Editor's Picks: 24 of the Best Clean Face Moisturizers to Hydrate Your Dry Skin

The creams of the crop.
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Best face moisturizer

Of all the skincare products on the market, moisturizers can be the trickiest to buy.

For starters, there's an astounding number of them to choose from, with new ones launching all the time. And so many promise more than just hydration—benefits like brightening, wrinkle reduction and firming, to name a few.

Yet moisturizers typically have long lists of complex ingredients, and it's hard enough to pronounce their names, let alone know whether they'll help (or harm!) your skin.

So, how do you pick the best face cream?

I've done the groundwork for you! Ever since I shared my "how to choose a moisturizer" tutorial, I've been on the hunt for products that meet (or at least come close) to my criteria.

Here's a recap of what I look for in a moisturizer, and the best clean formulas I've found for an array of skin types.

What to Look for in a Face Moisturizer

Best face moisturizer

The best face moisturizers made with clean ingredients.

In an ideal world, your moisturizer would contain...

  • No synthetic fragrance or essential oils
  • No polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)
  • No silicones
  • No petroleum derivatives
  • A preservative (but not parabens)
  • No chemical sunscreen filters
  • Both oils and humectants
  • No detergents (emulsifiers)

You can find out more about each point and why it's important over here.

Truth be told, it's next to impossible to find a cream that ticks off ALL of these boxes, simply due to the challenges of formulating this type of product. 

Since the "perfect" moisturizing cream probably doesn't exist (yet!), we all need to compromise. What matters most to you will depend on your skin, your goals and your budget. 

Personally, I am comfortable using products that are LOW in essential oils, PUFAs, silicones and petroleum derivatives. Typically, the first five ingredients compose about 80 percent of a product. So anything listed after that, I tend not to worry too much about since it's only present in low amounts. (But if you have sensitive skin, you might put a higher priority on avoiding fragrance and essential oils completely.)

To help with your decision-making, I've added a quick ingredients reference for each product below, along with its cruelty-free status. 

Now you're on your way to dewy, well-moisturized skin!

OSEA Atmosphere Protection Cream

✓Low-PUFA ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free 

OSEA Atmosphere Protection Cream

OSEA Atmosphere Protection Cream

OSEA Atmosphere Protection Cream is one of my all-time favourite creams—so much so that I included it in my recent minimalist skincare routine. What's so special about it? It has a uniquely creamy yet fast-absorbing texture that dries down matte (thanks to the little bit of silica). So it's ideal under makeup. I also love that it's made with all-natural ingredients, and it never clogs my pores or feels heavy. (Nor does it irritate, since it's low in essential oils.) If you're seeking lightweight hydration, you won't be disappointed!

Dr Roebuck’s No Worries Hydrating Face Moisturizer

✓Low-PUFA ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

Dr Roebuck's No Worries Hydrating Face Moisturizer

Dr Roebuck's No Worries Hydrating Face Moisturizer

Dr Roebuck's No Worries Hydrating Face Moisturizer is your classic hydrating cream, but without all the usual silicones and other fillers. Instead, it's high in macadamia oil, glycerin and hyaluronic acid. I love this product for dry skin and wintertime—it's currently part of my winter skincare routine and leaves me plump and slightly dewy. There's no synthetic fragrance in here, just a small amount of rose and lavender.

Omorovicza Elemental Emulsion

✓PUFA-free ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

Omorovicza Elemental Emulsion

Omorovicza Elemental Emulsion

Omorovicza Elemental Emulsion is my top moisturizer pick from Omorovicza, the best luxury clean skincare brand (see my original review here). This is a light, creamy lotion that can be worn alone (if your skin is normal to oily) or layered under other moisturizers or oils (if your skin is dry). It's an oil-free formulation that is highly spreadable and sinks in fast for a soft, smooth finish. Note that the fragrance is natural, not synthetic.

LXMI Crème du Nil Pore-Refining Moisture Veil

✓PUFA-free ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

LXMI Crème du Nil Pore-Refining Moisture Veil

LXMI Crème du Nil Pore-Refining Moisture Veil

LXMI Crème du Nil Pore-Refining Moisture Veil was one of the first clean moisturizers to be carried at Sephora. And it's still one of the best options for supple, hydrated skin (see my original review here). It hydrates so well because of the high shea butter content, which also helps to blur the look of large pores. Don't be alarmed at the rich texture; a little goes a long way and it is non-comedogenic. And they use a very low amount of non-synthetic fragrance.

Odacité Beautiful Day Moisturizer

✓Low-PUFA ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

Odacité Beautiful Day Moisturizer

Odacité Beautiful Day Moisturizer

Odacité Beautiful Day Moisturizer is your best bet if you're after a high-quality, certified organic moisturizer. I love that its base is aloe vera, not water, with a blend of coconut, jojoba and olive oils. White tea extract helps fight free radicals, and MSM and DMAE firm fine lines. As part of the brand's Fresh collection, it is made fresh when you order for maximum purity and potency. I keep mine in the fridge!

