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Quality moisturizers can help soothe and repair dry, itchy, and irritated skin. Moisturizer is an essential piece of any skin care routine. It helps maintain your skin’s moisture barrier and protects your skin from environmental damage.

If you’re experiencing dry or dull skin, you can benefit from a daily lightweight moisturizer that’s jam-packed with hydrating ingredients, like niacinamide or hyaluronic acid.

If you have severely dry skin, flaking, eczema, or if you live in a cold climate, you might want to opt for a thicker formula designed for your specific skin concerns.

But with so many moisturizers on the market, how do you find one that works for you? It usually comes down to a matter of preference. You may choose to have a few on hand to suit your various needs.

Keep reading for the best moisturizers for dry skin and to learn how to pick a healthy moisturizer for you.

When you have dry skin, finding a moisturizer that has the right texture, won’t clog pores, and adds moisture to your skin is crucial. We selected the most highly recommended moisturizers for dry skin.

For each product, we considered:

  • price point
  • customer reviews
  • any possibly harmful ingredients

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10–$25
  • $$$ = over $25

Best budget-friendly face moisturizer

Andalou Naturals Purple Carrot + C Luminous Night Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: vitamin C, sunflower oil, aloe vera
  • Size: 1.7 ounces
  • SPF: no
  • Certifications: non-GMO, vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for an effective cream at an affordable price

This night cream from Andalou Naturals focuses on renewing surface skin cells. It is designed to absorb easily into your skin and work overnight to revitalize your complexion. The company says the formula helps defend against UV damage, hyperpigmentation, and premature aging.

Reviewers say they saw an almost immediate difference in their hyperpigmentation and scarring. Some reviewers also say it has a slight candy-like smell, which might not be everyone’s preference.

Pros

  • helps defend against UV damage, hyperpigmentation, and premature aging
  • boosts collagen and elastin for an even skin tone
  • aloe vera hydrates and protects skin’s moisture barrier

Cons

  • some reviewers report burning sensation
  • some reviewers dislike strong tangy scent

Best gentle moisturizer for dry skin

NIVEA Soft Moisturizing Creme

  • Price: $$ (pack of 3)
  • Key ingredients: jojoba oil, vitamin E, glycerin
  • Size: 6.8 ounces
  • SPF: no
  • Certifications: none
  • Who it’s best for: people with sensitive skin or rosacea

This NIVEA cream contains both vitamin E and jojoba oil. It is designed to absorb quickly into your skin and hydrate without being overly oily. It can be used on the face, hands, and body.

Reviewers say it works great for rosacea and that the product has a light and pleasant smell. Some reviewers complain that their order arrived broken or incomplete.

Pros

  • glycerin works to bind moisture to the skin
  • vitamin E and jojoba oil hydrate the skin
  • for all skin types

Cons

  • contains myristyl myristate, a comedogenic ingredient that could lead to breakouts
  • some reviewers complain about sticky residue

Best moisturizer for sensitive skin

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • Key ingredients: squalane, glycerin, glacial glycoprotein
  • Size: 1.7 ounces
  • SPF: no
  • Certifications: paraben-free, fragrance-free
  • Who it’s best for: people who live in cold, dry climates

This cream is formulated especially to withstand cold, dry climates. Its thick consistency is designed to be nourishing for severely dry skin. The company says the cream absorbs into skin easily with a lightweight texture.

Reviewers say the hydration lasts a good 24 hours, and it helps with the texture of their skin. Some say it can leave marks on their pillow because it’s on the thicker side.

Pros

  • squalane helps strengthen skin barrier
  • glycerin helps skin retain moisture
  • hydration lasts up to 24 hours

Cons

  • some reviewers find it to be too thick and heavy
  • cheaper alternatives available

Best moisturizer for rough, cracked, and scaly skin

Eucerin Advanced Repair Cream

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: ceramides, glycerin, urea
  • Size: 16 ounces
  • SPF: no
  • Certifications: none
  • Who it’s best for: people with severe dry skin

This cream from Eucerin contains 5% urea, which helps restore and hydrate problem skin. An older 1996 study found that moisturizers containing urea helped reduce participants’ skin water loss.

Some reviewers say this isn’t the formula that the company used to sell before, but they primarily think it’s still great for winter skin.

Pros

  • formula gives immediate relief and delays the symptoms of very dry skin
  • ceramides work to repair the skin barrier and reduce moisture loss
  • suitable for mature-looking skin and conditions affecting the skin, such as xerosis, psoriasis, and diabetes

Cons

  • not safe for people with a lanolin allergy
  • thicker cream formula might be too much for people who prefer lightweight lotions

Best luxury cream

Avène Hydrance Rich Hydrating Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • Key ingredients: shea butter, glycerin, thermal spring water
  • Size: 1.3 ounces
  • SPF: no
  • Certifications: paraben-free, animal derived ingredient-free
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for an option from a trusted, luxury beauty brand

This thick, creamy moisturizer is a popular French pharmacy beauty pick. Its soothing properties help restore and rebalance dry skin.

