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 are often formulated more thickly 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 try to wear the 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.
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
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 Anti-Aging Skin Products"
"18 Best Face Moisturizers"
evaluated dozens of expert reviews and thousands of comments from users to find
the best face moisturizers that are light, go on smoothly and absorb well. Top
expert sources include BeautyPedia.com and Beautypedia.com -- both websites of
skincare expert and author Paula Begoun -- plus hands-on reviews posted to
sites like GoodHousekeeping.com, RealSimple.com, Elle.com, InStyle.com, The
Cut, Allure.com and TotalBeauty.com.
seeing what the experts had to say, we headed over to the cosmetics and
skincare-friendly retail sites like Amazon.com, Ulta.com and Sephora.com to see
what users of the products had to say. This gives is a real-world window into
how these face creams work when applied to actual faces. While everyone's skin
is different, this is a great way to find out if, for example, a face cream
labeled as "fragrance free" actually isn't. Combining all of this
useful expert and user feedback was key in choosing the best facial
moisturizers for any skin type and budget.
If you have
normal or combination skin, the best facial moisturizers for you 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.
best-reviewed daytime moisturizer, (Est. $17 for 12 oz.) with broad-spectrum SPF 15, draws kudos from
both 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. This product receives
a lot of positive feedback from the expert reviewers at Beautypedia.com,
although they wish it had SPF 30 instead of SPF 15. It's also a perennial
presence in TotalBeauty.com's annual awards for best day cream and Allure.com's
Reader's Choice awards, and has attracted a loyal following of long-term users
who say it adds just the right amount of moisture to your skin without feeling
like niacinamide, 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
say that this day cream spreads easily and won't leave your skin feeling slick
once it sets in. Like most of the moisturizers we evaluated, Olay Complete All
Day Moisturizer has an added fragrance, perhaps to help conceal the scent of
the sunscreen ingredients. Users say the smell lingers, but 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, and a fragrance-free version as (Est. $7 for 4 oz.) for sensitive skin. All three versions are noncomedogenic (won't
block your pores), and represent some of the best dollar-per-ounce values on
great moisturizer -- so great, in fact, that it's attracted a loyal user
following for decades -- is (Est. $17 for 2 oz.).
The "+" signifies a new formula that was introduced in 2013, with the
addition of glycerin, hyaluronic acid and urea to leave your skin feeling even
smoother than the previous formulation. Although a few long-time users still
object to the revamping of this product, most say they've used this moisturizer
for many years and still love it, and the addition of those fast-acting hydrators
helped it snag a reader's choice award from Allure.com.
Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ because they say it
provides real, recognizable, lasting results. In fact, some grew up watching
their mothers use this lotion and liked what they saw so much, they continued
on with the same product themselves. Another great indicator: They say the
benefits continue showing in your skin, even after you stop using the lotion
for a while. The formula spreads evenly across your face and can take a little
while to sink in, but, once it does, it leaves your skin feeling smooth and
silky, never greasy or sticky. It also does a great job of evening out patchy
dry spots without overloading oily patches in combination skin.
bit goes a long way with Clinique's Dramatically Different, and the
fragrance-free formula is especially well-suited to those with sensitive or dry
skin, as is the lack of sunscreen ingredients—although that lack is
ultimately what keeps this product from taking our top slot, since most experts
agree that your daily moisturizer should contain a sunscreen. Clinique
Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ is also available in an oil-free
gel, (Est. $30 for 4.2 oz.) for people with oily skin, or, if
you have dry skin, as (Est. $25 for 1 oz.), which a
beauty writer with TheCut chooses as one of the best "winterproof"
moisturizers. On the downside, the cream is packaged in a jar, which exposes
delicate ingredients to air every time you open it, prompting them to break
down more quickly.
