No matter how many times your Apple Watch reminds you to get up to refill your glass water bottle and do a lap around the office during the day, and regardless of whether you prefer the soft mouthfeel of Evian to the crisp neutrality of Poland Spring, the human body is, and always will be, composed of more than 50% water. Consuming ample H2O on a daily basis is so much more than just a bragging right; it is essential for sustaining life, for powering your brain (73% water), your muscles (79%), and, perhaps most importantly, your skin (a healthy 64%).
Moisturizer, then, is as crucial to your quality of life as a S'well bottle, or owning a Brita filter, or having a Smartwater sponsorship, like Jennifer Aniston. (Which is to say: great if you can swing it, but as long as you have access to clean drinking water, that's all that really matters.) And, as with water varietals, there are countless different moisturizers on the market; some subtly different, others markedly so, at a wide range of price points, to suit nearly any taste.
So we tried $639 worth of them, on all different skin types and with only the highest standards. (Consider us the water sommeliers of the skin-care world.) Ahead, the five formulas that made the cut — and the one that really quenched our thirst, and emerged victorious in our 2018 Beauty Innovator Awards.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
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"I usually don't exfoliate at all because of how sensitive my skin is. This moisturizer is a hydrator and exfoliator in one, which I've never seen in a product before, and it doesn't feel harsh on the skin like some exfoliators do. I definitely saw a difference in dullness and texture after just a week." —Thatiana Diaz, Beauty Writer
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"My skin is super oily, and I really have to avoid wearing moisturizer in the summer. I know this product works because even when I was standing on subway platforms during a New York City heatwave — which literally feels like you're standing at the gates of hell — my skin remained matte." —Ashley Edwards, Senior News & Politics Editor
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"I almost fainted when I found out about the price of this moisturizer. For something that smells and feels like the multipurpose lotion your mom used to buy in bulk 'for guests,' it was definitely a shocker. The magnetized closure and suede carrying case made me want to despise this product. AND YET. This moisturizer brought back a glow to my face — some color and warmth and depth and shine — that I thought I lost in college." —Connie Wang, Senior Features Writer
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"I don't think enough moisturizers actually relieve dry skin. This one does, which is why it's perfect for winter or about that time in November your 80-year-old gas radiator creaks to life." —Samantha Sasso, Beauty Writer
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"A drugstore facial moisturizer that doesn't smell like grandma bathrooms or make your face burn in the teenage acne way? Olay Whips is a godsend with a great, creamy-gel-like consistency that sinks in deep and stays there. I find that it's slightly too light for my desert of a face, but for the price, it's something I'd keep an extra jar of at work for second reapplications." —Wang
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"Total magic. I used this one for two weeks, and I really saw the effects. Easy to apply, and my skin felt tighter and brighter, like Lady Gaga in the 'Shallow' scene of A Star Is Born." —Justin Ravitz, Deputy Editor