The 21 Best Drugstore Moisturizers for Every Skin Type - The Dermatology Review

The 21 Best Drugstore Moisturizers for Every Skin Type

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

04.06.21DISCLAIMER

Chances are you’re already using a moisturizer — statistics show that 25.54 million Americans used a cream for the face 14 times or more within a week in 2020. A moisturizer is one of the core components of a skincare routine, regardless of skin type. Not to be mistaken, with a hydrator, moisturizers lock in hydration and moisture to protect your skin’s natural barrier. Hydrators such as hyaluronic acid, on the other hand, draw water to the skin using humectants, which plump, hydrate, and enhance its ability to absorb moisture and vital nutrients. 

A good moisturizer will treat and prevent dryness, have anti-aging benefits, help control acne and oil, and calm inflammation — but you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to reap these benefits. That’s where drugstore moisturizers come into play, and we’ve got 27 of the best to share with you

The List 

 

Best Drugstore Moisturizers for Oily Skin 

Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30, $17.99
La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat Anti-Shine Face Moisturizer for Oily Skin, $32
L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care Normal/Oily Skin, $11.

 

Best Drugstore Moisturizers for Acne

Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer, $13.99
Dr. Jart+ Teatreetment Moisturizer, $32
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel With Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15, $16

 

Best Drugstore Moisturizers for Night

Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer, $28.94
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer, $17.84
Lumene Nordic Hydra [LÄHDE] Hydration Recharge Overnight Cream, $19.99

 

Best Drugstore Moisturizers for Dry Skin

CeraVe The Moisturizing Cream for Normal to Dry Skin, $11.62
Cetaphil Daily Advance Lotion, $11.39
Garnier Green Labs Hyalu-Melon Replumping Serum Cream SPF 30, $22

Related: Best Face Moisturizers

 

Best Drugstore Moisturizers for Combination Skin

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Light, $36
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Water Gel Face Moisturizer, $22.99
Olay Regenerist Whip, $29

 

Best Drugstore Tinted Moisturizers

Elta MD UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 44, $36.50
L’Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream, $10.95
Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream 8-in1 Skin Perfector, $8.99

 

Best Drugstore Anti-Aging Moisturizers

RoC Retinol Deep Wrinkle Cream, $18
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, $25.12
No7 Lift and Illuminate Triple Action Day Cream with SPF 30, $27

Are Drugstore Moisturizers Just as Good as Luxury Formulas?

Have you ever wondered whether or not drugstore moisturizers are as effective as more expensive formulas sold at luxury department stores and individual retailers? After all, how could a product be as effective at such a low price point? Seems too good to be true, right? Here’s the thing: It’s not about price, it’s about ingredients — and a few other vital factors. This is not to say that luxury products aren’t effective and worth the expense. You just need to be educated on what you’re paying for. 

Ingredients 

When shopping for a moisturizer, focus on the first five ingredients. A good indicator of its quality is if you see active ingredients like vitamin C, retinol, hyaluronic acid, etc., on the top of the list. If they’re at the bottom, you’ll know the formula is not as effective, and the brand is simply touting critical ingredients for marketing purposes. Also, the quality of ingredients is equally important. Unfortunately, some drugstore moisturizers rely on synthetic or ingredients because they’re cheaper. In contrast, luxury brands tend to use natural, plant-derived extracts, which are more effective and safer for the skin. 

 

Be Aware of What You’re Buying

Just like getting five-star service at an opulent hotel or buying a posh car equipped with all the extra bells and whistles, some skincare companies go the extra mile to make you feel like you’re having an experience when using their products. Some luxury formulas rely on fancy packaging and a unique scent to attract the attention of consumers. While that might make you feel more special when using the product or setting it out on your vanity, it doesn’t always mean it’s any better from a drugstore buy. Ask yourself: 

  • Who developed the product? 
  • Did industry professionals develop the product?
  • What’s the integrity of the ingredients? Are any of them proprietary?
  • Is the brand a trusted name?
  • What do reviews say about the product or the brand?
  • Have the ingredients been proven in clinical trials?

 

Some Products Are Worth The Splurge

In some cases, it’s worth splurging on a luxury product, especially if it’s packed with a high concentration of quality active ingredients. A serum is an excellent example in this case because due to its small molecular structure, the ingredients can penetrate the skin on a deeper level. Just look at it as an investment to fewer fine lines, wrinkles, and sunspots in the future.

