No skin care routine is complete without moisturizer.
Incorporating the best face moisturizers for dehydrated skin will prevent pre-mature aging, rejuvenate your skin, and smooth the surface of your face.
We’ve looked at 39 different face moisturizers and racked up more than 106 hours of research and testing to write this review which leads us to recommend that the Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief stands out as the best face moisturizer.
1. Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief
Hydrate your skin 24/7 with the best moisturizer for dehydrated skin. We loved this product. Its lightweight, moisturizing, and doesn’t have an unpleasant fragrance. Kiss dry patches goodbye once you pick up this miracle. You can wear this product all year round, under foundation powder and a little goes a long way.
Why our reviews are trustworthy
I have covered beauty, including face moisturizers simply because I used to work as a buyer for a well known multi-national beauty company, and that my great love is for all things beauty. I have logged many, many (happy) of hours of research and testing and we have looked at a variety of types of face moisturizer to create this review (it’s no great hardship, I need the good ones too!).
We make sure we are up to date on moisturizer reviews from other noteworthy companies that also test or review products, such as, Total Beauty, Amazon and Sephora, though we do find that the coverage on these products is not as comprehensive as it could be.
This review covers the best face moisurizers for dehydrated skin before and since the last time we created this guide:
Who should get these
All of us, (especially me)…When it comes to face moisturizers, most of us will go to amazing lengths in order to find that perfect product. That one moisturizer that fixes dry skin, minimizes lines and creates an overall flawless finish. (one such product does not exist, believe me!)
We are happy to spend all of our money on products we think work for us, read reviews until our heads are spinning and, of course, allow experts on TV and magazine adverts to convince us that theirs is the best you can buy.
Well, in order to put an end to this madness and to hopefully save you time and hassle. I am sharing with you the results of our extensive research and testing.
How we selected
Everyone knows that the key to soft, youthful skin is a high quality moisturizer. The beauty industry knows this too, and has tailored thousands of moisturizing products to meet the demands of consumers. However, not all moisturizers are created equal. So, we set out to find the best affordable facial moisturizers by conducting an exhaustive series of testing to determine which one meets their claims, and which simply have good marketing strategies.
We found that the facial moisturizer which has the best ingredients and highest results amongst testers across the board to be the Clinique face moisturizer. Not convinced? We will give you all the details of how we conducted our testing, what ingredients we eliminated and why, to show you why our top pick made the cut, while all the other fell by the wayside. Beauty is serious business, and no one takes that to heart as much as we do.
I, like many women out there, have limited resources when it comes to finding a new product. I rely heavily on the advice of beauty and fashion magazine’s “Best of” lists, online beauty gurus and scour reviews on Sephora and Ulta before spending the cash on often overpriced items, to be sure that I get the best bang for my buck.
While searching for the best best daily face moisturizer, I am often swayed by dermatologist recommendations, suspiciously convincing salespeople, and beauty editors. However, I have come to realize that their intentions are geared more towards making sales and promoting certain products than recommending to me what I actually need.
So, I decided to conduct my own research. I gathered together a team of testers and volunteers and armed with products recommended by beauty magazines, bloggers, retailers and experts from Youtube to Vogue magazine, we began to get down to the bottom of the hype to find the true winner in facial moisturizers.
In order to narrow down this huge list into something more manageable, we ask a group of aestheticians, cosmetic chemists and dermatologist along with five carefully chosen skin experts to look at the ingredients, FDA documents and personal experience to bring our list down to the top 10 best face moisturizers for sensitive skin, acne and daily use.
The first thing we discussed is the absolute need for daytime moisturizers to include SPF to protect delicate skin from sun damage, and that night creams have no reason to include SPF since you won’t be sunbathing at night. It isn’t necessarily bad that the ingredients in night and day creams are often interchangeable, but it is confusing for consumers and goes against the purpose of creating specific creams for different times of the day or night. Night creams should have ingredients specifically geared towards repairing skin while you sleep, and day creams should protect skin from sun damage and exposure. In order to properly examine the effectiveness of the day and night facial moisturizers, we separated them and gave them different criteria for testing.
How we narrowed down:
We eliminated any facial moisturizers that did not contain humectants (also listed as emollients), from both day and night lists. Humectants are essential since they bring moisture into your skin and trap the moisture to keep it from evaporating from your skin. Nearly all lotions and moisturizers have listed emollients or humectants as a main ingredient. So, for a moisturizer to not include this important ingredient, means it won’t have the same capability to hold moisture in the skin and won’t be very effective.
We eliminated any facial moisturizers that contain fragrances. While certain fragrances can have therapeutic uses like soothing headaches, when added to moisturizers they serve only as a perfume. Many consumers are sensitive to perfumes, making those moisturizers unusable for those with severe allergies or sensitivities to strong scents. Another concern of ours was the fact that the FDA does not require approval for the use of these perfumes and thorough testing of their safety. Their only requirement is that there is proper labeling on instructing consumers how to use the facial moisturizer. Not only that, but consumers may not even be able to know what fragrances are being added to their products (synthetic or natural), since the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act protects manufacturers from having to share their “secrets”, keeping consumers in the dark. While these fragrances are usually safe and only added to mask the unwanted odors of other ingredients, we decided to cut these from our list to be safe.
We eliminated any facial moisturizers that contain mineral oil. Mineral oils or occlusives, act in a similar way as humectants, whereas they help trap moisture in the skin. However, occlusives lay on top of the skin instead of soaking in the way humectants do. The most commonly found emollient on the market is petroleum jelly. Mineral oils make a close second but are undesirable because they are simply a cheap filler and can provide negative effects like clogging pores or not rinsing completely from the skin. So we chose to remove any moisturizer with mineral oil from our list, especially for the sake of those searching for the best face moisturizer for acne prone skin. Mineral oil is also not a renewable resource, nor does it offer any nutrients for the skin and is not a good choice for those who want products that are created with “green” practices in mind for healthy bodies and a healthy planet.
