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Experimentation is part of the process when you’re on the hunt for your ultimate holy grail moisturizer. Not only are there countless creams, lotions, and gels for the job, but you also have to consider your skin type, any concerns you may be hoping to address, and the price tag.

So, where do you begin? We rounded up 18 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.

Face moisturizers keep your facial skin hydrated and healthy by creating a protective barrier on your skin. Some moisturizers even help protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Most experts agree you should use a facial moisturizer that fits your skin type every day.

Skin can run the gamut from oily to dry to sensitive. We specifically looked for moisturizers formulated for every skin type and based our recommendations on the quality of the ingredients and the most glowing customer reviews.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $20
  • $$ = $20–$40
  • $$$ = $41–$60
  • $$$$ = over $60

Best budget-friendly moisturizer

e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Face Cream

  • Price: $
  • Size: 1.76 ounces (oz.)
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Key ingredients: squalane, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, peptide complex
  • SPF: no

Made for all skin types, this affordable moisturizer is packed with powerhouse ingredients. Hyaluronic acid and squalane hydrate your skin 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.


  • good price point
  • suitable for all skin types
  • fragrance-free


  • may not be moisturizing enough for very dry skin

Best for dry skin

Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre

  • Price: $
  • Size: 1 oz.
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Key ingredients: soy proteins, aloe vera, beeswax, shea butter
  • SPF: no

Reviewers rave about the light, milky texture of this moisturizer but caution that a little can still go 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 research suggests that the isoflavones found in soy may help reduce the appearance of fine lines.


  • multitasking moisturizer
  • good for all skin types


  • contains fragrance, which may irritate sensitive skin
  • contains mineral oil

Best natural face moisturizer

Osmia Purely Simple Face Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 1.7 fl oz.
  • Skin type: sensitive or normal
  • Key ingredients: aloe vera, plant-based oils, vitamin E, glycerin
  • SPF: no

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.

However, it does contain small amounts of essential oils, which some people may find irritating.


  • gentle and hydrating
  • some ingredients are certified organic


  • contains small concentrations of essential oils, which could be irritating to some people
  • high price point

Best for sensitive skin

Weleda Sensitive Care Facial Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 1 fl oz.
  • Skin type: sensitive or reactive skin
  • Key ingredients: almond oil, glycerin
  • SPF: no

Nourishing for sensitive skin, this fragrance-free option is made with sweet almond oil and is 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.


  • fragrance-free
  • calming and moisturizing for sensitive skin


  • contains alcohol, which could be irritating for some people

Best for oily skin

Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer

  • Price: $$$$
  • Size: 1.7 fl oz.
  • Skin type: oily skin
  • Key ingredients: red marine algae
  • SPF: no

Lightweight, fragrance-free, and nongreasy, this moisturizer is specifically designed for oily skin. Ingredients include red marine algae, which a 2018 research review shows may have a number of pro-aging benefits for skin.

The formula scores a 3 on the EWG’s Skin Deep scale.


  • lightweight and nongreasy
  • fragrance-free


  • high price point

Best hydrating gel moisturizer

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream

  • Price: $
  • Size: 1.7 oz.
  • Skin type: oily or dry skin
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, glycerin
  • SPF: no

This bestseller is a gel formula made with hyaluronic acid and glycerin that can leave skin feeling hydrated, supple, and smooth. Reviewers say the cool blue gel feels like liquid to the touch and absorbs on contact.

Gel moisturizers are particularly well-suited for oily skin, but this formula can work well for dry and sensitive skin too.


  • good price point
  • hydrating for very dry or oily skin
  • lightweight texture


  • color comes from synthetic dyes
  • doesn’t contain many active ingredients

Best vegan moisturizer

Youth to the People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 2 oz.
  • Skin type: combination or oily skin
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, superfoods blend, vitamins C, E, and K
  • SPF: no

Kale, spinach, and green tea pair with hyaluronic acid to give your skin a boost of vitamins, antioxidants, and some 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 vegan and not tested on animals.

