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Experimentation is part of the process when you’re on the hunt for your holy grail moisturizer. Not only are there countless creams, lotions, and gels for the job, but you have to factor for your skin type, any concerns you may be hoping to remedy, and the price tag.
So where do you begin? We rounded up 12 of the best face moisturizers for all kinds of skin types and budgets so you can zero in on what will work best for you.
Skin can run the gamut from oily to dry to sensitive, sometimes all on the same face. We looked for moisturizers formulated for every skin type. Our recommendations are based on ingredient quality and the most glowing customer reviews.
- $ = under $20
- $$ = $20–$40
- $$$ = $41–$60
- $$$$ = over $60
Best budget-friendly face moisturizers
e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Face Cream
Made for all skin types, this inexpensive moisturizer is packed with powerhouse ingredients. Hyaluronic acid and squalane hydrate while vitamins B3 (niacinamide) and B5 soothe, even, and brighten. Peptides help promote collagen for a youthful appearance.
Reviewers say this lightweight face cream moisturizes without feeling greasy.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream
This best seller is a gel formula made with hyaluronic acid and glycerin, leaving skin feeling hydrated, supple, and smooth. The cool blue gel feels liquid to the touch and absorbs on contact.
Gel moisturizers are particularly suited to oily skin, but this formulation works well for dry and sensitive skin, too.
Best face moisturizers for dry skin
Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre
Reviewers rave about the light, milky texture of this moisturizer, but caution that a little goes a long way.
Made by a French cosmetic line, it’s enriched with vitamins and antioxidants and formulated for dry skin.
Shea butter hydrates and boosts collagen to improve elasticity, while soy proteins firm and tone. Some preliminary
Best face moisturizers for sensitive skin
Osmia Purely Simple Face Cream
This no-nonsense face cream is made with plant-sourced ingredients like organic aloe juice and vegetable-derived glycerin for hydration. With minimal amounts of oil-based ingredients, it gently moisturizes even the most sensitive, allergy-prone skin.
It does contain small amounts of essential oils, which some people may find irritating.
Weleda Sensitive Care Facial Cream
Nourishing for sensitive skin, this fragrance-free option is made with sweet almond oil and dermatologically tested to calm and moisturize.
It’s made without synthetic preservatives, fragrances, dyes, and mineral oil, earning it a great score on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep scale.
Best face moisturizers for oily skin
Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer
Lightweight, fragrance-free, and non-greasy, this moisturizer is specifically designed for oily skin. Ingredients include red marine algae, which
The formula scores an admirable 2 on the EWG’s Skin Deep scale.
Youth to the People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream
Kale, spinach, and green tea pair with hyaluronic acid for a boost of vitamins, antioxidants, and major moisture retention. This lightweight cream can be used on all skin types, though it’s particularly great for oily and combination skin. It’s also 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
Hanacure Nano Emulsion Multi-Peptide Moisturizer
This pH-neutral moisturizer features a high concentration of peptides and mushroom extract to improve skin’s tone and texture. It’s dermatologist tested and approved and made without parabens, sulfates, or phthalates. It also contains no colorants, fragrance, or alcohol.
More than 1,000 five-star reviews report a soft, non-greasy finish.
Best face moisturizer for mature skin
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
With glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid, this gentle, all-purpose cream is particularly suited to the needs of mature skin. It’s free of both fragrance and oil, and reviewers found it soothing and moisturizing on the driest, most sensitive skin.
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
Designed for dry, normal, or combination skin, this fan-favorite anti-aging moisturizer is formulated with hyaluronic acid, amino-peptides, and niacinamide. These ingredients offer a boost of plumping hydration and a softening effect on wrinkles and fine lines.
Hundreds of reviewers praise this moisturizer for its efficacy, comparing it to other products at more than triple the price.
Best moisturizer for day and night
Tula Skincare 24-7 Moisture Hydrating Day & Night Cream
This moisturizer pulls double duty, working as a hydrating cream for day or night. Probiotics, watermelon extract, and squalene hydrate, while rice nutripeptides nourish and diminish the look of fine lines.
It’s made without formaldehyde, triclosan, retinol, or gluten, and is suitable for all skin types.
Best moisturizer for daytime
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream SPF 30
This daily moisturizer is formulated with SPF 30 sunscreen, making it ideal for daytime use. Lightweight and non-greasy, it’s designed to deliver 24-hour hydration for all skin types.
Reviewers love the creamy texture but some find the scent off-putting.
Trial and error may be part of the hunt for a good moisturizer, but there are a few ways to narrow down your options.
Moisturizers are typically formulated to meet the needs of specific skin types, so thinking about your skin type is a good place to start.
Common skin types include:
If you’re not sure of your skin type, think about how it feels after a shower. If it starts to feel tight, dry, or flaky, you probably have dry skin. If it feels slick or looks shiny, you probably have oily skin. Combination skin looks and feels like a mix between the two.
Once you’ve identified your skin type, check out the labels on products you’re interested in. They might say what skin type they’re best for.
They might also call out other benefits — while a moisturizer’s first job is to hydrate, different formulations can also treat breakouts, calm irritations, even skin tone and texture, and smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
You should also scan the ingredient list. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t require cosmetics to be approved before going to market. However, it does require them to list all ingredients so customers can make informed decisions.
It’s not always easy to decipher ingredients, so consider looking up any unfamiliar ingredients in the EWG’s Skin Deep database.
Start with clean hands and a nickel-sized amount of moisturizer. Dot the moisturizer on your forehead, cheeks, and chin. Then, rub using upward strokes.
Many people find success moisturizing twice a day — in the morning and before bed. However, you may need to apply moisturizer more or less frequently depending on your skin type.
Everyone’s skin is different, so it can take some time to find a moisturizer that works well. There are lots of options on the market, but you may find the best success with a moisturizer that’s designed for your skin type. If you’re not sure where to start, try one of these top picks.
Always do a patch test before using a product you haven’t used before.