At the bare minimum, your moisturizer should hydrate your skin. It seems simple, but the benefits are plentiful: "This ensures that the skin looks more plump and smooth and supports skin barrier function—which, in turn, improves both the texture and overall appearance of your skin, ” explains New York City dermatologist Dr. Hadley King. “Supporting the skin barrier also keeps the skin healthier and more resilient, so it’s less likely to become damaged or infected. "
While moisturizing sounds easy enough, actually shopping for a new moisturizer is anything but. Not only are there so many different kinds of lotions and creams on the market, but every person'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. The good news? We're here to help.
Read on for the best facial moisturizers to keep your skin healthy and hydrated.
Best Splurge: La Mer Crème de la Mer
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 Drugstore: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel
Packed with powerhouse hydrator hyaluronic acid, this moisturizer is beloved by high-end beauty aficionados and drugstore dwellers alike. “The lightweight moisturizer is rich in hyaluronic acid and is non-comedogenic, a particularly great pick for oily skin, ” says Dr. King, who also adds that it’s oil- and alcohol-free. If you're a fan of the cooling benefit of gel moisturizers, this lightweight formula should be front and center on your vanity.
Best for Oily Skin: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer
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, cloud-like 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.
Runner-Up, Best for Oily Skin: Shani Darden Skin Care Weightless Oil-Free Moisturizer
If you have combination or oily skin, this oil-free moisturizer goes on weightless and hydrates skin without a greasy residue. It's full of hyaluronic acid to help skin retain moisture, and contains collagen to restore suppleness.
Brand founder Shani Darden, also known as Hollywood's favorite esthetician, says, “If you’re breaking out, your moisturizer might be to blame. . . I often see my clients using heavy, oil-based moisturizers and then wondering why they have pimples and congestion. ”
Users rave that this moisturizer is light enough to use as a precursor to SPF on even the warmest days. It's a cream, so you can already guess that this formula doesn't skimp on hydration. It features a Trigger Factor Complex which is essentially a combo of natural amino acids, vitamins, and molecules that encourages the regeneration of the body's own stem cells. Not surprisingly, it has the seal of approval of celebrities, editors and Hollywood's elite. We'll just go ahead and confirm that the hype is very real; your skin will be left feeling luxuriously soft and supple.
Best for Hyperpigmentation: ROSEN Skincare Tropics Moisturizer
This fruity, hydrating moisturizer is formulated to fade dark marks and improve skin's texture. With hyaluronic and kojic acid working together to calm breakouts and brighten complexion, users report skin that looks noticeably smoother. We especially love the pineapple extract that provides vitamin C and a natural tropical scent.
Best for Very Dry Skin: Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Rich
Honayst senior editor Hallie Gould calls this one her "most treasured moisturizer. " She uses it twice a day religiously and loves that it results in youthful-looking skin by morning. As for what's inside, it's a hard-hitting mix of antioxidants like vitamin E and purslane, skullcap extract to promote cell renewal and rich oils that ensure long-lasting hydration.
Best for Mature Skin: SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2: 4: 2
The numbers in the name correspond to an optimal lipid ratio—2% pure ceramides, 4% natural cholesterol, and 2% fatty acids—responsible for making this anti- aging cream one of the best out there. You can bet that all those essential skin lipids lost from natural aging or environmental aggressors (or a combo of the two) make their way back onto the skin and support restoration and self-repair. The result is skin that feels softer and looks more radiant, smooth, and full.
Runner-Up, Best for Mature Skin: Lancôme Absolue Premium Bx 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 overnight. 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.
Best for Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Moisturizing Cream
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. Dr. King agrees, noting that it’s free of parabens, fragrance, preservatives, and alcohol, all potential irritants, especially for those with 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 Rich Cream: Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Body Cream
If your complexion is prone to dryness and flaking, this moisturizer will be your new skin savior. Celebrities, editors, and skin experts alike are obsessed with it because it truly does what it promises. “ It’s definitely a cult favorite, I have so many patients who swear by it, “ says Dr. King. With essential fatty acids, bee wax, lanolin, sweet almond oil, cholesterol and vitamin E, it does a great job of moisturizing dry skin, she says, and also leave it looking healthy and glowy. Pro tip: Dab a bit of this cream on the high points of your face to replace a highlighter when you're in a pinch. It's also worth noting that this rich cream pulls double-duty as a body lotion on rough, dry areas like elbows, hands, and feet.
Best Night Cream: Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Dream Night 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 Natural Formula: Farmacy Beauty 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 a moisturizer.
Best for Winter: Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream
This is the bestselling facial cream for Kiehl's and one we at Honayst HQ can't get enough of, especially during winter weather. A potent hydrator, this formula boasts a glacial glycoprotein to deeply hydrate and prevent water loss from the skin, as well as squalane to strengthen the skin's moisture barrier. All of that translates to 24-hour hydration and softer, smoother skin.