How to find the perfect moisturizer that will take your skin from now through winter, according to your skin type.
From overnight masks to serums to cleansers, you’ll find that many skin care products have a moisturizing element to them. Today, though, we’re isolating the category of moisturizers, which are the very last product you apply at night and the last before throwing on your SPF in the morning. The moisturizer category is, perhaps, the most daunting simply because there’s so much to choose from. They come in a variety of base types—ranging from gels to emulsions to full-on thick creams—and aim to plump, refresh, and seriously hydrate your skin.
To help you narrow down your selection and find the moisturizer that’s best for you, we’ve broken down our ingredient and product recommendations by skin type.
There’s a perpetuated myth that people with oily skin don’t need moisturizer. Because of this misconception, it’s common that those with oily skin actually become more oily when they skip out on using a moisturizer. When the skin is lacking necessary hydration, it can produce even more oil to overcompensate for its loss.
The bottom line: Even if your skin is excessively oily, it still needs to be replenished with hydration.
By regularly applying a moisturizer, you can actually plump your skin, reduce fine lines, and ultimately help regulate oil production to reduce that oiliness. This applies to acne-prone skin, as well.
Oily and acne-prone skin should use humectant non-comodogenic ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and aloe vera, as well as cold-pressed plant oils such as rosehip, camellia, and squalene. Conversely, this skin type should avoid ultra-heavy ingredients that may clog pores, such as olive oil, coconut oil, petroleum-based products, lanolin, and dimethicone.
We recommend the Klairs Fundamental Water Gel Cream, which is formulated with 63.7% Jeju green tea water that effectively calms skin quickly, while antioxidants help to combat against free radical damage, to help keep skin supple and youthful. Rounding out the formulation are amino acids and panthenol (vitamin B5) to keep skin smooth and super-hydrated for a bouncy, soft appearance.
Even oily skin types will love this watery gel cream, which absorbs quickly and easily into the skin, thanks to its unique “hydra emulsification system” which mimics the skin’s structure to help deliver hydration deeper into the skin than a traditional moisturizer.
We’ve said it before, and we’re happy to reiterate the point: As skin matures, oil production slows down and skin becomes ultra-thirsty. So while moisturizer is a must for any skin type, it is absolutely integral to dry and maturing skin if you want a hydrated, glowing, plumped complexion. If you live in a dry climate, or spend a lot of time indoors in the heat or air conditioning, you may also experience excessive dryness, which, like aging, can lead to increased fine lines, wrinkles, dullness, and loss of elasticity.
Unlike other skin types, dry and mature skin can handle rich oils and heavy formulations, and should therefore seek out products that really double down on moisture. You can also try products that moisturize while they tone, firm, and improve elasticity.
One of our favorites for dry skin and Best of K-Beauty™ winner for “Best Texture” is the Hanskin Real Complexion Hyaluron Moisture Cream. This rich, soothing cream packs a serious dose of hydration to keep dryness and redness at bay. It totes a special matrix of three types of hyaluronic acid help to draw moisture into the skin and keep it hydrated all day long.
Those with sensitive skin should look for two primary qualities in a moisturizer: soothing capabilities and products with pure ingredient lists. Seek out natural, calming ingredients such as chamomile, calendula, oatmeal, green and white tea, honey, and fruit and nut extracts. Meanwhile, it could be beneficial to avoid products with potential irritants such as dyes, fragrances, excessive alcohol, and sulfates. Lastly, while everyone should conduct patch tests with new products, this is especially important for those with sensitive and reactive skin types.
Our top moisturizer choice for sensitive skin is Neogen’s Probiotics Relief Cream, which keeps skin youthful, resilient and firm with this probiotic and peptide-packed moisturizing cream. The formulation is infused 11 types of peptides help encourage collagen and elastin production, while probiotics build a stronger skin barrier and lock in all the benefits. Nourishing ingredients like royal jelly, jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil and shea butter help deliver hydration effectively to the skin for a smoother, more supple appearance and safe for sensitive skin.
Combination skin is unique because it battles both dry bits and oily patches. It can also fluctuate from really oily skin one day to super dry skin the next. Since the primary issue is a “back and forth” between oily and parched, you should seek products that balance your skin. Green tea, vitamin E, and antioxidants are all top notch ingredients.
To soothe and balance your combination skin, we recommend the The Plant Base AC Clear Magic Cica Cream. This gentle formulation is comprised of patented ingredient Inflax™ which provides relief to irritated acne-affected skin and works as a powerful antioxidant, while Natural Protector™ provides soothing and revitalizing effects thanks to its acne-fighting properties. 55% centella asiatica (cica) extract and green tea powder calm inflammation upon application, while murumuru seed butter deeply moisturizes skin, helping to soothe even the most sensitive or irritated skin barrier.
If you have normal skin, you have a lot more freedom when it comes to choosing a moisturizer that works for you, but it’s still important to choose a formula that’s going to keep your skin well-balanced and hydrated, even during changes in seasons and harsh environmental conditions.
If you’re dry or oily or even somewhere in the middle, we recommend Olivarrier Comfort Barrier Cream. This reparative and strengthen moisturizer helps protect and prevent moisture loss. Ingredients light squalane and fatty acids help fight against pollution and free radicals while yuzu water and sea buckthorn extract calms irritated skin.