The Best Facial Moisturizers [Review] in 2021
written by nail expert Jess Rowley
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Looking to up your skincare game with the best facial moisturizers for your skin?
Well, you’re not the only one, and you’re definitely not alone.
We want our face to look dewy, healthy, hydrated, and upgrading your moisturizer is a brilliant way to start. I have spent hours hunting down the very best facial moisturizers for all kinds of skin types, as there is no such thing as “one size fits all”.
But with hundreds of brands and different moisturizers to choose from, it can be quite a challenge to work out which one will work with your skin, not leave a white caste and leave your skin feeling fresh and hydrated rather than sticky and horrible.
No need to worry though, I’m here to help!
To make life easier for you, I have spent time and care when looking for the best moisturizers for your face, considering all the different skin types, ingredients, hydration qualities, and even SPF!
Here’s a pro tip before we get started: I know it’s easy to go for a cream that smells good, but if you have sensitive, dry or acne-prone skin, the fragrance contains alcohol and will only dry your face out and has little benefits of un-fragranced versions.
We will go into detail shortly, but first, you won’t want to miss my top 3 picks, FYI they’re pretty amazing.
The Best Facial Moisturizers For Hydrated, Healthy Skin
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
best moisturizer for extremely dry skin on the face
Coming in at number one is one of the best moisturizing creams recommended by hundreds of dermatologists over the globe. I have recently switched to using this cream, and when I tell you it’s absolutely changed my life, I absolutely mean it!
It has a rich, velvety texture, but once It has been applied, it absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving it feeling silky smooth and hydrated. It is packed with natural ceramides and hyaluronic acid, and MVE technology for 24-hour hydration.
But you may be wondering, what are these ingredients good for?
Well, for starters, ceramides help fill in the gaps between your skin cells so your skin can seal in moisture and keep impurities out. Cerave contains 3 essential ceramides which are identical to those in your skin for maximum hydration.
Without ceramides, our skin becomes dry, itchy, and even flaky. After four weeks, you’ll massively notice the difference. This paired with hyaluronic acid helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles, retain moisture and prevent breakouts.
One thing I love about this product is that it is unfragranced as well as being developed by dermatologists. Fragranced products irritate sensitive skin, so CeraVe has only created fragrance-free products that are gentle on the skin.
But wait get this!
If you suffer from dry skin, this product will transform your skin. It is also hypoallergenic and oil-free, leaving the skin silky smooth and refreshed rather than greasy and horrible.
Since the pandemic, we have been washing our hands vigorously, and wearing face masks has done no help for our skin; our skin is dry, and our face is breaking out– it’s horrible! This cream transforms your skin to its former glory.
Lots of happy customers praised this product, and I am one of them; not to be biased for anything but this product is pretty brilliant; it relieves itchy, dry skin and restores the moisture your face is craving.
But don’t just take it from me. The over 50,000 glowing reviews speak for themselves.
- It contains the top 3 essential ceramides
- Contains hyaluronic acid
- Completely fragrance-free and hypoallergenic
- Revives dry and sensitive skin
- It may not be ideal for oily skin but Cerave has an oily skin range
Latest deal: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Daily Moisturizer
best daily moisturizer
At number two, coming in at number two is another brilliant moisturizer clinically proven to help tone and texture within 4 weeks; Aveeno is known for its natural radiance.
With their total soy complex, this daily moisturizer improves skill dullness, fights early signs of skin ageing, and improves dark spots leaving the skin looking refreshed and glowing.
This is yet another oil-free, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic formula, so you won’t need to worry about it clogging up your pores as it works deeper into hydrating the skin rather than sitting on top. It is also non-greasy and will sit nicely under makeup.
But that’s not all.
Looking for a little bit of SPF protection too? The Positively Radiant Skin Daily Moisturizer by Aveeno is also SPF 15 to protect the skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays while also working to naturally smooth imperfections.
The positively radiant collection is designed to enhance natural radiance and add to your natural glow, targeting an even tone and texture, leaving you with a refreshed and hydrated look.
This is the holy grail on moisturizers, it absorbs quickly into your skin without leaving a greasy finish, and if you’re prone to acne, this is also ideal as it doesn’t block your pores like other moisturizers.
This is the best everyday face moisturizer for those with combination skin; it will smooth out all the dry spots and not leave any greasy spots where your skin is slightly oily. In terms of a natural moisturizer, this is one of the best!
