We tested over 300 moisturizers, and these were the 9 best
Using a moisturizer in your skincare routine is an absolute must. In fact, if you had to pick only two skincare products to take with you on an island, your best bet would be to take your favorite cleanser and a moisturizer. Our skin needs constant hydration to stay healthy, and if your goal is to prevent signs of aging, moisturizers also help to keep skin plump and supple.
For the 2020 Beauty Crush Awards, we tested thousands of products and interviewed 14 experts to find the best beauty products on the market. Of those thousands, there were over 300 moisturizers, and from those we picked nine that stood out from the crowd. We stand behind each and every one of these products, and we hope you can find the ones that speak to you. Consider this your shopping list for the year—made by your best friends for the people they love. Below, the best moisturizers for your face:
Best Overall Moisturizers
1Best Drugstore Moisturizer: Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer SPF 40
To protect your skin from the sun, opt for a face moisturizer with SPF to streamline your routine. Testers loved that this Olay pick looked smooth on skin and acted as the perfect primer for makeup.
2Best Luxury Moisturizer: Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream Moisturizer
Testers liked that this cream instantly melted into their skin and made it feel healthy, hydrated, and glowy. It uses a mix of oils, ceramides, and antioxidants, which together provide moisture and help skin retain that moisture. It’s also formulated at an ideal pH level of 5.2, so it won’t throw your skin off. Oh, and did we mention it has a fun pump? The pump dispenses the perfect-sized amount of moisturizer onto your skin without any of the mess.
3Best Expert-Recommended Moisturizer: Cetaphil Ultra Healing Lotion with Ceramides
Shop it! Cetaphil Ultra Healing Lotion with Ceramides, $19.97, amazon.com
Although this moisturizing lotion is technically formulated for the body, Tiffany Libby, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Rhode Island, recommends it for the face as well. “I use this on my body and face when I need to double down on my moisture, especially in the winter months, and I love that it is formulated with ceramides to help enhance my skin barrier and keep my skin smooth and hydrated,” she says.
Best Moisturizers For Acne-Prone Skin
4Best Drugstore Moisturizer For Acne-Prone Skin: Differin Restorative Night Moisturizer
Shop it! Differin Restorative Night Moisturizer, $10.99, amazon.com
Sleep your way to clearer skin with this gentle and non-comedogenic moisturizer. It’s packed with soothing and hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid and ceramides, which help to repair acne-prone skin especially prone to dryness as a result of harsh, blemish-fighting ingredients.
5Best Luxury Moisturizer For Acne-Prone Skin: Origins Clear Improvement Pore Clearing Moisturizer with Salicylic Acid
It can be tricky to find a moisturizer that actively works to clear skin without drying it out, but this one strikes the perfect balance. It uses charcoal to absorb excess oil and debris, and salicylic acid to tackle surface and pore-deep bacteria, all while delivering all-day hydration thanks to the glycerin and squalane-packed formula.
6Dermatologist-Recommended Moisturizer For Acne-Prone Skin: Differin Oil Absorbing Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30
Shop it! Differin Oil Absorbing Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30, $10.35, amazon.com
“This is an oil-free, lightweight, non-comedogenic, fragrance-free formula that also packs SPF 30 protection,” explains Deanne Robinson, M.D., a dermatologist in Connecticut. “There are instant benefits, since the micropearl technology absorbs oil at the surface to give a matte finish and keeps shine at bay.” Because of all of this, it’s the perfect daytime moisturizer for acne-prone skin.
Best Anti-Aging Moisturizers
7Best Drugstore Anti-Aging Moisturizer: Olay Retinol24 Night Moisturizer
Shop it! Olay Retinol24 Night Moisturizer, $46.99, amazon.com
This moisturizer received a 24/25 score, with testers praising how smooth their skin looked after using it. “I could instantly feel the difference on my skin the next day,” raved an HG tester. “It’s baby soft and the retinol doesn’t feel intense at all for the results I’m getting. It’s magic.”
8Best Luxury Anti-Aging Moisturizer: Good Science Beauty Skin Firming Cream
Using the brand’s patented silicon+ technology, this cream combines barley extract (which improves elasticity) with poria cocos (an antioxidant that aids collagen retention) for a mighty double-whammy. An independent clinical study found that after 28 days of daily use, there was a 21% wrinkle reduction amongst testers. Why 28 days? That’s the life cycle of skin, so that’s how long it takes to start seeing real results from skincare products.
9Dermatologist-Recommended Anti-Aging Moisturizer: Clinique iD Jelly Custom Blend Hydrator
Kavita Mariwalla, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York, praises this customized system since it allows you to pick a cartridge for your skincare concern. In this case it’s anti-aging, and because the base is a hydrating jelly, users still get the moisturization needed to keep skin healthy.