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Facial Moisturizers: Expert and User Reviews

By: Lisa Maloney on May 16, 2017

Facial Moisturizers: Ratings of Sources

Editors of BeautyPedia.com, As of May 2017

This website belongs to skincare expert Paula Begoun, author of several beauty-related titles including "The Original Beauty Bible" and "The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here." In the Beautypedia section, editors subject the products to hands-on testing and evaluate their ingredients against scientific standards, then assign each product a rating out of 5 stars possible. Standouts receive that hard-to-get 5-star rating.

The Good Housekeeping Institute, April 28, 2017

The notoriously picky testers at the Good Housekeeping Institute put more than 45 anti-aging skin products, including moisturizers, anti-wrinkle serums and eye creams, through their paces in the beauty lab. They also send the products out to be tested by real women. Each product receives a short review that summarizers its performance in the lab and sometimes includes tester comments about why a given product was chosen for inclusion.

Sarah Carrillo and Amanda Montell, Not Dated

The editors of TotalBeauty.com list top beauty products in two sections. The first, dedicated to an annual awards list, is based on hands-on testing, plus several "Reader's Choice" picks. The second list is dedicated to drawing on TotalBeauty.com's deep well of reader feedback, with every product receiving an overall score out of 10 possible, plus several excerpts from reader comments.

Elizabeth Siegel, May 15, 2016

The editors of Allure.com draw on reader feedback to name the top "reader's choice" award winners in a number of makeup, hair and skincare categories. In a separate article, they list their picks for "best of beauty" skincare products. No comparative ratings are assigned, but each product receives a brief blurb to highlight its best performance quality or ingredients. They also offer yet another listing that discloses what the editors themselves use.

Julie Schott, March 1, 2017

If anyone knows which beauty products actually work, it's the editors at a publication like Elle, who are constantly exposed to the hottest new products. Here, the magazine and website editors tell you which face creams they themselves have used for years. They typically fall into two camps: Either devotees of luxury products they feel merit a pricey investment, or fans of no-fuss, effective drugstore brands.

Alexandra Gonzalez, Not Dated

The editors of RealSimple.com set an unknown number of testers to work evaluating nearly one hundred moisturizers. Ultimately they select the top ten best-performing products. Each item receives very short comments on what the testers like and how given ingredients affected the results. We'd rank this report higher, but at least a few of the reviews are quite old; one has a date stamp of October 2012.

Editors of InStyle.com, Not Dated

Every year, the editors at InStyle.com choose their top beauty buys in a number of categories, including moisturizers. No comparative scores are assigned and it's not clear how much hands-on testing went into this roundup.

Aimee Leabon, Jan. 24, 2017

The author of this round-up lives in an area where she endures the drying effects of sub-zero weather every winter. After much trial and error and receiving some surprisingly simple advice from a dermatologist, she found 11 different moisturizers that she says work very well for dry skin. Occasional comments imply that at least some hands-on testing was conducted, but this source's real strength is in the author's thoughtful research and analysis of ingredients and their effects.

Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2017

Amazon.com is, as always, a font of honest feedback from people who've purchased and used these face moisturizers. Because many of them have purchased multiple moisturizers in their search for the perfect product, these reviewers are a wealth of information on how said products compare. Customers also offer useful feedback on how facial moisturizers perform over the long term; once they find a product they like they'll stick with it for years, if not decades. Noteworthy products receive an average score of at least 4.3 stars after at least a few dozen user reviews.

Contributors to Sephora.com, As of May 2017

Most of the facial moisturizers listed at Sephora.com have hundreds of user reviews; several products receive thousands of user comments. Said users often put an enormous amount of effort into finding a moisturizer that works for their skin, so their comments are very helpful. Standout products received an average rating of 4.5 stars or better after at least 100 user reviews.

Contributors to Ulta.com, As of May 2017

Feedback from Ulta.com customers is especially useful for gauging how a given moisturizer performs in real-world conditions and when used under cosmetics. Many of the moisturizers listed here receive a hundred or more user reviews. We paid special attention to standout models that received a 4.4-star rating or better after at least 50 user reviews.

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Facial Moisturizers buying guide

What every best Facial Moisturizers has:

  • A combination of moisturizing and water-binding ingredients as well as humectants.
  • Soothing agents and anti-irritants.
  • Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).

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