The 14 Best Drugstore Moisturizers of 2022

Our best overall pick is the Cetaphil Facial Hydrating Lotion

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The 14 Best Drugstore Face Moisturizers of 2022

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

While sunscreen is arguably the most critical step in your daily skincare routine, moisturizer is a close second. An effective moisturizer can do everything from repairing the skin's barrier to smoothing texture, all while maintaining your skin's hydration.

According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Adebola Dele-Michael, you should "apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer after washing your face," both A.M. and P.M. And while you might slather on a formula with full-spectrum SPF in the morning, you'll want to use something without sun protection at night.

Byrdie Researched & Approved

We've picked Cetaphil's Hydrating Lotion as our best overall drugstore face moisturizer because it instantly plumps your complexion and provides all-day moisture. We also love that it comes in a hygienic pump bottle. For a budget friendly option, consider the Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream, which uses fruit extracts and glycerin to soothe and lock in moisture for 24 hours.

Whether your complexion is extra-dry, oily, sensitive, or acne-prone, there's a lotion, cream, or gel out there with your name on it. Tons of wonderful formulas exist for every skin type, many of which don't cost an arm and a leg. Enter: drugstore moisturizers. "Drugstore" is kind of a loose term these days, but the point is, these formulas offer affordable, effective hydration—and you can find many of them at your local convenience store.

We conducted hours of research on the best drugstore moisturizers, evaluating each on their active ingredients and how effective they were at hydrating—while considering price and accessibility. Combined with expert recommendations from Dr. Dele-Michael and our product testers, we landed on these top-rated picks.

Scroll down for the best drugstore face moisturizers currently available.

Best Overall: Cetaphil Facial Hydrating Lotion

4.6
Cetaphil Facial Hydrating Lotion

Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Air-tight pump dispenser

  • Absorbs quickly

  • Non-comedogenic

What We Don't Like
  • Not cruelty-free

Who else recommends it? CNN also picked Cetaphil Facial Hydrating Lotion.

What do buyers say? 88% of 38,000+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

Cetaphil is one of few drugstore brands most dermatologists can agree on. The no-nonsense, non-comedogenic Facial Hydrating Lotion flaunts a lightweight, oil-free formula. This affordable skincare essential is great under makeup but also nourishing enough for your nighttime routine.

Thanks to hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and powerful humectants, it instantly plumps your complexion and provides all-day moisture. Though this moisturizer was made with dry skin in mind, it's suitable for most other skin types. We also like that it comes in a hygienic pump bottle and absorbs notably fast.

Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, humectants | Skin Type: Dry, combination, sensitive | Size: 3 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Budget: Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream Face Moisturizer

Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream Face Moisturizer

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • 24-hour hydration

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Not cruelty-free

  • Unhygienic container

If you don't want to spend more than a few bucks on a face moisturizer, we recommend Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue. Containing antioxidant fruit waters and skincare standbys like glycerin, this brilliantly lightweight gel-cream gets the job done morning or night.

Active Ingredients: Glycerin, vitamin E, grapefruit extract | Skin Type: Combination | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best With SPF: Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 30

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 30

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Full-spectrum sun protection

  • Mineral formula

  • Non-comedogenic

What We Don't Like
  • Not cruelty-free

If you take a one-and-done approach to skincare, you'll appreciate Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer. This sunscreen-lotion combo nourishes and calms with oat kernel extract while delivering full-spectrum SPF 30 protection from the sun's harmful rays.

Active Ingredients: Zinc oxide, titanium oxide, oat kernel extract | Skin Type: Sensitive, dry | Size: 2.3 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

What Our Editors Say

"I've tried all the moisturizers out there at many price points, and this is my trusted brand that helps keep my redness at bay."Dwyer Frame, Dotdash Meredith VP of Commerce

Best for Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra-Sensitive Skin Face Moisturizer

4.9
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra-Sensitive Skin Face Moisturizer
What We Like
  • Air-tight pump dispenser

  • Lightweight

  • Award-winning formula

What We Don't Like
  • Not cruelty-free

Dr. Dele-Michael is a big fan of La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra, and it's easy to see why. Formulated for sensitive skin, this soothing, fast-absorbing face lotion contains mineral-rich thermal spring water, neurosensine, and shea butter to help restore the skin's natural barrier without irritation.

