Skincare Products » Best Face Moisturizers

15 Best Face Moisturizers for 2023

The Glowsly editors independently test and choose the best products. We may receive commissions on purchases made from the affiliate links.

Everyone’s skin deserves to be hydrated. In truth, your entire body needs to be properly hydrated. Don’t forget that your skin is the largest organ in your body and is your first line of defense. If left uncared for, dry skin can encourage cracks, cuts, and irritation that can be a minor nuisance — or turn into something worse.

A good moisturizer should do more than prevent your skin from looking dry. It should also work to penetrate deeply below the epidermis. More importantly, quality moisturizers further reinforce your skin’s natural barrier. In many cases, you can find options that also improve your skin’s natural biome. If you think it’s time to give the skin on your face a little extra hydration, we’ve rounded up a list of the best face moisturizers for various concerns that suit all budgets.

Best face moisturizers overview:

How we chose the best face moisturizers

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including skin type, active ingredients, usage, SPF, and more, to create a short list of the top face moisturizers. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best face moisturizers for each category.

Our picks for the best face moisturizers

1
Best overall
Beekman 1802 Bloom Cream Daily Moisturizer
$18

What we love

  • Hydrates deeply to protect natural skin barrier
  • Works to soften skin
  • Boosts radiance

What we don’t love

  • Can be expensive
  • May be too thick for people that prefer thinner moisturizers

A good hydrating cream should leave your skin feeling quenched and hydrated beyond the surface. Beekman 1802’s Bloom Cream Daily Moisturizer fits the bill. Made with prebiotic and postbiotic ingredients naturally found in goat milk, this moisturizer works to soften and balance the skin, making it ideal for those with oily skin types. 

It also aids in improving your skin’s health by reinforcing its natural barrier and biome. With sustained use, you’ll achieve not just softer skin but a more youthful glow. Additionally, it fights dullness and is cruelty-free. Key ingredients besides goat milk include niacinamide, milk proteins, Epsom salt to soften and soothe, plus chamomile to calm the skin. Note that this product doesn’t contain live cultures.

Skin type: All | Active ingredients: Niacinamide, goat milk pre- and postbiotic | Size: 0.5 oz | SPF: No

2
Best budget
Pop Beauty Jetsetter Anti-Fatigue Mask
$12

What we love

  • Double as a mask and hydrator
  • Niacinamide boosts skin’s texture
  • Ginseng brightens and nourishes skin

What we don’t love

  • Might be too heavy for normal skin types to use as a moisturizer

A product that can pull double duty is a solid option — especially if you’re traveling and on a budget. Anyone who flies knows that the plane air is dry and unforgiving. And by the time you arrive at your destination, your poor skin may look worse for wear. The Pop Beauty Jetsetter Anti-Fatigue Mask is a smart solution because you can use it as a mask and wipe it off after 10 minutes, or you can apply a thinner layer and leave it on to absorb fully into your skin. 

This affordable and refreshing mask contains niacinamide, arginine, ginseng, ceramide, acacia collagen, and galactomyces. Skin is noticeably brighter thanks to the ginseng and more plump due to the collagen. The ceramide infusion means the moisturizing effects hang around rather than vanish in an hour or two, offering improved skin texture. And conscious shoppers will love that this is a vegan and cruelty-free product.

Skin type: All | Active ingredients: Niacinamide, ginseng | Size: 2 fl oz | SPF: No

3
Best drugstore
Aveeno Sheer Daily Face Moisturizer SPF 30
$15.99

What we love

  • SPF 30 sun protection
  • Lightweight oil-free formula
  • Can even out dark spots

What we don’t love

  • Strong fragrance

If you don’t live within close proximity to a Sephora, Ulta, or a department store, it can sometimes be difficult to find some of the more prestigious face moisturizers. And if you’re not a fan of online shopping, your quest for the perfect cream may seem futile. Thankfully, Aveeno is a more accessible alternative that’s been keeping skin happy for decades. This trusted brand is available at a wide range of drugstores, supermarkets, and even big-box retailers, making it a solid choice for many. 