Indie Lee Active Oil-Free Moisturizer

✓PUFA-free ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

Indie Lee Active Oil-Free Moisturizer

Indie Lee Active Oil-Free Moisturizer

Indie Lee Active Oil-Free Moisturizer is a brand new launch that I've been testing out, and as with most things Indie Lee, I've quickly fallen in love with the formula. Like the Elemental Emulsion, it is oil-free, but I'd describe it as a little creamier and more hydrating. Once it absorbs, skin feels super soft. Unless you're strictly avoiding essential oils (it does contain several citrus extracts), I think most people will love this.

S.W. Basics Cream

✓Fragrance-free ✓PUFA-free ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

S.W. Basics Cream

S.W. Basics Cream

S.W. Basics Cream is the simplest moisturizer ever. It contains just three ingredients: shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil. That's it! It has a thick, soft, salve texture that melts on contact, turning into an oil. Your skin drinks it right up as you massage it around. Anyone who tolerates oils well could use this, and it's particularly ideal for sensitive skin.

MV Organic Skincare Rose Soothing & Protective Moisturiser

✓Low-PUFA ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

MV Organic Skincare Rose Soothing & Protective Moisturiser

MV Organic Skincare Rose Soothing & Protective Moisturiser

MV Organic Skincare Rose Soothing & Protective Moisturiser is a natural cream made with sensitive, reactive skin in mind. It's quite thick, so you only need a tiny scoop; then it spreads beautifully into a nourishing, protective layer. Camellia oil, jojoba oil and fatty alcohols are delivering the moisture here, with rose and rose geranium for a subtle scent. 

Dr Roebuck’s Nuddy Ultra Hydrating and Repair Creme

✓Fragrance-free ✓PUFA-free ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

Dr Roebuck's Nuddy Ultra Hydrating and Repair Creme

Dr Roebuck's Nuddy Ultra Hydrating and Repair Creme

Dr Roebuck's Nuddy Ultra Hydrating and Repair Creme is another great option for deep hydration of dry and sensitive skin. It can be used as a regular moisturizer, as a mask or even as a soothing treatment on eczema patches. Although it's not at all oily, it comes out thick and white—but don't worry, it does sink in after a few minutes (or faster if you rub it in). There's zero fragrance in this one.

Éminence Bright Skin Overnight Correcting Cream

✓PUFA-free ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

Éminence Bright Skin Overnight Correcting Cream

Éminence Bright Skin Overnight Correcting Cream

Éminence Bright Skin Overnight Correcting Cream is a hydrating natural moisturizer spiked with ingredients to brighten your skin tone. Think: licorice root, bearberry extract and African potato (which I'm guessing is similar to the Japanese potato that Olivia Munn raves about!). Although technically for night, you could wear this in the daytime, too. I think it's the best moisturizer from this brand because it's made with more stable oils. However, there are some extracts like peppermint.

Pacifica Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream

✓PUFA-free ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

Pacifica Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream

Pacifica Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream

Pacifica Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream is one of the more affordable moisturizers, suitable for all skin except the very dry. It has a light, creamy texture and smells faintly of coconut (there is coconut water and a natural fragrance in here). There's also aloe vera and hyaluronic acid. It leaves a soft, semi-dewy finish and works well under makeup.

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

✓Fragrance-free ✓PUFA-free ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors HA

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA is the best value on this list by far. They're practically giving it away! Inside is a combination of hydrating ingredients inspired by the compounds naturally present in our skin, like amino acids, ceramides, hyaluronic acid. The texture is thick but non-greasy, and there's no fragrance at all. See my complete Ordinary review here.

Odacité Oleosomes Time Release Delivery Creme

✓Fragrance-free ✓Low-PUFA ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

Odacite Oleosomes Time Release Delivery Creme

Odacité Oleosomes Time Release Delivery Creme

Odacité Oleosomes Time Release Delivery Creme is lightweight but powerfully hydrating thanks to its oleosome encapsulation technology—which keeps the oil inside fresh until it melts on contact with the skin. With its light texture and zero fragrance, this formulation is for all skin, from dry to sensitive to acne-prone. 

Lano All-Over Everywhere Multi-Cream

✓Low-PUFA ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

Lano All-Over Everywhere Multi-Cream

Lano All-Over Everywhere Multi-Cream

Lano All-Over Everywhere Multi-Cream is a 98.4 percent natural moisturizer that can be applied anywhere, including your face. The second ingredient is lanolin, one of the most healing ingredients for dry skin (and lips!). Unlike Lanolips 101 Ointment, which is an oily salve, this is a rich and nourishing cream. I'd recommend it for dry skin; it's probably too heavy for oily types. Although it has a light scent, it is naturally derived.

The Better Skin Co. Better Skin Mirakle Cream

✓Fragrance-free ✓Low-PUFA ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

The Better Skin Co. Better Skin Mirakle Cream

The Better Skin Co. Better Skin Mirakle Cream

The Better Skin Co. Better Skin Mirakle Cream is a fragrance-free moisturizer that is based on the founder's old family recipe from Uzbekistan. It's touted as a "miracle" because of its hydrating, brightening, soothing and anti-aging benefits. So there's not only aloe vera and shea butter in here, but also peptides, algae, hops extract and hyaluronic acid. I find this one very emollient, leaving skin with a silky smooth feel. 