Some reviewers say the cream helped clear up their flaky skin and helped keep their skin soft year-round. Other reviewers find it too heavy and don’t love the product’s scent.

Pros

  • prevents water evaporation from the skin by reinforcing cell cohesion
  • smooths away dehydration lines
  • alleviates signs of aging, dryness, and dehydration with the help of shea butter

Cons

  • some reviewers find the cream to be too thick for their skin
  • some reviewers say they saw an increase in breakouts
  • contains fragrance

Best moisturizer for aging skin

St. Ives Renewing Collagen Elastin Moisturizer

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: collagen, elastin proteins, safflower seed oil
  • Size: 10 ounces
  • SPF: no
  • Certifications: cruelty-free, paraben-free, noncomedogenic
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a product that combats both dryness and aging

Full of collagen, elastin proteins, and safflower seed oil, this St. Ives moisturizer says it softens and repairs dry skin. Its medium consistency is good for both day and night use. Collagen and elastin help skin stretch and snap back into place, helping to ease the signs of aging.

The company recently changed the formula, and many reviewers are disappointed in this new one. However, an overwhelming number of reviewers still agree that it’s great for dehydrated skin. Some even note that it can work for acne-prone skin thanks to the light formula.

Pros

  • made with 100% natural moisturizers and safflower seed oil
  • dermatologist tested and paraben-free
  • infused with collagen and elastin proteins to hydrate the skin and promote a youthful glow

Cons

  • contains preservatives, like phenoxyethanol
  • contains fragrance
  • some reviewers complain that the scent is too strong

Best natural moisturizer

Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: pansy, beeswax, sunflower seed oil, chamomile flower extract, calendula flower extract
  • Size: 2.5 ounces
  • SPF: no
  • Certifications: cruelty-free, paraben-fee, fragrance-free
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a natural option

You can use Weleda Skin Food anywhere on your body that needs extra attention. It’s formulated using plant extracts to heal and improve the appearance of dry, rough skin.

Reviewers love how incredibly thick the formula is, but some reviewers say the product’s smell is too strong.

Pro

  • chamomile, calendula, and pansy work to soothe the skin and deliver moisture
  • can double as a makeup primer
  • cruelty-free and free of parabens, phthalates, synthetic preservatives, and synthetic fragrances

Cons

  • some reviewers find the scent overwhelming
  • some reviewers complain the natural oils left them looking shiny or greasy
  • ointment texture hard to massage in

Best oil-free moisturizer

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides
  • Size: 19 ounces
  • SPF: no
  • Certifications: National Eczema Association (NEA) Seal of Acceptance, fragrance-free, paraben-free, allergy-tested, and noncomedogenic
  • Who it’s best for: people with psoriasis or eczema

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is a go-to moisturizer to replenish dry skin. Created by dermatologists, the cream contains ceramides that help skin retain moisture and protect it against environmental influences.

This moisturizer is often recommended for people who have psoriasis and eczema.

The product has overwhelmingly positive reviews. The small percentage of negative reviews ding the product’s packaging or say that they didn’t see a big difference.

Pros

  • hyaluronic acid helps retain the skin’s moisture
  • three essential ceramides work together to help restore the skin barrier
  • developed with dermatologists

Cons

  • some reviewers find the consistency to be more watery than creamy
  • might not be the best option if you have severely cracked skin

Best hypoallergenic moisturizer

Dermasil Labs Platinum Dry Skin Treatment

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: biotin, amino acids, fatty acids
  • Size: 18 ounces
  • SPF: no
  • Certifications: paraben-free, hypoallergenic
  • Who it’s best for: people with very dry and sensitive skin

This fragrance-free lotion is made to treat severely dry skin. It can also be used to relieve itching and irritation from psoriasis and eczema.

Most reviewers say the cream worked great, but the scent may be too strong for some.

Pros

  • infused with essential fatty acids
  • nongreasy and fast-absorbing
  • controls chapping, cracking, flaking, roughness, redness, soreness, and dry skin itching

Cons

  • some reviewers find the formula too thick
  • contains mineral oil, which some people may find irritating

Best moisturizer for acne-prone skin

Rael Miracle Clear Barrier Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: succinic acid, minerice enzyme complex, vitamin B5 panthenol
  • Size: 1.7 ounces
  • SPF: no
  • Certifications: vegan, cruelty-free, phthalate-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free
  • Who it’s best for: people with dry skin that’s also prone to breakouts

When you have acne-prone, yet also dry, skin, finding a moisturizer that works can be a challenge. Rael’s Miracle Clear Barrier Cream keeps breakouts at bay without over-drying skin, leaving your face hydrated while allowing your skin to heal.

