Any dermatologist will tell you that moisturizers are an essential part of every skincare routine. But finding the right moisturizer can be tricky—almost as challenging as finding your best cleanser or finding your perfect sunscreen match — but that doesn’t mean it’s an impossible task.
Stop settling for anything less than perfect for your skin, because there’s a perfect match out there. Moisturizers come in a myriad of textures with long lists of ingredients, and some are better for certain skin types. Whether you’ve got dry, oily or combination skin, there’s a face cream out there that will tick all the boxes. Here’s how to choose the best formula and ingredients for every skin type—and how to apply it.
Is moisturizer necessary?
Next to sunscreen, moisturizer is the most important product in any skincare routine because it both protects the skin barrier and treats skin concerns such as fine lines, dullness, and hyperpigmentation. No matter your skin type, the skin barrier retains some amount of moisture on its own, but pretty much all of us need to use additional products to keep our skin properly hydrated.
If your skin’s moisture barrier, also known as the stratum corneum, isn’t functioning properly, it lets water escape, which is also known as transepidermal water loss. When this happens, skin begins to feel tight, dry, and sensitive and you might even notice flakiness. Other factors could also contribute to water loss, including external environmental factors and certain skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
In the short term, moisturizing plumps skin up, giving it a healthy fullness and glow. In the long term, consistent moisturizing (meaning morning and night) helps decrease the appearance and rate at which fine lines and wrinkles emerge.
What’s the difference between day and night moisturizer?
The main difference between a day cream and a night cream comes down to texture and a few specific ingredients. During the day, skin is subject to damaging UV rays, makeup, and environmental stressors. This means that day formulas need to be lighter in texture and have non-greasy formulas, so they perform better when worn under makeup. Some day creams also contain SPF to prevent burning and photoaging.
At night, the skin does the bulk of its regenerating and repairing, which means the best night moisturizers often contain a higher concentration of powerful anti-aging ingredients such as retinol and glycolic acid. The textures are also thicker and richer than day creams because the skin loses more water at night (thanks to transepidermal water loss).
DERM RECOMMENDED MOISTURIZERS
What is the best face moisturizer for your skin type?
You probably know that moisturizer is a vital step in your skincare routine, but what you should be asking yourself is “What type of moisturizer should I use?” Slathering on the wrong moisturizer may not cause you harm, but it certainly won’t be doing you any favours. The best face moisturizer one that will cooperate, soothe and strengthen your skin type while also treating any specific skincare concerns.
Best face moisturizer for dry skin
Dry skin is typically characterized by tightness, dullness, flaking and a rough texture. Simply put, those with it can benefit from moisturizer more than any other skin type. The best moisturizer is one that’s oil-based with a thicker consistency because it provides more hydration than lotion. It should be formulated with a mixture of humectants (which repair the skin barrier) and emollients (which seal in moisture). Minéral 89 72H Moisture Boosting Rich Cream is formulated with Hyaluronic Acid, 15 Mineral-Rich Vichy Volcanic Water, Vitamins B3 & E, Squalane and Lipids to lock-in 72-hour hydration for dry, dehydrated skin.
Best face moisturizer for oily skin
It might seem counterintuitive to slather on a moisturizer when your skin is already slick with oil or scattered with pimples, but the overproduction of oil could be a sign that your skin is dehydrated. The best moisturizer for acne prone and oily skin are ones that deliver hydration with mostly oil-free ingredients. Look for gel or lightweight oil-free moisturizer like Vichy Normaderm PhytoAction Acne Control Daily Moisturizer. The 2% salicylic acid helps with inflammation and fights against acne, while the hyaluronic acid hydrates and Vichy’s volcanic water helps to fortify.
Best face moisturizer for sensitive skin
The best moisturizer for sensitive skin is one that’s gentle enough to keep your face calm yet powerful enough to actually do something. It’s important to look for a minimalist formula that’s not too rich but can still protect the skin barrier. Minéral 89 72H Moisture Boosting Fragrance Free Cream is formulated with a combination of ingredients to provide long-lasting 72-hour hydration and strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier. It’s lightweight texture quickly absorbs into the skin and is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
How to apply moisturizer
Make your cream work that much harder for you by learning how to apply moisturizer on your face like a pro. If you’ve ever asked yourself “Why won’t my face absorb moisturizer?” Chances are you’re either applying too much of it or using it at the wrong time in your routine—or both.
The telltale signs you’re using too much are your skin looks greasy and your makeup won’t stay put or pills when you try to apply foundation. These signs could also mean that the formula is too rich for your skin type.
No matter how many steps you have in your skincare routine, your moisturizer should be the second-to-last step (the final one being your sunscreen). Patience also plays a big role in your skincare routine. To prevent pilling, be sure to wait about a minute after applying each product.