Best Beauty & Skin Care Products

The Best Moisturizers to Nourish and Restore Dry Skin

Open jar of yellow moisturizer cream

Dealing with dry skin is enough to leave anyone frustrated, frazzled and, well, flaky. Even worse, chronic dryness is associated with a disrupted skin barrier. “Without an optimal barrier function your skin becomes more vulnerable to minor trauma and infections, and it will take longer to heal,” says Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York. The best remedy to restore your skin’s barrier—and keep your complexion smooth and supple—is, without a doubt, a moisturizer made to nourish dry skin types.

The Best Ingredients for Dry Skin

“Moisturizers help to keep the skin looking and functioning at its best and help ensure the strength and resilience of the skin barrier,” says Dr. King. She recommends reaching for products that contain hydrating and nourishing ingredients—specifically moisturizing creams or ointments that contain oils such as olive or jojoba. “Shea butter also works well,” she adds. “Other ingredients that help soothe dry skin include lactic acid, urea, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, glycerin, lanolin, mineral oil and petrolatum.” To best absorb all the hydration your moisturizer contains, she recommends applying immediately after washing.

Ready to arm your skin with the protective barrier it needs to remain healthy and hydrated? Read on for the best moisturizers that are guaranteed to do the job and leave you with that desirable dewy glow.

  1. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
    $36.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

    Not only is this face and body cream intensely hydrating, it’s also free of fragrances, alcohol, phthalates, sulfates and parabens, which can irritate sensitive and dry skin, explains Dr. Dendy Engelman, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon in New York. “This moisturizer contains oatmeal, shea butter and antioxidants to soothe skin and fight environmental aggressors, which are important qualities in a skin care product for dry skin types,” she adds.

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  2. SkinCeuticals Emollience
    $63.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    SkinCeuticals Emollience

    If you’re looking for a lightweight moisturizer that gently soothes the skin, absorbs relatively quickly and delivers just enough hydration to last all day long, this is a great option. A rich blend of exclusive lipids and marine extracts, including algae, is incredibly nutrient-rich and works to nourish and hydrate the skin. Other plant oils include grapeseed, rosehip and macadamia nut, which work to restore the skin’s barrier function to protect it against free radicals in the environment.

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  3. Murad Intense Recovery Cream
    $80.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    Murad Intense Recovery Cream

    This intensely nourishing cream is more like a dense balm designed to hydrate extremely dry skin that’s irritated and red. In doing so, it simultaneously reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, too. The ingredients are mostly plant-based, including a blend of shea butter and macadamia oil to deeply hydrate, mirabilis jalapa plant extract to soothe irritation and rednes and microalgae extract, which has been shown to reduce the look of stress-related expression lines.

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  4. PCA SKIN Collagen Hydrator
    $50.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    PCA SKIN Collagen Hydrator

    Ideal for overnight use (when your skin is working its hardest to repair itself) this collagen hydrator can also be used anytime—morning and afternoon, too. It incorporates a nourishing combination of shea butter and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate overly dry skin. It also softens the skin’s texture with a blend of emollients and wheat protein and balances your skin’s natural pH levels with sweet almond oil.

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  5. Obagi Hydrate Luxe
    $74.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    Obagi Hydrate Luxe

    Although this cream can be used both in the morning and evening, it’s actually formulated to work in tandem with your skin’s natural nightly function to restore and hydrate while you sleep. Shea butter helps soothe and soften the skin, while naturally occurring biomimetic peptides form a barrier that locks in moisture and aids in cellular repair.

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  6. Dermalogica Intensive Moisture Balance
    $72.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    Dermalogica Intensive Moisture Balance

    If you’re looking to maintain the delicate hydration balance that prevents your skin from being dry but also ensures that it won’t look greasy and oily, this is a great option. It is formulated with a BioReplenish Complex that contains a combination of key barrier lipids to boost your skin’s natural resiliency and aid in skin barrier recovery. Key ingredients include chlorella algae, a prebiotic complex that helps rebalance the skin’s microbiome, as well as hyaluronic acid, which holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Echinacea, centella asiatica and aloe vera are also added to lock in moisture and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

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  7. Epionce Intensive Nourishing Cream
    $114.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    Epionce Intensive Nourishing Cream

    This unique cream was designed to target and repair damaged areas of the skin with a powerful blend of fruit extracts, namely apple, which contains a high concentration of phenolic compounds and flavonoids, along with anti-aging benefits. Peptides are also in play to stimulate cell regeneration and promote a youthful, more even-toned complexion.

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  8. iS Clinical Reparative Moisture Emulsion
    $95.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    iS Clinical Reparative Moisture Emulsion

    Utilizing a blend of potent, pharmaceutical-grade botanicals, peptides, antioxidants and marine extracts, this nourishing moisturizer works to keep skin smooth while warding off signs of premature aging and fine lines that can be exacerbated by dry, parched skin. One of its best qualities is that it is lightweight and absorbs quickly, so you don’t feel as though it is sitting on your skin throughout the day. For this reason, it also doubles as a makeup primer, allowing your products to go on smoothly and seamlessly.

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  9. Naturopathica Calendula Essential Hydrating Cream
    $68.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    Naturopathica Calendula Essential Hydrating Cream

    If you’re looking for a moisturizing face cream that contains natural ingredients, Naturopathica Calendula Cream is a great buy. It contains the flowering plant calendula as well as aloe vera, which both hydrate the skin, as well as borage seed oil and rosa damascena essential oil to help soothe irritation and relieve dryness. It’s meant to be used twice daily after their Aloe Cleansing Gel.

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Beauty Reporter

Jenn Sinrich

Jenn Sinrich is a freelance writer, editor and content strategist in NYC. Her work can be found in Women’s Health, SELF, Reader's Digest, Health, PureWow and more. When she's not putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), she can be found traveling the world and discovering more about the big apple of a city she's always dreamed of calling home. Follow her on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.