Reviewers commented on the lightweight texture of this cream, which allows skin to get moisture without feeling weighed down, and most saw an improvement in their acne.

Pros

  • vegan formulation with short ingredient list
  • focuses on protecting the skin barrier to help heal breakouts
  • promotes moisture, unlike many other acne-fighting products

Cons

  • no SPF
  • a couple reviewers said that it made their acne worse

Best tinted moisturizer

PÜR 4-in-1 Tinted Moisturizer With SPF 20

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: lactic acid, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, sodium hyaluronate, shea butter, aloe vera, vitamin B3
  • Size: 1.7 ounces
  • SPF: 20
  • Certifications: paraben-free, gluten-free, BPA-free
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for an all-in-one product that provides light coverage

If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop product that provides moisture, this tinted cream by PÜR serves as a moisturizer, primer, foundation, and broad-spectrum SPF in one tube. Hydrating sodium hyaluronate, shea butter, and aloe vera make this product go on easy, nourishing skin while providing light coverage.

There are only 15 shades available, but the product has a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Amazon, with reviewers commenting on how dewy it make their skin look.

Pros

  • all-in-one product simplifies your routine
  • hydrating coverage won’t dry out skin
  • non-caking formula

Cons

  • there are few choices for skin tones compared to other tinted moisturizers on the market
  • low SPF—dermatologists suggest SPF 30 of higher coverage

Best oil moisturizer

Mario Badescu Coconut Body Oil

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: coconut oil, shea butter, argan oil
  • Size: 5 ounces
  • SPF: no
  • Certifications: cruelty-free, peg-free, talc-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free
  • Who it’s best for: people seeking a quick, easy way to moisturize

For a spray moisturizing option, Mario Badescu’s Coconut Body Oil is an easy way to stay hydrated. Spritz on this non-greasy formulation of coconut oil and shea butter to nourish and protect your skin.

Reviewers noted that this spray goes on evenly like a fine mist and the nozzle doesn’t clog after prolonged use, unlike other oil sprays. This spray also smells like a beach vacation, providing a little escape moment in your daily routine.

Pros

  • not greasy application that won’t get all over your clothes
  • clean, natural formulation
  • reviewers commented on great smell

Cons

  • no SPF
  • not recommended for use on face

Best head-to-toe moisturizer

Eufora Aloetherapy Moisture Mist

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: aloe vera
  • Size: 6.8 ounces
  • SPF: no
  • Certifications: gluten-free, mineral oil-free, paraben-free, vegan
  • Who it’s best for: people wanting a head-to-toe moisture option

If you need full body dry skin relief, Eufora’s Moisture Mist provides head-to-toe moisture. This vegan, aloe-based formula can be used on hair, face, and body. For best results, use this mist post-shower to lock in moisture wherever you need it.

Reviewers have even successfully used this spray to relieve skin irritations like eczema, sunburn, and diaper rash.

Pros

  • can be used on body, face, and hair, making it an all-in-one product option
  • not greasy and won’t rub off on clothes
  • quick and easy application

Cons

  • no SPF
  • may not be moisturizing enough for people with severely dry skin, psoriasis, or eczema

ProductPriceKey ingredientsSizeSPFCertificationsWho it’s best for
Andalou Naturals Purple Carrot + C Luminous Night Cream$$vitamin C, sunflower oil, aloe vera1.7 ouncesnonon-GMO, vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-freepeople looking for an effective cream at an affordable price
NIVEA Soft Moisturizing Creme$$ (pack of 3)jojoba oil, vitamin E, glycerin6.8 ouncesnononepeople with sensitive skin or rosacea
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream$$$squalane, glycerin, glacial glycoprotein1.7 ouncesnoparaben-free, fragrance-freepeople who live in cold, dry climates
Eucerin Advanced Repair Cream$ceramides, glycerin, urea16 ouncesnononepeople with severe dry skin
Avène Hydrance Rich Hydrating Cream$$$shea butter, glycerin, thermal spring water1.3 ouncesnoparaben-free, animal derived ingredient-freepeople looking for an option from a trusted, luxury beauty brand
St. Ives Renewing Collagen Elastin Moisturizer$collagen, elastin proteins, safflower seed oil10 ouncesnocruelty-free, paraben-free, noncomedogenicpeople looking for a product that combats both dryness and aging
Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream$$pansy, beeswax, sunflower seed oil, chamomile flower extract, calendula flower extract2.5 ouncesnocruelty-free, paraben-fee, fragrance-freepeople looking for a natural option
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream$$hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides19 ouncesnoNational Eczema Association (NEA) Seal of Acceptance, fragrance-free, paraben-free, allergy-tested, and noncomedogenicpeople with psoriasis or eczema
Dermasil Labs Platinum Dry Skin Treatment$biotin, amino acids, fatty acids18 ouncesnoparaben-free, hypoallergenicpeople with very dry skin that is also sensitive
Rael Miracle Clear Barrier Cream$$succinic acid, minerice enzyme complex, vitamin B5 panthenol1.7 ouncesnovegan, cruelty-free, phthalate free, paraben free, sulfate freepeople with dry skin that’s also prone to breakouts
PÜR 4-in-1 Tinted Moisturizer With SPF 20 $$lactic acid, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, sodium hyaluronate, shea butter, aloe vera, vitamin B31.7 ounces20paraben-free, gluten-free, BPA-freepeople looking for an all-in-one product that provides light coverage
Mario Badescu Coconut Spray$$coconut oil, shea butter, argan oil5 ouncesnocruelty-free, peg-free, talc-free, paraben-free, phthalate-freepeople seeking a quick, easy way to moisturize
Eufora Aloe Therapy Moisture Mist $$aloe vera6.8 ouncesnogluten-free, mineral oil-free, paraben-free, veganpeople wanting a head-to-toe moisture option