The Best Drugstore Moisturizers

 

Best Drugstore Moisturizers for Oily Skin 

Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30, $17.99
This ultra-lightweight moisturizer features micro pearl technology, which means it absorbs excess oil, giving the skin a matte finish. It’s non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging), hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and has the added benefit of broad-spectrum sun protection, which also makes it one of the best drugstore moisturizers with SPF.

Related: Best Moisturizers For Oily Skin

La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat Anti-Shine Face Moisturizer for Oily Skin, $32
The most appealing aspect of this oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer is that perlite and silica leave a light matte finish, banishing that mid-day T-zone shine. The brand’s Sebulyse Technology (said to be more potent than zinc) is responsible for mattifying excess oil while visibly reducing large pores’ appearance. Lipo-hydroxy acid, a gentle derivative of salicylic acid that helps treat acne while preventing further breakouts.

L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care Normal/Oily Skin, $11.
This light, water-based moisturizer — formulated specifically for those with normal to oily skin — contains soothing aloe water and skin-plumping hyaluronic acid that provides 72 hours of instant and continuous hydration. It also has a mattifying action to remove unwanted oil. 

 

Best Drugstore Moisturizers for Acne

Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer, $13.99
Some acne moisturizers can actually dry out the skin because they contain too much salicylic acid, a popular ingredient used to prevent breakouts. While this formula also contains SA (a small amount), its drying effects are canceled out by Aveeno’s proprietary Total Soy Complex. It’s oil-free, non-comedogenic, and hypoallergenic, so it won’t clog your pores. 

Dr. Jart+ Teatreetment Moisturizer, $32
Tea tree oil is an effective natural acne-fighter that also boasts anti-inflammatory properties and supports the skin’s pH balance. Additionally, there’s a soothing blend of extracts (chamomile, aloe vera, and green tea) to calm and hydrate. Niacinamide helps reduce inflammation associated with breakouts. 

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel With Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15, $16
This gel-cream moisturizer is formulated with hyaluronic acid to keep the skin soft, supple, and smooth all day long without clogging the pores or aggravating acne-prone skin. Since many ingredients that treat breakouts make the skin more sun-sensitive, it contains an SPF of 15. 

 

Best Drugstore Moisturizers for Night

Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer, $28.94
This popular drugstore buy penetrates moisture deep into the skin’s surface layers as you sleep, keeping it supple and hydrated for an impressive 24 hours. As if that wasn’t enough, Olay’s proprietary blend of vitamin B3 and a retinol complex works to soften fine lines and wrinkles, firm, lighten dark spots, refine pores, and improve radiance.

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer, $17.84
Boasting over 14,000 nearly perfect five-star reviews on Amazon, it’s safe to say this wallet-friendly night cream does what it promises, which is to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. Along with a glucose complex and hydrating hyaluronic acid, it’s retinol (SA) to the rescue once again. Clinical studies showed that 100% of the women tested saw visible results (reduction in crow’s feet, cheek, and forehead wrinkles) in just one week.

Lumene Nordic Hydra [LÄHDE] Hydration Recharge Overnight Cream, $19.99
Finns have been hooked on this Nordic brand ever since it launched back in 1970, but beauty fanatics in the States had to wait until 2006 to see what all the buzz was all about. The brand is named after Lake Lummenne in Finland, and the formulas embrace Finnish women’s beauty rituals — who manage to have flawless skin despite frigid temps and whipping winds come wintertime, we might add. With that said, you’re going to want to get your hands on this night cream that supports continuous hydration due to Lumene’s Hydra-Technology. Other vital ingredients include pure Arctic spring water to balance the skin’s pH, organic Nordic birch sap to nourish and hydrate, and shea butter to heal and tone. It’s the next best thing to seeing the Northern Lights.

 

Best Drugstore Moisturizers for Dry Skin

CeraVe The Moisturizing Cream for Normal to Dry Skin, $11.62
Don’t be fooled by the plain packaging and low price point. Nearly 40,000 five-star reviews will tell you that this moisturizer packs a punch. Dermatologists developed this profoundly hydrating cream for the face, but one can use it on the body as well. Non-greasy, CeraVe Moisturizing Cream boasts a patented MVE Delivery Technology to release a steady stream of hyaluronic acid and three essential ceramides throughout the day and night.

Cetaphil Daily Advance Lotion, $11.39
Dry skin can also be sensitive, so you need a formula that’s non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, ultra-hydrating, and soothing — which is Cetaphil’s specialty. This moisturizer is formulated with shea butter, glycerin, macadamia oil, vitamins E and B5 to hydrate and replenish on contact. The skin remains soft, smooth, and moisturized for up to 24 hours.

