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Sometimes the most basic essentials are the trickiest buys. Like moisturizer, for instance—you can’t go without it, but pick the wrong one and it’s like one wrong click on Mindsweeper—KABOOM. Luckily, you’re never short on options because skincare brands know that everyone’s skin is unique so there actually is a moisturizer out there for everyone. If you’re flummoxed on where to start, we’re breaking it down by skin type as well as skincare concerns. Whether you’re acne-stricken, dry and flaky, red and sensitive, or blissfully normal, we can point you in the direction of our favorites. And if you’re all about earth-friendly beauty, we can certainly give you a heads up on some of our favorite natural beauty brands, too.
If you’ve visited a dermatologist for any dry skin issues, chances are they’ve told you to pick up a bottle of Cetaphil. It’s the perfect drugstore find for dry and/or sensitive skin. Without irritating fragrance, it’s perfect for you sensitive types, plus it’s non-comedogenic so it won’t hang out in your pores. It doesn’t feel especially thick or heavy despite being for dryer skin and it absorbs nicely into it, letting glycerin do all the water-binding work.
(Where to Buy: Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion, $10.79 at Cetaphil.com)
The makeup artist’s staple and French pharmacy best seller, Embryolisse is so popular for a reason. It moisturizes and primes in one–some even say it’s great for makeup removal because the formula is so moist (for lack of better descriptor) and silky at the same time. This moisturizer seems to have the magic ability to moisturize all day, but leave your face with a near-matte satin finish, just like a primer. It wears well under foundation or by itself.
(Where to Buy: Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré, $12 for 1.0 oz at embryolisseusa.com)
For those seeking luxury, celebrated makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury has your ticket. Her Magic Cream, named as such because the formula she concocted herself was what she slathered on clients’ and models’ faces backstage for that perfect dewy glow. All her celebrity clients (Kate Moss, anyone?) requested a batch for themselves. The formula was pretty hush-hush until her eponymous beauty line released it to the public. Touting a BioNymph Peptide Complex as the magic ingredient to anti-aging, other ingredients are hyaluronic acid, rose hip oil, and camellia oil–all for ultimate moisture. Damask rose, aloe vera and anti-oxidant vitamins E, A, and C all work to promote collagen production and regenerate skin. Definitely a luxury buy, this Magic Cream is amazing to give yourself a facial massage with and is a total glow-getter.
(Where to Buy: Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, $100 at Charlottetilbury.com)
Another magic cream in and of itself, is the natural beauty fanatic’s dream–Egyptian Magic. This is one of those beauty cult items passed around via word of mouth because it’s one of those unexpected (and sometimes hard to find) products that works overtime with so few ingredients (which are olive oil, beeswax, honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, and propolis extract). All the bee-related ingredients are actually great beauty boosters because they are amazing at healing and helping your skin regenerate. This cream is amazing for dry skin and the tiniest bit goes a long way, since it’s oil-based. You just warm up a dab in your hands to liquify it a bit and apply it any place ravaged by dryness. This stuff even helps heals cuts, scrapes, burns, eczema, psoriasis, is a perfect lip balm AND is a great emulsifier for removing makeup. Pretty magical, no?
(Where to Buy: Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream, $26 for 2 oz at Egyptianmagic.com)
For the dehydrated and the splotchy-textured, Eve Lom’s TLC Cream is here to give you just that—TLC. The line is known as the top shelf beauty line for normal to dry skin if you crave a dewy and glowy complexion (which, let’s be honest, who doesn’t?). This stuff is great as a night cream since it’s definitely on the heavier side. The plus is that despite the steep price tag, the teeniest bit goes a long way so this tub will last you a long time. And trust that once you rub a bit between your palms and pat on your face, moisture will be firmly IN your skin to wake up to amazingly soft and hydrated skin.
(Where to Buy: Eve Lom TLC Cream, $80 at Net-a-porter.com)
Miranda Kerr of Victoria’s Secret Angel Academy (that’s a thing, right?) launched her own organic skincare line, which gives you all the natural goodness of omega 6 fatty acids, lavender, noni extract and rose hip, as well as mandarin oil for sumptuously hydrated skin, day or night. Best for dry to normal skin, this feels like a light and silky lotion, but leaves your skin glowing. Made with all natural and cruelty-free ingredients, this is a great moisturizer for the earth-conscious girl who still wants something luxe.
(Where to Buy: Kora Organics Soothing Day And Night Cream, $62 at koraorganics.com)
Good old rosehip oil is actually in and of itself an incredible skin moisturizer. It’s a pretty hot ingredient in skincare beauty products as of late, however on it’s own is able to impart all its goodness into your skin with no distraction or impediment. The oil, which is a dry oil, absorbs into your skin almost immediately, so you’re surprisingly not left with a shiny gleam. Your skin just feels silky and hydrated and looks that way. Rosehip oil is the go-to beauty oil because it’s excellent for dry skin, evening texture and skintone (goodbye pesky sunspots and acne scars) and most of all, calming irritation. So whether it’s acne, a weird rash reaction to other products, eczema, or just dullness, rosehip oil conquers them all, modestly and affordably.
(Where to Buy: Aura Cacia Rosehip Oil, $12.99 at Drugstore.com)
For the oil-stricken, you might never want to go near a moisturizer again. And why would you, when your face just makes it on its own? You still need it though because your face is producing oil, thinking that it needs it to protect your skin. When you introduce the right moisturizer, your skin will likely stop urgently pouring out the oil and even out. Olay is one of the forerunners in the gel moisturizer movement, perfect for oily skin because they are water-based and formulated with a powder so it absorbs quickly and sopping up oil as it goes. Honeysuckle and white tea are there to invigorate your skin as the oil-free moisturizer goes to town on hydration. Even if you don’t have oily skin, this is a great summer moisturizer (under your SPF, of course).
(Where to Buy: Olay Fresh Effects Dew Over Hydrating Gel Moisturizer, $11.89 at Ulta.com)