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Most moisturizers for dry skin have a thicker consistency and are cream-based. It’s up to you if you want to avoid fragrances or use only natural ingredients.

Alcohols, fragrances, dyes, and other ingredients can be harmful to dry skin and cause further dryness.

A 2016 study found that using a moisturizer on a regular basis was more important than the moisturizer’s specific ingredients.

Look for products that have hydrating ingredients like the ones listed below. The most important thing is that the product is well formulated using quality ingredients and works well for your specific skin concerns.

It may take a bit of trial and error to find the products that work well for you.

Research supports the use of ceramides and aquaporins in moisturizers. Another standout ingredient is hyaluronic acid as it can reduce wrinkles, redness, and dermatitis.

Choose a moisturizer that contains at least some of the following ingredients:

  • hyaluronic acid
  • ceramides
  • glycerin
  • urea
  • antioxidants
  • aquaporins
  • plant butters and oils

A good combination of hydrating and moisturizing ingredients depends on your skin type and what skin concerns you’re trying to address.

Achieving healthy skin depends on more than just what moisturizer you choose. How you apply the moisturizer is also important. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your moisturizer:

  • Apply moisturizer when your skin is still a little damp after you shower or wash your face.
  • If you have sensitive skin, use moisturizers with soothing ingredients that are free of acids, fragrances, and dyes.
  • Do a patch test before using a new product.
  • Buy from a reputable brand you trust.
  • Avoid very hot water for showering and washing your face.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
  • Consider using a humidifier at night, or keep a small one on your desk during the day.
  • Moisturize at least twice every day (and more often when your skin is especially dry).
  • Add a protective facial serum under your moisturizer for added benefits.
  • Mix an oil, like jojoba or rosehip oil, into your moisturizer if your skin is extremely parched. These may be too heavy to use all the time.

If your dry skin is pervasive and nothing you do seems to help ease tightness, flakiness, and redness, you may need professional help. But first make sure that your at-home remedies aren’t making the problem worse.

According to dermatologist Peter Young, MD, medical director of skincare company Facet, do the following before seeking professional help:

  • Avoid long hot showers and baths (hot water temporarily strips the skin of its outer protective oily layer which keeps moisture locked in)
  • Use gentle, fragrance-free liquid cleansers (avoid bar soap)
  • Avoid using washcloths or abrasive sponges which can also strip your skin
  • Gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel after bathing — don’t rub
  • Apply moisturizer immediately after bathing to help lock moisture in and strengthen your skin barrier

Young says that if you’ve tried all of the at-home tips and tricks for treating your dry skin but are not getting anywhere, then it’s time to see a healthcare professional. “This is especially important if your dry skin is causing you a lot of itching or keeping you up at night,” he explains. “There really is no need to suffer since there are many effective treatments to help with dry skin.”

What habits or products can be good for dry skin outside of moisturizer?

Lifestyle choices can also help relieve dry skin, such as:

How long does it take for moisturizer to help dry skin?

A good moisturizer should improve your skin within 2 or 3 weeks. If you don’t start to see results within 1 month, consult a healthcare professional, like a dermatologist. They may suggest you try a prescription cream or ointment.

With so many moisturizers on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We recommend narrowing it down by deciding:

  • what ingredients you’re looking for
  • how much you’re willing to spend
  • what your skin needs are

Remember that it’s all about consistency. Depending on your skin type, you’ll want to apply moisturizer two times per day.

As always, if you’re still lost when it comes to your skin care routine, you may benefit from an appointment with a board certified dermatologist.