The Positively Radiant Sheer Daily Face Moisturizer with SPF 30 is an affordable solution ideal for people with dry skin. We also like that it incorporates SPF 30, so you have no excuse to skip this crucial sun protection step. This lightweight moisturizer works to hydrate your skin and can even help minimize hyperpigmentation. It absorbs quickly with a non-greasy texture and is oil-free and hypoallergenic. 

However, as a word of caution, because this product contains soy protein designed to brighten and even skin tone, it’s possible that sustained use can create a slight color difference between your face and the rest of your body. While the majority of reviews for this product were positive, of the negative ones, inadvertent skin lightening was a common concern.

Skin type: Dry | Active ingredients: Avobenzone 1.5%, homosalate 5%, octisalate 4%, octocrylene 6% (sunscreen ingredients) | Size: 2.5 fl oz | SPF: 30

4
Best for slugging
Cerave Healing Ointment
$29.19

What we love

  • Ideal for damaged and compromised skin
  • Contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid
  • Intensive overnight treatment to lock in moisture

What we don’t love

  • Contains petrolatum

Slugging is one of many Korean-inspired skincare trends that seems to be trending. For the uninitiated, slugging is a nighttime intensive moisturizing solution that involves following through with your regular multi-step skincare routine at night. But instead of ending with the moisturizer, you follow up with an occlusive layer to lock in moisture and ensure that all those active ingredients can penetrate fully into your skin. Popular options include old-school Vaseline, or if you’re interested in something a smidge more elevated, Cerave’s Healing Ointment. 

This healing ointment isn’t your grandmother’s Vaseline. While it does have petrolatum (which we know is a no-no for many people), it also contains hyaluronic acid and ceramides. This National Eczema Association-approved product works to restore the skin’s barrier and is also ideal if you have winter-burned skin from spending too much time outside in windy, frigid temperatures. Better still, the brand promises you’ll get up to eight hours of hydration and improved skin barrier function.

Skin type: All, severely dry skin | Active ingredients: Hyaluronic acid | Size: 5 oz | SPF: No

5
Best clean
AprilSkin Artemisia Squalane Hydra Gel Cream
$28

What we love

  • Clean, vegan formula
  • Low pH to help balance skin and boost glow
  • Artemisia extract ideal for people with eczema

What we don’t love

  • Thinner cream may not have staying power in cold weather or for people with severely dry skin

When you feel that your buying power and ethics should be aligned, sometimes shopping for beauty products can be a challenge. Thankfully, many brands are making an effort to be more thoughtful, not just in animal testing but with the ingredients used in product formulas. For people who care about clean beauty, AprilSkin is a popular Korean skincare brand that offers a pure formula: Artemisia Squalane Hydra Gel Cream. 

This lightweight yet hydrating formula is designed with vegan-derived ingredients, including squalane, which is sourced from Spanish olives. Meanwhile, the artemisia extract works to soothe and quench dry, irritated, and sensitive skin. And along with being vegan, it’s a cruelty-free product. Although any skin type will enjoy this low pH formula cream, it’s best for people with dry and sensitive skin, dull skin, or a combination of oily-dry skin.

Skin type: Sensitive, oily, dry, and combination oily-dry | Active ingredients: Squalane | Size: 1.69 fl oz | SPF: No

6
Best plumper
Derma’e Skin Restore Advanced Peptides & Flora-Collagen Moisturizer
$35

What we love

  • Clean, vegan formula
  • Proven in clinical trials to enhance skin elasticity
  • Plumps and hydrates skin while reducing fine lines

What we don’t love

  • Texture is a bit sticky
  • A little pricey

If you want plump and enviable skin, then collagen is a must-have in your routine. The Derma’e Skin Restore Advanced Peptides & Flora-Collagen Moisturizer is a vegan option that can help beauties everywhere get the lush, glowing complexion they’ve always wanted. Conscious shoppers will also appreciate that Derma’e is another clean beauty brand with a no-go list of over 2,500 ingredients it won’t use in product formulas. 

Key peptide ingredients like panthenol work to soften and smooth fine lines, while pycnogenol hydrates and plumps the skin. The added collagen is a cellular building block that aids in improving the look and texture of the skin, as well as bolstering cellular turnover for a more youthful effect.

