Best Face Moisturizers for Every Skin Type in 2021 -- Drunk Elephant, La Mer, Chanel, Glossier, Obagi and More
By ETonline Staff
Each product has been independently selected by our editorial team. We may receive commissions from some links to products on this page. Promotions are subject to availability and retailer terms.
Moisturizing your skin is kind of like brushing your teeth: It's generally a good idea to do it twice a day in order to get the best results, no matter your skin type or skin tone. And with fall around the corner, keeping the skin hydrated and supple amid cold weather is important.
Most people have the same end goal for their face: plump, soft, younger-looking skin with no signs of acne, sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles or dark spots. Consistent hydration not only improves your skin's texture, making it smoother; it also reinforces the skin's barrier function, meaning it’s less permeable to irritants such as pollution.
While this twice-daily facial beauty routine might seem straightforward enough to follow, shopping for a new facial moisturizer can often be anything but easy. Because who knows which of the best sunscreen, cream, anti-aging products, retinol moisturizers, collagen and elastin lotion or oil-free moisturizer actually works best on your unique skin type? After all, the daily moisturizer formula that pairs perfectly for the acne-prone might not suit those whose complexions are on the dry side.
Until there's an end-all-be-all official skincare manual out there, we've laid out our recommendations for the best face moisturizer for all skin types below.
We don't need to hear much more than "Jennifer Lopez loves this product" before whipping out our credit card. But if you are curious why the superstar uses it religiously, this budget-friendly anti-aging face cream contains moisturizing ingredients and SPF 30 -- a must -- plus glycolic acid, vitamin C and pro-retinol. Together, the combo works to even out skin tone, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and protect from UV rays.
Dermatologists always stress the importance of retinol in your skincare routine because the vitamin A derivative boosts collagen production and reduces the appearance of fine lines on your face. This anti-aging moisturizer and retinol cream from Kate Somerville also boasts antioxidants like vitamin C for extra horsepower.
Olay Regenerist Anti-Aging Face Moisturizer is one of those products that, once you start using it, quickly becomes an old standby. The anti-aging drugstore face cream gets to work immediately, hydrating the skin and softening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while firming and plumping. It's infused with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, amino peptides and niacinamide (aka vitamin B3), which work together for visible, and surprisingly affordable, results.
First Aid Beauty's FAB Skin Lab Retinol Serum is safe for sensitive skin. This serum combines retinol and polypeptides to help soften the look of wrinkles and fine lines with ingredients including hyaluronic acid, vitamins C and E, aloe, colloidal oatmeal, allantoin and ceramides.
Rihanna's Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer is a favorite among fans, influencers and beauty editors. This moisturizer-and-sunscreen combo hydrates, protects and brightens the skin. The lightweight, oil-free and noncomedogenic formula absorbs fast, and it doesn't leave a white cast or break you out.
This lightweight gel moisturizer formula is packed with the powerhouse hydrator hyaluronic acid and is beloved by high-end beauty aficionados and drugstore dwellers alike. This hydrating gel absorbs almost instantly, so your skin feels softer, nourished and not at all greasy.
Yes, even oily complexions need hydration (otherwise, you'll get flaky and irritated skin). This oil-free formula and moisturizer designed for oily skin won’t exacerbate breakouts for the acne-prone -- this mattifying moisturizer actually helps prevent them with salicylic acid -- and instead gives skin a supple, matte appearance.
Huda Beauty's Honey Balm Jelly Moisturizer textured jelly-meets-balm moisturizer. This face moisturizer is infused with honey and turmeric root extract to lock-in moisture for up to 24 hours while soothing the skin.
This Dr. Jart ceramidin moisturizer cream for combination skin is such a cult favorite that it is often sold out. The lightweight cream is stacked with ceramides, the good “fat” for your skin that hydrates the skin barrier from within and prevents chronic water loss from your pores. Normal, dry and even very dry skin instantly become plumped with all-day, time-release moisture.
Tula's 24-7 Moisture Hydrating Day & Night Cream is perfect for combination skin -- its filled with probiotics, superfoods, watermelon fruit extract and squalene to deeply hydrate and firm skin. Stuff it's not filled with? Parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, petrolatum, formaldehydes, formaldehyde releasing preservatives, triclosan, retinol or gluten.
Chanel's hydrating gel cream is made with micro-droplets containing camellia oil extract that burst upon contact with skin, providing an instant sense of freshness -- along with a moisturizing effect that lasts up to 24 hours. As its name implies, the Hydra Beauty Crème deeply hydrates and protects skin against free radicals; it also helps restore and maintain optimal moisture levels in the skin cells.
This moisturizer from Bobbi Brown targets fine lines and wrinkles while managing combination skin. Dryness, Fine Lines and Wrinkles, and Oiliness
The formula uses shea butter with vitamins E and other nutrients for a cream you can use every day.
If you're looking for a no-frills moisturizer that simply does the job, the Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream with Squalane is the one for you. This bestseller is lightweight, fragrance-free and paraben-free. It instantly moisturizes, smoothes and soothes the skin -- even sensitive skin.
The cult favorite skincare brand Drunk Elephant is committed to using only ingredients that either directly benefit the skin’s health or support the integrity and effectiveness of their formulations. What you won’t find in their products: essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrances/dyes or sulfates/SLS, making them the perfect for the sensitive skin set. This thick, fluffy moisturizer is infused with six rare African oils and a ceramide complex for intense moisture; it's also fragrance-free, which means it’s sure to not irritate sensitive skin.
Jessica Alba's Honest Beauty's The Daily Calm Lightweight Moisturizer is formulated with two types of hyaluronic acid and squalane. This face moisturizer is oil-free, synthetic-free, fragrance-free and cruelty-free.
The price tag is undoubtedly steep, but celebrities like Jennifer Lopez swear by La Mer, the legendary elixir that infuses skin with sea-sourced renewing energies. This famously luxurious facial cream deeply soothes, moisturizes and helps heal dryness, so your skin will look naturally vibrant and restored. There is a secret to activating the Miracle Broth in Crème de la Mer, which lies in a soothing ritual: Warm it for a few seconds between your fingers until it becomes translucent, then press gently onto your face. Because it's so rich, La Mer is ideal for drier skin types.
Lancôme's Hydra Zen Anti-Stress Glow Liquid Moisturizer is lightweight made with 11 amino acids and hyaluronic acid. This face moisturizer visibly de-stresses skin, hydrates and supports the skin's moisture barrier for a glow that lasts all 24 hours.
This luxurious cream has found a home with myriad fashion and beauty influencers. They love its clean ingredients, antioxidant-laden formula and ability to take skin from extremely parched to pleasingly plump. The highly active compounds get to work both superficially and deep inside your skin's cells -- as a result, fine lines will disappear and skin will be visibly firmer.