Moisturizing your skin is kind of like brushing your teeth: It’s generally a good idea to do it twice a day in order to get the best results, no matter your skin type or skin tone. Most people have the same end goal for their face — plump, soft, younger-looking skin with no signs of acne, sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles or dark spots. Consistent hydration not only improves your skin’s texture, making it smoother; it also reinforces the skin’s barrier function, meaning it’s less permeable to irritants such as pollution.
While this twice-daily facial beauty routine might seem straightforward enough to follow, shopping for a new facial moisturizer can often be anything but easyI . Because who knows which of the best sunscreen, cream, anti-aging products, retinol moisturizers, collagen and elastin lotion or oil-free moisturizer work best on your unique skin type? After all, the daily moisturizer formula that pairs perfectly for the acne-prone might not suit those whose complexions are on the dry side.
Until there’s an end-all-be-all official skincare manual out there, we’ve laid out our recommendations for the best face moisturizer for all skin types below.
Shop ET Style’s top picks of the best face moisturizer out there for everyone of your skincare needs.
For SPF Protection
We don’t need to hear much more than “Jennifer Lopez loves this product” before whipping out our credit card. But if you are curious why the superstar uses it religiously, this budget-friendly anti-aging face cream contains moisturizing ingredient and SPF 30 — a must — plus glycolic acid, vitamin C and pro-retinol. Together, the combo works to even out skin tone, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and protect from UV rays.
You know you need to wear sunscreen every day to avoid sun damage, and this oil-free, lightweight moisturizer lotion makes it easy with a built-in SPF 30 for sun protection. Even better than that budget-friendly price? It has the Skin Cancer Foundation’s seal of approval.
IT Cosmetics’s Bye Bye Foundation Full Coverage Moisturizer with SPF 50+ is full coverage moisturizer made to help improve the look of skin concerns including dark spots, breakouts, redness, pores, fine lines and wrinkles. This foundation also includes SPF 50+ physical sunscreen in its formula.
First Aid Beauty’s FAB Skin Lab Retinol Serum is safe for sensitive skin. This serum combines retinol and polypeptides to help soften the look of wrinkles and fine lines with ingredients including hyaluronic acid, Vitamins C + E, aloe, colloidal oatmeal, allantoin and ceramides.
Olay Regenerist Anti-Aging Face Moisturizer is one of those products that, once you start using it, quickly becomes an old standby. The anti-aging drugstore face cream gets to work immediately, hydrating the skin and softening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while firming and plumping. It’s infused with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, amino peptides and niacinamide (aka vitamin B3), which work together for visible, and surprisingly affordable, results.
Dermatologists always stress the importance of retinol in your skincare routine because the vitamin A derivative boosts collagen production and reduces the appearance of fine lines on your face. This anti-aging moisturizer and retinol cream from Kate Somerville also boasts antioxidants like vitamin C for extra horsepower.
Chanel’s Le Lift Firming Anti-Wrinkle Restorative Cream-Oil minimizes the effects of aging and is perfect for dry to very dry skin.
For Acne-Prone Skin or Oily Skin Types
This lightweight gel moisturizer formula is packed with the powerhouse hydrator hyaluronic acid and is beloved by high-end beauty aficionados and drugstore dwellers just the same. The gel-cream consistency spreads evenly but feels more like a cooling liquid once applied. It’s non-comedogenic, so it won’t lead to clogged pores. It also lacks alcohol and oil, making it suitable for oily skin. This hydrating gel absorbs almost instantly, so your skin feels softer, nourished and not at all greasy.
Yes, even oily complexions need hydration (otherwise, you’ll get flaky and irritated skin). This oil-free formula and moisturizer designed for oily skin won’t exacerbate breakouts for the acne-prone — this mattifying moisturizer actually helps prevent them with salicylic acid — and instead gives skin a supple, matte appearance.
For Combination Skin
This Dr. Jart ceramidin moisturizer cream for combination skin is such a cult favorite that it is often sold out. The lightweight cream is stacked with ceramides, the good “fat” for your skin that hydrates the skin barrier from within and prevents chronic water loss from your pores. Normal, dry and even very dry skin instantly becomes plumped with all-day, time-release moisture.
Chanel’s hydrating gel cream is made with micro-droplets containing camellia oil extract that burst upon contact with skin, providing an instant sense of freshness — along with a moisturizing effect that lasts up to 24 hours. As its name implies, the Hydra Beauty Crème deeply hydrates and protects skin against free radicals; it also helps restore and maintain optimal moisture levels in the skin cells.
For Sensitive Skin
The cult favorite skin car brand, Drunk Elephant, is committed to using only ingredients that either directly benefit the skin’s health or support the integrity and effectiveness of their formulations. What you won’t find in their products: essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrances/dyes or sulfates/SLS, making them the perfect for the sensitive skin set. This thick, fluffy moisturizer is infused with six rare African oils and a ceramide complex for intense moisture; it’s also fragrance-free, which means it’s sure to not irritate sensitive skin.
In addition to providing UV protection in the form of SPF 30, this La Roche-Posay oil-free moisturizer contains ceramides (essential for repairing the skin barrier) and the anti-aging nutrient niacinamide.
For Dry Skin
The price tag is undoubtedly steep, but celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, Selena Gomez, Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Lopez swear by La Mer, the legendary elixir that infuses skin with sea-sourced renewing energies. This famously luxurious facial cream deeply soothes, moisturizes and helps heal dryness, so your skin will look naturally vibrant and restored. There is a secret to activating the Miracle Broth in Crème de la Mer, which lies in a soothing ritual: Warm it for a few seconds between your fingers until it becomes translucent, then press gently onto your face. Because it’s so rich, La Mer is ideal for drier skin types.
This luxurious cult cream has found a home with myriad fashion and beauty influencers. They love its clean ingredients, antioxidant-laden formula and ability to take skin from extremely parched to pleasingly plump. The highly active compounds get to work both superficially and deep inside your skin’s cells — as a result, fine lines will disappear and skin will be visibly firmer.
The Dewy Skin Cream by Tatcha is a rich cream using Japanese purple rice which produces a dewy glow.
Each product has been selected, and each product’s style has been reviewed, by our editorial team; however, we may receive affiliate commissions from some links to products on this page. Prices listed are subject to change by the retailer.
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