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The 21 Best Face Moisturizers for Hydrated, Healthy Skin

 




When it comes to the best face moisturizer, the world is your oyster. For many, it's the final step in a skin-care routine, and whether you're looking for a lightweight moisturizer with SPF to wear during the day or a souped-up


version to use as a night cream, we've tested countless formulas in our day-to-day work as beauty editors. Whether you've got dry, combination, or oily skin, odds are the perfect face cream for you has passed through our offices.

"Moisturizers are an essential part of every skin-care routine," says Shereene Idriss, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. "Just as our bodies require us to hydrate with water, so does our skin." While our skin


appears dewier almost instantly, the real benefits show up in the long term. The consistent use of moisturizers slows down the rate and intensity at which fine lines and wrinkles appear, she says.

This daily philosophy applies to all skin types and not just dry skin. "Overwashing without the appropriate use of a moisturizer will actually trigger an overproduction of oil on your skin," Divya Shokeen, MD, a board-certified


dermatologist in Torrance, California, previously explained. In short, if you don't rehydrate your skin, it will become dried-out and irritated — which then opens your skin up to a cache of troubles.

"People confuse oil with hydration, so they don't properly hydrate the skin," New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Doris Day, MD, noted. "We now have really great ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, which balances


oil and water in the skin." Increased hydration supports a stronger barrier, she said, which then helps curb oil production.

Best Overall: Caudalíe Premier Cru The Cream


Why It's Worth It: Caudalíe's Premier Cru The Cream features powerhouse active ingredients that smooth and diminish the look of wrinkles and intensely hydrate skin — thus earning this treatment a 2022 Best of Beauty Award. The

star ingredients are proprietary TET8 technology, which involves resveratrol (a plant compound commonly found in red grapes that acts as an antioxidant) and honokiol (green extraction of magnolia), viniferine, biotech hyaluronic


acid, and sugars derived from honey locust to tighten skin for up to six hours. Our editors say that it truly feels like a blanket of long-lasting moisture and the velvety texture couldn't feel more luxurious and nourishing.

Best for Dry Skin: SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2


Why It's Worth It: We get it: Not everyone has the budget to drop $150 on a moisturizer but there's a reason why SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 is so highly touted by dermatologists. "They've created the perfect blend

of lipids to restore the skin barrier in a super elegant vehicle," Angelo Landriscina, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Brooklyn, New York, says. He also notes that this cream is a great addition to a retinol or


retinoid regimen.

Best with SPF: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer SPF 30


Why It's Worth It: A common complaint about sunscreens (and even moisturizers with added SPF) is that they can show up ashy on tan to deep skin tones. That's not the case with La Roche-Posay's Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer

SPF 30. The thermal water–infused face lotion won't cause makeup to slip and slide and quickly absorbs with a translucent finish, and of course, provides adequate sun protection for a few hours. So, there's really no excuse to


apply sunscreen because this moisturizer combines two skin-care steps into one.

Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream
Why It's Worth It: The Neutrogena Hydroboost Water Gel moisturizer is a cool, bouncy gel-cream that feels delightfully cushiony on the skin. That's only one of the many reasons we love it. It also boasts exceptional hydrating benefits. "Although it feels gel-like, it's packed with glycerin and dimethicone which add moisture to the skin, seal it in, and help the product go on smoothly," notes Boston-based board-certified dermatologist Papri Sarkar, MD. Best for Rosacea: Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Gel Cream Why It's Worth It: Dr. Jart+ makes some of our favorite cica skin-care products to stop redness and irritation; cica (also known as Centella asiatica) is a soothing ingredient renowned for its wound-healing and regenerative properties, and has been used in Asian medicine for centuries. Our tester said that Dr. Jart+'s Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Gel Cream helped calm their redness, adding that it also “helped hydrate the dry patches without over-moisturizing the oily spots, which is basically magic in a tube.” Best Hybrid: Naturium Dew Glow Moisturizer SPF 50 Why It's Worth It: Angelo Landriscina, a board-certified dermatologist based in Brooklyn, New York, vouches for Naturium Dew Glow Moisturizer SPF 50, which he says is "an amazing moisturizer with a high SPF and antioxidant blend that's a one-and-done in the AM," adding that it's ideal for someone with dry skin or "anyone who loves to glow." We commerce editor Sarah Han agrees. "Not only does this sink into the skin without a trace, the dewiness is unreal," she says. We have a brightening duo of niacinamide and ethyl ascorbic acid to thank for a more radiant, even complexion. Best for Sensitive Skin: Tatcha Indigo Overnight Repair Why It's Worth It: Dr. Landriscina recommends Tatcha Indigo Overnight Repair for people with sensitive skin. "I love the inclusion of colloidal oatmeal as a skin protectant," he says. "It also has a seal of acceptance from the National Eczema Association." Indigo has many anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits, so it's ideal for soothing sensitive skin, strengthening the barrier, and calming irritation. Best for Mature Skin: Chanel Le Lift Pro Crème Why It's Worth It: This cream aims to do what few topical formulas can, plumping skin with a combination of sodium hyaluronate (a stable form of hyaluronic acid) and glycerin. And it actually succeeds, which explains why it won a 2023 Best of Beauty Award. Another bonus: It's also fragrance-free, which is a tough find among luxury skin-care products. Best Luxury: SK-II Skinpower Advanced Cream Why It's Worth It: SK-II Skinpower Advanced Cream is the definition of a splurge-worthy skin-care product, especially since its predecessor (Skinpower Cream) took the honor of a 2022 Best of Beauty Award. SK-II's famed (and proprietary) Pitera complex comes from a yeast fermentation process that almost mimics that of sake, and is packed with over 50 vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and acids to intensely moisturize and condition skin. A bouquet of floral extracts including calla lily extract, dokudami extract, and peony extract supercharges the plumpness of your skin — in addition to fan-favorite ingredients like glycerin, niacinamide, and shea butter. Best for Fine Lines: The Inkey List Peptide Moisturizer Why It's Worth It: With its 1% peptide complex and special smoothing royal jelly protein, The Inkey List Peptide Moisturizer's price seems like a typo. For just $16, this shea butter-rich cream does the heavy lifting of moisturizers 10 times the price, deeply moisturizing and firming skin while absorbing quickly for a non-heavy feel. It's best for people with dry skin, as well as those concerned with the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Best Lightweight Moisturizer: Kate Somerville HydraKate Recharging Water Cream Moisturizer Why It's Worth It: "I love how lightweight the Kate Somerville HydraKate Recharging Water Cream is," associate beauty editor Annie Blay says of her go-to summer facial moisturizer. "It skins in quickly but leaves my skin moisturized all day and never greasy." However, for those with oily skin, HydraKate is a great all-year-round formula. Best for Eczema: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Why It's Worth It: If you have eczema or sensitive skin, the award-winning First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream is for you. (It's won a Best of Beauty and Readers' Choice Award, so you know it's legit.) Made with soothing colloidal oatmeal, this thick yet nongreasy moisturizer hydrates any dry spots or patches without irritating the skin. Best for Combination Skin: Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream Why It's Worth It: A winner of our 2016 Best of Beauty Award and three-time Readers' Choice Award winner, the Lala Retro Whipped Cream by Drunk Elephant is the ultimate fancy-but-not-too-fancy, unscented moisturizer. It'll wrap your skin in an airy blanket of hyaluronic acid, plant-derived ceramides, and moisture-boosting