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Cleanse, tone, moisturize: the three steps that form the basis of a good skin care routine. Let’s be honest, though — if you’re late for work or crashing after a night out, chances are you’ll ditch the last stage (or two). But applying moisturizer is one of the best ways to show your skin some TLC and keep it in tip-top condition.

That’s because it’s your moisturizer’s job is to work as a protective barrier for your face. If you skip moisturizing, you’re also skipping out on healthy hydration, softness, and a good ol’ plump look that’ll lift you right TF up, especially when you use it consistently over time.

But which moisturizers work best for the skin on your face? Let’s dive into it.

The best face moisturizers

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We checked, and there are about 100 billion jillion facial moisturizers out there (math is hard).

Here’s how we sorted through the masses to find you the best. We looked into things like:

  • Active ingredients. We gave priority to formulas with well-known, helpful, hydrating ingredients and clean formulas, although not all on this list are considered “clean.”
  • Skin type. Everyone’s skin is different and skin type is a major factor in picking out the best facial moisturizer for you. We kept different skin types in mind, making sure we found a solid pick for every type.
  • Reviews. We scoured reviews to see that these products are legit, and that customers are *actually* obsessed with them.
  • Price. We give you a slew of price ranges so you can find the one for you on any budget.
  • Noncomedogenic. We also gave priority to products that are noncomedogenicmeaning they won’t clog your pores.

Our process and why you should trust us

We consulted with skin care experts to get tips for choosing the best moisturizers for different skin types and concerns. We used those tips to pick the products you’ll see below.

Before writing about those products, we put them all through a thorough vetting process that checks for unsupported health claims (like “This moisturizer cures rosacea in one use!”), shady business practices, and lawsuits concerning a company’s products. We also checked that the main ingredients in each product are evidence-based and actually do what the company says they do.

After wrapping up our recommendations and tips, we sent this entire article to a second dermatologist (in this case, Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP) for review.

So basically, you can feel good knowing that we put in WORK to get you these recommendations. Happy hydrating!

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We’ve compiled some of the best face moisturizers to give you a head start with decision making, taking into consideration their ingredients, benefits, user and professional reviews, and price. We also factored in their cons — because nothing in life is perfect.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10–$20
  • $$$ = over $20
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Best overall moisturizer for dry skin

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, ceramides
  • Skin type: dry, very dry
  • Benefits: fast absorbing, improved look of skin
  • Product size: 561-milliliter (mL) container

Wherever you look, this cream garners rave reviews. Created alongside dermatologists, it contains all-star hydrators glycerin and hyaluronic acid to moisturize, plus ceramides to lock in that hydration. Reviewers love that it doesn’t feel thick or leave a greasy residue.

Speaking of users, this pick has a whopping 65,000+ ratings on Amazon and a nearly 5-star average. Plus, reviews rave about how gentle it is, which makes sense because it’s accepted by the National Eczema Association.

Best fast absorbing moisturizer for dry skin

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, hyaluronic acid
  • Skin type: oily, dry
  • Benefits: fast absorption, oil-free
  • Product size: 50-mL jar

Recommended by derms and mere mortals alike, this product has two of our fave key ingredients — hyaluronic acid and glycerin — for super hydration.

The gel formula is light on the skin and absorbs easily, so it’s ideal for applying under makeup. It has about 30,000 Google reviews, and most of them are pretty hyped about it, especially those who were looking for a lighter cream rather than a super heavy one.

It’s also oil and alcohol-free. Plus, it’s noncomedogenic (byeee, clogged pores). Fair warning though: this one does include added fragrances, so it’s not ideal if you have skin sensitivities.

Best moisturizer for rough skin

Nivea Soft Moisturizing Creme

  • Price: $
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, vitamin E, jojoba oil
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Benefits: softening, fast absorbing
  • Product size: 200-mL container

Reviewers adore that this product leaves skin feeling baby-soft. It contains glycerin, vitamin E (known for its cell-rejuvenating, antioxidant properties), and jojoba oil, which is a natural emollient — meaning it’s a MAJOR skin softener.

This pick has about 7K Google ratings, and many celebrate this cream’s softening effects, while others say they’re not obsessed with the scent.

