Editor’s Picks: 16 of the Best Face Moisturizers to Hydrate All Skin Types

Creams of the crop.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
Best face moisturizer

Of all the skincare products on the market, a good face moisturizer can be the trickiest to find. For starters, there's an astounding number of them to choose from, with new ones launching all the time. And they often 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.

That's why I've put together this guide to the face creams I recommend time and time again. Your skin may not need moisturizer every single day, but it's always a good idea to have one in your arsenal.

Here are my tips for choosing a moisturizer, and the best products I've found to date.


What to Look for in a Face Moisturizer


Best face moisturizer

The best face moisturizers from Dr Roebuck's, Indie Lee, Augustinus Bader, Omorovicza and OSEA.

In an ideal world, the best face moisturizer would tick off all or most of these boxes:

  • Has humectants: Ingredients like glycerin, aloe and hyaluronic acid do the actual moisturizing by drawing water into your skin. 
  • Has occlusives: Shea butter, jojoba oil and fatty alcohols are examples of occlusives, which keep moisture locked in.
  • Has barrier-repairing ingredients: Ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids seal up any cracks between skin cells for a stronger, healthier skin barrier. 
  • Has a preservative system: If your moisturizer contains water, a preservative is a must to prevent bacteria and mold.
  • Low in fragrance: If you can't go fragrance-free, at least look for creams with fragrance at the end of the ingredients list, since it's the number one cause of skin irritation.
  • Low in silicones: These occlusive film-formers can trap acne-causing debris and slow down cellular renewal (which could lead to drier skin over time).
  • Low in mineral oil: It is so occlusive that with long-term use, the seal it forms on the skin can disrupt normal cellular processes and ultimately increase water loss.
  • Low in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs): Oils with a polyunsaturated fatty acid profile are volatile and oxidize quickly, generating free radicals. I recommend avoiding creams with PUFA oils in the first five ingredients.
  • Low in oleic acid: Although it has good stability, this fatty acid has been found to disrupt the skin barrier and is linked to dermatitis.
  • Low in emulsifiers: Ingredients like glyceryl stearate and cetearyl olivate belong to the same ingredient family as detergents, and can strip natural lipids from the skin. If you are dry or sensitive, you may find it helpful to avoid creams that contain emulsifiers in the first five ingredients.

You can find out more about these (and why they're important) in my moisturizer tutorial. Now, on to my top picks!


The Best Face Moisturizers of 2021


Augustinus Bader The Cream

Augustinus Bader The Cream

Augustinus Bader The Cream

  • Details: Augustinus Bader The Cream gives you lightweight, silicone-free hydration along with anti-aging benefits—no wonder so many celebrities sing its praises. Besides an array of humectants and non-comedogenic occlusives, this moisturizer contains ceramides for healing your skin barrier. Plus it features the brand's patented TFC-8 complex of vitamins and amino acids, which works on repairing collagen and stimulating turnover. So if you're looking for a "one and done" hydrator and anti-aging treatment, this is just the ticket.
  • Key ingredients: Fractionated coconut oil, glycerin, shea butter, provitamin B5 (panthenol), aloe, squalane, ceramides, TFC-8.
  • Best for: Normal to oily skin.

OSEA Atmosphere Protection Cream

OSEA Atmosphere Protection Cream

OSEA Atmosphere Protection Cream

  • Details: OSEA Atmosphere Protection Cream has a fast-absorbing fluid texture, but is way more hydrating than you think it's going to be. That's because this clean beauty moisturizer is high in algae extract, plus a mix of natural oils and butters (not silicones) to lock the moisture in. It also dries down matte, thanks to the little bit of silica, making it ideal to wear under makeup. 
  • Key ingredients: Algae extract, vegetable glycerides, macadamia seed oil, shea butter, jojoba oil.
  • Best for: All skin.

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors HA

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

  • Details: The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA is an affordably-priced cream that mimics the hydrating compounds that are naturally present in our skin. Think: fatty acids, amino acids, hyaluronic acid, urea, ceramide precursors and more. It's also silicone-free, absorbs beautifully, and has no fragrance at all. (Honestly, they should be charging more for this stuff!) The only caveat is that it's fairly lightweight, so drier skin may need to layer it with a hydrating serum and/or face oil. See my in-depth review of this brand here.
  • Key ingredients: Fractionated coconut oil, fatty alcohols, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, amino acids, urea, ceramide precursors.
  • Best for: Normal to oily skin and anyone on a budget.

