Some people may cringe when they hear the word moist, but when it comes to the best face moisturizer, we’ve got nothing but love. For many, it’s the final step in a skin-care routine, and whether you’re looking for a lightweight moisturizer with SPF to wear during the day or a souped-up version to use as a night cream, we’ve tested countless formulas in our day-to-day work as beauty editors. Whether you’ve got dry, oily, or combination skin, odds are the perfect face cream for you has passed through our offices.
“Moisturizers are an essential part of every skin-care routine,” Shereene Idriss, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City, tells Allure. “Just as our bodies require us to hydrate with water, so does our skin.” While our skin appears dewier almost instantly, the real benefits show up in the long term. Dr. Idriss says that consistent use of moisturizers slows down the rate and intensity at which fine lines and wrinkles appear.
This daily philosophy applies to all skin types and not just dry skin. “Overwashing without the appropriate use of a moisturizer will actually trigger an overproduction of oil on your skin,” Divya Shokeen, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Torrance, California, previously explained. In short, if you don’t rehydrate your skin, it will become dried-out and irritated — which then opens your skin up to a cache of troubles.
“People confuse oil with hydration, so they don’t properly hydrate the skin,” New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Doris Day, MD, noted. “We now have really great ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, which balances oil and water in the skin.” Increased hydration supports a stronger barrier, she said, which then helps curb oil production.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 21 best face moisturizers (the crème de la cream, if you will), including Allure Best of Beauty Award winners and recommendations from dermatologists to help you find the moisturizer of your dreams.
Our Top Picks:
- Best for Dry Skin: Caudalíe Premier Cru The Cream, $129
- Best With SPF: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer SPF 30, $22
- Most Prolific Award Winner: Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream, $62
- Best Splurge: SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2, $150
- Best Glowy Finish: Naturium Dew Glow Moisturizer SPF 50, $22
- Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream for Extra-Dry Skin, $16
- Best for Soothing Redness: Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Gel Cream, $50
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Tatcha Indigo Overnight Repair, $92