Best mattifying moisturizer for oily skin

Cetaphil Pro Oil Absorbing Face Moisturizer

  • Price: $$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, vitamin E, ceramides, allantoin, panthenol, zinc gluconate
  • Skin type: oily, sensitive skin
  • Benefits: SPF 30, nongreasy
  • Product size: 118-mL bottle

Designed specifically for oily skin, this product absorbs excess sebum and reduces that dreaded shininess. Lightweight and nongreasy, it’s full of some of our fave moisturizing ingredients we’ve already seen, plus some newbies that play well with oily, acne-prone skin:

It also has the bonus of SPF 30, cutting out the need for an additional layer of sunscreen.

We love that it’s mattifying for our oily babes out there. Plus, it’s nice that this pick is said to be safe for sensitive skin types too. It’s fragrance-free, paraben-free, oil-free, won’t clog pores and finally, it’s hypoallergenic too. Not a bad resume at its modest price point.

Best moisturizer for oily, acne-prone skin

The Body Shop Tea Tree Mattifying Lotion

  • Price: $$
  • Standout ingredients: tea tree oil, vitamin E
  • Skin type: oily, blemish-prone skin
  • Benefits: shine control
  • Product size: 50-mL bottle

This lightweight formula is ideal for easily clogged pores, and its mattifying element will help you wave buh-bye to shine. It contains a hearty dose of tea tree oil, an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory ingredient that can help zap your zits. It also has vitamin E for all of its wonderful antioxidant properties.

This vegan formula is highly praised by Amazon and Google reviewers alike, with users commenting on impressive shine control and even help with breakouts.

Best moisturizer for sensitive, oily skin

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, sunflower seed cake, cucumber fruit extract
  • Skin type: oily, combo
  • Benefits: oil-free, softening
  • Product size: 125-mL

Users love that this lightweight, oil-free gel absorbs quickly and a little goes a long way. Developed with derms and designed to balance oily skin, it packs an array of powerhouse ingredients to moisturize and strengthen — namely glycerin, hyaluronic acid, sunflower seed (moisturizing AF), and cucumber extract (cukes are 96 percent water and hella soothing).

Reviewers say it’s the ultimate moisturizer for staying hydrated without bringing on a breakout. They also say it works super well under makeup. 😍

Best overall moisturizer for sensitive skin

Vanicream Moisturizing Cream for Sensitive Skin

  • Price: $$
  • Standout ingredients: petrolatum, sorbitol
  • Skin type: sensitive, eczema
  • Benefits: simple formula
  • Product size: 473-mL container

This derm-tested formula has more than 19,000 5-star reviews on Amazon, and you get a lot for your money. Users are overjoyed that it doesn’t irritate the most sensitive skin, largely thanks to its minimal, fragrance-free ingredients — like petrolatum (aka petroleum jelly, looong time moisturizer favorite).

It’s also said to be *that* girl for eczema, psoriasis, ichthyosis, and that winter-time, intense itch. This pick will also not clog your pretty pores, and is free of dyes, parabens, and gluten. Go ahead and slather this one on your whole body too, it’s nongreasy and your bod will thank you later.

Best calming moisturizer for sensitive skin

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer

  • Price: $$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, panthenol, feverfew
  • Skin type: dry, sensitive
  • Benefits: soothing, reduces redness
  • Product size: 120-mL bottle

This daily moisturizer from Aveeno contains skin-soothing panthenol and feverfew, a natural ingredient known for reducing skin irritation and redness — so it’s ideal for skin that really puts up a fight.

It includes SPF 15 — which is a good start, but you’ll still need more sunscreen since dermatologists recommend applying at least SPF 30. This pick is also oil-free, hypoallergenic, and noncomedogenic (the trifecta!). Plus, it’s said to be safe for daily use.

Best shine control for sensitive skin

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin

  • Price: $$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, petrolatum
  • Skin type: dry, sensitive
  • Benefits: lightweight, gentle
  • Product size: 118-mL bottle

This fragrance- and oil-free, noncomedogenic formula is great for sensitive skin. It’s lightweight and gentle, which we love. It has simple ingredients known for soothing dry and sensitive skin — plus, it’s designed to hydrate and control greasy shine. Users with acne have also noted that it helps tame breakouts.

Best overall moisturizer for combination skin

e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Face Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, panthenol, niacinamide, peptides, squalane
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Benefits: plumping, soothing, hydrating
  • Product size: 52-mL jar

This lightweight powerhouse product has glycerin and hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture, panthenol to fight inflammation, and peptides to promote collagen production.

It’s also got squalane for a big dose of hydration and niacinamide — one of our all-time fave skin care ingredients that’s a powerhouse for reducing signs of aging, curbing oil production, nixing acne, and strengthening your skin’s barrier. Seriously it basically does everything, which is why it’s so good for peeps with combo skin.