Garnier Green Labs Hyalu-Melon Replumping Serum Cream SPF 30, $22
This unique formula is a face serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen in one. It contains skin-plumping hyaluronic acid and watermelon, which work together synergistically to fade fine lines and improve elasticity. Despite its ultra-hydrating properties, it’s lightweight and absorbs quickly into the skin.

Related: Best Moisturizers for Dry Skin

 

Best Drugstore Moisturizers for Combination Skin

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Light, $36
Due to its light-weight texture, this is a great drugstore moisturizer for combination skin — even those who are sensitive. It delivers long-lasting hydration for 24-hours, thanks to hyaluronic acid and La Roche-Posay thermal spring water. Oily areas will never feel greasy and dry, or dehydrated patches disappear. 

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Water Gel Face Moisturizer, $22.99
Gel moisturizers are an excellent choice for a combination skin type because they rely on water versus oil to hydrate. This award-winning formula contains hyaluronic acid and glycerin to attract moisture and lock it in. Skin is left supple and smooth, so it doubles as a velvety makeup primer. 

Olay Regenerist Whip, $29
As the name suggests, this drugstore face cream has a whipped and airy mousse-like texture that transforms from a cream to a liquid on contact. An advanced amino-peptide complex II softens fine lines and wrinkles, hydrates, lifts, and improves elasticity and tone without leaving a heavy finish. The skin is left feeling smooth and shine-free.

 

Best Drugstore Tinted Moisturizers

Elta MD UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 44, $36.50
Suitable for all skin types (even sensitive), this two-in-one formula contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (a broad spectrum of 44) to provide superior sun protection and hyaluronic acid to deeply hydrate and soften the appearance of fine lines. To top it all off, It has a flattering natural tint. 

L’Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream, $10.95
Thanks to “Beautifying Beads” encapsulated with color-transforming pigments, this green-tinted BB cream cancels out redness from flushing, rosacea, acne, or sensitive skin. It neutralizes, corrects, hydrates, and protects. The green hue quickly dissipates after it’s applied.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream 8-in1 Skin Perfector, $8.99
This beauty balm blurs imperfections, brightens, smoothes, and hydrates. This lightweight formula is oil-free, provides sheer coverage, is non-comedogenic, and has an SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. One simple step, multiple benefits. 

 

Best Drugstore Anti-Aging Moisturizers

RoC Retinol Deep Wrinkle Cream, $18
With 10,000+ nearly five-star reviews on Amazon, it’s safe to say that this anti-aging drugstore moisturizer is a consumer favorite. Retinol and RoC’s proprietary mineral complex work together to reduce deep wrinkles’ appearance by up to 50% when used daily. The skin becomes more lifted, firmer, smoother, radiant, and hydrated. It’s clinically proven to make the skin look ten years younger. 

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, $25.12
Known as “the red jar,” over 50 million jars — and counting — have been sold. Formulated with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, amino peptides, and antioxidants, this drugstore moisturizer visibly reduces fine lines and wrinkles, increases cell turnover rate, and deeply hydrates. It’s designed to deliver moisture ten layers deep into the skin. When used daily, you’ll see a significant difference in 28 days. 

No7 Lift and Illuminate Triple Action Day Cream with SPF 30, $27
This day cream features No7’s proprietary Double Defence technology and age-defying actives to reduce three key signs of aging: wrinkles, tone, and texture — all of which are improved in two weeks, more so after time. Skin remains moisturized for up to 24-hours after application. 

The Best Drugstore Moisturizers: The Final Word

When shopping for a moisturizer, focus on the first five ingredients. A good indicator of its quality is if you see active ingredients like vitamin C, retinol, hyaluronic acid, etc., on the top of the list. If they’re at the bottom, you’ll know the formula is not as effective, and the brand is simply touting critical ingredients for marketing purposes. Also, the quality of ingredients is equally important. Unfortunately, some drugstore moisturizers rely on synthetic or ingredients because they’re cheaper. In contrast, luxury brands tend to use natural, plant-derived extracts, which are more effective and safer for the skin. 

Just like getting five-star service at an opulent hotel or buying a posh car equipped with all the extra bells and whistles, some skincare companies go the extra mile to make you feel like you’re having an experience when using their products. Some luxury formulas rely on fancy packaging and a unique scent to attract the attention of consumers. While that might make you feel more special when using the product or setting it out on your vanity, it doesn’t always mean it’s any better from a drugstore buy.

Sources:
“U.S. population: How many times have you used moisturizer / cream / lotion for your face in the last seven days?,”Statista.com, November 2020.

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