- SPF 15
- Oil-free, hypoallergenic formula
- Ideal for acne-prone skin
- Lightweight and sits nicely under makeup
- None so far
Latest deal: Aveeno Daily Moisturizer
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer
best moisturizer for sensitive skin
La Roche-Posay is the one for those with sensitive skin; it is an oil-free face moisturizer that works to replenish moisture and help restore the skin’s natural protective barrier.
The Toleraine Double Repair provides 48-hour hydration and restores the skin barrier after as little as one hour; this lightweight cream is designed to nourish, comfort, and soothe sensitive skin and all skin types.
It is formulated with a high concentration of La Roche Posey prebiotic thermal spring water. Like CeraVe, it is also formulated with natural ceramide, glycerine, and niacinamide which is a form of b3 to soothe skin.
But wait, there’s more.
Ceramides work wonders to hydrate the skin as it fills in the gaps between your skin cells so your skin can seal in moisture while keeping the impurities. At the same time, thermal water and glycerine are brilliant moisturizing agents which hydrate, soothe and attract water to the skin. The Prebiotic Thermal Water also has antioxidant properties.
This moisturizer is like magic in a bottle; the thermal water works miracles, your skin will look transformed, brighter and your acne will clear up within a few weeks. Some customers even said it helped with rosacea flare-ups.
Liquid magic? Yes, please!
- 48 hydration barrier and restore skin barrier in 1 hour
- Lightweight cream
- Contains thermal water, glycerine, ceramides
- Ideal for sensitive skin
- None so far
Latest deal: La Roche-Posay Face Moisturizer
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Daily Face Moisturize
best hydrating face moisturizer
Next up on the list is an award-winning water-gel formula by Neutrogena; it absorbs quickly like a gel but has the long-lasting, intense effect of a moisturizing cream. Formulated with hyaluronic acid to attract and lock in moisture.
The hydrogen Hydro Boost hydrating gel instantly quenches dry skin and boosts hydration level. This oil-free lotion quenches dry skin and keeps it looking smooth day after day.
As if that was enough
This daily gel moisturizer is naturally formulated with hyaluronic acid, naturally found in the skin but can be naturally lacking in the skin. This is a hydrator that locks in the moisture and leaves the skin looking more supple and smooth.
It can be worn under makeup or as a gentle moisturizer in your daily skincare routine. It reduces fine lines and wrinkles by adding any needed hydration to aging skin. It doesn’t clog your pores and offers great hydration without being sticky.
It is very soothing, gentle, and healing to your skin.
- Lightweight formula
- Attracts and locks in moisture
- Naturally formulated with hyaluronic acid
- May not be ideal for sensitive skin
Latest deal: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Daily Face Moisturize
Cetaphil Face Moisturizer
best day moisturizer
CETAPHIL is another brilliant skincare brand that is similar to CeraVe. CETAPHIL Daily Oil-Free Hydrating Lotion contains a unique combination of moisturizers to hydrate the skin and tackle dryness quickly.
It locks in moisture and works to keep your skin soft and hydrated for 24 hours, you heard me, 24 hours! Just like CeraVe, Cetaphil also contains hyaluronic acid, which is an essential moisturizing agent on the skin.
Hyaluronic is a godsend in moisturizers thanks to retaining 1000 times its weight in water; this helps boost hydration in your skin and allows the connective tissues and skin cells to retain water for intense hydration.
Want to know even more?
This gentle formula is also completely fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, making it perfect for sensitive skin as it is effective but nonirritating. It has been tested by dermatologists and clinically proven to be used daily on sensitive skin.
Cetaphil offers long-lasting hydration, which replenishes and protects the skin’s moisture barrier from dryness. It is excellent for problem skin; customers have noticed a transformation even after 3 days of use, it even helps with wrinkles!
If you’re looking for a lightweight moisturizer that goes on smoothly, absorbs quickly, and leaves your skin fresh and hydrated without feeling like you’ve applied lotion, then Cetaphil is the best. It will make skin look smoother, plumper, and hydrated.
You’ll be shocked by the results.
- Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic
- Leaves skin feeling smooth, plumped, and hydrated
- Contains hyaluronic acid
- Long-lasting hydration
- Quite thin consistency
Latest deal: Cetaphil Face Moisturizer
Palmer’s Coconut Oil Face Moisturizer
best face moisturizer for dry skin
Coming in hot at number 6 is this brilliant formula by Palmers. This facial moisturizer is lightweight and airy but instantly drenches skin with the hydration needed for an immediate moisture boost.
