump, dewy glow thanks to that mineral-rich thermal water. However, some find that glow tends to fade faster compared to longer-lasting CeraVe.

CeraVe's formula is a bit more workmanlike in its approach, skipping the temporary radiance boost in favor of hardworking barrier repair and time-released hydration that keeps dryness at bay all day long. In my experience, CeraVe has more staying powder and residual effects.


There are also textural differences between these two moisturizers. Vichy has a lightweight liquid-cream texture that layers beautifully under makeup. It sinks in rapidly and leaves no greasy residue behind.

CeraVe's cream has a thicker, denser consistency – though it's by no means heavy or occlusive. Some luxuriate in this richer cream, while others find it a bit too goopy or slow to absorb fully.

Skin Types

Because of their distinct formulas, Vichy and CeraVe also tend to work better for different skin types and concerns. Vichy's thermal water base makes it incredibly gentle and soothing, so it's an ideal choice for sensitive or easily-irritated skin. It's also perfect for adding a hydration boost to any skincare regimen.

CeraVe, with its ceramide-reinforced formula, is optimal for very dry, dehydrated skin in need of serious repair and moisture replenishment. It's also a favorite among eczema and dermatitis sufferers for its barrier-restoring properties.

Customer Reviews

Both of these brands enjoy stellar reviews from their devoted followers. Vichy is praised for its clean, gentle formula that never triggers reactions or irritation. Fans rave about the instant glow it provides too.

CeraVe gets high marks for its Proven effectiveness against chronically dry, flaky skin. The ceramides get a ton of love for making a visible difference on compromised moisture barriers. Negative reviews tend to focus on the thicker texture.


Finally, the cost factor. Vichy is the pricier high-end pharmacy brand, with their Aqualia line retailing around $30-35 for a standard size bottle or jar. CeraVe, as an affordable drugstore staple, hovers in the $13-18 range for similar sizes.

The Verdict

At the end of the day, both of these moisturizers are excellent, hardworking formulas that skincare enthusiasts rave about for good reason. If you're looking for an ultra-gentle daily hydrator to brighten and plump skin, Vichy's Aqualia is tough to beat. But if intense, long-lasting moisture repair is the goal, CeraVe gives you more active bang for your buck.

Personally, I keep both in rotation – Vichy for everyday lightweight hydration, and CeraVe for periods when my combination skin is feeling more parched. With affordable prices, gentle formulations, and no-frills effectiveness, these two French pharmacy staples have more than earned their reputation as skincare heroes.

Article written by Tom Qiao
Tom is the founder and editor of where he applies his decades of personal experience with skincare problems like acne and acne scarring to provide readers with practical advice and product recommendations.

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