Active Ingredients: Thermal spring water, neurosensine, shea butter | Skin Type: Sensitive | Size: 1.4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra-Sensitive Skin Face Moisturizer

Byrdie / Leigh Weingus

What Our Testers Say

"It kept my skin moisturized at a time when it needed it most, and it never felt heavy or like it didn’t seep into my skin like other moisturizers." - Leigh Wingus, Product Tester

Best for Eczema-Prone Skin: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

4.9
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Amazon 

What We Like
  • Approved by National Eczema Association

  • Non-comedogenic

  • Good for face and body

What We Don't Like
  • Unhygienic container

Eczema-prone? Reach for CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. This tried-and-true drugstore moisturizer can be used on your face or body to hydrate and calm irritated skin. What's more, its gentle yet effective blend of hyaluronic acid and ceramides earned approval from the National Eczema Association.

Active Ingredients: Ceramides, hyaluronic acid | Skin Type: Eczema-prone, acne-prone, dry | Size: 16 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

What Our Testers Say

"This moisturizer is not only extremely hydrating, but it also feels effective on sensitive skin conditions. It's not too heavy or oily and doesn't sit on your skin." - Jen Adkins, Product Tester

Best for Mature Skin: Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream

3.8
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream

Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Hydrating formula

  • Improves elasticity

  • Promotes cell turnover

What We Don't Like
  • Contains parabens

  • Unhygienic container

Formulated with mature skin in mind, Olay's Micro-Sculpting Cream contains plumping and regenerating niacinamide (vitamin B3), extra-hydrating hyaluronic acid, and pro-elasticity peptides. With one billion sales and counting, the iconic red jar has your back when it comes to minimizing fine lines and preventing volume loss.

Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, amino-peptides, niacinamide | Skin Type: Mature | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream

 Byrdie / Bianca Lambert

What Our Testers Say

"Each morning, I woke up with hydrated skin, and no retinol-induced flakey patches." - Bianca Lambert, Product Tester

Best for Oily Skin: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream with Hyaluronic Acid for Extra-Dry Skin

4.7
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Oil-free formula

  • Non-comedogenic

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Unhygienic container

  • Not cruelty-free

If your skin is on the oilier side, your best bet is Neutrogena Hydro Boost. This superstar gel-cream delivers oil-free hydration with hyaluronic acid and olive extract while preventing clogged pores.

Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, olive extract | Skin Type: Dry, combination | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Dry Skin: Era Organics Oasis Super Hydrating 16 in 1 Moisturizer

Era Organics Oasis Super Hydrating 16 in 1 Moisturizer
What We Like
  • Natural formula

  • Replenishes skin

  • Boosts healing

What We Don't Like
  • Unhygienic container

For folks with parched complexions, we highly recommend Oasis by Era Organics. This all-natural face cream contains ultra-moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter, and hemp seed oil, plus healing manuka honey and calming aloe vera.

Active Ingredients: Manuka honey, aloe vera, avocado oil | Skin Type: Dry, eczema-prone, combination | Size: 2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Combination Skin: Nyakio Baobab Youth-Infused Daily Defense Creme

Nyakio Baobab Youth-Infused Daily Defense Creme

Courtesy of Target

What We Like
  • Non-greasy formula

  • Nourishing

What We Don't Like
  • Unhygienic container

If your complexion can't decide whether it's dry, oily, or sensitive, Nyakio Baobab has your name on it. This daily moisturizer cream replaces the skin's natural oils with baobab oil and shea butter, then gently lifts and plumps with coffee extract and glycerin.

Active Ingredients: Baobab oil, shea butter, glycerin, coffee extract | Skin Type: Combination, dry, mature | Size: 1.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best K-Beauty: CosRx Advanced Snail 92 All in One Repair Cream

CosRx Advanced Snail 92 All in One Repair Cream

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Good for all skin types

  • Ultra-hydrating

What We Don't Like
  • Unhygienic container

CosRx is a shining star in the Korean beauty industry and an up-and-comer in the western drugstore market. The brand's beloved Advanced Snail 92 Cream contains 92 percent snail mucin, an all-natural source of ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid. While the formula isn't vegan, CosRx says no snails are harmed in the manufacturing process.

Active Ingredients: Snail secretion filtrate (hyaluronic acid) | Skin Type: All | Size: 3.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Natural: Adiva Naturals Complexions Herbal Facial Moisturizer

Adiva Naturals Complexions Herbal Facial Moisturizer

Courtesy of Adiva Naturals

What We Like
  • Natural formula

  • Good for all skin types

What We Don't Like
  • Not fragrance-free

For those who prefer au naturel formulas, we suggest the Herbal Facial Moisturizer from Adiva Naturals. Good for all skin types, this nourishing lotion contains gentle yet effective ingredients like aloe juice, glycerin, coconut oil, witch hazel, willow bark extract, and sweet almond oil.