Online reviewers report that it works well with oily skin and can also help reduce and prevent some acne breakouts.


  • vegan formula
  • lightweight and quick-absorbing


  • higher price point

Best lightweight face moisturizer

Hanacure Nano Emulsion Multi-Peptide Moisturizer

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 1.35 fl oz.
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Key ingredients: peptides, mushroom extract, squalane
  • SPF: no

This pH-neutral moisturizer features a high concentration of peptides and mushroom extract to help improve your skin’s tone and texture. It’s been tested and approved by dermatologists and is made without parabens, sulfates, or phthalates. It’s also free from colorants, fragrances, and alcohol.

More than 1,000 5-star reviews report a soft, nongreasy finish.


  • soft, nongreasy texture
  • safe for sensitive skin


  • high price point

Best moisturizer for mature skin

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

  • Price: $
  • Size: 19 oz.
  • Skin type: dry skin
  • Key ingredients: glycerin, ceramides, hyaluronic acid
  • SPF: no

This cream has been accepted by the National Eczema Association and is made with glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid. It’s made to be gentle and is particularly well 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. It can also be used as a hand cream.


  • low cost
  • hypoallergenic
  • moisturizes face and body


  • slow to absorb

Best pro-aging moisturizer for wrinkles

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 1.7 oz.
  • Skin type: mature skin
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, amino peptides, niacinamide
  • SPF: no

This pro-aging fan favorite is for dry, normal, or combination skin. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid, amino peptides, and niacinamide. These ingredients can offer a boost of plumping hydration and a softening effect on wrinkles and fine lines.

Hundreds of reviewers praise this moisturizer for its effectiveness, especially when comparing it with other products at more than triple the price.


  • fragrance-free
  • highly effective


  • Some reviewers mention the cream gave them dry spots

Best moisturizer for day and night

Tula Skincare 24-7 Moisture Hydrating Day & Night Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 0.5 oz.
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Key ingredients: squalane, rice nutripeptides, probiotics, glycerin
  • SPF: no

This moisturizer pulls double duty, working as a hydrating cream for both day and night. It’s made without formaldehyde, triclosan, retinol, or gluten, and is suitable for all skin types. Probiotics, watermelon extract, and squalane work to hydrate your skin, while rice nutripeptides nourish and diminish the look of fine lines.

One reviewer shared that despite the small size of the product, even a small amount of the cream can go a long way and lasts for a while.


  • lightweight, whipped texture
  • designed as a day and night cream


  • contains fragrance, which may be irritating to some people

Best moisturizer with SPF

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream SPF 30

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 1.7 oz.
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Key ingredients: SPF, glacial glycoprotein, fountain plant extract
  • SPF: yes

This daily moisturizer is formulated with SPF 30 sunscreen, making it ideal for daytime use. Lightweight and nongreasy, it’s designed to deliver 24-hour hydration for all skin types, so you can apply it first thing in the morning for all-day coverage.

Reviewers love the creamy texture, but some find the scent off-putting.


  • includes SPF
  • creamy texture


  • includes essential oil, which can be irritating to some people

Best moisturizer for acne

Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 1.6 oz.
  • Skin type: oily, combination, or dry
  • Key ingredients: squalane, probiotics
  • SPF: no

This hydrating gel moisturizer has an ultra-lightweight feel, and ingredients like squalane and probiotics help soothe and support the natural skin barrier.

Gel moisturizers work particularly well on oily skin, but this Biossance product is a good choice for dry and combination skin types too.

One of the biggest praises for this product, according to reviewers, is how well it adapts to different skin types.