It’s also vegan and cruelty-free. We love its modest price tag too.

Best hydrating moisturizer for combination skin

Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator

  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, green tea, aloe
  • Skin type: normal, dry, combination, oily
  • Benefits: hydrating, plumping
  • Product size: 50-mL jar

There’s no denying that this one’s pricey for its small size. But users note that a little goes a long way, and they love how soft and hydrated their skin feels after applying it. And it’s fast-absorbing, so it’s a great makeup primer.

The brand says this guy hydrates your skin for 100 hours, which we can all agree is *a lot* of hours. In addition to glycerin and hyaluronic acid, it also has green tea extract — a that helps reduce UV damage and can be helpful in treating acne. We can thank green tea for this moisturizer’s reported plumping powers, too.

Plus, this hydrator is also oil-, fragrance-, and paraben-free.

Best mattifying moisturizer for acne-prone skin

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Daily Moisturizer for Oily Skin

  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, salicylic acid, lipo-hydroxy acid, silica
  • Skin type: oily, acne-prone
  • Benefits: pore-shrinking, mattifying
  • Product size: 40-mL bottle

This product is designed to help reduce the appearance of large pores, which — you guessed it — are caused by excess oil production. It has salicylic acid, a widely loved acne– and blackhead– fighter, and lipo-hydroxy acid, which the brand says is a salicylic acid derivative known for exfoliating the skin’s surface. The addition of silica is also supposed to give shiny a skin nice matte look.

Its oil-free and paraben-free formulation is also good for sensitive skin. The main downside? It’s fairly expensive for its smaller size.

Best overall moisturizer for men

Brickell Men’s Daily Essential Face Moisturizer

  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, jojoba oil, vitamin E, green tea extract, aloe vera
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Benefits: fast-absorbing
  • Product size: 118-mL bottle

OK, let’s be real: there’s no scientific evidence that there’s any difference in the dermatological needs of male and female skin. But if you (or your boo) are hesitant about starting a skin care routine, this moisturizer is the perf way to get rolling.

It has literally alll of our fave hydrating ingredients, plus multiple-duty ingredients like niacinamide, vitamin E, and green tea extract. Basically, it’s a lightweight, oil-free product that’ll convert even the most skeptical skin care peeps.

Reviews have praised its light consistency, fast absorption rate, and shine-busting and hydrating abilities. It’s made from 100 percent natural ingredients and is suitable for all skin types. Another plus? There’s a scented version (which reviewers LOVE) and an unscented version to choose from.

Best anti-aging moisturizer

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, retinol, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Benefits: anti-aging, soothing, hydrating
  • Product size: 1.7 oz.

This night cream from Murad has everything you need to wave goodbyeee to fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol is literally famous for its potential to reduce signs of aging. Niacinamide is pretty good at that too — and the two together are also a match made in heaven for acne-prone skin. Two birds, one stone.

Reviewers LOVE the way this cream feels and say it’s perfectly moisturizing without going on too thick. Many also rave about how well it prevents breakouts. Psst: Retinol increases your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, which is why it’s often a part of a nighttime skin regimen. You can still use it during the day, just make sure you load up on SPF.

Best night moisturizer

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, peptides
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Benefits: anti-aging, soothing, hydrating
  • Product size: 1.7 oz.

Not just for smoothing wrinkles, this cream is formulated to boost skin’s plumpness and firmness in just a few weeks. It’s fragrance-free, so it’s great for all skin types. It’s also pretty thick, making it a perf night cream to slather on before you hit the hay.

It has those drool-worthy skin care faves we keep throwing in your face — hyaluronic acid, peptides, and niacinamide — and it’s a cheaper alternative to our Murad pick (minus the retinol tho).

Best anti-aging moisturizer for dry skin

Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Face Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, peptides, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, aloe
  • Skin type: very dry
  • Benefits: extra hydration, anti-aging
  • Product size: 50-mL jar

This one’s for those extra thirsty skin types (we mean that respectfully). Remember how we mentioned your skin barrier earlier? This hella rich face cream works to protect that precious barrier from a whole lotta sh*t, especially environmental damage.

It’s loaded with ultra-moisturizing glycerin, hydrating hyaluronic acid, skin-softening shea butter, and soothing aloe. It also has a blend of fatty oils that dry skin loves (aka peptides), which are amazing hydrators, skin barrier strengtheners, and wrinkle reducers. Yep you heard that right — this guy addresses signs of aging too.

