Best Face Moisturizers for Every Skin Type — Our Top Picks



    If you had to whittle down all of your skincare products to just one, which would you choose? For most people, it would be a moisturizer. But best face moisturizers have several benefits beyond promoting soft, supple skin and a glowing complexion.

    Best facial moisturizer traits? A good cream should also address other issues such as signs of aging, oiliness, acne, and sensitivity. With that said, everyone needs to moisturize, whether their skin is dry, oily, young, or mature. The key is choosing the best face lotion for your skin type and age and using it accordingly.

    Are you ready to find the best hydrating moisturizer, but not sure where to look? No worries. Here at the Derm Review, we’ve reviewed hundreds of products with a scientific lens to ensure you’re creating a skincare regimen that’s safe and effective. Ahead, 11 best face moisturizers to help promote a healthy, balanced complexion.

    Best Face Moisturizer: Summary

    Best moisturizer for the face? We’ve got 9 top picks.


    BEST: Carrot & Stick The Moisturizer

    We recommend using Carrot & Stick The Repair Serum to start. It helps lift, tighten and firm the look of skin thanks to seven plant-based neuropeptides, while synthesized growth factors help keep skin looking radiant. Perfect for overnight use.


    Carrot & Stick The Repair Cream

    Formulyst Anti-Aging Night Cream With Retinol

    Dermalogica Intensive Moisture Balance

    Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator

    Origins Clear Improvement Pore Clearing Moisturizer

    First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

    Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment

    Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector Broad Spectrum SPF 30

    Best Face Moisturizer: Full List


    Best Overall: Carrot & Stick The Moisturizer
    This lightweight antioxidant formula is a hydrating powerhouse that leaves skin feeling remarkably smooth and radiant. Overflowing with potent plant proteins, vitamins, peptides, and amino-collagen, plus a stem cell extract from hardy alpine roses delivers multi-level hydration. Carrot & Stick’s active complex of natural bio-ferments supports greater nutrient density and more efficient absorption. Caffeine adds an energy boost that revitalizes the skin, while botanical elements promote overall conditioning. This formula is suitable for normal, dry, oily, and combination skin.

    Use after applying Carrot & Stick The Repair Serum for best results.


    Best Bet

    Carrot & Stick routines take the guesswork out of building the perfect routine for your skin. We recommend Day and Night Routine. Use code DERM20 for an additional 20% off.


    Carrot & Stick The Repair Cream
    A proprietary probiotic formulation keep the microbiome operating at peak performance and skin looking hydrated and visible issues diminished. Formulated to nurture and protect skin’s microbiome. The microbiome is the ecosystem of microbes that live on the skin surface. Happy microbes equal a healthy microbiome and a healthy microbiome equals healthier-looking, more radiant skin.

    Formulyst Anti-Aging Night Cream With Retinol
    Specifically formulated to target the visual signs of aging, Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Night Cream profoundly moisturizes and visibly transforms your skin while you sleep.

    An advanced overnight formula penetrating deep below the surface, innovative Encapsulated Retinol Technology delivers a higher concentrate of the essential vitamin retinol to your skin for intense rejuvenation while naturally nourishing jojoba and safflower seed oil lock in long-lasting hydration. So you can wake up to skin that looks and feels beautifully renewed.

    Dermalogica Intensive Moisture Balance
    Best moisturizer for dehydrated skin? We’ve got you. Dermalogica has specifically developed a nourishing facial moisturizer to restore lipid balance to dry, dehydrated, depleted skin for optimal barrier performance. The formula contains a BioReplenish Complex that delivers a combination of crucial barrier lipids to help enhance the skin’s natural resilience and support barrier recovery. 

    This formula also contains two forms of hyaluronic acid — sodium hyaluronate and hydrolyzed sodium hyaluronate — to help enhance the skin’s moisture content and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

    Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator
    An upgrade to fan-favorite, best-seller, Clinique’s Moisture Surge Intense, Moisture Surge 100H provides moisture for an additional 28 hours longer than the brand’s original formula — even after you’ve washed your face. 

    This oil-free, gel-cream is ideally suited for oily skin due to its lightweight texture and non-pore-clogging ingredients, including hyaluronic acid and aloe bio-ferment. The brand’s proprietary auto-replenishing technology —  activated aloe water and caffeine — triggers the skin’s rehydration system. You won’t find parabens, phthalates, or fragrances.

    Origins Clear Improvement Pore Clearing Moisturizer
    Formulated with 1% salicylic acid, a powerful beta hydroxy acid that has incredible pore declogging properties, this popular moisturizer from Origins helps prevent breakouts before they occur. It’s also formulated with bamboo charcoal, a highly absorbent ingredient that helps keep the pores clear. 

    First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
    This head-to-toe moisturizer by First Aid Beauty can be used as a daily moisturizer to prevent dry skin and help alleviate dry, itchy, and red skin. The skin is said to be left feeling smooth, hydrated, and comfortable after just a single-use. 

    The main active ingredient in First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration is 0.5% colloidal oatmeal, a skin protectant that has been used for centuries to soothe and heal the skin and reduce inflammation and redness. There are also several emollients in the Ultra Repair Cream, including shea butter and squalane. 

    Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment
    This popular green-to-beige color-correcting cream from Dr. Jart banishes redness and helps protect skin from environmental aggressors. It provides SPF 30 protection from UV light, and it even forms a dust barrier to protect the skin from the environment while enhancing the skin’s viability.

    Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector Broad Spectrum SPF 30
    Beauty editors love Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer as it provides just the right amount of coverage to even out skin tones while leaving the face feeling soft and hydrated – and natural. The moisturizer comes in oil-free and hydrating formulas.

    Best Face Moisturizers: The Bottom Line

    What’s the best face moisturizer? 

    Overall, the best facial moisturizer is Carrot & Stick The Moisturizer, a lightweight antioxidant-rich formula that delivers multi-level hydration, thanks to a proprietary active complex of natural bio-ferments. Use after applying Carrot & Stick The Repair Serum for best results. 

    The best hydrating moisturizer will treat and prevent dryness, provide anti-aging benefits, soothe sensitive skin, and help battle oil and acne. Try to find a formula void of the “suspicious six” and well-formulated with evidence-based ingredients like retinol, antioxidants, salicylic acid, and nourishing plant oils — their concentration and how the moisturizer is packaged is also essential. 

    What’s the best moisturizer, in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below!

    Best Bet

    Carrot & Stick routines take the guesswork out of building the perfect routine for your skin. We recommend Day and Night Routine. Use code DERM20 for an additional 20% off.
    Clinically speaking, creams are the most common delivery systems used for moisturizers. Creams are a two-phase system (emulsion) containing two immiscible liquids — oil and water, one of which is dispersed in the other in the form of microscopic or submicroscopic droplets. To be effective, the ratio between oil and water is essential, as well as the type of oil and the amount and type of other ingredients.

    Always start with clean hands. A moisturizer should be applied two to three minutes after your serum. Lightly rub the product between your clean fingertips. Then gently dab the moisturizer onto the different areas of your face — forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin — to ensure that the product is distributed evenly all over your face.

    Massage approximately a nickel-sized amount on your face (more product is not practical) using upwards and outwards strokes. You can use gentle circular motions, but don’t rub or tug too hard.

    The best face moisturizer can be anything from a drugstore buy to a luxurious splurge in our book. More important than price is how well the moisturizer is formulated, including whether or not it contains evidence-based ingredients (and at what strength) and whether or not the packaging protects these vital components.

    If not, you’re just wasting money because the product will oxidize more quickly, thus losing its potency.

    Moisturizing and hydrating are two different things, even though the terms are sometimes (mistakenly) interchanged. A hydrator, such as hyaluronic acid, draws water to the skin using humectants, which plump, hydrate, and enhance its ability to absorb moisture and vital nutrients.

    Moisturizing is about locking in hydration and moisture to protect your skin’s natural barrier. With that said, you typically want to use a hydrator like hyaluronic acid with a moisturizer suitable for your skin type.

    If you have acne or oily skin, you may think you can skip the moisturizer, but the opposite is true. Overly dry skin can make acne worse, leading to inflammation and acne flare-ups. If you’re prone to breakouts, stock up on oil-free and non-comedogenic products, meaning it won’t clog pores.

    The right moisturizer can help keep excess oil and shine in check; some formulas have micro-fine powders to absorb oils and blur the appearance of enlarged pores. Adapalene, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid are all acne and oil-fighting powerhouses.

    Anyone with dry, flaky skin should look for ultra-hydrating products containing hyaluronic acid, amino acids, glycerin, and ceramides. Think of these ingredients as moisture magnets that draw and retain water to the skin. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, which has a plumping effect on the skin.
    Ceramides are like the building blocks of cells- they are oils that support the skin barrier. Speaking of oils, it can be tempting to reach for oil for maximum hydration. While they are deeply hydrating, they’re not meant to replace an actual moisturizer. Instead, think of them as a supplement. Add a drop or two to your cream, or add a layer on top of the moisturizer.
    As we get older, the skin develops fine lines and brown spots. A moisturizer containing retinol and peptides can help fight the signs of aging and smooth out the skin’s texture. Other ingredients to look out for are antioxidants, such as vitamin C, green tea, and fruit extracts to help fight the damaging effects of free radicals. Antioxidants also help to nourish and calm skin and leave it looking glowing.
    Got normal skin? You’re in luck. If you don’t have any skin concerns or patches of dry/oily skin, reach for a cream with an SPF and just the right amount of hydration. Go with what feels good on your skin. Some people like a creamy texture, while others might prefer a lighter gel-like feel. The goal here is to keep the skin feeling smooth and supple.

    But moisturizing does more for your skin than just making it feel soft and supple. For example, if you don’t have time to apply a separate sunscreen, choose a daytime cream with an SPF, a foolproof way to protect your skin.

    Another bonus? A layer of moisturizer creates a smooth base for applying makeup. Otherwise, foundation and powder can sink into fine lines and emphasize creases. Even the act of applying moisturizer can do a world of good — massaging it into your skin helps blood circulation and stimulate new cell generation.

    The Clinical Benefit of Moisturizers,” ResearchGate, December 2005.
    Moisturizers: Options for Softer Skin,” Mayo Clinic.
    Chemical Exposures: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry,” US National Library of Medicine National Center for Biology.

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