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It’s a universally-acknowledged skincare rule that everyone and their mother needs to use a moisturizer (yes, even those with oily or acne-prone skin). But whether you’ve simply been born with dry skin—thanks, genetics—or the outside environment has gotten the best of you, there are times when your standard hydrator just won’t cut it.
When your complexion is extra parched, it’s time to up the ante. No time to dig through the options? We made it easy. Our favorites creams are formulated with all the heavy-hitting hydrating ingredients to quench skin without extra weight or greasy residue.
Read on for the best face creams for dry skin.
Best Overall: Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Moisturizer with Ceramides
A go-to for Byrdie Associate Editor Holly Rhue, this lusciously rich formula has a whipped texture that never feels thick or greasy. Six African oils plus three plant-based ceramides both soothe dry skin and help bolster the skin barrier, ensuring moisture stays locked in. We also love the pump-top applicator, which makes it easy to dispense the perfect amount and keeps air and germs from getting into the jar.
Best Budget: Versed Skin Soak Rich Moisture Cream
Thanks to a combination of squalane and vitamin E, this pick easily rivals its much pricier counterparts. The wallet-friendly find imparts plenty of moisture that melts into the skin beautifully, instantly making it look and feel, well, just better. Bonus points for the addition of firming algae extract, and the fact that the formula is both vegan and cruelty-free.
Best Splurge: Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream
Another Byrdie Skincare Award-winner, this cult-favorite is loved by celebs, beauty editors, and dermatologists alike. Developed by a German physician-scientist-researcher, it works by triggering your own stem cells to boost the natural reparative process (thereby eliminating wrinkles). It’s pricey, yes, but the cost is offset by the fact thaat it's meant to be used on its own, without any additional serums or products.
Best for Fine Lines & Wrinkles: Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Rich
A go-to for one of our skincare-obsessed Byrdie editors, this cream relies on skullcap extract to stimulate your skin’s own collagen production—see you later, wrinkles. Purslane reduces redness, and it also has a combination of hydrating ingredients such as glycerin, shea butter, and dimethicone.
Best Drugstore: Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
One of our best anti-aging creams of the year, this product earns big points for its combo of hyaluronic acid, amino-peptides, and niacinamide. These powerful ingredients not only instantly hydrate and plump skin but also smooth the look of lines over time. It’s no surprise that it’s an all-time cult-classic beloved by devoted users.
Best Day Cream: It Cosmetics Confidence In a Cream Anti-Aging Moisturizer
Rhue also loves this best-selling formula. It packs plenty of hydration, thanks to a laundry list of superstar ingredients; think hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides, shea butter, squalane, and more. Still, it’s shockingly fast-absorbing, the perfect makeup prep-step. Couple that with the fact that it reduces the look of lines, pores, and discoloration, and you’ve got yourself the perfect morning moisturizer. (Just don’t forget to top it with sunscreen.)
Best Night Cream: Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Cream with Hyaluronic Acid
Rich but non-greasy, slather this cream on before bed and wake up to smoother, softer skin. Credit hyaluronic acid, a water-loving molecule that attracts moisture and can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, quickly hydrating and plumping skin. It’s why we think it’s one of the best drugstore night creams out there.
Best for Winter: SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2
The ratio in the name of this creamiest of creams refers to the amount of ceramides-to cholesterol-to fatty acids in the product. What do all three of those have in common? They’re the essential components that make up that oh-so-important skin barrier, making this a top pick for replenishing your skin during those brutal winter months when cold, dry weather is wreaking havoc on your complexion.
What Our Testers Say
"The formula didn’t feel heavy or look greasy at all yet felt extremely nourishing and hydrating." — Ashley Rebecca, Product Tester
Best for Summer: Korres Greek Yoghurt Nourishing Probiotic Gel-Cream
Summer and dry skin may not go hand-in-hand, but it can happen. Still, when you’re dealing with dry skin during the warmer months, you want something that’s going to pack a hefty dose of hydration, but with a light and non-greasy finish. Enter this gel-based cream, with magically offers both a featherweight texture and plenty of hydration. The namesake ingredient instantly soothes and cools the skin, a major plus on hot, summer days. It also delivers a dose of probiotics, helping to support your skin’s microbiome, a surefire way to help lock in hydration.
Best for Sensitive Skin: BeautyStat Cosmetics Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream
This newbie from a team Byrdie fan-favorite brand has everything that sensitive skin wants and needs—namely soothing and healing probiotics, plus moisturizing (and non-irritating) hyaluronic acid and barrier-strengthening ceramides. It’s also dermatologist-tested and fragrance-free, two other very important criteria for those with sensitive skin.
Best Brightening: Epara Moisturizing Face Cream
Skin that’s more hydrated and glowing? Sign us up. Here, it’s the dynamic duo of brightening licorice root extract and niacinamide that get the job done, effectively fading discoloration. Also noteworthy is the addition of SPF 15, super important since any and all of your brightening attempts can be easily thwarted by sun exposure. And don’t worry, it’s still very moisturizing, thanks to the addition of sodium hyaluronate and a variety of natural oils.
Best for Irritated Skin: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration
Whether it’s an eczema flare-up or just itchy flakiness, reach for this when your skin is already compromised. It contains colloidal oatmeal, an ingredient designated by the FDA as a skin protectant that can help soothe issues such as eczema, rashes, and more. Shea butter hydrates while allantoin soothes, and this also works equally well on both face and body, making it a great pick for anyone who loves multi-tasking products. Plus, it also comes in three different sizes.
Best Natural: Alaffia Coconut Reishi Nourishing Day Créme
There are only natural, good-for-your-skin ingredients to be found in this face cream—coconut oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, aloe, the list goes on and on. There are also plenty of protective antioxidants from ingredients such as turmeric, and no chemicals whatsoever. The brand also boasts several certifications for fair trade manufacturing practices.
A good moisturizer is a universal skincare essential but is even more imperative for those with dry skin. Seeking out thicker, richer formulas that rely on multiple different hydrating ingredients is your best bet. The Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Moisturizer with Ceramides (at Sephora) is a team Byrdie favorite and absorbs lightning-fast, despite how moisturizing it is. There are plenty of wallet-friendly options that can get the job done, too, like the Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream (at Amazon) and Versed Skin Soak Rich Moisture Cream (at Dermstore). And if your skin is not only dry but also sensitive and/or irritated, try either the Beauty Stat Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream (at Nordstrom) or First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration (at Amazon).