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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.
Go ahead and reach for any of these best face creams for dry skin formulated with all the heavy-hitting hydrating ingredients.
Best Overall: Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream
This nabbed a coveted Byrdie Skincare Award for, what else, best moisturizer for dry skin. The protein-rich formula relies on a mix of peptides, amino acids, and growth factors to not only hydrate skin, but help combat signs of aging, too. It’s no wonder one Byrdie editor calls it “the one moisturizer I recommend to everyone.”
Best for Wrinkles: 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 fact that you’re actually meant to use this on its own, without any other serums or products, can help rectify that cost.
Take a peek at some of the other best anti-aging creams you can buy.
Best for Fine Lines: Dr. Barbara Sturm Rich Cream
A go-to for one of our skincare-obsessed Byrdie editors, this relies on skullcap extract to stimulate your skin’s own collagen production—see you later, lines. 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 earns big points for a combo of hyaluronic acid, amino-peptides, and niacinamide that not only instantly hydrate and plump skin, but also smooth the look of lines over time. Yes, please, always. It’s no surprise that it’s an all-time cult-classic beloved by devoted users.
Take a look at other product reviews and shop for the best moisturizers available at the drugstore.
Best Budget: Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich
Thick and luscious with a spa-like lavender scent, this easily rivals its (much) pricier counterparts. Designed to deliver intense moisture with a mix of ceramides, fatty acids, a red algae complex, and murumuru butter, the heavier texture still somehow works as well during the day and under makeup as it does alone at night, according to one Byrdie editor who is a big fan.
Best Day Cream: Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream
As the name suggests, the star of the show here are ceramides, essential ingredients for maintaining a strong and healthy skin barrier. (And, FYI, the stronger and healthier your skin barrier is, the less moisture can escape, the more hydrated your skin will stay.) A fan-favorite from this K-beauty brand, it also has the added benefit of hydrating for up to 26 hours. Yes, as in over a day.
Best Night Cream: Cetaphil Hydrating Night Cream
Rich but non-greasy, slather this 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 weigh in water, quickly hydrating and plumping skin. It’s why we think it’s one of the best drugstore night creams out there.
See more reviews of our favorite night creams available for purchase.
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.
Check out our guide to the best winter moisturizers for dry skin.
Best for Summer: Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Water 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 still feel light and non-greasy. Enter this water cream, which uses mineral-rich Norwegian glacial water and pineapple extract to leave skin glowy, plus moisturizing hyaluronic acid.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Reneé Rouleau Skin Recovery Lotion
Free of mineral oil, dyes, fragrances, alcohol, parabens, and phthalates, this formula has none of the major culprits known for triggering irritation in sensitive skin types. What the skin-saver does contain is a variety of hydrators, plus soothing and anti-redness ingredients, choice if your skin is already stressed out. It’s also oil-free, making it slightly lighter than many of the other options on this list if that’s something you’re after.
Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best products for sensitive skin article.
Best Brightening: Clark’s Botanicals Smoothing Marine Cream
Skin that’s more hydrated and glowier? Sign us up. Here, it’s glycolic acid that gets the job done, gently yet effectively exfoliating to leave your complexion more even and radiant, while jasmine extract combats redness and glycerin and natural oils moisturize.
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.
Still can't decide on what you want? Our roundup of the best lotions for eczema can help you find what you're looking for.