Palmers are infused with coconut water, hyaluronic acid, and papaya enzymes which nourish the skin and offer a radiant, healthy glow. In addition, Palmers is dedicated to sustainability, so their product is sourced from fair trade coconut oil and not tested on animals.
Want to know the best bit?
This deep moisturization lasts up to 24 hours for an all-day radiant complexion. It is also dermatologically tested and hypoallergenic with no parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, gluten sulfates, or dyes, making it ideal for sensitive skin.
Customers have used this product with serious skin issues and noticed that gently using this moisturizer, their skin has cleared up massively, which is always a huge bonus.
It’s thick and hydrating enough for dry and sensitive skin, but thanks to it being a gel-like formula, it doesn’t make oily skin look greasy either, so if you have combination skin, this is an excellent option. The papaya enzymes and hyaluronic acid also help keep acne at bay.
You’ll be super pleased with what this moisturizer does for your skin.
- Sustainable and natural product
- Hyaluronic acid, papaya enzymes with coconut water
- Free of parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, gluten, sulfates or oil
- Ideal for sensitive skin
- None so far
Latest deal: Palmer’s Coconut Oil Face Moisturizer
L’Oreal Paris Skincare Revitalift
Here’s another brilliant anti-aging formula by L’oreal that immediately hydrates skin while working overtime to visibly reduce wrinkles, firm skin, and brighten up your face within 1 week.
Infused with retinol, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C, which work together to brighten skin and make it feel more hydrated even after 24 hours, it has been specially formulated to layer well under makeup.
The Pro-Retinol works alongside other ingredients in the formula to visibly reduce wrinkles and firm the skin. While hyaluronic acid works to enhance moisture levels and soothe skin, Vitamin C is an antioxidant naturally found in the skin and known to boost radiance and tone.
But wait, get this.
I love this cream because it comes in different options, too, from original, fragrance-free to one with SPF 30, which I thought was a nice touch. The texture of the formula is like silk and absorbs into your face nicely too.
If you feel that your face is turning into a road map with the number of wrinkles that show up in the morning, don’t panic. This intensive cream thoroughly absorbs into your skin, and the retinol smooths out the texture; it’ll take 10 years off you!
It can be used as a general moisturizer or even a primer; L’oreal has a real hidden gem here!
- Contains retinol, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C
- Hydrates skin even after 24 hours
- Comes in fragrance-free or SPF 30 option
- Can be used under makeup
- Some customers had issues with their order
Latest deal: L’Oreal Paris Skincare Revitalift
BLOOMMY Collagen & Retinol Cream
best skin moisturizer for face
Looking for the best moisturizing facial cream to help with aging? The Bloommy is retinol, collagen, and hyaluronic acid that comprises only plant-based ingredients to deliver superior moisture while removing signs of aging.
This cream is a super-advanced anti-wrinkle cream; Bloommy helps diminish the appearance of fine lines, deep wrinkles, age spots, crow’s feet, and even more. In addition, collagen tightens saggy facial skin by adding elasticity to the skin.
As we age, our body produces less and less collagen, which is a protein that acts like glue that holds our skin together. It is the top building block in skin, hair, and bones. Adding collagen to your skincare routine will keep your skin plumper for longer.
You may be asking yourself, but what are the benefits of using retinol in your skincare routine?
While collagen improves the elasticity and firmness of the skin, retinol works as an antioxidant and protective barrier and hyaluronic acid smoothing and moisturizing properties.
But this cream is not only brilliant for its anti aging properties, but it is a specially formulated blend of intensively hydrating and rejuvenating components. At night it helps with cell turnover, while during the day, it provides abundant hydration.
To top it all off, the high-quality components give this cream a lightweight texture that quickly absorbs into the skin with a non greasy feeling on your skin. All products are non-GMO, gluten, and paraben-free– no harsh compounds, dyes, or fillers.
You’ll have smooth and firmer skin after one use!
- Contains retinol, collagen, and hyaluronic acid
- Plant-based ingredients
- Reduces fine lines. deep wrinkles, age spots, crows feet, etc
- Improves firmness and elasticity of the face
- Quite high percentage of retinol
Latest deal: BLOOMMY Collagen & Retinol Cream
Burt's Bees Daily Face Moisturizer
best lightweight facial moisturizer
Looking for a slightly more natural option? Well, you may have heard of Burt’s Bees’ lip balm, but they do some pretty amazing moisturizers too. Their intelligent, natural, and nutrient-rich ingredients work together to offer radiant results.