Plus, it’s vegan and fragrance-free.

Best daytime moisturizer

Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer SPF 30

  • Price: $$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, niacinamide, panthenol, vitamin E, green tea, aloe
  • Skin type: sensitive
  • Benefits: lightweight, nongreasy
  • Product size: 75-mL bottle

Offering both UVA and UVB protection, this oil-free moisturizer contains vitamin E and zinc oxide (key allies in the fight against sun damage) along with soothing panthenol and aloe vera.

Reviewers with alll skin types love its lightweight, nonoily feel, saying it hydrates without feeling heavy. Plus, it’s fragrance-free, so it’s a good choice for sensitive skin.

Best anti-aging moisturizer with SPF

Origins A Perfect World SPF 40 Age-Defense Oil-Free Moisturizer

  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, squalane, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, white tea, cranberry
  • Skin type: normal, dry, oily, combo
  • Benefits: anti-aging
  • Product size: 50-mL bottle

This punches above the recommended daily SPF and is infused with antioxidant-rich white tea to further protect against sun damage. It also features cranberry, which the brand says helps protect your skin against environmental stressors.

It doesn’t leave a chalky residue, but some users note that it can feel a bit greasy. It’s a bit on the pricier side, which we don’t love, but it is rated highly by users, which we do love. Oh, and it’s also oil-free.

Best face moisturizer for glowing skin

BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer

  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, squalane, hyaluronic acid, glasswort extract
  • Skin type: sensitive
  • Benefits: SPF 30
  • Product size: 35-mL bottle

If, like us, you love a zealous little multitasker, then look no further. Available in 20 shades, this product hydrates, provides broad-spectrum SPF 30, and acts as a light foundation. It features our moisturizing besties and glasswort extract — a known skin brightener and antioxidant.

Users adore its natural look. It’s also vegan, which can be trickier to find. Plus, it’s cruelty-free and free of parabens, gluten, and synthetic fragrances.

Best tinted face moisturizer

Laura Mercier Natural Tinted Moisturizer

  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, vitamin E, kukui nut oil, tamarind seed, silica
  • Skin type: normal, dry, combo
  • Benefits: hydrating, natural finish
  • Product size: 50-mL bottle

This product also comes in 20 shades and offers broad-spectrum SPF 30 coverage. Tamarind seed extract improves hydration and skin elasticity, while kukui nut oil helps strengthen your skin’s barrier.

Like our La Roche-Posay pick for oily skin, it also has silica to help absorb oil and give your skin a matte look. While it’s at the higher end of the price scale, users rave about the dewy look that price buys you.

Best face moisturizer with natural ingredients

Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, sunflower seed oil, rosemary, chamomile, beeswax
  • Skin type: dry, rough
  • Benefits: soothes cracks
  • Product size: 75-mL bottle

It’s hard to find people who don’t fawn over this plant-based stuff. The rich, delicious-smelling, all-natural formula has extracts of chamomile to soothe inflamed skin, rosemary to reduce signs of UV exposure and aging, and beeswax and sunflower seed oil for a boost of hydration.

It has a thicker consistency, so it can take a bit longer to sink in — but fans say it’s worth the wait. It’s also worth mentioning that this pick may not be the best choice for those with sensitive skin — it contains essential oils, which can be irritating for some.

Best face and body moisturizer

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

  • Price: $$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, niacinamide, panthenol, vitamin E
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Benefits: nonirritating, nongreasy
  • Product size: 473-mL bottle

This lotion hydrates for up to 24 hours — so if your skin dries out faster than a puddle in the Sahara, you’re covered. It’s def a slightly heavier formula than others on this list, but with a solid lineup of noncomedogenic, hydrating, skin-protecting ingredients, it’s an amazing option for all skin types.

This pick has over 18,000 Google reviews, with many commenting how well it works for their dry, sensitive skin, One reviewer, in particular, swears it’s hella softening. This option is also fragrance-free and safe to use on your whole body.

As with many other skin care products, one size doesn’t fit all, and it’s important to use a moisturizer that meets your specific needs. Fortunately, brands have long been developing formulas to target specific concerns like flaking, excess oil, acne, or sensitivity.

Look for these kinds of moisturizers

Dr. Ophelia Veraitch, consultant dermatologist at the Cranley Clinic in London, notes these few ingredients to keep your eyes open for as you’re tossing options in your cart:

  • Humectants. These increase the water-holding capacity of the skin and include glycerin, urea, and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs).
  • Occlusives. These, Veraitch says, are oils of nonhuman origin that leave a layer of oil on the surface of the skin to reduce water loss. A few examples are lanolin, beeswax, squalane, argan oil.
  • Hyaluronic acid. It hydrates without being greasy, so it’s great for all skin types — but a game changer for oily skin.