Skin type: All | Active ingredients: Collagen, pycnogenol, panthenol (peptides) | Size: 2 oz | SPF: No

7
Best lightweight
Erborian Bamboo Waterlock Gel Mask
$42

What we love

  • Bamboo boosts the skin’s ability to repair itself
  • Doubles as a moisturizer and hydrating mask
  • Lightweight texture won’t leave a film on the skin

What we don’t love

  • Contains synthetic fragrance

Even when you do have a dry complexion, a heavy moisturizer that feels like it’s laying on top of your skin rather than absorbing into it isn’t the best experience. So, if you’re looking for something that’s effective but doesn’t leave you feeling slimy, Erborian’s Bamboo Waterlock Gel Mask is a great option. Although the primary purpose is to be used as a mask that’s later wiped off, it can also double as a deeply penetrating moisturizer. 

To use this mask as a moisturizer, apply a thin layer to your entire face and let it absorb completely. This Korean skincare product leverages the power of bamboo to moisturize and enhance your skin’s ability to heal itself naturally. Although bamboo is the hero ingredient in this pick, castor oil and hyaluronic acid also provide serious hydration.

Skin type: All | Active ingredients: Bamboo extract, hyaluronic acid | Size: 2.7 oz | SPF: No

8
Best primer
Pixi Beauty Rose Flash Balm
$13.70

What we love

  • 3-in-1 product that hydrates, smoothes, and balances your skin
  • Can also serve as a primer before applying makeup
  • Scented with real rose extract

What we don’t love

  • Texture may be too heavy for some

If you love makeup, you know that skin prep is the ultimate first step before applying makeup. And adequately hydrated (and plump) skin tends to wear makeup better than skin that’s dry. Pixi Beauty’s Rose Flash Balm is an oil-free, ultra-hydrating moisturizer that also serves as a primer to ensure that your makeup beat is flake-free. 

This 3-in-1 product helps to moisturize and brighten. It can also serve as a mask to offer long-lasting hydration. If you enjoy scented products, this balm has an intoxicating rose scent. This cruelty-free and paraben-free balm incorporates rose water to aid in balancing your skin’s pH, rose extract to help to banish redness, and olive leaf extract to provide intense hydration.

Skin type: All | Active ingredients: Rose extract, rose water, olive leaf extract | Size: 1.52 fl oz | SPF: No

9
Best oil-free
Farmacy Beauty Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer
$36.60

What we love

  • Clears pores
  • Niacinamide and galacturonic acid absorb oil
  • Non-greasy formula with hyaluronic acid for hydration

What we don’t love

  • Expensive for the small size

Those with oily skin should opt for oil-free products. But more importantly, it’s best to find a  balancing moisturizer that won’t encourage additional oil production. The Farmacy Beauty Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer is a lightweight option that helps control oil. 

This fragrance-free product also works to clear pores and minimize shine. Key ingredients, such as niacinamide and galacturonic acid, absorb excess oil and fight shine. Meanwhile, moringa and papaya help to purify the skin, leaving it feeling refreshed. This non-greasy formula includes hyaluronic acid for extra hydration.

Skin type: Oily | Active ingredients: Niacinamide, galacturonic acid, hyaluronic acid, polyglutamic acid, moringa, papaya | Size: 1.7 fl oz | SPF: No

10
Best skin repair
Pili Ani Self-Care Night Recovery Oil
$40

What we love

  • Intensive essential oil formula to tackle a wide range of skin concerns
  • Works to brighten and moisturize skin
  • Ingredients derived from fair trade merchants

What we don’t love

  • Very expensive for small size
  • Heavy oil may be too much for some skin types

Pili Ani is a fan-favorite luxury skincare brand from the Philippines that’s beginning to cause a stir in the U.S., thanks to the central ingredient in all of the brand’s products — pili oil from the native Pili fruit tree. Pili oil has rich in antioxidants that protect the skin from environmental stressors while also being more hydrating than coconut, argan, and jojoba oil. Plus, it absorbs more easily into the skin, which means no oil stains on your clothes or pillow. You can use this oil by itself or incorporate it into a multi-step nighttime skincare routine. 

