We Hunted Down the 14 Best Drugstore Face Moisturizers—Here They Are

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products, and articles are reviewed by healthcare professionals for medical accuracy. You can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

While sunscreen is arguably the most critical step in your daily skincare routine, moisturizer is a close second. 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 full-spectrum formula in the morning, you'll want to use something without SPF at night.

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.

Scroll down for the best drugstore face moisturizers currently available.

Our Top Picks
This lightweight, oil-free lotion is packed with powerful humectants to plump the skin and help it retain moisture.
This budget-friendly pick is formulated with glycerin and antioxidant-rich fruit waters and has a wonderfully lightweight feel.
This sunscreen-lotion hybrid nourishes and calms the skin while providing ample sun protection.
This nourishing formula is packed with effective all-natural ingredients and works well with all skin types.
This K-beauty favorite is packed with snail mucin, a natural source of hyaluronic acid, to keep skin hydrated.
Formulated for sensitive skin, this soothing formula is rich in barrier-restoring ingredients.
Best for Eczema-Prone Skin:
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream at Amazon
This tried-and-true drugstore pick helps hydrate and calm irritated, eczema-prone skin and can be used on both the face and body.
This non-comedogenic gel-cream provides lightweight, oil-free hydration without clogging pores.
This iconic plumping and regenerating cream is not only hydrating, but it’s formulated with pro-elasticity peptides.
This natural, ultra-hydrating formula boasts nourishing ingredients that heal and calm dry skin.

Best Overall: Cetaphil Facial Hydrating Lotion

Cetaphil Facial Hydrating Lotion
What We Like
  • Air-tight pump dispenser

  • Absorbs quickly

  • Non-comedogenic

What We Don't Like
  • Not cruelty-free

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
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
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." — Dotdash VP of Commerce, Dwyer Frame

Best Natural: Adiva Naturals Complexions Herbal Facial Moisturizer

Adiva Naturals Complexions Herbal Facial Moisturizer
What We Like
  • Natural formula

  • Main ingredient isn't water

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

CosRx Advanced Snail 92 All in One Repair Cream
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 for Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra-Sensitive Skin Face Moisturizer

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra-Sensitive Skin Face Moisturizer
What We Like
  • Award-winning formula

  • Non-comedogenic

  • Air-tight pump dispenser

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other options

  • 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

Best for Eczema-Prone Skin: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
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

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

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream
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 Mature Skin: Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
What We Like
  • Plumping

  • Improves elasticity

  • Promotes cell turnover

What We Don't Like
  • Not cruelty-free

  • 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

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
What We Like
  • Non-greasy formula

  • Nourishing

What We Don't Like
  • Unhygienic container

  • Pricier than other options

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 for Dark Skin: Bolden SPF 30 Brightening Moisturizer

Bolden
What We Like
  • Full-spectrum sun protection

  • No white cast

  • Air-tight pump dispenser

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other options

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
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
What We Like
  • Air-tight pump bottle

  • Non-comedogenic

  • Can be used morning and night

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other options

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

Final Verdict

The best drugstore face moisturizer overall is Cetaphil Facial Hydrating Lotion (view at Walmart). 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. However, if you want something with sun protection, go with Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 (view at Amazon), 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.

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.
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.
  1. Sethi A, Kaur T, Malhotra S, Gambhir M. Moisturizers: The slippery roadIndian J Dermatol. 2016;61(3):279. doi: 10.4103/0019-5154.182427

  2. Reynertson KA, Garay M, Nebus J, et al. Anti-inflammatory activities of colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) contribute to the effectiveness of oats in treatment of itch associated with dry, irritated skinJ Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(1):43-48.

  3. Seite S. Thermal waters as cosmeceuticals: La Roche-Posay thermal spring water exampleCCID. Published online January 2013:23. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S39082

  4. Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago J. Anti-inflammatory and skin barrier repair effects of topical application of some plant oilsIJMS. 2017;19(1):70. doi: 10.3390/ijms19010070

  5. Boo YC. Mechanistic basis and clinical evidence for the applications of nicotinamide (Niacinamide) to control skin aging and pigmentationAntioxidants. 2021;10(8):1315. doi: 10.3390/antiox10081315

  6. Maia Campos PMBG, Melo MO, Siqueira César FC. Topical application and oral supplementation of peptides in the improvement of skin viscoelasticity and densityJ Cosmet Dermatol. 2019;18(6):1693-1699. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12893

  7. McLoone P, Oluwadun A, Warnock M, Fyfe L. Honey: a therapeutic agent for disorders of the skincajgh. 2016;5(1). doi: 10.5195/cajgh.2016.241

  8. Hashemi SA, Madani SA, Abediankenari S. The review on properties of aloe vera in healing of cutaneous woundsBioMed Research International. 2015;2015:1-6. doi: 10.1155/2015/714216

  9. Safrida S, Sabri M. Potential of aceh arabica coffee extract (Coffea arabica L.) in rejuvenation of aging skin in ratJ Ked Hewan. 2017;11(3). doi: 10.21157/j.ked.hewan.v11i3.8050

  10. Becker LC, Bergfeld WF, Belsito DV, et al. Safety assessment of glycerin as used in cosmeticsInt J Toxicol. 2019;38(3_suppl):6S-22S. doi: 10.1177/1091581819883820

  11. Sarkar R, Arora P, Garg Kv. Cosmeceuticals for hyperpigmentation: What is available? J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2013;6(1):4. doi: 10.4103/0974-2077.110089

  12. Muhammad ZA, Ahmad T. Therapeutic uses of pineapple-extracted bromelain in surgical care - A reviewJ Pak Med Assoc. 2017;67(1):121-125.

  13. Mukherjee S, Date A, Patravale V, Korting HC, Roeder A, Weindl G. Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safetyClinical Interventions in Aging. 2006;1(4):327-348. doi: 10.2147/ciia.2006.1.4.327

Related Stories