The best face moisturizer for every skin type to keep yours in the best condition possible

We tried and tested the best face moisturizer options for every skin type—and these are the picks that should be a staple in any skincare routine

a collage image of three of the best face moisturizer options from Aveeno, La-Roche Posay, and Dr Jart on a light purple background with a tight grid design
(Image credit: Future)

Finding the best face moisturizer for you is vital, as the right one will depend on your skin type (is it dry, oily, or combination?), and your personal preferences—such as whether you prefer a thicker option, whether you want SPF in your moisturizer, and your budget, for example.

For decades, perhaps even centuries, the humble face moisturizer has been a mainstay in our skincare routines, and an important final step in our skincare routine. Sure, it might lose its spot in the limelight when new ingredient and product trends come along (serums, mists, masks—we’re looking at you), but the great thing about a good moisturizer is that it’s reliable, and the essential base.

Skin feeling dry? Use a moisturizer to inject hydration. Skin feeling reactive? Use a moisturizer to comfort it. Skin feeling generally out of whack? Use a moisturizer to rebalance it. There’s not much that a hardworking, no-frills hydrating cream can't fix, and put simply, that’s exactly why ensuring you have a reliable moisturizer in your skincare arsenal is important.

Below, we've rounded up and tested the best face moisturizer options for your skin type and needs, as well as explaining exactly how to find the perfect fit for you.

How to choose the best face moisturizer for your skin

First, it’s important to understand what the main job of a moisturizer is. In short, they help maintain integrity of the skin barrier, and they also play an important part in ensuring skin stays healthy.

Despite being a fairly simple product, not all moisturizers are made equal and there are a few things that you need to take into account to help you with choosing a moisturizer:

  • Budget—First up, price isn’t everything – and this applies to every aspect of skincare – just because a product is expensive doesn’t mean it’ll automatically be better than something much cheaper. Consider how much you want to spend before perusing the options in order to make the right choice for you.
  • Skin type—The other important thing to take into account is your skin type. Those with oily or blemish-prone skin should look for a gel-like moisturizer with non-comedogenic ingredients (meaning they won’t clog your pores) such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid and squalane. The best non-comedogenic foundations are also an important purchase in this case. If your skin is dry, you’ll benefit from richer, more nourishing textures. Look for ingredients like ceramides, shea butter. Sensitive skin types should avoid products formulated with fragrance, essential oils, and alcohol as they could lead to more sensitivity. Moisturizers containing minimal ingredients will be better suited to you. If you consider yourself to have combination skin, don’t be afraid of mix and matching two different moisturizers, using them to target different areas of your face, or choose a lightweight formula with anti-inflammatory ingredients, like niacinamide.
  • When you're going to wear it—Consider if you want a thicker face moisturizer for night, when you won't be putting anything else on top, or if you need a thinner option to wear under make-up (for example), during the day. The final thing to remember is that if you’re using moisturizer during the day, you should always apply SPF over the top rather than the other way around. 

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Creme

(Image credit: La Roche-Posay/Future)

1. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Creme

Best face moisturizer for all skin types

Specifications

Main ingredients: Glycerin, squalane, ceramides
Non-comedogenic: Yes
Size: 40ml
Formulation: Lightweight cream
RRP: $34.99/£16.50

Reasons to buy

+
Made by La Roche-Posay, a trusted sensitive skin brand
+
Packed with hydrating ingredients
+
Lightweight formula that will soothe sensitive and sensitized skin
+
Fragrance-free

Reasons to avoid

-
Drier skin types might not find it nourishing enough

A dermatologist favorite, this lightweight moisturizer is as calming as it is hydrating. Loved by dermatologists, skin experts, and beauty editors alike, La Roche-Posay’s Toleraine Sensitive Creme is the perfect blend of hydrating ingredients that work to soothe skin. 

Our tester found that it absorbs into the skin quickly and the added ceramides and niacinamide protect the skin without being greasy, heavy, or sticky. Free of fragrance and alcohol, it targets skin sensitivity while reducing signs of discomfort, like tightness or itching, in just four weeks of use. 