  • fragrance- and cruelty-free
  • weightless and hydrating


  • higher price point
  • gel texture may not be moisturizing enough for very dry skin

Best tinted face moisturizer

Iris & Romeo Weekend Skin SPF 50 + Vitamin C + Glow

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 1.18 oz.
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Key ingredients: vitamin C, niacinamide, mineral SPF 50
  • SPF: yes

Weekend Skin is skin care and SPF in one, and it gives skin a dewy, balmy finish. Vitamin C and niacinamide keep skin bright and hydrated, while zinc blocks UVA/UVB rays and leaves behind zero white cast.

Writer Testimonial

This is the perfected tinted moisturizer/SPF, especially if you aren’t a fan of foundation, like me. It’s hydrating, with a slightly dewy finish, and you can’t beat the SPF protection.

~Jessica Timmons, Freelance Writer

This clean, vegan formula comes in one shade, which is designed to complement all skin types.

Reviewers have nothing but good things to say about the effects of Weekend Skin, calling it sheer, glowing, and natural.


  • tinted
  • contains SPF


  • dewy finish may not be for everyone

Best moisturizer for combination skin

Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream

  • Price: $$$$
  • Size: 1.5 oz.
  • Skin type: combination, dry, sensitive, reactive
  • Key ingredients: aloe vera leaf juice, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E
  • SPF: no

Vital Balm Cream has a whipped, mousse-like texture that feels light on the skin and absorbs quickly, which makes it ideal for combination skin. Hero ingredients like phytonutrients, antioxidants, and herbal actives combine to hydrate and soothe for calm, balanced skin.

Reviewers with combination skin say it’s nourishing and soothing like a balm should be, without feeling greasy or heavy.


  • hydrating and soothing, with a lightweight feel
  • layers well with other products


  • higher price point

Best moisturizer for cold weather

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Advanced Repair Barrier Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 1.7 fl oz.
  • Skin type: dry, sensitive
  • Key ingredients: colloidal oatmeal, beta-glucan
  • SPF: no

This barrier cream from Kiehl’s was made with dry, compromised skin in mind, which makes it ideal in cold winter months. The formula is designed to replenish lipids, relieve itchiness and redness, and hydrate for instant relief. While it does have a thicker texture, it absorbs quickly with no greasy feel.

Hundreds of reviewers rave about this barrier cream, calling it incredibly hydrating for dry winter skin.

Writer Testimonial

I’ve tested this cream myself, and it really is impressive. It’s thick out of the tube, but a little goes a long way and it works immediately to moisturize without feeling heavy or leaving a shine.

~Jessica Timmons, Freelance Writer


  • works immediately to hydrate extremely dry skin
  • unscented and non-irritating


  • thick texture may not appeal to everyone

Best moisturizer for itchy skin

Lumene Intense Hydration Moisturizer

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 50 mL
  • Skin type: dry, itchy
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, Nordic birch sap
  • SPF: no

This is a lightweight, vegan moisturizer designed with three molecular weights of hyaluronic acid. The smaller ones penetrate deeply to hydrate, while the larger weights create a soothing and moisturizing barrier to quickly calm dry, itchy skin. Organic Nordic birch sap is also rich in minerals and amino acids to help retain moisture.

Bonus: the refillable package is made with recycled materials.


