As tedious as it may be, moisturizer is the one step in our
daily skin-care routines we're religious about. We may skip the serum and toner from time to time, but no matter how lazy we're feeling at the end of a long day, we'll always apply our go-to night creams.
Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, dermatologist and co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, not taking the time to find the right moisturizer for your skin type can lead to issues. "If you overdo it, you could get some breakouts. If [it's] not thick enough, then chronically dry skin is the problem, and wrinkles can be accelerated," she says. Neither scenario sounds desirable to us.
Ahead, Dr. Tanzi tells us which formulas to look for based on your skin type. And, as a bonus, we've found the best ones for your mug
and budget. Click through to find your skin-hydrating soulmate.
Acne-Prone: Splurge If you're prone to breakouts and your skin skews on the oilier side, Dr. Tanzi recommends either forgoing moisturizer altogether (which is a pretty scary thought for us, tbh) or looking for a more lightweight product with ingredients like dimethicone and hyaluronic acid. This moisture-filled gel from Korean cult brand Amorepacific supports the natural production of hyaluronic acid (which helps to prevent dehydration) and not only provides the skin with essential nutrients, but does it without clogging pores.
Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra-Gel Oil-Free,
Acne-Prone: Budget-Friendly Formulated specifically for those with oily and acne-prone skin, this moisturizer from Cetaphil will be kind to both your wallet and your skin. It's lightweight, non-greasy (I'm a regular user and can attest to its powers), and we're not mad about the SPF, either.
DermaControl Moisturizer SPF 30,
Dry: Splurge All of the ladies out there with parched skin — which is probably extra-thirsty from the harsh and drawn-out winter we've been having — should seek out moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, ceramides, hyaluronate, and lanolin, according to Dr. Tanzi. Dr. Jart's cult ceramidine cream will absorb into dry skin quickly, leaving you with a more hydrated, softer complexion.
This brand is hard to come by in the U.S., but when you find it, it's totally worth the wait. This is one of those formulas you can use for day and night — without it ever feeling heavy or greasy on the skin.
Aquasource Dry Skin, $41, available at
Dry: Budget-Friendly This affordable moisturizer from CeraVe goes on smooth without weighing down the skin. It's a great nighttime lotion, although it also comes in an a.m. option.
Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM,
If your skin is truly oily — like "have to dab your face with blotting papers every couple of hours" greasy — Dr. Tanzi says you may be able to avoid moisturizer altogether. But, if you cringe at the idea, she suggests to "use a moisture serum or gel with pure hyaluronic acid to lock in water without any greasiness at all."
Boscia's new gel contains sodium hyaluronate, which is a derivative of hyaluronic acid, along with other beneficial ingredients that we're huge fans of — like
Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel,
Made up of mostly hyaluronic acid, this gel cream (which both
love) is already one of our favorite moisturizers for the warmer months — yes, we can see into the future. It's refreshing, lightweight, oil-free, and the list goes on.
Hydro Boost Water Gel,
Combination: Splurge "People with combination skin should use a moisturizer on those areas that actually need it, like the cheeks and jawline," says Dr. Tanzi. "They should avoid the nose and forehead." She suggests a more lightweight moisturizer — we're partial to this one from Eve Lom. It's weird to use "comfortable" when referring to a skin-care product, but that's exactly how we would describe this cream. It helps give you a more youthful complexion while still helping out those dryer skin areas.
Moisturizer SPF 15,
The no-fuss moisturizer that keeps skin balanced without adding a greasy layer.
Renewed Hope in A Jar Refreshing & Refining Moisturizer, $39, available at
Combination: Budget-Friendly This one comes recommended by Dr. Tanzi — it shields against UV damage, is non-greasy, and is safe for both combination and sensitive skin types.
Daily Protection Moisturizing Face Lotion SPF 30,
Sensitive: Splurge "Sensitive skin should avoid any sunscreen ingredient, other than those with zinc or titanium," says Dr. Tanzi. She adds to avoid fragranced products, since those could be irritating. May we suggest this fragrance-free corrective cream from the lovely Kiehl's? It's a multi-targeted moisturizer that helps to combat aging with ingredients like beech-tree extract and jasmonic.
Super Multi-Corrective Cream,
This moisturizer is gentle, calming, and evens out skin's texture before makeup application. The best part about the smoothing formula is that it can be layered throughout the day any time your skin feels a little dry and tight.
Priming Moisturizer, $25, available at
Sensitive: Budget-Friendly This price-friendly, quality cream is formulated with gentler components like rice and cotton extracts as well as jojoba.
Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream,
Normal: Splurge For all you "normal" skin types out there, here's a #humblebrag: Dr. Tanzi says you can pretty much get away with using any moisturizer (must be nice). But, she does recommend you switch it up with a more lightweight option in the summer, and a thicker cream moisturizer in the winter. Philosophy's new refining moisturizer is one we're definitely adding to our must-have list. It includes Asian-fruit extracts for improved microcirculation, and the lightweight, whipped formula is perfect for summer.
Renewed Hope in A Jar,
This cult cream is known for moisturizing skin even in the harshest weather conditions. Now, the popular formula includes SPF 30 so your skin can hold onto hydration and stay protected from UV rays all at once.
Ultra Facial Cream SPF 30, $27.50, available at
Normal: Budget-Friendly For a moisturizer on the heavier side (a.k.a. ideal for winter), Aveeno's Positively Radiant is a great option. It also helps combat dark spots, if that's what you're looking for.
Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 15,
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