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The Absolute Best Moisturizers for Dry Faces

Photo: Heather Hazzan

Despite your best efforts (humidifiers, masks, more water, less wine), maintaining a supple complexion can be a challenge. But finding the right moisturizer for your skin type makes a big difference. After much trial and error, here are the 17 best face moisturizers for all skin types.

The Best Value Moisturizer

Ideal for oily complexions, this moisturizer absorbs almost instantly so that your skin feels softer, nourished, and not at all greasy. The gel-cream consistency spreads evenly, but feels more like a liquid once applied. It is also one of the least-expensive moisturizers on this list, and has close to 5,000 five-star Amazon reviews.

The Simplest, Fragrance-Free Moisturizer

It’s not the flashiest of moisturizers, but this one has a long-standing reputation in the beauty world — it works really well and has zero scent. (It also has almost 4,000 four-star reviews on Amazon). One swipe of the hyaluronic acid and niacinamide-rich formula deeply moisturizes for supersoft skin.

The Best Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin

Those with chronic eczema praise this cream for its ability to heal and soothe particularly stubborn patches. It is a French drugstore find that contains thermal spring water (known for its healing properties), but also has clinical results that back up its effectiveness at repairing the skin barrier. It’s so soothing that it’s even suitable to use on infants.

The Most Popular Moisturizer

This moisturizer has achieved cult status. It’s been mentioned many times on the Cut as a favorite of Julia Roberts, Victoria Beckham, makeup artists, models, authors, and more. People laud its thickness and the dewy sheen it leaves behind (some people even use it instead of highlighter). It’s primarily meant for the face and body, but it can also be used on the hands, hair, and anyplace else.

The Most Soothing Moisturizer

If your skin is flaky and irritated, you will love this rich, soothing moisturizer. It’s a little on the heavier side, so it’s a good pick for those going through the “Retinoid Uglies” (Sephora reviewers also note that it’s great for anyone using Accutane). It’s formulated with shea butter and colloidal oatmeal, which is known to relieve itching.

The Best Seller

TATCHA The Water Cream
$20

Over the summer, this cream quickly became Sephora’s best-selling moisturizer and sold out twice. It has a gel texture that instantly becomes a rich, silky moisturizer on skin contact, and it moisturizes without getting greasy.

The Best Moisturizer For Really Dry Skin

This moisturizer is chock-full of ceramides, the good “fat” for your skin that helps strengthen the moisture barrier and keeps hydration from leaking out of your pores. It contains five different kinds and has nearly 900 five-star reviews, calling it “intense” and a “must-try for dry skin types.”

The ‘Natural’ One

It looks like shaving cream, but this thick, fluffy moisturizer is a powerhouse of moisturizing ingredients. First off, it’s fragrance-free (meaning it won’t irritate sensitive skin), and it contains good-for-you plant oils and vegetable-derived fatty acids to drench dry faces — without silicones and waxes. Rated one of the top facial moisturizers by cosmetic cop Paula Begoun, it rubs into skin with ease and will restore moisture to a flaky face.

The Moisturizer With SPF

It’s clever to combine sunscreen and moisturizer in one product. The bad news is that it often isn’t done well. That’s not the case with this moisturizer, which has an SPF of 40, but is supremely blendable, not greasy, and hydrating without giving any kind of white cast.

The Next-Level Classic

If you grew up with Clinique’s three-step system, but need something richer, consider this souped-up version of the cult classic. The silky cream glides over rough patches. Loaded with antioxidants and emollients like glycerin and petrolatum, it leaves skin feeling comfortable and soft all day.

The Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin

If the phrase “oil-free” is soothing to your heart, this moisturizer is for you. Despite not containing oil, it’s still extremely moisturizing, thanks to mix of four types of hyaluronic acid. It’s very positively reviewed on Sephora, with hundreds of people praising it as being the absolute best for oily skin.

The Summertime Moisturizer

This weighty cream houses high-tech ingredients, including a 30 percent hyaluronic acid concentration. From the moment it’s applied you will feel a cooling sensation, and it leaves behind a dewy finish. Three different-sized molecules of hyaluronic acid work to maintain hydration in skin.

The Fashion Favorite Moisturizer

This velvety cream feels great and absorbs quickly to replenish very dry skin. It contains hyaluronic acid, peptides, and antioxidants that purportedly boost collagen and smooth fine lines when your skin is looking less than great. Celebrity makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury says she’s used this cream for years at fashion shows and on photo shoots with her loyal clients like Amal Clooney and Kate Moss.

The K-Beauty One

Hailing from the global hub of beauty innovation, this Korean cream feels like a gel but offers the same deep nourishment you’d find in a cream. It contains a blend of apothecary herbs that work to heal and hydrate for springy skin.

The Richest Moisturizer

Most rich creams come with a price tag over $100, but this one feels luxurious without being astoundingly expensive. Just a dollop of this cream works to soften dry skin. It also contains mukurossi (a fruit extract), which acts as a wrinkle enzyme inhibitor to prevent future lines from forming.

The Luxury Moisturizer

From $77

The price tag is steep, but celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Nicole Kidman swear by this moisturizer (J.Lo was rumored to use it as a body moisturizer). Its origin story is legendary and involves psychics, a mystery NASA scientist, fake-death conspiracy theories, and more. La Mer’s proprietary “Miracle Broth” is made with seaweed and allegedly works to smooth fine lines, shrink pores, and restore radiance. Most effective on very, very dry skin, the dense cream melts when applied. Celebrity makeup artists like Hung Vanngo use this on their clients like Chrissy Teigen and Selena Gomez.

The Fancy New Moisturizer

Dubbed the “new La Mer” by some, this very fancy moisturizer is beloved by celebrities (like Melanie Griffith and Diane Kruger), fashion people, and beauty editors alike. It comes with its own mythical-sounding origin story, and no one is quite sure how it works — but lots of people swear by it for giving them better-looking, smoother, and what they describe as younger-looking skin.

Additional reporting by Aimee Leabon. This article was originally published January 24, 2017, and has been updated throughout. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

The Absolute Best Moisturizers for Dry Faces