Types of Facial Moisturizers
Daily Face Creams
You only have one face to last your entire lifetime, so you should start taking care of it early and keep it up as you age. Daily face creams help by forming a barrier to protect your skin from the elements and environmental damage, while enhancing your skin's natural moisturizing capabilities. The best day creams keep working all day long, rather than just one burst at application, and should contain sunscreen to further protect your skin from damage.
The biggest difference between day creams and night creams is that night creams never contain sunscreen. Because of that, they may be a good choice for day use if you have sensitive skin that doesn't take well to sunscreen ingredients. Night creams often have a thicker consistency than day creams, which provides a moisturizing treatment that lasts all night long, leaving you with dewy, fresh-looking skin in the morning. However, that much moisture can also change the color or texture of your makeup if you apply a night cream as a face moisturizer during the day.
Face Creams for Dry or Sensitive Skin
Face creams designed for dry or sensitive skin have very specific, mild ingredients that have generated few reports of irritation or other adverse reactions. Most of these formulations do not contain fragrance or plant extracts, as those are common triggers for sensitive skin. Some don't contain sunscreen, either, as that can irritate sensitive faces. For those whose skin is particularly dry, emollient ingredients help minimize redness and flaking, while anti-irritants may help to calm and soothe irritated skin.
Face Creams for Oily/Acne-Prone Skin
Although it may seem counterintuitive, oily or acne-prone skin still needs a moisturizer, because oil and hydration are two different things. The right face cream can even help repair damage caused by the excessive scrubbing many people with oily skin endure. As a general rule, look for light lotions or gels instead of creams, which tend to be heavier. The top facial creams for this skin type are also noncomedogenic, which means they won't clog your pores. Other beneficial ingredients for people prone to blemishes include alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), which are especially useful for exfoliating your skin and clearing your pores.
Healthy skin doesn't have to be complicated
of your skin doesn't have to mean a complicated beauty routine: For many
people, using a good facial cleanser,
followed by a quality face moisturizer at least once a day, makes a huge
difference. If you can cleanse and moisturize a second time at night, that's
of routine isn't only for women; skincare expert Paula Begoun, author of
"Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me," recommends that men
follow essentially the same simple routine. And although some face creams and
other products are marketed specifically to men, anybody can use any product in
this report. We found plenty of reports of men sneaking bits of moisturizer
marketed to women, and vice versa.
when, you're ready to take your skincare to the next level, add a good eye cream, since that skin tends to be drier --
and more delicate -- than that on your face, and some moisturizers are not
recommended for use around the eye area. If you're noticing the onset of fine
lines, a good wrinkle cream can help reduce
them. And finally, having the right body lotion can do wonders for the rest of your skin. Just don't use it on your face, which
is more delicate than the skin on your other body parts. We cover all of those
beauty products in their own reports.
Finding The Best Facial Moisturizers
"Moisturizers, Daytime & Nighttime"
"The Best Face Moisturizer"
"The Best Anti-Aging Skin Products"
We found the best reviews
of facial moisturizers at Beautypedia, where skincare experts analyze hundreds
of face moisturizers after careful analysis of ingredients, packaging, ease of
use and suitability for various skin types. Editors of Reviews.com conduct
hands-on testing to identify the best face moisturizers after evaluating 168
popular brands, and the Good Housekeeping Institute puts several face
moisturizers to the test in an analysis of 45 different anti-aging skincare
Editors at Allure and Elle
also recommend the best face moisturizers, based on editors' personal
experiences, while editors at Health base their recommended face creams on
input from dermatologists. TotalBeauty also names the best face moisturizers
based on reader feedback. Finally, for insights on how well facial moisturizers
work for people with different skin types in the real world, we turned to
consumer reviews at Amazon, Sephora and Ulta, where some popular face
moisturizers have received hundreds to thousands of reviews.
The best face creams
If you have
normal or combination skin, the best facial moisturizers for you will contain
hydrating ingredients and lightweight emollients that feel like they're barely
there. These products wear well under makeup, without changing the color or
texture of that makeup or feeling like an extra layer on your skin.
usually recommend that moisturizers meant for daytime use should contain
sunscreen. However, many users don't like having that extra ingredient; they
prefer being able to choose their sunscreen, if any, independently. Keep in
mind that if you don't use sunscreen while you're outside, you should take
other measures -- for example, a broad-brimmed hat -- to help protect your face
from sun damage and reduce your risk of wrinkles, sun spots and skin cancer.
among daytime facial moisturizers is (Est. $18 for 1.7 oz. ). Editors
at Beautypedia like its pump-style packaging, which helps to maintain the
stability of its delicate ingredients during use. Speaking of ingredients, Olay
Total Effects Anti-Aging Moisturizer contains several worthy of note: vitamin C
and green tea, both of which are antioxidants, niacinamide, a
cell-communicating ingredient, and avobenzone for reliable UVA protection,
which is stabilized by octocrylene. Editors say this silky-textured,
fragrance-free formulation is ideal for people with normal to slightly dry or
Editors at Allure say Olay
Total Effects Anti-Aging Moisturizer is gentle, effective and non-greasy, with
"an impressive cocktail of hydrating glycerin and texture-smoothing niacinamide,"
which helps to combat crow's feet and fine lines. Users say this lightweight
moisturizer absorbs quickly, leaving their skin with a youthful glow that feels
soft and smooth without leaving a greasy or sticky residue behind. While it is
fragrance-free, a few users say that it does have a sunscreen scent, which some
find unpleasant or overpowering. Opinions are mixed among those with sensitive
skin; some users say it doesn't cause breakouts or irritate their skin at all,
while others report a slight stinging sensation, especially if they apply this
moisturizer immediately after washing their face.