LXMI Crème du Nil Pore-Refining Moisture Veil

LXMI Creme du Nil Pore-Refining Moisture Veil

LXMI Crème du Nil Pore-Refining Moisture Veil

  • Details: LXMI Crème du Nil Pore-Refining Moisture Veil has the luscious texture of a high-end anti-aging cream, but it's silicone-free and made from all-clean ingredients. The star is a special type of shea butter ("Nilotica Reserve"), which not only hydrates but also helps to blur the look of large pores. Don't be alarmed if it feels super rich, because a little goes a long way. I'm acne-prone, and this product has never broken me out. See my in-depth review here.
  • Key ingredients: Shea butter, glycerin, squalane, aloe, hyaluronic acid.
  • Best for: Normal to dry skin.

Indie Lee Active Oil-Free Moisturizer

Indie Lee Active Oil-Free Moisturizer

Indie Lee Active Oil-Free Moisturizer

  • Details: Indie Lee Active Oil-Free Moisturizer is both oil-free and silicone-free, but with its creamy, medium-weight lotion texture, you'd never guess. This moisturizer is created from a blend of non-toxic synthetic emollients, polysaccharides and soothing botanicals. Once it absorbs, your skin will feel fresh and velvety soft, with no greasy residue. See my full review of this brand here.
  • Key ingredients: Triglycerides, fatty alcohol, lethicin, propanediol, glycerin.
  • Best for: All skin.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream

Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream

Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream

  • Details: Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream is the creation of celebrity skin guru Dr. Barbara Sturm, and it promises hydration, firming and anti-wrinkle benefits. It's fragrance-free and low in silicone, with a light, whipped texture that belies its mix of moisturizing emollients. The brand's signature purslane (an antioxidant) helps reduce inflammation and supports cell repair. There's also a Darker Skin Tones version with the addition of lumicol (an algae extract) to even out skin tone.
  • Key ingredients: Fatty alcohols, glycerin, shea butter, corn germ oil, purslane, propanediol.
  • Best for: All skin.

Omorovicza Elemental Emulsion

Omorovicza Elemental Emulsion

Omorovicza Elemental Emulsion

  • Details: Omorovicza Elemental Emulsion is a creamy lotion that can be worn alone (if your skin is on the oilier side) or layered under other moisturizers or oils (if your skin tends to be dry). This is an oil-free and silicone-free formulation that glides over the skin beautifully, and then sinks in fast for a soft, supple finish. It has a marine-derived polysaccharide to help absorb excess sebum, and is subtly scented with a naturally-derived (not synthetic) fragrance.
  • Key ingredients: Hungarian thermal water, fatty alcohols, seaweed, glycerin, hyaluronic acid.
  • Best for: All skin. 

Dr Roebuck’s No Worries Hydrating Face Moisturizer

Dr Roebuck's No Worries Hydrating Face Moisturizer

Dr Roebuck's No Worries Hydrating Face Moisturizer

  • Details: Dr Roebuck's No Worries Hydrating Face Moisturizer is a medium-weight moisturizer that provides intensive nourishment without a greasy feel. Macadamia seed oil is the star ingredient in this clean formulation, which is free of silicones and synthetic fragrance. It leaves your skin looking plumped and just slightly dewy. Not surprisingly, it happens to be the brand's number one bestseller worldwide!
  • Key ingredients: Macadamia seed oil, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E.
  • Best for: Normal to dry skin and sensitive skin.

Pyunkang Yul Moisture Cream

Pyunkang Yul Moisture Cream

Pyunkang Yul Moisture Cream

  • Details: Pyunkang Yul Moisture Cream is a South Korean import developed by Seoul's Pyunkang Oriental Medicine Clinic, which specializes in treating atopic skin disorders. As such, the brand formulates without irritants or unnecessary fillers, and uses traditional Korean ingredients wherever possible. Here, that translates into a silicone-free and fragrance-free moisturizer made with Coptis extract to help reduce inflammation.
  • Key ingredients: Coptis extract, butylene glycol, jojoba oil, shea butter.
  • Best for: All skin, especially sensitive and acne-prone skin.

Tata Harper Water-Lock Moisturizer

Tata Harper Water-Lock Moisturizer

Tata Harper Water-Lock Moisturizer

  • Details: Tata Harper Water-Lock Moisturizer is an all-natural moisturizer with priming and smoothing benefits. That means it creates a breathable barrier on your skin for flawless makeup application—sans silicone—while delivering lightweight hydration at the same time. Bonus: The refillable packaging allows the jar, pump and cap to be re-used. You just buy a new refill pod when you run out.
  • Key ingredients: Barley extract, fatty alcohols, glycerin, shea butter esters, hyaluronic acid.
  • Best for: Normal to oily skin. 