We eliminated any daytime facial moisturizers that did not contain SPF of at least 30. It is important that any daytime facial moisturizer has the ability to properly protect skin from the harmful effects of sun exposure and damage. Experts believe that for a moisturizer to be the most effective, that it must contain an SPF ranging between 30 and 50, and blocks both UVA and UVB rays to complete provide broad spectrum protection. Although both mineral and chemical sunscreens have been proven to work, we removed chemical sunscreens from our list to avoid the risk of allergic reactions and to provide the best options for those looking for the best drugstore face moisturizer for dry skin and additional consideration for those with sensitive skin.
We eliminated any nighttime facial moisturizers that contain SPF, since it is unnecessary for nighttime creams to contain any sun protection. Nighttime creams should invest their energy into creating night creams with healing and soothing properties instead of lazily added ingredients that aren’t beneficial for their desired use.
We eliminated any daytime facial moisturizers that contain retinoids. Retinoids include: retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, and retinol. Retinoids are forms of vitamin A, and have been proven to reduce visible signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles. This magic ingredient is very popular in many moisturizing formulas, however, it has recently come under fire after it has been discovered that UV exposure to retinoids can make skin more vulnerable to sun damage and even cause skin tumors. So to be on the safe side we removed moisturizers with retinoids, but from daytime moisturizers only.
We eliminated any nighttime facial moisturizers that did not contain retinoids. Since the use of these moisturizers at night eliminates any concerns of amplifying sun damage, we wanted to take advantage of the healing and anti aging properties of retinoids. Therefore, any nighttime moisturizers without retinoids were removed from our list, since they clearly could not make the cut as the best face moisturizer.
We did not eliminate any daytime facial moisturizers that did not contain peptides. Although peptides contain amino acids that help boost collagen production, we felt these were necessary to nighttime creams but not to day creams. SPF factor was a much more essential requirement for day creams.
We eliminated any nighttime facial moisturizers that did not contain peptides. The opposite of day creams, we felt that nighttime creams needed to contain peptides to be their most effective. In order for consumers to take full advantage of their “beauty sleep”, it was essential that their night cream include these proven skin plumping and anti aging ingredients.
How we tested
Finally, we were able to conduct our testing. Our product testing group consisted of women we had selected between the ages of 20 to 65, with all different skin types. We weren’t just searching for the cheapest face moisturizer or the best drugstore face moisturizer for acne or sensitive skin. We wanted the best facial moisturizer for all skin types, conditions, ages and budgets.
Each tester was given the products in unmarked contains labeled 1-10. We had to ensure completely blind testing, even for me. We kept track of our daily results, noting any changes in our skin from smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, levels of moisture, any oiliness or breakout and more. We kept our opinions unbiased, since we didn’t know exactly what we were testing or when, and after 2 weeks we compiled our results to see which one was the winner.
Our results show real testing done by real women, without the influence of fancy ad campaigns and misleading information. We did our very best to cut through the nonsense, to get down to what is actually important for the best facial moisturizers to contain, and what is simply fluff.
Now, not only are we armed with reliable information to give us a new boost of confidence when it comes to shopping for the most effective moisturizers, but now you can have the same confidence and knowledge we have too! Be sure to save this article, so the next time you go online or to the drug store you can confidently read the ingredients list and see for yourself how many products are lacking the most important ingredients for nourishing and healing your skin. We may have been fooled in the past, but with the wealth of knowledge on the internet, and the bond of beauty lovers everywhere, we can’t be fooled for long.
Other Top Picks:
2. Olay Regenerist Advanced
Olay Regenerist works all day to moisturize and thoroughly hydrate your skin. This face moisturizer penetrates deep into your skin. Improving it’s texture and elasticity. Formulated with amino-peptides to smooth the look of deep wrinkles. The 2nd best face moisturizer is also infused with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide (B3).
Feel free to use it both during the day or at night as it is the perfect blend of light and effective.
3. Dior Hydra Life Pro-Youth Sorbet Creme
Dior’s Pro-Youth creme adds life back into your face while also eliminating redness and leaving behind oh-so-smooth skin. The light formula seeps into your skin rapidly, giving you fantastic results.
4. Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream
This phenomenal cream absorbs into the deepest layers, leaving a healthy glow that originates at the roots. Earthy combinations of berries, roots, and Korean ginseng urge cell growth and a radiating glow.
5. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion
This new and improved design guarantees smooth texture and long-lasting moisture. After reformulating, Clinique has created the perfect blend of strengthening complexes to hydrate your skin.
6. Philosophy Hope in a Jar Moisturizer
There is hope for your skin once you apply this light daily moisturizer to your parched skin. Gentle exfoliating beads remove old dead skin resulting in an even healthier finish.
7. La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream
Infamous caviar extract lifts sagging skin and keeps it in place, giving you a younger appearance. This best-selling cream is a must-have for anyone into luxurious skin-care.
8. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
It’s a steal for a product invented by dermatologists to be so cheap! Ceramides and hyaluronic acid hydrate dry skin in a gentle way.
9. Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion
For just $10 you can get a simple lotion known for being perfect for sensitive skin. There’s no need to break the bank for moisturized skin with this product on the market.
- Moisturizers: Options for softer skin September 21, 2016
- New Skin-healing Chemicals. Science Daily. June 27, 2015
- Keep consumer hand lotions at home. American Nurse Today. 23 February 2017
- Some skin creams bad news for eczema. Reuters 11 May 2016
- Skin Physiology, Irritants, Dry Skin and Moisturizers Skin Physiology. 19 October 2016