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You’ve likely endured many spiels from your mom, bestie, and fav beauty YouTuber about the importance of moisturizing your face, especially during the colder seasons. Well, we’re here to tell you that they’re right and you should absolutely listen to them. But, there are a lot of different face hydrators out there, and it can be hard to figure out which one is the best for you. To make this important decision as easy as possible, we spoke with four (!!) different dermatologists to get all our facts straight, as well as get their best face moisturizer recommendations.
Winter is here and it’s time to lather your face in all the creams, gels, and lotions you can get your chilly hands on. Colder weather makes skin more vulnerable to dryness, dullness, and irritation—and nobody likes flaky, itchy, red skin. To spare your skin, remember to moisturize every single day. If you think your face doesn’t need a moisturizer, think again. Everyone should use a face moisturizer—and we seriously mean everyone, even people with oily skin.
“Moisturizers help keep skin hydrated and contribute to a healthy skin barrier,” says Dr. Marie Hayag, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Fifth Avenue Aesthetics. A healthy skin barrier can prevent breakouts, wrinkles, and dry patches.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you should know when searching for your next face hydrator. Keep reading for a crash course on the 10 best face moisturizers that come highly recommended by our four experts. They range in cost, so hopefully you’ll find something that’s ideal for your budget.
There isn’t a set blueprint of ingredients that you should definitely look out for when choosing a face moisturizer, because everyone’s skin varies. In essence, though, Dr. Hayag suggests formulas packed with antioxidants for protecting against damage and combatting signs of aging, humectants for moisturizing and maintaining a healthy skin barrier, and emollients for soothing and softening the skin.
We’re talking vitamin C, vitamin E, and green tea extract, but also hyaluronic acid, glycerin, oleic acid, and shea butter. And, of course, don’t forget your SPF, regardless of the season or weather. Many face moisturizers contain sun protection, and Dr. Hayag recommends using one with at least SPF 30.
Ingredients are key to nailing the ideal moisturizer for your specific skin, but so is the consistency. Lotion, cream, and gel moisturizers couldn’t be more different from each other in composition. Lotions have a lot less oil, are more liquidy, and might contain alcohol. They’re best for combination and normal skin types. Creams have an equal balance of water and oil, are much thicker, and might leave a greasy feel on your skin. They’re ideal for dry and mature skin types. Lastly, gels are water-based (a.k.a. oil-free) and less likely to clog pores, making them great for acne-prone and oily skin types.
Thank you for tuning into our moisturizer lecture, but it’s now time to get to the good stuff. Here are the 10 face moisturizers that you should be adding to your cart this winter.
Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream
As you may know, celebs can’t get enough of Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream. Dr. Hayag is on the same page with the A-listers, and suggests this moisturizer for targeting extra dry skin.
“This is a fast absorbing formula that contains multiple moisturizing ingredients, including squalane (an emollient) and hyaluronic acid,” she says. “I love that it also includes antioxidants, vitamin E and green tea extract.”
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel Moisturizer
Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost line is absolutely iconic, and you’ve definitely seen it lining the shelves in every drugstore. It has a huge cult following, which happens to include two of the dermatologists we turned to for this story.
“It is a reliable, cooling gel that delivers hydration and is great for everyday use, especially in warmer weather,” according to Dr. Corey L. Hartman, founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, Alabama.
“It hydrates, is not oily, and is good for all skin types. It is also non-comedogenic,” adds Jeanine Downie, MD Director of Image Dermatology PC in Montclair, New Jersey and board-certified dermatologist.
Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator
Household beauty name Clinique has garnered lots of fans for its Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator. The moisturizer gets its name from its ability to go 10 layers deep into the skin and provide lasting hydration for 100 hours, even after washing your face.
Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Hyaluronic Marine Moisture Cushion
You’ll likely notice a hyaluronic acid trend in this roundup, and that’s because this skin savior can hold up to a thousand times its weight in water. This oil-free gel-cream incorporates the powerful ingredient.
“The Hyaluronic Marine Moisture Cushion has a unique texture that’s somewhere between a gel and a cream,” says Dr. Hartman. “It is soothing and cooling and chock-full of hyaluronic acid to deliver moisture without too much shine. It’s great for all skin types.”
For all the sensitive skin folks out there, Dr. Hayag recommends the EltaMD Moisturizer. It’s ideal for those with dry, peeling, and flaking skin, and even those who need their skin to heal after laser treatments and chemical peels. The formula is so gentle that people with eczema and sunburns can reap the benefits of this moisturizer.
“It contains petrolatum, an occlusive, that sits on top of the skin to prevent water loss,” says Dr. Hayag.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Moisturizing Cream
The Toleriane Ultra Moisturizing Cream is formulated to cater to people with super sensitive skin, since it excludes a laundry list of ingredients that could potentially irritate the skin. The main ingredients that help deliver moisture to your skin are neurosensine and La Roche-Posay’s thermal spring water.
Dr. Henry says, “This is a great, rich moisturizer that is suitable for all skin types.”
Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 30
Aveeno’s Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer ticks off all the boxes. It’s oil-free, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic, and it has sun protection. This moisturizer is one of Dr. Downie’s favorites.
“It is clinically proven to improve skin tone and make the skin more radiant,” she says. “I like the SPF 30 in it, but I also recommend using an additional sunblock with any facial moisturizer.”
Vichy Mineral 89 Daily Skin Booster Serum and Moisturizer
For around-the-clock hydration, go for Vichy’s Mineral 89 serum and moisturizer. It has a lighter gel consistency that excludes both fragrance and oil from its formula. Dr. Hartman recommends this serum-moisturizer crossover for those with oily skin.
“It’s like a cool drink of water for the skin,” he says. “Not only does it contain HA, but it also has 15 minerals found in Vichy’s proprietary volcanic water, which has been found to correct inflammation and dehydration caused by all of the external factors that we face every day.”
SkinMedica Replenish Hydrating Cream
SkinMedica’s cream addresses a ton of different skin concerns. It not only does the obvious—moisturizes your skin—but it also protects your skin from external damage and brightens your complexion.
“It is great for all skin types and does not make you greasy, clog your pores, or break you out,” says Dr. Downie.
Sisley Paris Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream
According to Dr. Hayag, this moisturizer from Sisley Paris is a great option for those with combination skin. It plumps and illuminates your skin so that it can get back that sought-after, youthful bounce.
“This cream has a silky texture that absorbs fast into the skin and moisturizes without feeling too heavy,” she says. “It also has multiple moisturizing plant extracts and shea butter, which is a soothing emollient that’s also rich in antioxidants.”