The Nue Co. Barrier Culture Moisturizer

The Nue Co. Barrier Culture Moisturizer

The Nue Co. Barrier Culture Moisturizer

  • Details: The Nue Co. Barrier Culture Moisturizer was specifically formulated to help repair your skin barrier and balance your microbiome. So it's loaded with fatty acids, ceramides and pre-, pro- and postbiotics. Even still, it has non-greasy, fast-absorbing gel-cream texture. It's also free of fragrance, essential oils and silicones.
  • Key ingredients: Glycerin, niacinamide, squalane, fatty alcohol, ceramides, probiotics, peptides.
  • Best for: All skin, especially sensitive skin.

Doctor Rogers RESTORE Face Cream

Doctor Rogers RESTORE Face Cream

Doctor Rogers RESTORE Face Cream

  • Details: Doctor Rogers RESTORE Face Cream was developed by Dr. Heather Rogers, a Seattle-based dermatologist on a mission to create sensitive skin-friendly products using clean, plant-based ingredients. This luxe cream gives intensive hydration while calming irritation, and is free of silicones, fragrance and other questionable ingredients. It's also spiked with adenosine to help smooth wrinkles. For a more lightweight texture, try the brand's Face Lotion. 
  • Key ingredients: Squalane, shea butter, niacinamide, glycerin, Centella Asiatica extract, adenosine.
  • Best for: Normal, dry and sensitive skin.

Odacité Beautiful Day Moisturizer

Odacite Beautiful Day Moisturizer

Odacité Beautiful Day Moisturizer

  • Details: Odacité Beautiful Day Moisturizer is an all-natural, silicone-free and certified organic moisturizer that has a light, non-greasy texture. Its base is aloe, not water, infused with various antioxidant-rich botanical extracts as well as humectants, occlusives and fatty acids. As part of the brand's "fresh collection," it is formulated upon order and comes with a "fresh by" date for maximum purity and potency. (I recommend storing it in the fridge.) Note: Although it has a high concentration of coconut oil, I am acne-prone and it never broke me out.
  • Key ingredients: Aloe, coconut oil, calendula, white willow bark, stearic acid, glycerin, jojoba oil.
  • Best for: Normal to dry and sensitive skin.

Pacifica Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream

Pacifica Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream

Pacifica Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream

  • Details: Pacifica Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream is an oil-free and silicone-free cream that acts like a daily "rehab" for your skin to correct dehydration and dullness. It has a light, creamy texture, and smells faintly of coconut (it's made with coconut water). The finish is semi-dewy, not greasy, and it layers beautifully underneath sunscreen and/or makeup. 
  • Key ingredients: Aloe, fractionated coconut oil, glycerin, stearic acid, fatty alcohols, hyaluronic acid, coconut water.
  • Best for: All skin.

The Inkey List Vitamin B, C and E Moisturizer

The Inkey List Vitamin B, C and E Moisturizer

The Inkey List Vitamin B, C and E Moisturizer

  • Details: The Inkey List Vitamin B, C and E Moisturizer is a silicone-free and fragrance-free cream that delivers three essential skin vitamins while it hydrates. There's B3 (niacinamide) for targeting excess oil, redness and pigmentation; C (sodium ascorbyl phosphate) for brightening; and E (tocopherol) for soothing skin and fading scars. Meanwhile, its mix of humectants and occlusives will keep your skin soft and supple. And the price point is even lower than The Ordinary's!
  • Key ingredients: Glycerin, fatty alcohol, fractionated coconut oil, coconut oil, stearic acid, niacinamide, provitamin B5 (panthenol), sodium ascorbyl phosphate, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E.
  • Best for: Normal skin and anyone on a budget.

Glossier Priming Moisturizer

Glossier Priming Moisturizer

Glossier Priming Moisturizer

  • Details: Glossier Priming Moisturizer is both a moisturizer and a primer—so it leaves your skin feeling soft and plump, with a smooth, semi-matte finish. Unlike most creams, it has a runny lotion texture, which takes a few moments to absorb. Although it's made from mostly synthetic emollients, it is actually fragrance-free and low in silicone. I was surprised to discover that my normally finicky skin tolerates it really well! See my in-depth review here.
  • Key ingredients: Tridecyl stearate, stearic acid, propanediol, palmitic acid, shea butter, aloe, hyaluronic acid.
  • Best for: All skin.

If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. See our Disclosure for more information.

Read Next