Best Moisturizers

The 21 Best Moisturizers to Try in 2021



If you had to whittle down all of your skincare products to just one, which would you choose? For most people that would be moisturizer. Everyone needs to moisturize, whether your skin is dry, oily, young or mature. The key is choosing the correct face moisturizer for your skin type and using it accordingly. The right formula soothes the skin, keeps hydration levels in check and can also tackle fine lines. Here’s why wearing a moisturizer should be your desert island pick (along with sunscreen, of course).

Why Should You Use A Face Moisturizer?

You know that tight, dry feeling you get on your face when you step out of the shower? So do we, and that’s where moisturizer comes to the rescue. Hot water strips away moisture and oils from the skin, so always apply face cream when skin is still slightly damp to lock in moisture.

How Do I Choose The Right Moisturizer?

Moisturizers come in many formulations including gels, creams, lotions, ointments, and foams. They are all effective but the right one depends on your skin type and concerns. The weather is also factor. During the depths of winter your skin may need a richer cream but when it’s hot and humid, a lighter gel moisturizer such as Neutrogena’s Hydro Gel Boost Cream hydrates without feeling heavy. A thicker cream doesn’t always equate to a better cream- excess moisturizer can actually backfire, by blocking skin from breathing or making it too dependent on it.

Best Face Moisturizers

Should I Use Moisturizer if I Have Oily Skin?

If you have acne or oily skin, you may think that 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 break outs, 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, like La Mer’s Moisturizing Matte lotion, have micro fine powders to absorb oils and blur the appearance of enlarged pores. Adapalene, found in over-the-counter Differin, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid are all acne and oil fighting powerhouses.

Which Moisturizers Are Best For Dry Skin?

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 means it has a plumping effect on 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 an 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 moisturizer.

Best Face Moisturizers

How Can Moisturizer Help With Aging?

As we get older, skin develops fine lines and brown spots. A moisturizer containing retinols and peptides can help fight the signs of aging and smooth out the texture of the skin. 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. Olay Regenerist Whip Facial Moisturizer and Korres Wild Rose Vitamin C Brightening 24H Moisturiser are both packed with good-for-you ingredients that tackle the signs of aging.

What Is The Best Moisturizer For Normal Skin?

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 that has 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 skin feeling smooth and supple.

What Else Can Moisturizer Do For Skin?

But moisturizing does more for your skin that just make it feel good. It can also do good. If you don’t have time to apply a separate sunscreen, choose a daytime cream with an SPF, which is 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. Charlotte Tillbury’s popular Magic Cream comes with instructions on how to apply it using a massage technique.

Here’s a look at some of the best moisturizers for every skin type.

Best Moisturizer for Dry Skin

If you have dry skin, choosing the right moisturizer makes all the difference in the world. A rich, creamy lotion alleviates that tight feeling and also has an instant soothing effect. The right formula can also help with any redness and irritation caused by extreme dryness. Your go-to hydrator should feel luxurious on the skin without feeling too heavy or greasy, and leave your complexion looking nourished and glowing. The ideal formula will also do more than just hydrate- it should be packed with good-for-you skin ingredients that improve the appearance of the skin. Further reading: Best Moisturizers for Dry Skin

Kiehls ultra face moisturizer

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream – Top Pick for Dry Skin
Arctic explorers and Everest climbers have used this on their expeditions which means if it works in extreme weather, it will get you through a winter. Packed with vitamins A and E, this creamy face lotion has a silky texture that sinks into the skin without feeling too heavy.

Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin

When your face is going into overdrive creating oil, you may think twice before adding even more hydration to your skin. But that’s the wrong way to think about it. Skipping moisturizer when you have oily skin can make it worse. The right moisturizer for oily skin should absorb excess oil while also leaving skin hydrated and protected. Even those with oily complexions need to protect the skin’s barrier and be careful not to overstrip the skin. A good rule of thumb is to skip the thick, creamy formulas and look for oil free and noncomedogenic formulas. One of the best options is a lightweight gel formula. They keep the skin’s moisture in balance and are absorbed quickly, and can also help keep oil production at bay. The right formula can also help soothe any irritation and redness. Further reading: Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin

Clinique face moisturizer

Clinique Moisture Surge – Top Pick for Oily Skin
This creamy pink gel is ideal for oily skin as it leaves skin feeling smooth and hydrated but isn’t too heavy. Apply a thin layer of the gel and it will sink quickly into the skin. The product can also pull double duty as a face mask.c

Best Drugstore Moisturizer

Moisturizer is something that we use every day, often twice a day – so the costs can quickly add up for this staple product. But if you don’t want to break the bank while keeping your skin hydrated, it’s time to head to the drugstore. Many cult favorite skincare brands such as Olay, Aveeno and Neutrogena can only be found in drugstores and big box retailers. Most drugstore moisturizers come in at a wallet friendly $25 or less. Although the shopping experience at a big box retailer isn’t the same as browsing a boutique cosmetics store, the savings are significant. Whether you have oil, dry, combination or acne prone skin, you’ll get the most value for your money at your local drugstore.

CeraVe face moisturizer

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream – Top Drugstore Pick
CeraVe’s star product is its lightweight but powerful moisturizing cream. The lotion is absorbed instantly and packs a punch of hydration thanks to the addition of three essential ceramides as well as hyaluronic acid.

Best Tinted Moisturizers

If you love the no-makeup makeup look, and are not genetically blessed with perfect skin (because who really is?), then reach for the tinted moisturizer. This hybrid foundation-cream leaves skin with an even, radiant look that is lighter and fresher than what you’d get from a bottle of foundation. The beauty of tinted moisturizer is that it can be customized and layered- apply a little bit for a sun kissed look or layer it for more coverage. The formulas are lightweight enough to wear every day and are perfect for hot humid days. They can also be sheer enough to let freckles show through for a barely-there, natural look.

Laura Mercier tinted face moisturizer

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer – Top Tinted Moisturizer
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 feel soft and hydrated – and natural. The moisturizer comes in oil free and hydrating formulas.

Best Anti-Aging Moisturizer

An anti-aging moisturizer is one of the workhorses of any beauty routine. An anti-aging cream pulls double duty; it leaves skin nourished and moisturized while also fighting the signs of aging. The right cream can help the skin build and retain moisture levels. While the cream delivers targeted hydration, an anti-aging cream will also be tackling the signs of aging, such as fine lines and discoloration. The best anti-aging creams are packed with a cocktail of vitamins, wrinkle fighting retinols and moisturizing powerhouses such as hyaluronic acid as well as oils.

Formulyst Anti-Aging Night Cream – Top Anti-Aging Moisturizer
The hero ingredient in Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Night Cream is vitamin A-derived retinol. The formula has a high concentration of this topnotch wrinkle fighter to help minimize the look of fine lines, crow’s feet and dark spots, leaving skin looking smoother and fuller. A dose of safflower seed and jojoba oil leave skin nourished and well-hydrated.

Best Overall Moisturizer

The best overall moisturizers do much more than just, well, moisturize. These multi-taskers deliver hydration while also helping to boost radiance, block UV rays and may even help shrink pores and help fade dark spots. The ideal formula shouldn’t be too heavy or too light, so that it works for all skin types and in all weather conditions.

Advanced Dermatology complete age defense face moisturizer

Advanced Dermatology Complete Age Defense
This all-around all-star does everything- it quenches thirsty skin while tackling the signs of aging, such as fine lines and dark spots. Advanced Dermatology’s day cream contains a cocktail of moisturizing game changers such as hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil and apricot kernel oil.

Formulyst Super Hyaluronic Water Moisturizer
One of the most effective moisturizing ingredients is hyaluronic acid. It occurs naturally in the body (including eyeballs and skin), and it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. When its added to a moisturizing cream, it helps keep skin plumped, hydrated and dewy looking. Formulyst Super Hyaluronic Water Moisturizer is an oil free and packed with multiple types of hyaluronic acid. It works as a moisture magnet by drawing water to the skin.