It’s a cold, cold world out there right now, with temperatures in the Midwest dipping past Antarctic levels and polar vortexes fast becoming the new norm. In times like these, protecting skin against dryness, tightness, and irritation turns into a full-time job — along with layering, canceling plans, and calling your landlord about how ungodly freezing it is in your bathroom.
This is all to say that now is not the time for pretty little moisturizers that look and smell nice in the jar. To face the unpredictable toggle between stinging winds and skin-stripping dry indoor heat, one must bring in the big guns: a formula that packs enough hydration to stand up to the elements, without leaving a greasy sheen. Plus, because the future is now (or at least, it should be), we want a little more than protection from dryness — we want that glow.
Our quest to find such a moisturizer has led us into the arms of countless formulas, but only a select few make the grade. Ahead, the hydrators our editors reach for again and again to bring flaky skin back from the brink, ranging from a pricey option that made nearly every editor’s list of must-haves to a featherlight drugstore favorite that keeps acne in check.