The brand’s Self-Care Night Recovery Oil is a thicker oil that leverages the power of botanicals, including evening primrose, calendula, English lavender, rosemary leaf oil, blue chamomile, and Philippine jasmine, to tackle common skin woes. Whether you struggle with eczema, troubled skin, dryness, irritation, redness, or even scarring from old acne, the above essential oils list is capable of correcting those problems. Along with being cruelty-free and vegan, you can feel proud of your purchase as the formula is derived from fair trade merchants.

Skin type: All | Active ingredients: Pili oil, elemi oil, squalane | Size: 0.5 fl oz | SPF: No

11
Best for dry skin
Fleur & Bee H2 Oh Yeah
$38

  • Ideal for people with severely dry skin
  • Shea butter and jojoba oil to hydrate, hyaluronic acid for longevity
  • Smoother, more absorbent formula than pure shea butter

What we love

  • Too heavy for most normal or combination skin types
  • Shea butter scent is strong

What we don’t love

When you have dry skin, the hashtag #IYKYK is real. It takes very little for flakes to appear on your face. And any beauty with dry skin knows how frustrating wearing makeup can be when your skin refuses to cooperate. So, it’s no secret that this beauty demographic needs a serious moisturizing cream that’s far too heavy for anyone with normal skin to consider. This is even truer when the weather turns colder. 

Thankfully, Fleur & Bee has a deep moisturizer designed with your skin in mind. The H2 Oh Yeah moisturizer is specifically made for people with dry, dull, and dehydrated skin. The hero ingredients include shea butter and jojoba oil. So, this product might be a little off-putting if you’re not a fan of how raw shea butter smells. 

But unlike pure shea, this pick absorbs more easily into the skin and doesn’t leave you feeling like there’s a layer of oil on your face. It also incorporates hyaluronic acid to make sure that moisture sticks around.

Skin type: Dry | Active ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, shea butter, jojoba oil, sea buckthorn oil | Size: 1.5 oz | SPF: No

12
Best splurge
Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream
$69

What we love

  • Protects skin from environmental stressors
  • Plumps and hydrates skin
  • Enhances skin’s firmness

What we don’t love

  • Expensive

If your coins allow for it, it’s good to spoil yourself every once in a while. Tatcha’s The Dewy Skin Cream fits that bill while also being an effective facial moisturizer that delivers the results it promises. This purple rice extract moisturizer is packed with antioxidants that protect your skin from pollution. While combination skin types will thrive with this pick, it’s best reserved for mature skin as well as those with drier skin or who suffer from dullness.

In guided focus groups, all respondents noted that with sustained use of this cream, they saw increased hydration and improved radiance in just two weeks. And 95% of participants even experienced improved firmness. Okinawa algae and hyaluronic plump and fully hydrate your skin, while botanical extracts give skin a dewy glow.

Skin type: Dry, mature | Active ingredients: Japanese purple rice, hyaluronic acid, Okinawa algae | Size: 1.7 oz | SPF: No

13
Best anti-aging
IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream Anti-Aging Hydrating Moisturizer
$68

What we love

  • Moisturizes while fighting signs of aging
  • Improves skin’s appearance in as little as 2 weeks with continued use

What we don’t love

  • Longtime users may notice a slight formulation difference as the vegan formula is an update from the original

IT Cosmetics is a fan-favorite brand that knows how to combine pretty and functional solutions in one product. While the brand has made a name for itself with makeup that effectively covers and minimizes blemishes, those same products pull double duty by improving the health and appearance of your skin with sustained use. And the same is true for IT’s moisturizers. 

Confidence in a Cream is one of the brand’s most well-known skincare solutions that tackles an astounding 10 common signs of aging — all while moisturizing your skin with a non-greasy formula. While the key ingredients are fairly common (hyaluronic acid and ceramides), Confidence in a Cream promises you’ll enjoy 48 hours of hydration to repair the skin’s moisture barrier. 

Meanwhile, higher concentrations of niacinamide, squalane, and a peptide-lipid complex work to reverse common signs of aging. These 10 signs of aging include tone, texture, radiance, elasticity, firmness, plumpness, fine lines, pores, wrinkles, and necklines. This vegan formula is safe for sensitive skin and for all skin types. Use it both morning and night as part of your overall skincare routine.