Remember to look for *other* ingredients per your skin type

“It’s also good to look for active ingredients that target problem areas,” Veraitch says.

Determining your skin type

To figure out your skin type, take a closer look at your face when it’s bare and product-free. Veraitch reveals the key indicators for each skin type:

  • Dry. Your skin is flaky or peeling or even just feels tight.
  • Normal/combination. There’s a noticeable shine on your nose and/or forehead.
  • Oily. There’s a shine on your cheeks, nose, and/or forehead.
  • Sensitive. Your skin is visibly red and dry.
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Here are some examples of other all-star ingredients (that you’ve heard us mention one zillion times by now) for different skin types. These, quite frankly, are the golden stars of skin care, and it’s good to know their names:

  • Salicylic acid. A pore unclogger often used in moisturizers, toners, and serums for acne-prone skin.
  • Ceramides. An ideal addition to moisturizers for dry skin.
  • Niacinamide. The bad b*tch that helps kick oil production to the curb, niacinamide does her best to bust up your acne, while also strengthening your skin’s barrier. Her one downside: it can drop the efficacy of vitamin C, (and if you’re dropping big bucks on one of those serums, you’ll be pissed) so just use it at night to avoid canceling out your vitamin C.
  • Retinol. Retinol, the “anti-aging”(or, as we like to say, “pro-aging”) gem. While it’s intensely wonderful, it also has a tendency to increase skin sensitivity — especially photosensitivity, meaning it’s a good idea to make it a night-time thing (or stock up on hella SPF).
  • Vitamin E. Vitamin E is known for helping out all over, including with redness, scarring, dryness, stretch marks, sun damage, etc. Is there anything it can’t do? We may never know.
  • Squalane. A v cool, hydrating ingredient that is also thought to be a detoxifier.

Pay attention to the formula and consistency, too

If oil and acne are your biggest foe, make sure you’re opting for noncomedogenic formulas. Also look for a consistency that doesn’t feel too heavy: “Choose a thinner moisturizer that won’t clog your pores,” Veraitch continues.

If you have sensitive skin or are prone to eczema or rosacea, look for something thicker. “People with sensitive skin should use a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free moisturizer.” Got it.

Look beyond packaging and price

Don’t be fooled by pretty packaging. As the old saying goes, it’s what’s inside that counts — and some of the best moisturizers come in containers that wouldn’t look out of place in a 1980s doctor’s office. Stash it in a cabinet and nobody will ever know.

Finally, you don’t have to send your bank account into panic mode. There are plenty of highly effective, budget-friendly options. For ones that lean toward extravagance, consider how long they’ll likely last: If a bottle will see you through several months, it might not be such an outlandish purchase.

When to use it

Make sure you’re slapping this stuff on clean skin only. So, after you’re done cleansing, or if you use a toner too, you’ll go: cleanse, tone, moisturize.

Go ahead and moisturize twice daily, once after cleansing in the morning and again before bed (after cleansing and toning, OFC.)

Pro tip: It’s a good idea to moisturize a face that’s clean, but also still damp — it helps lock in all the moisture possible.

Remember to occasionally exfoliate too (removing all that makeup and dead skin — ick). We have a guide for how to do that here. Then, moisturize after your all done exfoliating and rinsing.

“Moisturizers can be used to reduce dryness and flaking, [as well as] the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and generally help contribute to a clearer, healthy complexion,” says Veraitch.

It almost sounds too good to be true — so how exactly does this magical-sounding lotion work? The answer is simple.

“Moisturizers help add moisture to the skin,” says Veraitch. “They do this by holding water in the outermost layer of the skin to prevent transepidermal water loss [evaporation of water through the skin barrier].”

While it’s important to moisturize at night to help your skin rejuvenate during sleep, it’s also key to do so in the morning, since “they create a protective layer between your skin and the elements, helping keep pollution and irritants out,” says Veraitch.

Now that you know how the humble moisturizer can help you bring your facial A-game — from keeping skin looking smooth and fresh to staving off wrinkles — chances are you’ll be less tempted to skip it.

Take a bit of extra time to find one designed for your individual needs, and it’ll likely prove itself to be one of the best skin care allies you could ask for.