Pyunkang Yul Moisture Cream

✓Fragrance-free ✓PUFA-free ✓Silicone-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

Pyunkang Yul Moisture Cream

Pyunkang Yul Moisture Cream

Pyunkang Yul Moisture Cream is your K-beauty option, and although it's not a natural product, the ingredients list is shorter and simpler than most. Developed by Korea's Pyunkang Oriental Medicine Clinic, it is fragrance-free and suitable for sensitive, oily and acne-prone skin. (But I think even dry skin would like it, since it's so hydrating.) It absorbs surprisingly well, without any greasiness.

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream

✓Fragrance-free ✓Low-PUFA ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream is one of the most popular creams in the clean beauty space. (This is the mini size; the regular one is 50 mL.) It's definitely on the thicker, more moisturizing side, and boasts ingredients like camellia oil, marula oil and hyaluronic acid. Even though it is oil-rich, it really doesn't feel heavy on the skin, and dries to a semi-matte finish. As you're probably aware, Drunk Elephant never uses silicones, fragrances or essential oils.

The Inkey List Turmeric

✓Fragrance-free ✓Low-PUFA ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

The Inkey List Turmeric

The Inkey List Turmeric

The Inkey List Turmeric is a new basic moisturizer, from a new brand that is positioning itself as an alternative to The Ordinary. The price points are similar (although you're getting less product here), and I appreciate the simplicity of the formula. It's high in squalane, one of my favourite ingredients, and the turmeric gives it some antioxidant properties. Although fragrance-free, it has a faint spicy scent from the turmeric.

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Cream

✓PUFA-free ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free 

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Cream Light and Rich

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Cream Light and Rich

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Cream was recently reformulated, now with surprisingly decent ingredients for a drugstore range. There are three versions: LightRich and Gel Cream. All are made from 97 percent natural ingredients, and contain no silicones! There is some denatured alcohol, but I don't consider that harmful since any drying effects will be offset by the fatty alcohols and shea butter. But the downside is the synthetic fragrance... I so wish they'd left it out of here!

Garnier SkinActive Hydrating 3-in-1 Moisturizer

✓Low-PUFA ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free 

Garnier SkinActive Hydrating 3-in-1 Moisturizer

Garnier SkinActive Hydrating 3-in-1 Moisturizer

Garnier SkinActive Hydrating 3-in-1 Moisturizer is another new cream with better ingredients than most drugstore products. There's also a Balancing and a Soothing cream in the range. Like Vichy, these are completely silicone-free and made with 97 percent natural ingredients. However, they too have added synthetic fragrance, which could irritate if you are sensitive.

Glossier Priming Moisturizer

✓Fragrance-free ✓PUFA-free ✓Low-silicone ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

Glossier Priming Moisturizer

Glossier Priming Moisturizer

Glossier Priming Moisturizer is not a bad option, if you want to use something from Glossier—and I know a lot of people do! I wouldn't suggest it for dry or sensitive skin, but for everyone else it should do a decent job of hydrating and priming under makeup. I was surprised to discover that it's not too high in silicones, and is fragrance-free.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Women

✓Fragrance-free ✓Low-PUFA ✓Low-silicone ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Women

Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Women

Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Women is the creation of celebrity skin doctor Barbara Sturm (read my interview with her here!). While it doesn't really treat signs of aging like her custom-made "Blood Cream," it does deliver major hydration and is unlikely to irritate or clog pores. (Since it's pricier, I've just tried this sample so far; the regular size is a 50 mL jar.)

CyberDerm H2O Hydration

✓Fragrance-free ✓PUFA-free ✓Silicone-free ✓Petroleum-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

CyberDerm H2O Hydration

CyberDerm H2O Hydration

CyberDerm H2O Hydration is from one of my favourite Canadian skincare brands, founded by a husband-and-wife team of MDs. Although they're better known for their sunscreens, they make a great moisturizer, too! This one calms and restores the moisture barrier, and is loaded with olive oil, peptides and antioxidants. It's not greasy in the slightest. I've been a fan of this product for years.

Biologique Recherche La Grande Crème

✓PUFA-free ✓Silicone-free ✓Paraben-free ✓Cruelty-free

Biologique Recherche La Grande Crème

Biologique Recherche La Grande Crème

Biologique Recherche La Grande Crème is a serious splurge, but if you've got hundreds of dollars to spend on a moisturizer, I can tell you from my winter skincare routine that it's very, VERY good. (This is a PR sample, because I don't have that kind of budget!) For the price, you'd want your cream to do it all, and this does—it hydrates, firms, protects, repairs, and treats wrinkles and pigmentation. I really trust their formulations. And I know from interviewing the founders' son, Dr. Philippe Allouche, that they use the highest-quality ingredients in the biz!

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