Skin type: All | Active ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, ceramides, peptide-lipid complex | Size: 2.03 fl oz | SPF: No

14
Best daily
Innisfree Intensive Hydrating Cream with Green Tea Seed
$24

What we love

  • Uses USDA-certified organic green tea from Jeju island
  • Hydrates and protects skin from environmental pollution
  • Can be used morning and night

What we don’t love

  • Uses synthetic fragrance

If you’ve spent some time in a K-beauty store, you’re probably familiar with Innisfree. This is an OG Korean skincare brand that was one of the early entrants into the U.S. beauty import scene (before K-beauty really took off stateside outside of local Korean communities). This brand is best known for incorporating natural botanical ingredients from the Korean resort island Jeju that are hero solutions used throughout K-beauty. 

The Intensive Hydrating Cream with Green Tea Seed is a daily moisturizer that leverages Jeju green tea and green tea seed to provide lasting hydration. You’ll appreciate that the green tea is actually harvested from fields on Jeju that are USDA-certified organic. The tea offers antioxidant benefits as well as amino acids to shield your skin from environmental stressors, and panthenol helps to strengthen your skin’s moisture barrier.

Skin type: All | Active ingredients: Green tea, panthenol | Size: 1.69 fl oz | SPF: No

15
Best hydrating
Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Cream Moisturizer
$52

What we love

  • Up to 100 hours of hydration with just a single use
  • Improves softness, texture, and firmness
  • Hydrates normal and dry skin

What we don’t love

  • Formula change may split fans that remember the original Water Bank Cream Moisturizer

Dry skin happens to everyone. But unless you have seriously dry skin, you might find that intense moisturizers are too heavy. In some cases, the formula can feel like it’s sitting on your face or clogging your pores. Laneige is yet another K-beauty brand that created the Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Cream Moisturizer. It straddles a unique space because this formula can work for people with dry or normal skin and provide long-lasting hydration. 

Unsurprisingly given the product name, the hero ingredient here is blue hyaluronic acid. But when paired with ceramides and squalane, you’ll get a powerful cream that can offer up to 100 hours of long-lasting hydration — and that claim is backed by results recorded during a four-week clinical trial. Other observable benefits respondents noticed were visible firming, softer texture, and less dryness. All of this occurred even with just one day of use. 

Along with banishing dryness, this cream also softens your skin and can be used in the morning or at night. 

Skin type: Normal, dry | Active ingredients: Blue hyaluronic acid, ceramides, squalane | Size: 1.6 fl oz | SPF: No

Moisturizer your face will love

Having a good face moisturizer that specifically targets your skin concerns is the key to providing healthy hydration that lasts. Although picking the right moisturizer is a personal choice that depends on multiple factors, you can always start with our Best Overall, the Beekman 1802 Bloom Cream Daily Moisturizer, which works well by itself or when paired with serums. 

How to pick the right face moisturizer for you

Moisturizers are personal. Not only do they need to hydrate your skin, but they need to feel comfortable, absorb easily, and have staying power. Also, the right moisturizer should be compatible with your skin type as well as target any specific skin concerns you have. 

Skin Type

When shopping for a good facial moisturizer, your first consideration needs to be your skin type. The most common skin types include normal, combination, oily, and dry. 

Normal skin responds well to most cleansers and moisturizers, doesn’t struggle with dryness, and doesn’t suffer from excessive oil production. People with oily skin have pores that produce more oil than normal, meaning they fight shine and oil production. Dry skin loses moisture easily and may even experience flaking. Combination skin is a blend of one of the three common skin types. 

However, skin types can also include mature and sensitive skin. Mature skin usually focuses on moisture loss since older skin tends to struggle with dryness. Sensitive skin can vary widely in terms of the specific concern. Issues can range from avoiding certain active ingredients that are too harsh or even being mindful of heavy moisturizing ingredients that can clog pores. 

If you have normal skin, focus on a medium or lightweight moisturizer that isn’t too heavy but offers staying power. Those with oily skin should prioritize a cream with a lighter texture — but one with active ingredients designed to absorb oil or control the skin’s pH to minimize oil production. Hydration is the key concern for people with dry or mature skin. But anyone with mature skin may also target anti-aging functions, such as reducing fine lines and wrinkles or boosting plumpness. Finally, those with sensitive skin should opt for gentle ingredients like squalane or hyaluronic acid. 