  • lightweight but hydrating
  • works quickly to soothe dry, itchy skin


  • contains fragrance, which may be irritating for some people

Product namePriceSkin typesKey ingredientsSPF
e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Face Cream$all skin typessqualane, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, peptide complexno
Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre$all skin typessoy proteins, aloe vera, beeswax, shea butterno
Osmia Purely Simple Face Cream$$$$sensitive or reactivealoe vera, plant-based oils, vitamin E, glycerinno
Weleda Sensitive Care Facial Cream$$sensitive or reactive skinalmond oil, glycerinno
Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer$$$$oily skinred marine algaeno
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream$oily or dry skinhyaluronic acid, glycerinno
Youth to the People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream$$$combination or oily skinhyaluronic acid, superfoods blend, vitamins C, E, and Kno
Hanacure Nano Emulsion Multi-Peptide Moisturizer$$$all skin typespeptides, mushroom extract, squalaneno
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream$dry skinglycerin, ceramides, hyaluronic acidno
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream$mature skinhyaluronic acid, amino peptides, niacinamideno
Tula Skincare 24-7 Moisture Hydrating Day & Night Cream$$all skin typessqualane, rice nutripeptides, probiotics, glycerinno
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream SPF 30$$all skin typesSPF, glacial glycoprotein, fountain plant extractyes
Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer$$$oily, combination, or dry skinsqualane, probioticsno
Iris & Romeo Weekend Skin SPF 50 + Vitamin C + Glow$$$all skin typesvitamin C, niacinamide, mineral SPF 50yes
Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream$$$$all skin typesaloe vera leaf juice, hyaluronic acid, vitamin Eno
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Advanced Repair Barrier Cream$$$dry, sensitivemcolloidal oatmeal, beta-glucanno
Lumene Intense Hydration Moisturizer$$dry, itchyhyaluronic acid, Nordic birch sapno

Trial and error might need to be part of your hunt for a good moisturizer, but there are a few ways to better narrow down your options.

Skin type

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:

  • dry
  • oily
  • combination
  • sensitive
  • acne prone

If you’re not sure about 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 the products you’re interested in. Most moisturizers will list which skin types benefit the most from using their product.

They might also call out other potential skin benefits too. Certain formulations can treat breakouts, calm irritations, even skin tone and texture, and smooth fine lines and wrinkles.


Scan the ingredients 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 of the 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, depending on your skin type, you may need to apply moisturizer more or less frequently to see the desired results.

If you’re dealing with a specific skin condition that your facial moisturizer isn’t addressing, it’s a good idea to talk with a dermatologist. The same is also true if you’re finding that moisturizers irritate your skin or trigger breakouts.

A dermatologist can recommend which moisturizers are designed for your skin type and discuss any other skin concerns you may have.

How often should you moisturize your face?

Most experts recommend moisturizing your face in the morning and again at night as part of your daily skin care routine. By moisturizing twice per day and after working out or swimming, you’re ensuring that your skin’s moisture content stays largely consistent.

What should you look for in a moisturizer?

Moisturizer ingredients will vary depending on your skin type.

Dry skin types benefit from heavier, oil-based options. Oily skin types benefit from lighter, water-based moisturizers.

Mature skin types tend to do well with oil-based products. Sensitive skin types benefit from soothing ingredients, such as aloe and fragrance-free formulas.

Combination skin types often do well with lighter, water-based formulas.

Should you moisturize if you have oily skin?

Yes. Oily skin needs proper hydration, too, just like any other skin type. Look for lighter formulas with water bases. Gel moisturizers are a good option for oily skin.

Can you use face oil instead of moisturizer?

Facial oil can work as a supplement to your skin care routine, but it shouldn’t necessarily replace your moisturizer.

For some people, oil-based moisturizers can clog their pores and potentially trigger acne breakouts. Applying facial oil over your moisturizer can be a good way to lock in the hydrating ingredients from your moisturizer, but use it with caution if you have acne-prone skin.

Do you need a serum to go with a face moisturizer?

Serums and moisturizers serve different purposes on your skin, so including both can be a good idea. While serums are a great source of specific nutrients, some skin types will also need a moisturizer for proper hydration, especially when it’s cold outside.

Do you need SPF in addition to a face moisturizer?

Yes. Your morning skin care routine should always include an SPF to help protect against damaging UVA and UVB rays. Using an SPF on your face every day can significantly reduce your risk of skin cancer, while also minimizing premature wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and dark spots.

Keep in mind that sunscreen wears off after about 2 hours, so for best protection, it’s recommended to reapply every 2 hours, especially if you’re out in the sun all day.

Everyone’s skin is different, so it can take some time to find a moisturizer that works well for you. There are lots of options on the market, but you may find the most success with a moisturizer that’s designed for your skin type.

If you’re not sure where to start, try one of our top picks and see whether it’s a good match for your skin.