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream with a two-colored grey and blue border around it

(Image credit: CeraVe)

2. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Best face moisturizer for those on a budget

Specifications

Main ingredients: Ceramides, fatty acids, and phytosphingosine
Non-comedogenic: Yes
Size: 50ml-454ml
Formulation: Thick cream
RRP: From $6.49 for 1.8oz/£9.50 for 177ml

Reasons to buy

+
No-nonsense moisturizer that's good for sensitive skin
+
Good for nighttime
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Texture may be too thick for some

If you like your skincare simple, no-nonsense, and gentle, CeraVe Moisturising Cream might be the right face moisturizer for you. It's no frills, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't deliver in a big way. It's almost as natural as they come, with no perfume (and so no overpowering scents), and no color added—so it should be a great choice for most sensitive or problem skin types.

It contains three hydrating ingredients; ceramides (natural oils found in the skin), fatty acids, and phytosphingosine (a water binding agent), all of which make it a good choice for both dry and oily, or combination skin.

Our tester did find that it is on the thicker side though, so you may want to use it at night, rather than in the day.

Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Moisturizer

(Image credit: Milk Makeup)

3. Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Moisturiser

Best face moisturizer for dry skin

Specifications

Main ingredients: Shea butter, glycerin, oat milk, fig milk
Non-comedogenic: Yes
Size: 48ml
Formulation: Rich cream
RRP: US$38/£34

Reasons to buy

+
Offers intense nourishment without being greasy or sticky
+
Gentle formula
+
Entirely vegan formula

Reasons to avoid

-
Falls at the more expensive end of the spectrum
-
May be too thick for some people

Rich, nourishing, and jam-packed with a blend of vegan milks, this is an underrated favorite. While some skin types may find it too heavy, for anybody with skin that is on the drier side and who needs one of the best moisturizers for dry skin, this is an excellent choice. This luxurious cream is blended with a mix of fig, oat, and argan-derived milks which work to instantly quench thirsty skin. Made with clever micro-droplet technology, it absorbs easily into the skin without feeling greasy. 

Added grapeseed oil and olive-derived squalane work to balance oil levels while also protecting against environmental stressors. Consider this a one-stop shop suitable for day and night. 

Paula's Choice Clear Oil-Free Moisturizer

(Image credit: Paula's Choice)

4. Paula’s Choice Clear Oil-Free Moisturizer

Best face moisturizer for oily skin

Specifications

Main ingredients: Niacinamide, ceramides, blueberry
Non-comedogenic: Yes
Size: 50ml
Formulation: Lightweight cream
RRP: $29.00/£22.40

Reasons to buy

+
Targets breakouts, blackheads, and enlarged pores
+
Formulated with niacinamide and ceramides
+
Oil-free formula

Reasons to avoid

-
Some reviews say it broke them out in tiny bumps
-
May not be hydrating enough for some people

Paula’s Choice is a much-loved, bestselling brand created by Paula Begoun, who’s been in the industry since 1975, so you know you can trust her. An oil-free night cream to moisturize acne-prone, oily skin without clogging pores, this weightless formula melts seamlessly into the skin and makes a great addition to your skincare routine, working to hydrate it without feeling heavy or sticky. 

Formulated with niacinamide to soothe flaky patches and reduce the appearance of large pores, it’s also got ceramides in it that strengthen the skin’s barrier, and blueberry, an antioxidant that calms redness; leaving skin soft, hydrated, and free of shine. 

Dr.Jart+ Ceramidin Cream

(Image credit: Dr.Jart+)

5. Dr.Jart+ Ceramidin Cream

Best face moisturizer for combination skin

Specifications

Main ingredients: Ceramides, hyaluronic acid
Non-comedogenic: Yes
Size: 50ml
Formulation: Thick cream
RRP: $48/£30

Reasons to buy

+
Rich—not heavy—a non-greasy formula 
+
Leaves skin feeling supple
+
Strengthens skin’s barrier

Reasons to avoid

-
Formulated with fragrance
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Formulated with alcohol

Originating from South Korea, Dr.Jart+’s suits-all Ceramidin range is a particularly good choice for combination skin types, especially if you find that the best foundations for oily skin work better for you. The smooth, hydrating cream works to lock in moisture, providing skin with immediate hydration while also strengthening the delicate skin barrier. It’s formulated with its unique Ceramidin Complex which infuses skin with essential lipids to help maintain natural moisture levels. 

It’s suitable to use day and night, giving skin an effortlessly dewy glow while sitting well under makeup. Pair it with the best BB creams for a natural look, or have confidence that it'll give you a soft base for a more glam look. 