Ingredients

As seen in our roundup, ingredients can vary widely. While many brands tout labels like vegan or clean, it doesn’t mean that the ingredients will automatically work for you. More importantly, remember that your moisturizer is but one of several steps in a skincare routine. So, along with ensuring that an ingredient won’t be too harsh for your skin, consider what ingredients are in the other skincare products you’re using. 

This factor is especially true when you’re targeting products with active ingredients or additives that work to improve or tackle specific skin concerns. Some, like hyaluronic acid, are very gentle, boost moisture retention, and can be paired with more aggressive active ingredients with no issue. Others, like retinol, are designed to speed up cellular turnover but can be too harsh for some — leading to redness, irritation, and increased dryness — and shouldn’t be paired with ingredients like vitamin C because of possible adverse reactions. 

For general hydration, ceramides, shea butter, hyaluronic acid, and oils, such as jojoba, amla, or coconut oil, are ideal and relatively neutral — meaning they can generally be paired with active ingredients and are well-tolerated by most skin types. Ceramides are ideal for people with dry skin because of the lasting hydration they provide. Meanwhile, peptides and acids also improve skin tone, texture, and firmness. Collagen is another gentle ingredient that specifically works to plump and improve cellular bonds for a generally youthful appearance. 

However, when in doubt, always perform a patch test when trying a new product to determine if the ingredients are safe for your skin. 

Function

Not all moisturizers target the same skin concerns. While hydration is a baseline goal, you’ll find that concerns can range from anti-aging and brightening to correcting texture and even plumping. This is usually where active ingredients excel, as they’re designed to work either instantly or with sustained use. Some of the most common options you’ll encounter in face moisturizers are listed below: 

  • Hyaluronic acid: This is one of the most popular options because it immediately hydrates and retains water, ensuring that your moisturizer won’t fade after a couple of hours. It’s generally tolerated by most skin types.
  • Ceramides: This is a waxy lipid that works to improve the skin’s natural barrier by binding the skin cells together and preventing moisture from escaping. Like hyaluronic acid, it’s a gentle option for hydration. 
  • Niacinamide: This vitamin B3 molecule encourages cellular turnover to promote brightening and target hyperpigmentation or dark spots. It can be stronger in a topical solution and shouldn’t always be paired with other potent actives.
  • Retinoids: Made from vitamin A, retinoids are the most popular and well-promoted solution for boosting cellular turnover. While effective at tackling fine lines and wrinkles, retinoids can increase a person’s photosensitivity. As such, first-time users are encouraged to incorporate it at night and wear sunscreen when heading outside. 
  • Vitamin C: Often shown as L-ascorbic acid in an ingredients list, this is one of the only forms of vitamin C safe for topical use in skincare products. The acid is similar to retinol in that it targets fine lines and wrinkles, as well as scars. Vitamin C is also known as a natural brightener (not to be confused with a whitener). But it’s a harsher active that can cause stinging or redness for first-time users. Because of its strength, it shouldn’t be paired with retinoids. 
  • Peptides: Like collagen, peptides work to boost your skin’s youthfulness. With sustained use, you’ll improve the skin’s texture, strengthen your skin, and help your skin increase collagen production. This active is tolerated by all skin types but is often promoted for mature skin. 

FAQs

Which moisturizers do dermatologists recommend? 

The right moisturizer depends on your skin type. However, dermatologists usually recommend a gentle moisturizer free from harsh ingredients and synthetic fragrances. People with sensitive skin should look for products that are dermatologist-approved or carry the seal of the National Eczema Association, meaning it’s gentle enough for those with sensitive skin. 

What’s the most effective facial moisturizer?

The most effective facial moisturizer is best for not just your skin type but your skin concerns. This is going to vary by individual. So, reviewing a product’s benefits and key ingredients is important before making a purchase. 

What’s the most affordable facial moisturizer?

Affordable is relative, depending on your budget and what you’re willing to spend. But in our guide, the most affordable moisturizer is Pop Beauty’s Jet Setter Anti-Fatigue Mask.