Active Ingredients: Aloe juice, glycerin, coconut oil, witch hazel | Skin Type: All | Size: 4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Dark Skin: Bolden SPF 30 Brightening Moisturizer

5
Bolden SPF 30 Brightening Moisturizer

Amazon

What We Like
  • Full-spectrum sun protection

  • No white cast

  • Air-tight pump dispenser

What We Don't Like
  • Can have an oily finish

Bolden's multi-action Brightening Moisturizer delivers serious hydration and hyperpigmentation relief, plus full-spectrum SPF 30 protection. Formulated with melanin-rich skin in mind, the zinc-free formula goes on clear and won't leave a white cast.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene | Skin Type: All | Size: 2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Lightweight: ROSEN Skincare Tropics Moisturizer

Rosen Skincare Tropics Moisturizer

Courtesy of Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Helps with hyperpigmentation

  • Lightly exfoliates

What We Don't Like
  • Unhygienic container

If it's lightweight hydration you're after, you can't go wrong with Rosen Tropics Moisturizer. The virtually weightless formula hydrates with hyaluronic acid, boosts radiance with kojic acid, and ever-so-gently exfoliates with pineapple enzymes.

Active Ingredients: Kojic acid, hyaluronic acid, pineapple enzymes | Skin Type: Acne-prone | Size: 2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best With Retinol: LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream Moisturizer

LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream Moisturizer

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Air-tight pump bottle

  • Non-comedogenic

  • Can be used morning and night

What We Don't Like
  • Small bottle

For those interested in a retinol-infused formula, we suggest LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream. The mild yet effective lotion helps combat the appearance of fine lines, acne scars, and dullness while moisturizing with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, green tea extract, and vitamin E.

Active Ingredients: Retinol, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, vitamin E, green tea extract | Skin Type: Mature, acne-prone | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Meet the Expert

  • Dr. Adebola Dele-Michael, MD FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in cosmetic dermatology and dermatologic surgery. She is the founder of Radiant Skin Dermatology & Laser in New York.
  • Dr. Lucy Chen, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami, Florida.

Final Verdict

The best drugstore face moisturizer overall is Cetaphil Facial Hydrating Lotion. It stands out for its lightweight, non-comedogenic, oil-free formula that absorbs quickly and delivers all-day moisture—extra points for the air-tight pump bottle. Our favorite budget-friendly option is the Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream, which will keep your complexion hydrated for 24 hours. However, if you want something with sun protection, go with Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 30, which offers full-spectrum defense with a 100 percent mineral formula.

What to Look for in a Drugstore Face Moisturizer

Ceramides and/or Hyaluronic Acid

According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Lucy Chen, these are two of her favorite tried-and-true hydrating ingredients to seek out. Because, after all, you want your drugstore moisturizer to moisturize, right?

Consider Your Skin Type

Chen says skin type is really the most important factor to consider. Oily? Seek out oil-free variants. Have sensitive skin? Make sure your pick is fragrance-free. Super dry? Thicker, oil-based options are your BFF.

Built-In SPF

Moisturizers with SPF are always a good thing, just make sure it's labeled as 'broad-spectrum' to ensure you're getting protection from both UVA and UVB rays, says Chen, and ideally an SPF of 30 or more.

FAQ
  • How do you apply a drugstore face moisturizer?

    Dispense about a dime-sized amount onto clean hands. Next, dab equal amounts onto your forehead, cheeks, chin, nose, neck, and décolletage (chest). Then spread it around and gently rub it in until it's fully absorbed.

  • How often should you use a drugstore face moisturizer?

    Dr. Dele-Michael says you should apply moisturizer after washing your face, whether it's once or twice a day. Some people might opt to apply it following a toner, serum, or ampoule. And those with extra-dry skin may want to apply moisturizer more often. However, an oil-free formula is best in this case to avoid clogged pores.

Why Trust Byrdie?

Theresa Holland is a seasoned commerce writer with a background in lifestyle and beauty. For this story, she interviewed board-certified dermatologists and researched various ingredients and formulations for different skin types. Before making her final selections, she looked at dozens of products, pored over user reviews, and considered each brand's formula and manufacturing process. From this list, she is partial to Cetaphil, CeraVe, La Roche-Posay, Aveeno, Era Organics, Olay, CosRx, and LilyAna Naturals. Theresa has been writing for Byrdie since 2020, where she covers skincare, makeup, haircare, and workout apparel.

Updated by Shannon Stubbs
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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