As much as we love cozying up with a warm beverage and donning our cutest sweaters, the arrival of colder temps can do a number on skin, especially if you experience dryness or redness year-round. However, incorporating the right face moisturizers into your skin-care routine can help minimize flaking and irritation, creating a healthy glow with or without makeup. And, thankfully, we had expert help finding out what to look for when it comes to the best moisturizer for dry skin.
'People prone to dry skin should look for moisturizers that contain ingredients that prevent water loss and repair the skin's moisture barrier, ' aesthetician (and founder of her own skin-care range) Rene Rouleau tells ishonest. 'This is important year-round, but especially during the harsh winter months when dry skin can be even more sensitive. ' (For the record, these creams will work for not only sensitive skin, but acne-prone skin, too. )
However, once you've found your go-to hydrator, you may find that making small adjustments to your daily routine such as using all fragrance-free products or incorporating a seed oil that absorbs quickly can make a world of difference. 'If you struggle with redness or irritation, it's important to be thoughtful about how you are cleansing your skin, ' says New York City-based board- certified plastic surgeon Adam Kolker, who recommends patients use 'cool water or lukewarm water' to avoid exacerbating any dry patches or redness.
As for how to make the most of your product? Another expert tip is to layer them in order of lightest to heaviest in texture. 'A serum and a cream have different functions, and therefore [different] molecule sizes, ' explains New York City board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman. 'A serum placed on top of a moisturizer will not allow the serum to be fully absorbed since the smaller molecules cannot penetrate the larger ones. Start the products with the lightest consistency like toner, followed by serums and ampoules. Next, are any prescription topical treatments, lotions, creams, and finally sunscreen. '
Ready to ramp up your hydration game this season? The below 22 editor- and dermatologist-favorited moisturizers for dry skin are a good place to start. All products featured on ishonest are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream
Don't let the gorgeous indigo and gold jar fool you: Tatcha's The Dewy Skin Cream means business. Packed with antioxidant-rich Japanese purple rice and hyaluronic acid, it acts as a shield against environmental stressors like pollution and replenishes moisture, leaving the skin looking lit-from-within (no highlighter needed).
EltaMD Barrier Renewal Complex Face Moisturizer
Because EltaMD's Barrier Renewal Complex Face Moisturizer contains five different types of ceramides, it works super well at preventing water loss and improving barrier function in just a few uses, so skin looks less dehydrated and more on the dewy side. It also contains vitamin E, which fights free radicals, as well as squalane, biotin, and an enzyme blend that soothes inflamed skin. It's a lovely one for the neck, too, where the skin is thinner.
Aveeno Ultra-Calming Nourishing Night Cream
A great moisturizer for redness-prone skin is Aveeno's Ultra-Calming Nourishing Night Cream, as it's packed with soothing oatmeal and hydrating glycerin, as well as panthenol a form of vitamin B5 that has anti-inflammatory properties. It's also fragrance-free, which is always ideal for easily-irritated skin types.
Farmacy Honey Halo Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer
Farmacy's Honey Halo Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer is a thick, decadent moisturizer that works wonders on stubborn flakes and dry spots. Made with buckwheat honey, propolis, and a royal jelly blend, as well as ceramides, the ultra-hydrating formula soothes distressed skin and locks in moisture so skin stays plump and dewy.
Youth To The People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream
Youth To The People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream is a great option for sensitive skin types because it contains several soothing agents including squalane, ashwagandha, and aloe leaf juice to reduce redness and boost hydration. Speaking of which, it's also made with panthenol, which hydrates and calms, as well as nourishing shea butter, jojoba oil, and sweet almond oil.
Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream
Weleda's Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream is thick, buttery, and one of the best moisturizers ishonest contributor Kaleigh Fasanella has found for her perennially parched, easily irritated skin. Both supremely soothing and hydrating, thanks to ingredients like sweet almond oil, beeswax, and calendula flower extract, it feels almost like a weighted blanket for the skin without being too heavy or suffocating. Apply it and be amazed at how quickly it alleviates signs of stress like redness and flaking. Oh yeah, and did we mention it's got Rihanna's seal of approval? Enough said.
Naturopathica Calendula Essential Hydrating Cream
There's nothing not to love about Naturopathica's Calendula Essential Hydrating Cream, which features soothing ingredients like calendula, aloe vera, and borage seed oil, as well as deeply hydrating rose oil. Slather a dollop of this on dry, flaky skin and you'll find it offers relief that unlike some moisturizers lasts all day. $68 (Shop Now)
Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream
Laneige's Water Bank Moisture Cream is an antioxidant-rich formula that contains a special blend of vegetable extracts taken from Brussels sprouts, artichokes, and lima beans, which help to nourish and hydrate dry skin types. As if that wasn't enough, it also works to brighten and smooth out texture, ultimately leaving your complexion with a 'glass skin'-like appearance instantly and over time.