oils that guard against water loss for all-day or all-night relief. "Though its label touts 'six rare African oils,' it doesn't feel the least bit oily — even on my oily/combination skin," our tester said. “I was so impressed I tried it on again in the morning, and it dried to a matte finish that was perfect on its own and under my liquid foundation.” Best Refillable: Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Cream Why It's Worth It: Glow Recipe is one of the internet's buzziest brands with the brightest formulas, and the skin-perfecting goodness of its Refillable Plum Plump Hyaluronic Cream is further proof. The whipped gel-cream gets its lavender color from three different types of plums (kakadu, illawara, and burdekin) and its intense moisture-replenishing powers from five weights of hyaluronic acid, meaning they penetrate the skin at different levels. Slather it on your face and neck twice daily for a radiant glow and healthy bounce. Best for Face and Body: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion Why It's Worth It: Consider the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion the ultimate drugstore moisturizer. This $15 daily moisturizer nixes any traces of dryness or flakiness and, instead, offers up a hydrated complexion, thanks to a blend of hyaluronic acid and encapsulated ceramides. "Ceramides are like grout that seals in the cracks between skin cell tiles," New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, previously explained. Therefore, ceramides can help treat skin conditions such as eczema and acne, in which the skin is deficient in ceramides. (After all, this product has the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance printed on the bottle.) Best for Uneven Skin Tone: Summer Fridays Cloud Dew Oil-Free Gel Cream Why It's Worth It: This weightless formula checks a lot of boxes. "The blend of ceramides and humectants in this moisturizer really packs a punch," Dr. Landriscina explains. "This is a great choice for dry, dehydrated, or sensitized skin." However, the inclusion of pineapple enzyme gently exfoliates skin — without you even realizing it because it feels so lightweight and cushiony on your skin — and smooths instances of uneven texture. Best for Redness: Murad Intense Recovery Cream Why It's Worth It: For dry to severely dry skin, bring the heavy (hydration) hitters into your nighttime skin-care routine. Murad Intense Recovery Cream, a rich, seafoam-green-tinted cream, is a 2021 Best of Beauty Award winner because it puts a stop to redness and visibly calms signs of stressed skin. Star ingredients include shea butter, macadamia oil, redness-soothing mirabilis jalapa plant extract, and fine-line-smoothing microalgae extract, making it the ideal nightcap for your skin. Best for Oily Skin: Farmacy Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer Why It's Worth It: Farmacy's Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer is a feel-good formula in every sense of the word. For starters, its lightweight gel texture is satisfyingly bouncy and glassy when scooped out of the jar, and melts into skin as you apply it. The moisturizer also includes a cocktail of skin-perfecting ingredients like a quadruple dose of hyaluronic acid (for mega hydration), papaya extract (for gentle exfoliation), and moringa seed extract (for removing impurities) which leave skin looking dewy and brighter. Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Skinfix Barrier+ Restoring Gel Cream Why It's Worth It: "For people with oily, acne-prone skin looking for a lightweight moisturizer, Skinfix Barrier+ Restoring Gel Cream is excellent," says David Kim, MD, a NYC-based board-certified dermatologist at Idriss Dermatology and founder of Lightsaver. "One to two pumps is all you need and it gets absorbed instantly." The star ingredients here are moisture-binding saccharide isomerate, oil-absorbing niacinamide, and a heptapeptide blend that supports barrier function. It's free of silicone and non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores. Best Fragrance-Free: Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream Why It's Worth It: Kiehl's best-selling Ultra Facial Cream has been a beloved skin-care staple for years and with good reason: It works. "In the winter my skin needs moisture but can't take too much fragrance," notes Dr. Sarkar. "This cream, packed with glycerin, squalane, and plant oils (like apricot and avocado) hydrates and helps to seal in moisture without irritating." All you need is a dime-size amount to seal your entire complexion in comforting hydration. Best for Firming: Ole Henkrisen Strength Trainer Peptide Boost Moisturizer Why It's Worth It: Ole Henkrisen's Strength Trainer Peptide Boost Moisturizer boasts impressive numbers, with a powerful blend of eight conditioning peptides, three moisturizing ceramides, and eight amino acids to lock in moisture for the long haul, boosting elasticity and fortifying the moisture barrier. Mango shea butter adds a subtly fruity scent that makes you feel like you're on vacation.

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