It is yet another moisturizer perfect for sensitive skin as it gently leaves your face with the smoothest finish yet. In addition, it has been clinically proven to provide moisture and hydration without redness or irritation, leaving your skin feeling refreshed.
It is infused with rice extracts and aloe vera; Burt’s Bees uses 98.9% natural origin ingredients in their moisturizing lotion that provides hydration and won’t clog your pores in the process; it provides healthy-looking skin for longer.
Burt, that’s not all (pun intended).
This moisturizer is packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, leaving your skin happier and healthier than ever. It has also been dermatologist tested and awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.
If you suffer from sensitive skin and find that almost every moisturizer and cream clogs up your pores, irritates, or causes you to break out, then you need to give Burt’s Bees a try!
It will make a huge difference to your skin.
- Infused with rice extracts and aloe vera
- 98.9% natural ingredients
- Ideal for sensitive skin
- Provides superior moisture and hydration
- Didn’t work for everyone
Latest deal: Burt’s Bees Daily Face Moisturizer
Olay Regenerist Ultra Rich Face Moisturizer
best deep moisturizer for face
Coming in last but certainly, not least is this brilliant hydrating face moisturizer by Olay. They have taken their famous red jar and made the formula even richer to hydrate instantly and visibly firm your skin.
Containing B3 and peptides that will make you look and feel renewed even after your first use, it offers non greasy hydration, which sits nicely under makeup or uses on its own.
It is made without parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, or any synthetic dyes, making it ideal for skin on the slightly sensitive side.
As if that was enough.
Another nice touch was that it came with a 1-week sample of their Regenerist Whip facial moisturizer, a fragrance-free whipped moisturizer that absorbs instantly into the skin, leaving it feeling soft, smooth, never and greasy.
Although this moisturizer may not completely solve dry skin and skin issues, it helps keep it under control. But the biggest bonus is that it will brighten up your complexion and keep breakouts at bay; it’s pretty amazing.
For all-day hydration and improving complexion, Olay is a winner.
- Free of parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, and synthetic dyes
- Comes with a 1 week trial of their fragrance-free moisturizer
- Help keep breakouts and dry skin at bay
- Brightens complexion
- Not water resistant
Latest deal: Olay Regenerist Ultra Rich Face Moisturizer
Best Moisturizer For Face Buyer's Guide
When it comes to our face, we deserve the very best, don’t you agree? The last thing we want is buying a new product for your face and coming up with a massive breakout a week later– we’ve all been there.
But deciding what moisturizer to get is no easy task; you need to work out your skin type, whether or not your skin is sensitive, and then look at the ingredients. I personally prefer going natural and fragrance-free as fragrances dry my skin out.
There are so many ingredients to consider, but hyaluronic acid is one you should really look out for; it has excellent moisturizing properties and allows your skin to absorb 1000x its weight in water, leaving your skin refreshed and hydrated.
Ceramides, collagen, and retinol are also important ingredients to consider. Ceramides seal in moisture and keep impurities out; collagen helps tighten your skin by adding elasticity, and retinol helps smooth the skin.
But don’t look at that and panic; I’m here to guide you through. I’m here to break down all the confusing bits and pairing this guide with my recommendations, and you’ll notice your skin will transform!
I’m here to start your skincare journey.
Breaking Down The Key Ingredients To Look For
As we just briefly spoke about, hyaluronic acid, collagen, retinol, ceramides, vitamins, etc., are key ingredients to look out for, but what is the purpose of each ingredient, and do you need it?
Let start by talking about ceramides; you’ve seen me praise them in products like CeraVe and La Roche-Posay, but what even are ceramides?
Well, for starters, ceramides are your skin’s natural moisturizer; they act in preserving skin by creating a protective to prevent your skin from losing moisture. In addition, it locks moisture in a while, keeping impurities out and protects the skin from the environment.
They are naturally found in high concentrations in the outermost layer of the skin; ceramides are waxy lipids or fats that form a skin barrier. They are found high in concentration in cell membranes. Without ceramides, our skin becomes very dry and flaky.
You’ll find added ceramides in moisturizers that are best for dry to dehydrated skin; this is because they help heal broken skin and manage eczema; adding ceramides to your skincare routine will help lock in moisture and make your skin feel super hydrated.
Naturally, our body produces lots of collagen up to the age of 20, it is a protein responsible for healthy joints, and it is the protein that adds elasticity to our skin. However, as we get older, our skin begins to sag, and our joints don’t work like they used to; this is because our body produces less and less collagen as we get older.