New to this
year's report is a product of Korean origin: (Est. $43 for 1.6 oz.), which earns
nods from editors with both Self.com and Allure.com. Belif's Aqua Bomb is also
wildly popular with consumers, 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.
sometimes surprised to see that Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb does contain
alcohol -- but even those who object to that ingredient can't dispute the
lightweight, hydrating feel of this silky, blue-tinged cream. Users with normal
or combination skin generally love the dewy feel this product gives them. They
also enjoy the fresh, fruity scent, and say that this cream wears well under
makeup, as long as that makeup is not oil-based. "Feels like a gel but has
the nourishment of a cream," says beauty writer Aimee Leabon at The Cut,
noting that one of the ingredients -- lady's mantle -- is well-known for
improving skin elasticity.
creams can repair and protect skin while you sleep
Night creams are a great way to moisturize and repair your
skin while you sleep, due to their extra emollient properties. They may also be
a good fit for daily use if you have sensitive skin that doesn't take well to
sunscreen ingredients. Our top pick in this category is (Est. $15 for 2 oz.). Users say it does a superb job
of balancing their skin moisture and even helps reduce the appearance of fine
A number of users struggling with mild acne say this cream
has also helped their skin stay clear. That's probably due to the salicylic
acid content, which the experts at Beautypedia.com pick out as one of the best
aspects of this product; it helps exfoliate and cleanse pores to reduce
Overall, users say Olay Age Defying Classic Night Cream
sinks in well and, as long as you don't overdo it, you'll never wake up feeling
greasy. Some say it tingles, but most describe the sensation as cooling. Like
the Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer we chose as the best day moisturizer, it
also represents an excellent value. Although users with all sorts of skin types
say they get great results from Olay Age Defying Classic Night Cream, Beautypedia.com
recommends it as best for normal to slightly dry or slightly oily skin.
The jar packaging, which leaves the antioxidant vitamin E
content vulnerable to the deteriorating effect of oxygen every time you open
it, is a downside. Also, not everybody is a fan of the newly formulated scent,
which they say is more of a strong floral fragrance than the previous scent,
which was mildly reminiscent of creamsicles. But when it comes to the night
cream's performance, Olay's classic product is still hard to beat.
Another excellent night cream is (Est. $8 for 3 oz.), the nighttime version of our best-reviewed moisturizer for sensitive skin. This formula gets the same high
ratings as moisturizers and night creams that cost far more. It's a lotion, but
its texture is almost gel-like -- think light and springy -- and users say it
provides even coverage without any greasy or sticky after-feel.
CeraVe PM Moisturizing Facial Lotion is also
fragrance-free; users with dry or sensitive skin say it does a great job of
moisturizing without irritating their delicate skin. Although it's technically
labeled as a night cream, we read plenty of reviews from sunscreen-adverse
folks who use this as their daily (daytime) moisturizer.
It's pricier, but, (Est. $30 for 1 oz.) is well-reviewed by experts
and users. It includes skin-boosting ingredients like geranium, purifying
thyme, vitamins C and E to help boost cell turnover while sleeping. Alexandra
Gonzalez at RealSimple.com chooses this as one of their best facial
moisturizers, writing that "Testers loved how the rich formula sank into their
skin, not their pillowcases." It's also a top pick from Mariel Tyler, an
editor with Elle, who says she uses it religiously on her normal to dry skin.
Users agree, saying that
Origins High Potency Night-a-Mins goes on thick but not heavy or sticky, and
sinks in pretty quickly. Many say they love its citrusy scent and that the
effects are amazing, including one who writes that it makes her skin look like
she's had a good night's sleep -- even if she really hasn't.
moisturizers for men
There is a
growing market of facial creams and other skin care products that are marketed
specifically to men. Skincare expert Paula Begoun provides a good article on skincare for men, but ultimately recommends
the same basic routine as for women: Cleansing, followed by a good exfoliator,
then a moisturizer.
in mind, men can (and do) certainly use any of the other moisturizers we've
already evaluated. But it works the other way, too: Our top pick for a
moisturizer that's marketed directly to men, (Est. $28 for 3.3 oz.), is
so good that quite a few women end up using it, too.
As the name
suggests, this product does double duty as an SPF 20 sunscreen; it also
contains lots of antioxidants and sea parsley to soothe your skin. What users
really love, though, is the way its lightweight cream absorbs very quickly and
doesn't leave your skin feeling greasy at all. Men say it's the perfect
pre-shave moisturizer, and ladies say makeup glides right on afterward.
Double Duty Face Moisturizer is SLS- and paraben-free, and has a light,
masculine scent that most users like -- but it's not so strong that it'll
overpower cologne or aftershave. The only real criticism we see is that it's
not sweat-proof, so it might run into your eyes if you apply it before going to