Aveeno Calm and Restore Oat Gel Moisturizer

(Image credit: Aveeno)

6. Aveeno Calm & Restore Oat Gel Moisturizer

Best face moisturizer for sensitive skin

Specifications

Main ingredients: Glycerin, oats
Non-comedogenic: Yes
Size: 50ml
Formulation: Gel-based moisturizer
RRP: $19.67/£10.99

Reasons to buy

+
Hypoallergenic formula
+
Soothes skin
+
Tested by dermatologists

Reasons to avoid

-
May pill if layered with too many other products
-
May leave residue if not massaged in properly

This creamy, gel-like consistency is ticking all of our boxes when it comes to moisturizers for sensitive skin. A hypoallergenic, lightweight gel-cream that instantly soothes while adding intensive moisture, it’s formulated with a blend of prebiotic oat and calming feverfew, which work in tandem to nourish skin and protect the barrier. 

It's a great pairing for the best foundations for sensitive skin, minimizing the risk of any flare-ups. It absorbs quickly and is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores or cause any further sensitivity to the skin. 

Clinique Moisture Surge with a two-colored border pink and greige around it

(Image credit: Clinique)

7. Clinique Moisture Surge

Best face moisturizer for dehydrated skin

Specifications

Main ingredients: Activated aloe vera, caffeine, and glycerin
Non-comedogenic: Yes
Size: 15-125ml
Formulation: Lightweight
RRP: From $27/£25 for 30ml

Reasons to buy

+
Absorbs into skin quickly
+
Lightweight—won't clog skin
+
Refreshing and cooling
+
Great for dry skin

Reasons to avoid

-
May not be thick enough for some

If you're after a moisturizer that effortlessly hydrates your skin and leaves you with an ultra-dewy complexion, look no further than Clinique's Moisture Surge—the brand doesn't nickname it their "hydrator" for nothing.

Both refreshing and cooling to apply, this is a fantastic option for dry skin, making it a must-have in the cold winter months. It can still be used in summer too though, where it'll give you almost a post-facial glow that our reviewer loved.

The secret behind this product's hydrating qualities is, Clinique say, their mix of activated aloe vera and caffeine, which team up to activate the skin's own 'internal water source'—thereby allowing your skin to really nourish and moisturize itself from the inside out.

Origins GinZing Energy Boosting Gel Moisturizer with a two-colored orange border around it

(Image credit: Origins)
Best face moisturizer for dull skin

Specifications

Main ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, caffeine from coffee beans
Non-comedogenic: Yes
Size: 30ml-50ml
Formulation: Gel
RRP: From $36/£26 for 50ml

Reasons to buy

+
Has a great citrusy scent
+
Energizing and refreshing on skin

Reasons to avoid

-
May not be hydrating enough for some

The Origins GinZing Energy Boosting Gel Moisturiser is the perfect face moisturizer option to pop on if you've got an early start and need a bit of a boost. With a refreshing scent—made up of orange peel, grapefruit, and spearmint oil—it's enough to wake your face up and hydrate it at the same time. A win-win!

The brand claim it'll give you up to 72 hours of hydration thanks to their “Hydra-Hug” hydration technology, and upon testing, it certainly seems to ring true.

It's got a pleasant, lightweight texture that feels both nourishing and smooth going on, and leaves you feeling confident that it won't clog pores or aggravate any existing skin conditions such as rosacea or acne. The formula is absorbed quickly, and won't leave any sticky residue, making it ideal for when you need to apply and go.

Avene Hydrance Hydrating Cream with a two-colored light orange and blue border around it

(Image credit: Avene)

9. Avene Hydrance Hydrating Cream

Best nourishing face moisturizer

Specifications

Main ingredients: Shea butter, Avène Thermal Spring Water, and Cohederm™
Non-comedogenic: Yes
Size: 40ml tube only
Formulation: Thicker cream
RRP: From $35/£17.85 for 40ml

Reasons to buy

+
Good for sensitive skin
+
Very hydrating
+
Packaging looks stylish

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly greasy

From chic French brand Avéne, this face moisturizer is an incredibly hydrating option that feels really rich and luxurious.

It's thick (some might find it slightly greasy), but that doesn't mean it doesn't soak in effortlessly—it left our tester with a lovely dewy look that lasted all day.

With its skin-friendly ingredients and its dermatologist recommendation, it's a good option for most people; though those with dry skin will likely see most of the benefits. Plus, we love the chic, French-style packaging, which would look gorgeous on your nightstand or in your bathroom cabinet.