Moisturizer is an essential step in any skin care routine, but shopping for one can be overwhelming. With so many options, ingredients and claims to vet, where do you start?
First things first: Consider your skin type and concerns. Is your skin oily and breaks out easily, or is it so dry that nothing you apply seems to keep the flakes away? Do your skin concerns include sensitivity or wrinkles? If you’re in the market for a good moisturizer, we’re here to help. Ahead, the best moisturizers for every skin type.
Best Moisturizers for Normal Skin
“Normal” refers to skin that’s neither overly oily nor dry, but just because your skin is balanced doesn’t mean you should skip using a moisturizer.
“Moisturizers add a layer of protection to your skin,” explains Dr. Sandra Johnson, a board-certified dermatologist in Arkansas. “Skipping out on regular moisturizing could lead to skin irritation, rash or infections.” For normal skin types, Dr. Johnson recommends choosing a simple moisturizer with as few ingredients as possible, naming SkinMedica as one of her top choices.
If you read the over 100 5-star reviews for this everyday moisturizer, one word will stick out: “light.” When applied to the face and neck, many users remark on the lightweight yet thoroughly hydrating results, thanks to sodium hyaluronate (a form of hyaluronic acid) which retains up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Vitamins C and E help give the skin a brightening and antioxidant boost.
This soothing cream is a great all-around moisturizer. Not only does it deliver long-lasting moisture, it also helps promote skin healing after chemical peels, laser treatments and sunburn. One Dermstore shopper advises to go easy on this moisturizer if you don’t have dry skin: “I first found out about this cream when I got a facial. It is a great moisturizer and a little goes a long way!”
Best Moisturizers for Dry Skin
Dry skin is often lacking natural oils and lubricants, thus resulting in an itchy or tight feeling. Dr. Johnson explains that thicker cream moisturizers are often oil-based, making them a better option for dry skin than water-based lotions or gels.
If you have dry skin, you understand the need for something that truly quenches your skin’s thirst and keeps flakes at bay. Enter Epionce Intensive Nourishing Cream. Highly emollient and rich, it works to nourish from within and improves skin’s barrier with shea butter, peptides and natural oils. An optimal choice for dry skin, dry climates, cold weather or any other situation when your skin might need extra moisture.
Flaky skin, cracks and uncomfortable tightness are all woes related to dry skin—and not very fun to deal with! Luckily, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream utilizes oatmeal extract and allantoin to alleviate irritation while leaving a protective film on skin to add nourishment and comfort. This rich formula is also ideal for those suffering from eczema and can be dabbed on parched patches of the body like the elbows, heels and hands.
Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, there’s a word you need to become acquainted with, especially when looking at your moisturizer’s product label: “non-comedogenic.” Non-comedogenic ingredients won’t clog pores, an important factor since acne often accompanies oily skin.
Along with lightweight hydration, this moisturizer offers exfoliating benefits, too. Papain (derived from papaya enzymes) works to smooth and exfoliate skin, while hyaluronic acid and tamarind extract plump and moisturize. “Another great product that moisturizes even oily skin with quick absorption for a radiant glow. Even beneficial in my high-humidity climate without resulting in breakouts,” says one Dermstore review.
Shine can be a major concern when dealing with oily skin. Thankfully, this lightweight moisturizer from La Roche-Posay offers a mattifying formula that also helps tighten pores, balance oil production and protect against free radical damage. Apply to the face and neck and take advantage of the vitamins, antioxidants and salicylic acid packed within.
Best Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin
Sensitive skin types can have various triggers, such as “a certain skin care ingredient or environmental toxins like smog or pollution,” Dr. Johnson explains. “Choosing the right moisturizer will help by acting as a barrier against those irritants and allergens.” She recommends those with extreme sensitivity visit their dermatologist for a patch test to learn which ingredients should be avoided.
If you suffer from red, itchy skin due to rosacea, eczema or other factors, Eminence Organic Skin Care offers an entire Calm Skin line made specifically for this skin type. Formulated with pure, natural ingredients, this moisturizer features chamomile and aloe vera to soothe and balance skin, plus antioxidant-rich calendula oil. One Dermstore shopper says, “This is an excellent moisturizer for my sensitive, rosacea skin. It keeps my skin calm while maintaining the perfect level of moisture.”
This moisturizer is formulated with a minimal number of ingredients, including healing and nutrient-rich thermal spring water, to calm irritation and nourish and protect. It can also be used after chemical peels or laser procedures as a recovery treatment, hence the name. One Dermstore shopper had this to say: “Since my last breakout, I’ve been using Recovery Cream and have had no eczema at all, which is unheard of for me in the winter.”
Best Moisturizers for Combination Skin
When different parts of your face have competing needs—such as a T-zone that needs oil control and cheeks that need hydration—it’s important to choose a moisturizer that will keep all areas satisfied. “Be very gentle and kind to your combination skin. Limit the number of products and steps to not aggravate it,” advises Dr. Johnson.
Balance is key when dealing with combination skin—and this product, which thoroughly hydrates without leaving a greasy residue, delivers exactly that. Vitamin E works as an antioxidant while a blend of natural purifying extracts including licorice and ginger restores skin’s moisture and minimizes the appearance of pores. One Dermstore shopper describes it as her “holy grail product,” saying that “Daily moisture is perfect for my combination 40s skin. My face stays hydrated all day with neither dry nor oily spots.”
If your combination skin is prone to breakouts, this calming moisturizing from dermatologist-favorite PCA Skin can help. Niacinamide, a potent antioxidant, reduces water loss and helps curb excess oil production, while botanical extracts help purify and calm. “Balances my oil levels nicely, without leaving me feeling dry,” says one happy reviewer.
Best Moisturizers for Mature Skin
The skin barrier diminishes as we age, which makes daily upkeep is essential for mature skin. This means limiting collagen breakdown and protecting skin from further damage, according to Dr. Johnson.
Described as “thick without being heavy,” this cream can be used day and night to calm irritation, fight free radicals and encourage hyaluronic acid production within the skin. It’s composed of an advanced complex that discourages collagen degradation and promotes firmness and elasticity. One reviewer had this to say: “This cream is a dream. After using this, I received several comments on my skin…a little goes a long way and the bottle will last a long time.”
This all-natural, certified organic moisturizer taps into the science of plant stem cells to replenish mature skin. Antioxidants resveratrol and vitamin C round out the ingredients list to leave skin radiant and firm. One Dermstore shopper says, “I saw practically immediate results in my skin tone and hydration level. The wrinkles (albeit not deep) on my forehead were gone. What a great moisturizer.”