best-reviewed facial moisturizer, (Est. $10 for 6 oz.) with broad-spectrum SPF 15, is still
a solid choice, drawing kudos from experts and users alike. The
"broad-spectrum" designation means the SPF component protects against
both UVA and UVB rays, which skin care and medical experts say is important for
maximum protection. Like the top-rated Olay Total Effects Anti-Aging
Moisturizer, it contains the cell-communicating ingredient niacinamide as well
as avobenzone for reliable protection against UVA rays.
like skin-conditioning panthenol and vitamin E help nourish your skin, and this
moisturizing lotion works well under makeup, too. If you have combination skin
with a few oily patches, it won't leave them looking too shiny. Overall,
experts at Beautypedia say Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer is a good choice
for those with normal to slightly dry skin. However, they give it a slightly
lower rating than our Best Reviewed Olay Total Effects, primarily because it
lacks anti-irritants and repairing ingredients, and it also contains fragrance,
which can be irritating to sensitive skin.
Complete has attracted a loyal following of long-term users who say it adds
just the right amount of moisture to your skin without feeling greasy. Reviewers
say this day cream spreads easily and won't leave your skin feeling slick once
it absorbs, and while it does have a lingering scent, it's mild and most people
aren't bothered by it. You can also buy this product in an oil-free formula as (Est. $18 for 12 oz.) for oily/combination
skin. Both versions are noncomedogenic (won't block your pores) and represent
some of the best dollar-per-ounce values on the market.
It's worth noting that the
recommendation for daytime sun protection is SPF 25 to SPF 30, and both Olay
Total Effects Anti-Aging Moisturizer and Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer are rated
SPF 15. "Applying an SPF 15-rated sunscreen under a foundation, tinted
moisturizer, or BB cream that offers broad-spectrum SPF 25+ will take far
better care of your skin," experts at Beautypedia suggest. "This layering
approach ensures your skin gets sufficient sun protection even if you're not
If you don't want to
bother with layering multiple creams for adequate sun protection, (Est. $40 for 1.6 oz.) earns a coveted five-star
rating from the skincare experts at Beautypedia. This fragrance-free, daytime
moisturizer offers broad-spectrum, mineral-based UV protection with an
impressive rating of SPF 50+. Packaged in a squeeze tube, its creamy texture
blends readily into the skin with a light, silky feel, leaving a powdery, matte
finish with little blending required for even coverage. However, editors at
Beautypedia warn that, despite its claims, Replenix UltiMATTE Perfection's matte finish won't last all day;
oily areas may start to show within an hour or so of application. This is due
to the hydrating ingredients, which aren't just essential for moisture but also
help to keep the high amount of zinc oxide from making the skin feel dry and
Replenix UltiMATTE Perfection
contains a beneficial mix of antioxidants like vitamin C and green tea and
skin-repairing lipids, as well as ceramides and skin-conditioning silicones,
which actually allow this facial moisturizer to work well under makeup,
functioning much like a primer. It does have a tint, but a neutral one that
works well for a variety of skin tones -- so it won't leave fair-skinned people
looking as though they've applied the wrong shade of foundation. User feedback,
while somewhat limited, is mostly positive. Most reviewers say it applies
smoothly and leaves their skin feeling hydrated. It's gentle enough for
sensitive skin, most users say, and some reviewers say the matte finish helps
to minimize the look of redness and skin discolorations.
If you have dry skin or
live in a dry climate, editors at Reviews.com recommend (Est. $12 for 2 oz.), noting that
it "leaves behind a velvety feel that left testers' skin feeling seriously
nourished." It doesn't contain sunscreen, however, so you'll need to use a
separate sunscreen product to safeguard your skin from the sun's harsh rays.
It's a good anytime moisturizer for those with dry skin, editors say, but for
those with normal or oily skin, it's also "a great seasonal standby when the
winter wind and cold leaves your skin parched."
The Ordinary has a thicker
consistency -- not so thick that you can't wear it under makeup, but thick
enough that it's also suitable as a night cream. Editors at Beautypedia say it
contains a good mix of hydrating and skin-replenishing ingredients, including
natural moisturizing factors (hence the name) such as hyaluronic acid and amino
acids. It's lightweight, yet still provides "substantial moisture," editors say,
although they do point out that it's short on antioxidants and sophisticated
anti-aging ingredients. Users say it can be applied under or over makeup, as it
absorbs easily and leaves a matte finish. Those with extremely dry skin say The
Ordinary is a lifesaver, particularly in the winter, and it's gentle and
non-irritating on sensitive skin.
of Korean origin, (Est. $43 for 1.6 oz.), is a hit among users, perhaps due
in part to the recent trend in Korean beauty products. However, it's an
excellent product that will appeal to any picky consumer thanks to its lack of
potentially irritating or harmful ingredients like parabens, sulfates,
phthalates, mineral oils, petrolatum, and synthetic preservatives or
fragrances. A lightweight gel-cream, it provides intensive hydration while
instantly cooling the skin for a refreshing feel. It contains a blend of apothecary
herbs, such as lady's mantle, which is rich in antioxidants to help neutralize
free radicals, improve skin elasticity and minimize the appearance of pores.
all skin types, including oily, combination and dry skin, say Belief The True
Cream Aqua Bomb leaves their skin feeling supple and hydrated, without a greasy
feel or an oily buildup by the end of the day. Some reviewers say it's the
first face moisturizer they've found for daytime use that doesn't dry out their
skin, and several users say it's non-irritating on their sensitive skin and
doesn't cause breakouts like other face moisturizers they've tried. It has a
non-greasy texture that's perfect for wearing under makeup, users say, and it
has a natural scent that most users find pleasant.