Locks in moisture
Easy to apply
Can help heal skin
Not suitable for hot days
Can leave greasy film
EltaMD Intense Moisturizer for Face & Body
We put the EltaMD Moisturizer to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.
EltaMD Moisturizer wasn’t what I expected—and I mean that in a good way. While it reveals itself in its name (and the ingredients list), the formula that squeezes out is surprisingly thick and, for lack of a better word, goopy. But using an occlusive formula like this one can be great for slugging, locking moisture in, and using after skin-related medical procedures to promote healing.
I wanted to see how EltaMD Intense Moisturizer might work with my skin type, so I incorporated it into my nighttime routine to see whether the thick formula translated into healthier skin.
Best for: All skin types
Uses: Hydration, post-procedure healing
Potential Allergens: None
Active Ingredients: Petrolatum
Byrdie Clean?: No
About the brand: EltaMD is a dermatologist-recommended brand that develops skin and suncare products.
About My Skin: Oily, but loves hydration
My skin is naturally on the oilier side, but I notice flakiness when I use retinoids, so I need a heavy moisturizer to keep it balanced. That, and my skin looks so much better when I have a solid hydration routine.
I’m also prone to breakouts, and for those who have acne, you know that slathering on a thick moisturizer can be daunting. Over the years, though, I’ve learned that applying occlusive formulas doesn’t necessarily lead to waking up with clogged pores.
I used EltaMD Moisturizer as recommended by the brand—I applied a thin layer at night over moistened skin, and then patted off the excess after two minutes. I used COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence first, and while my skin was still wet, I applied a pea-sized amount of EltaMD Moisturizer. I also tried it over a heavier moisturizer, Augustinus Bader The Cream.
The Feel: Thick and emollient
If Vaseline was whipped up into a softer, less skin-suffocating formula, the result would be this moisturizer. And despite the heavy texture, it melts into the skin quickly—at least some of it. Depending on the amount you apply, you might find it necessary to wipe off excess if it bothers you. I noticed that when I didn’t remove extra product, I’d discover damp, greasy areas on my face even hours later—this wasn’t bothersome for me, but if you’re sensitive to the feel of any product on your face, you might find it annoying.
Because of the heavy texture, it might interfere with makeup or SPF and be too occlusive for hot, humid days, so I prefer to use it at night before going to bed.
The moisturizer has no added scent, and it’s completely fragrance-free.
You won't find a long list of ingredients here. EltaMD's Moisturizer uses just two ingredients, petrolatum and paraffin, both of which are touted for sealing in moisture. The ingredients in this product are used to form an occlusive barrier over the skin to protect it and help retain moisture.
It's worth pointing out that neither of these ingredients meet Byrdie's Clean Pledge.
The Results: A multifunctional product
While I liked how EltaMD Moisturizer felt while wearing it, I didn’t wake up with dramatically more hydrated skin on the nights I used it, regardless of what I layered it with. But it’s important to note that the main ingredient, petrolatum, doesn’t moisturize the skin on its own. Instead, it works as a barrier, which prevents moisture loss and can seal in whatever you apply underneath. According to EltaMD, it can actually help skin retain up to 90% of its moisture for 12 or more hours.
Because of how it works, EltaMD Intense Moisturizer is a multifunctional product. Use it after chemical peels or laser treatments and apply it over cuts and scrapes on the body to speed healing. In fact, use it anywhere on your body to keep dry areas extra hydrated.
It’s too heavy to use as a daily moisturizer (at least for me), but I’ll be keeping it on my shelf to use after my microneedling treatments and for winter when the extremely dry and cold air tends to rob my skin of hydration. And speaking of winter, I plan to use it as a protective measure on extra windy days.
If Vaseline was whipped up into a softer, less skin-suffocating formula, the result would be this moisturizer.
I never developed clogged pores or breakouts despite how heavy and greasy it can feel.
The Value: About average
A 2.8-ounce bottle of EltaMD Moisturizer is $13 (a larger, 3.8-ounce jar sells for $18). While this is relatively affordable when compared across all moisturizers, the product is really just petrolatum and paraffin, and a jar of 100% petrolatum like Vaseline only costs a few bucks. It has the EltaMD name behind it, though, which is noteworthy for its dermatologist-recommended backing and may justify the high price.
Similar Products: You've got options
CeraVe Healing Ointment: The CeraVe Healing Ointment ($19) is almost half petrolatum, but the other half has ceramides and hyaluronic acid to increase the hydrating effect. The price is about the same as EltaMD, so if you’re looking for extra ingredients (or just like that you can pick it up at the drugstore) this ointment is a good option.
Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream: When I need something heavy to lock in moisture, I’ve turned to Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream ($19) with great results. It has a strong herbal scent (which I happen to love) thanks to a blend of plant extracts. It’s also more hydrating on its own than plain petrolatum. It’s slightly more expensive than EltaMD’s option, but I find it to be worth it.
For an occlusive hydrator that locks in moisture, the EltaMD Moisturizer is worth trying. It has an affordable price, melts into skin easily, and the ingredients are tried-and-true.
- Product Name Intense Moisturizer for Face & Body
- Product Brand EltaMD
- SKU 090205025434
- Price $13
- Weight 2.8 oz.
- Ingredients Petrolatum, Paraffin, PVP Eicosene Copolymer