The 9 Best Moisturizers for Dry, Sensitive AF Skin

The 9 Best Moisturizers for Dry, Sensitive AF Skin
Photo: Retailers. Design: Cierra Miller/STYLECASTER.

Fact: I have the driest, most sensitive skin in the entire world. (That’s probably not an exaggeration, either.) My skin is so sensitive that sometimes, in the middle of the day, as I sit stationary at my desk, it develops a rash, or a hive, or a burning itching patch, completely unprovoked. And when it’s not staging a coup on my sanity, it’s flaking. That’s why I’m always trying the best moisturizers for sensitive skin. I have a strict, five-second window between washing my face and applying moisturizer before my skin tightens and shrivels into a dull, angry mess.

According to the brand Cetaphil, people with sensitive skin represent over half of the population (relying on data from 20 counties and five continents). That means the majority of us benefit from non-irritating products, which spurred Cetaphil to launch the first-ever Sensitive Skin Awareness Week, a week of programming aimed to educate us in the art of safeguarding skin. Yes, this week shall henceforth be remembered as the week we coddle our persnickety complexions, and I for one am beyond here for it.

“But use a moisturizer!” you say, and I laugh. My normal nighttime routine currently consists of a hydrating serum, a thick-as-hell cream, an occlusive moisturizer (occlusive formulas basically form a film on the skin to prevent water loss), and then, sometimes, a facial oil on top, just for funsies. And still, I frequently wake up with a dry face. (It’s actually miraculous; I might be an anomaly. Somebody call Guinness.)

Hope is not lost, though. Because throughout my many years of talking to derms, testing moisturizers, and combing the interwebs for advice, I have found hope and relief, mainly in the form of five very excellent, very magical moisturizers. Moisturizers that are specifically formulated to hydrate, soothe, and restore happiness to bedraggled skin, all with clogging pores. And you know it’s true, because not one of these bottles was created for the sole purpose of lookin’ pretty. Scroll down to see our favorites.

Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.

cetaphil moisturizer


Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with Sunscreen

Although it’s a fave for sensitive skin, this fragrance-free, daily hydrator is great for all skin types.

beautystat cosmetics universal hyaluronic


BeautyStat Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream

This fragrance-free, light-as-air lotion uses mushroom and probiotics to heal and soothe skin.


cerave moisturizer


CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion

There’s a reason this lotion is such a best-seller. With ceramides and hyaluronic acid, the fragrance-free cream calms dry and sensitive skin.

first aid beauty

First Aid Beauty.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration Moisturizer

When your skin is feeling dry and chapped and maybe even a little itchy, this lotion calms and heals with colloidal oatmeal.

kiehls face cream ultra facial cream


Kiehl’s Since 1851 Ultra Facial Cream

With Glacial Glycoprotein derived from sea glaciers and squalane from the olive fruit, this fan-fave lotion hydrates all skin types and soothes sensitivity.

Aveeno Moisturizer Lightweight Hypoallergenic The 9 Best Moisturizers for Dry, Sensitive AF Skin


Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Gel Facial Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin

You already know Aveeno is made for the itchiest, sensitive skin. This new gel face moisturizer is fragrance-free and made with prebiotic oat and feverfew to calm irritation.


renee rouleau

Renee Rouleau.

Renée Rouleau Skin Recovery Lotion

My only complaint about this ultra-coming face cream is that there isn’t enough of it so I can’t put it on my entire body. It calms even the most stressed-out skin and also keeps breakouts at bay.

SkinCeuticals triple lipid restore


SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2

It’s pricey, but this anti-aging lotion truly does it all. It uses 2 percent pure ceramides, 4 percent natural cholesterol and 2 percent fatty acids to restore the skin’s barrier and nourish at the same time.

la roche posay moisturizer

La Roche-Posay.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

Not only does this oil-free face moisturizer hydrate with ceramides and Prebiotic Thermal Water, it uses niacinamide to strengthen the protective barrier of the skin.

Originally published November 2016. Updated June 2017.

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