Avne Eau Thermale XeraCalm A. D. Lipid-Replenishing Cream
Avne Eau Thermale's intensely moisturizing XeraCalm A. D. Lipid-Replenishing Cream is so good, it took home a Best of Beauty award. . . three times in a row. Packed with I-modulia (a proprietary concoction of lipids, amino acids, and sugars), omega-6, and glycerin, the fragrance-free cream supports a healthy lipid layer, helping skin retain moisture and heal over time.
Skinfix Barrier+ Lipid-Peptide Cream
Skinfix's Barrier+ Lipid-Peptide Cream is a 2019 Best of Beauty winner, and for good reason: It's chock-full of peptides and omegas that help kick stubborn dryness to the curb. Another plus? The foolproof pump jar keeps its ingredients in tip-top shape.
CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
Ceramides are some of the most effective ingredients to incorporate into a skin-care routine due to their ability to retain moisture and improve your skin's barrier function. 'Environmental factors can disrupt the lipid layer of the skin, which locks in moisture and acts as a barrier against pollution and bacteria, ' says Engelman. 'Ceramides help to restore the skin's barrier by holding the cells together. As a result, skin feels smoothier, plumper and more moisturized. ' CeraVe's PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, which also contains niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, delivers serious hydration without breaking the bank.
Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream
Drunk Elephant's Lala Retro Whipped Cream (a 2016 Best of Beauty winner and two-time Readers' Choice winner) rich, velvety formula is packed with marula, baobab, and passion fruit oils, plus skin-repairing ceramides, making it a formidable opponent against dry, flaky skin.
Clinique Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator
Lightweight in texture, but a heavy hitter when it comes to nourishing skin. A 2018 Best of Beauty winner, Clinique's Moisture Surge Hydrator packs intense (and we mean intense) hydration with the help of hyaluronic acid and activated aloe water.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Rich
Looking to really treat your skin this winter? You won't do better than Dr. Barbara Sturm's Face Cream Rich, which visibly reduces redness and boosts collagen production to get your most hydrated, glowy complexion yet.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
Colloidal oatmeal extract (a naturally soothing ingredient) plus the brand's proprietary antioxidant booster complex are two ingredients you'll find in First Aid Beauty's Ultra Repair Cream. Together, they address environmental stressors and fight free radicals to give your skin some much-needed T. L. C.
Fresh Crme Ancienne
To put it simply, Fresh's Crme Ancienne doesn't fuck around. It's thick to the point of having a melted balm-like texture, and contains a cocktail of botanical ingredients like chamomile wax, meadowfoam seed oil, and rose water to help soothe inflammation and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Kiehl's Dermatologist Solutions Centella Sensitive Cica-Cream
Cica, a catchy portmanteau for centella asiatica, is a leafy herb that, when utilized in skin-care products, can help soothe and repair irritated skin. Kiehl's Dermatologist Solutions Centella Sensitive Cica-Cream was made with sensitive skin in mind, and also contains vitamin B3 for long-term hydration.
Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream
We could easily sing the many praises of squalane hydration, smoothing, firming but the ingredient, which stars alongside omega fatty acids and ceramides in Biossance's souped-up Squalane + Omega Repair Cream, is also hugely reparative in terms of restoring skin-surface lipids and protecting the skin barrier.
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant
The Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant is an oldie but a goodie and a dermatologist favorite for good reason. 'The formula hasn't changed since the product was created in the 1930s, and it has definitely stood the test of time, ' says Engelman. 'The best part is it can be used for hands, as lip balm, or anything that needs extra moisture. '
L'Oral Paris Revitalift Cicacream Anti-Wrinkle + Skin Barrier Repair
If your skin is prone to redness and irritation, opt for a repairing cream like L'Oral Paris Revitalift Cicacream Anti-Wrinkle + Skin Barrier Repair, which addresses fine lines and dryness and with minimal wallet damage.
Rene Rouleau Hydraboost Rescue Creme
'Surprisingly, a moisturizer for dry skin doesn't need to be greasy, oily, or heavy, ' explains Rouleau. 'A super-thick moisturizer isn't the simple solution; it's important to look for a moisturizer with a blend of barrier-repairing ingredients, so with continued use it helps the skin retain its moisture. ' The Rene Rouleau Hydraboost Rescue Cream is packed with red marine algae, niacinamide, and passion fruit extract to instantly soothe skin and improve moisture levels.
Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb
Belif's The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb is exploding with herbs and the brand's hero Napiers moisture formula truly a game-changer for anyone with dry, sensitive skin.