As you get older, your existing collagen breaks down, and it gets harder for your body to produce more. You may notice that some moisturizers that contain collagen provide a plumping effect and cover wrinkles because it adds elasticity to your skin.
I would recommend getting a moisturizer that has collagen in if you’re around 20s-30s, as collagen starts to break down a lot quicker and sooner than people expect, whether it’s buying a moisturizer that has collagen in it or taking supplements.
Start sooner rather than waiting till you’re 40-50, as maintaining collagen at a young age is better than trying to retain it when you get older; plus, by the time you’re 40, production levels are greatly reduced.
Hyaluronic acid is another brilliant moisturizing agent with major skin benefits, such as alleviating dry skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and speeding up the healing process.
Hyaluronic acid also helps retain moisture to the skin, creating an almost plumping effect. It also increases cell production to help keep the skin protected and hydrated. After using hyaluronic acid, you’ll notice your skin is smoother and more hydrated.
Anyone can use hyaluronic acid; it can be used twice a day, daily, thanks to the major benefits of retaining moisture in the skin and speeding up the healing process; it also reduces inflammation.
Retinol is a type of retinoid made from vitamin A. Retinol has many benefits in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by creating a plumping effect.
Retinol helps neutralize free radicals to boost the production of elastin and collagen in your skin; this helps firms the skin and hence provides a plumping effect. For the first few weeks, you may notice dry skin, but after a few weeks, your skin should start to settle.
Dermatologists reccomend it to everyone to start using retinol in their skincare routine, even those with sensitive skin.
Vitamin C is another vitamin known for boosting collagen production; lower collagen levels can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C in your moisturizer has major benefits for firming skin and having a soothing effect.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that protects skin cells from free radicals caused by UV exposure which can cause your skin to age. Vitamin also inhibits the production of melanin to help with dark spots caused by sun exposure.
Glycerin is another humectant type of moisturizing agents like hyaluronic acid that pulls water into the outer layer of your skin from the deeper levels of your skin and your air.
It works by trapping in the moisture and drawing it into the skin; it is also super lightweight to clog your pores. It can be used by all skin types but majorly benefits those with slightly dry skin as it retains moisture. It is even safe to use with sensitive skin!
Frequently asked Questions
Here are some of the top frequently asked questions when looking for the best daily moisturizer for your face.
How often should you moisturize your face?
This all depends on how dry or oily your skin is and the humidity of the environment. Retinol and salicylic acid can also play a role in how often you should moisturize; moisturizing twice daily is recommended.
Some moisturizers will claim they will keep your skin hydrated for 24 hours, and while this may be true, it will need topping up by the end of the day to prevent dry spots and breakouts.
What happens when you moisturize your face every day?
You will notice major benefits to your skin if you moisturize every day; using ingredients like ceramides, collagen, retinol will give your skin a smooth and almost plumping effect while also reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
I would reccomend starting to use collagen in your moisturizer in your 20s, and Vitamin C or Hyaluronic Acid as this will help with the production of collagen, which is super important for retaining elasticity and firmness on your face.
Your skin will also feel super hydrated and will look like it is glowing as the moisture will be retaining within the skin.
How do you use a face serum with moisturizer?
As a general rule of thumb, you should apply your skincare from lightest to heaviest; serum is much lighter than a moisturizer, so you should apply this first, leaving it for a minute or two to soak into your skin.
Then you should follow with your moisturizer to lock in the moisture and lock in the vitamins for the serum. Check out my full guide as to how to apply moisturizer the right way here.
So there you have it, my friends, my selection of the best moisturizer face cream; whether you’re looking to upgrade your skincare routine or just looking for a new moisturizer to try, then I’ve got you covered.
Choose any of the moisturizers I have selected for you based on your skin type, and you’ll notice the difference after a week of use. Your skin will feel hydrated, refreshed and you may even notice that your breakouts have calmed down.
Moisturizing your face has more benefits than you may realize; I would massively reccomend ingredients like collagen and ceramides but applying your SPF is super important too; it prevents damage to your skin caused by sun exposure keeps it looking young.
Let’s up our skincare game, ladies!
Nail Technician Expert
Jess Rowley, a veteran nail tech, has been studying beauty over the last 11 years and has completed the nail technology program in California. Watching the latest trends in beauty, Jess searches for the highest quality products that make your nails feel loved.