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At the bare minimum, your moisturizer should hydrate your skin. And while that seems easy enough, shopping for a new moisturizer is anything but. Not only are there so many different kinds of lotions, creams, and moisturizers on the market, but every shopper’s skin is unique, making it that much harder to find the right match. Skin type, budget and top skin concerns matter too, only adding more pressure to an already stressful situation.
To lend a helping hand, we rounded up the top picks in facial moisturizers, from a reliable tinted moisturizer to a rich, soothing cream for dry skin.
Best Overall: Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream
People often ask, "does La Mer really work?" and the answer is yes, absolutely, it does. Creme de La Mer is the brand's hero product, and it's the product fans of the brand just keep going back to time and time again.
Most beauty editors keep a jar on hand and supplement it with another moisturizer, because Creme de La Mer isn't cheap. But few formulas stand up to their beloved "Miracle Broth," the signature ingredient in all of their products, which is brought to life through a biofermentation that combines vitamins, oils, and minerals.
Best Budget: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
This list wouldn't be complete without Neutrogena's Hydro Boost moisturizer, because it's one of the best products you can buy on a budget. Packed with powerhouse hydrator hyaluronic acid, this moisturizer is beloved by high-end beauty aficionados and drugstore dwellers alike. The fact that it's non-comedogenic and lacks alcohol and oil means it's suitable for all skin types, including dry, oily, and sensitive.
Check out our other reviews of the best drugstore moisturizers available on the market today.
Best for Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Face Moisturizer
La Roche-Posay tested this moisturizer on people with skin allergies, just to make sure they got the formula right. It provides the right amount of hydration without irritating sensitive skin. In fact, the entire Toleriane line is suited for sensitive-skinned folk. If your skin is easily freaked out and you don't want to take any chances, this is absolutely a lifesaver.
Best for Very Dry Skin: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration
As if parched skin weren't already bad enough, it usually accompanies itchiness and flaking. Thankfully, this intensely moisturizing cream can come to your skin's rescue. Colloidal oatmeal lovingly smothers itchy, dry skin with its soothing properties. Ceramides swoop in to help repair the moisture barrier, while shea butter adds another surge of moisture. People struggling with eczema and dry patches alike can use this cream, and if you happen to over exfoliate, dab this on to soothe the healing process.
Best for Acne Prone Skin: Tatcha's Water Cream
Finding a non-comedogenic moisturizer that is also suitably hydrating is hard. Often, people with combination or acne-prone skin have to settle for something that either gives them acne or doesn't properly moisturize their face. Tatcha has solved this problem with their Water Cream.
The brand makes a point to have clean ingredients, so it's no shock that this formula is free of irritants, including parabens and synthetic fragrances. The Water Cream specifically uses ingredients you likely won't find in other brands—like Japanese leopard lily and Japanese wild rose—to keep skin hydrated without leaving excess oil behind. For a bonus shine, there's a little bit of 24k gold in the formulation as well.
Best for Combination Skin: Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid
With this moisturizer, a little goes a long way. The Ceramidin Liquid contains the same moisture-barrier-repairing ingredients as the cream moisturizer. With a few drops, the liquid sinks into skin for all-over hydration while reducing redness. It feels weightless on the skin, doesn’t exacerbate oily patches, plumps up skin and even layers well under makeup.
Best for Oily Skin: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream
If you have oily skin, your best bet is a moisturizer that’s lightweight but hydrating enough to balance your complexion. Peter Thomas Roth’s Water Drench moisturizer contains an impressive 30% hyaluronic acid as well as ceramides to smooth out and repair skin. While most moisturizers might be too emollient, this one comes in a whipped, cloudlike texture that feels like a smooth gel on the skin. Reviewers said it plumped up their skin without leaving a greasy residue (an enduring part of having oily skin), and that makeup glides over the moisturizer with no issue.
Best for Aging Skin: La Prairie White Caviar Crème Extraordinare
This cream is a stellar help with dry, aging, or tired skin. It's also maybe the most luxurious thing you will ever put on your face.
It utilizes golden caviar extract to keep skin firm and elastic, but that's not even half of what makes it so attractive. It also has ingredients that work within skin to keep sun damage like dark spots at bay, and repair any prior damage and wrinkles. However, the real knock-it-out-of-the-park ingredient is a La Prairie exclusive called Lumidose, which aids with brightening. Instead of packing in artificial brightening ingredients that may or may not work, Lumidose is used to balance out the issues that would cause dullness in skin—keeping it looking bright and youthful.
Best for Stressed Skin: Skinbetter Trio Rebalancing Treatment
There's a reason Skinbetter's first moisturizer, the Trio Rebalancing Moisture Treatment, is becoming so popular. It works to restore the skin's barrier, which could have been damaged through age or environmental stress, and aids that as much as it does moisture. Particularly for people who live in big cities, near manufacturing, or just experience stressed skin as a result of weather changes, this moisturizer is a perfect remedy to add to your daily routine.
Best with SPF: Olay Complete Daily Defense All Day Moisturizer With SPF 30
You should be wearing SPF sun protection every time you leave the house, and stocking your pantry with a 2-in-1 product, like this moisturizer from Olay, makes adding this crucial step to your skincare routine that much easier. In addition to giving the wearer an extra layer of defense from sun damage, the lotion is completely fragrance free and lightweight, so it won’t cause breakouts.
Take a peek at some of the other best moisturizers with SPF you can buy.
Best Natural Formula: Farmacy Honey Drop Lightweight Moisturizer
Farmacy is one of the most beloved non-toxic brands out there, and for good reason. Their moisturizer, made with their trademarked Echinacea GreenEnvy Complex, works for all skin types—a rare quality in a moisturizer.
Honey Drop is perfect to pat on under foundation primer, or when you want a lightweight moisturizer that absorbs quick but won't require reapplication. It's also super useful for days you're just spending at home, when your skin isn't at its driest but you don't intend on putting on much more than moisturizer.
Best Tinted: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20
This tinted moisturizer from Laura Mercier has garnered a massive amount of reviews, and for good reason. Sheer, buildable, and forgiving, this tinted moisturizer (with SPF) gives you the “your skin but better” look without the intense strategizing that usually entails. Smooth this on for dewy, healthy-looking coverage that gets better throughout the day.
The tinted moisturizer doesn’t settle into lines or emphasize texture, a good alternative to powder and liquid foundations. If you’re looking for a little more coverage, the Laura Mercier moisturizer plays nice with concealer and even accommodates foundation on top.
Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best tinted moisturizers article.
Best Night Cream: Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Dream Face Cream
This night cream is a dream, and not just because it's in the name. It has the perfect consistency for a night cream: thick enough that it'll keep hydrating your skin while you're asleep, but thin enough that it won't rub off on your pillow when you finally lay your head down. The best part about this cream is, of course, what it does overnight. Even if you're not looking for an anti-aging effect, this cream utilizes lotus and peach to make skin brighter and more even. This means it's just as good for tired skin as it is for aging skin. It also smells absolutely phenomenal.
Best Splurge: Lancôme Absolue Premium Bx Night Recovery Moisturizer Cream
This heavy-duty moisturizer contains glycerin, which is a great humectant. The wild yam extract, sea algae and soy in it work to restore moisture. Yes, it's a pricey moisturizer, but like all good products it's luxurious and almost addictive. Once you start on it, you may never go back to your old mainstays.