Home Facial Treatments Best moisturizers for dry skin 2021: 29 top face products

Best moisturizers for dry skin 2021: 29 top face products

Best moisturizers for dry skin 2021: 29 top face products


While people with oily skin have their own set of obstacles, those with dry skin have to pay special attention to their complexion — especially in the winter to avoid dry patches and flakiness.

One way to keep those issues at bay is with a good skin care regimen and the proper products for your skin type.

Keeping your skin in good shape should be a top priority.

“The skin is our largest organ and serves many important functions including acting as a protective barrier, maintaining temperature, and preventing loss of water from the body,” Dr. Smita Ramanadham, a New Jersey-based double-board certified plastic surgeon, told The Post. “Unhealthy skin that is dehydrated and dry can compromise these important functions.”

“Hydrated skin allows the skin to attract and maintain its water content and prevents it from becoming dull, itchy, or inflamed,” Ramanadham added.

In an effort to help you keep your dry skin as healthy as possible, we talked with almost a dozen different experts (ranging from board-certified dermatologists to A-list estheticians and celebrity makeup artists) to get the inside scoop on the best moisturizers, night creams, serums and masks for dry skin.

We have nearly 30 expert recommendations for those who struggle with dry, sensitive and acne-prone skin at a variety of different price points from brands like Cetaphil, La Roche-Posay, Simple, Elta MD, CeraVe, First Aid Beauty and many more.

To shop this article by category, simply click on each bullet below:

Best Moisturizer Overall

1. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, $16

Not only does this cream have more than 40,000 reviews and a near-perfect 4.8-star rating on Amazon, but two of the experts we interviewed raved about it, too!

“I love CeraVe products,” board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shari Sperling told The Post. “Their moisturizing cream is very hydrating and applies easily on the skin.” Sperling is also a fan of this cream for its affordable price point!

Dr. Hadley King, NYC board certified dermatologist also raved about this CeraVe product.

“This is a great moisturizer choice,” said King. “It contains hyaluronic acid, which is a powerful humectant for hydrating the skin, as well as ceramides to lock in that moisture and restore and protect the skin barrier. It’s [also] non-comedogenic so it won’t clog pores and contribute to acne.”

2. ZO® Skin Health Hydrating Crème, $106

Ramanadham is a big fan of the ZO Skin Health Hydrating Creme because it not only hydrates but heals the skin.

“It contains Ophiopogon Japonicus root extract that helps restore the skin barrier function of skin, antioxidants to fight free radicals from UV ray exposure and colloidal oatmeal to soothe and calm [the skin],” said Ramanadham. “It provides moisture without causing break outs [and] it heals and soothes dry skin.”

“This is definitely a splurge but worth it for dry, damaged, skin and [it] won’t [your] clog pores.”

3. Alastin Skincare Restorative Skin Complex, $195

Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology, told The Post her top choice is the Alastin Restorative Skin Complex.

While this is one of the most expensive products on our list, she describes it as a “medical-grade, all-in-one product that’s completely different from any other [moisturizer] out there.”

The brand claims to help maintain skin health for a “vibrant, youthful appearance” so it’s a great anti-aging option, as well. It includes a hydrating formulation with key ingredients to help produce new and healthy elastin and collagen in your skin and combat visible signs of aging.

4. Algenist Genius Liquid Collagen, $115

Celebrity makeup artist, Jill Powell — whose client list includes Demi Lovato, Jamie Lynn Spears, Sabrina Carpenter and many more — loves the Algenist Genius Liquid Collagen Serum to bring back a “youthful bounce to the skin.”

“This is one product that everyone needs in their routine as it firms and plumps the skin,” said Powell. “It pairs well with other products and absorbs nicely into the skin, allowing for layering more products on top with ease. Although it is a bit of a splurge, you will be so happy with your visible results and won’t think twice about purchasing again when you run low.”

This Algenist serum features alguronic acid which is naturally sourced and sustainably produced from algae and active vegan collagen that helps to strengthen and condition the skin to visibly improve suppleness and texture.

5. Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, $13

King also highly recommends the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream for both the face and body. “It’s non-comedogenic and packed with both hydrating humectants and emollients to lock in moisture.”

Key ingredients in the formula include glycerin, glyceryl stearate, sweet almond oil and vitamin E. “Glycerin is a humectant and emollient that draws in moisture to hydrate and lock in moisture,” King explained. “Glyceryl stearate is a conditioning agent that works as an emollient to soften the skin. Sweet almond oil is also an emollient that softens and [can] help to rejuvenate damaged skin. Vitamin E is a very effective antioxidant that helps to protect against UV damage.”

King isn’t the only one loving this Cetaphil product either. It has almost 10,000 reviews on Amazon and an impressive 4.8-star rating.

Best Moisturizer for Dry, Sensitive Skin

1. EltaMD AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer, $35

One of Ramanadham’s favorite brands is EltaMD because they sell medical-grade products at affordable price points. “Their products literally disappear into your skin without leaving residues,” she said.

“The EltaMD AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer is great for sensitive skin,” added Ramanadham. “It is non-comedogenic and not greasy. This [product] is lightweight and stimulates the skin’s water barrier without using oils or emollients. It also contains hyaluronic acid which hydrates our skin cells, niacinamide, an anti-inflammatory that reduces redness and vitamin C that reduces free radicals.”

2. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Face Moisturizer, $30

Dr. Angela J. Lamb, a board-certified dermatologist and associate professor of Dermatology, recommends La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Ultra Moisturizer for those with dry, sensitive skin.

“Those who have sensitive skin or allergy-prone skin are more likely to have a skin reaction or irritation to products that are usually well tolerated by normal skin,” Lamb told The Post. “This is why sensitive skin needs a moisturizer that strengthens the skin barrier and is free of ingredients that potentially cause irritation or allergic reactions.”

“I love the Toleriane Ultra because it provides instant and long-lasting hydration and comfort for those with sensitive skin and helps restore skin’s protective moisture barrier.”

Lamb also likes this product because it doesn’t contain any irritating ingredients and is free from preservatives, parabens, fragrance, or drying alcohol.

3. Simple Kind to Skin Replenishing Rich Moisturizer, $9

If you have sensitive and dry skin, King recommends giving Simple’s Kind to Skin Replenishing Rich Moisturizer a try. And for the price, what do you have to lose?

“It’s enriched with pro-vitamin B5, bisabolol and allantoin to hydrate and soothe the skin,” King said. “[It also doesn’t have any] colors, dyes or irritants, making it perfect for sensitive skin.”

This is drugstore moisturizer is also hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic.

4. Avène Tolerance Extreme Emulsion, $38

“Avene Tolerance Cream is my go-to recommendation for dry skin due to its minimal ingredients [and because it’s] loaded with glycerin to support the skin barrier and moisture for exquisitely sensitive skin under more severe weather conditions,” said Levin.

Lamb also recommends this Avene product. “This moisturizer contains Vitamin E and Glycerin, which helps plump skin and leads to decreased appearance of fine lines,” she said.

Best Moisturizer for Dry, Acne-Prone Skin

1. Tula 24-7 Moisture Hydrating Day & Night Cream, $52

Finding a moisturizer for someone with dry and acne-prone skin can be tricky, but Sperling swears by this product from Tula.

“I love the TULA 24-7 Moisturizer for acne-prone skin,” said Sperling. “It’s non-comedogenic, which is essential for those prone to acne and it’s lightweight and won’t leave your skin feeling greasy. It also doesn’t contain parabens or sulfates, so there’s less risk of allergic reactions for those with sensitive skin.”

“This cream is very hydrating and can be used both in the daytime and or nighttime. It’s lightweight enough to be worn throughout the day and provides essential hydration to the skin,” Sperling added.

2. SkinCeauticals Daily Moisture, $63

The SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture is another great option.

“This is an extremely lightweight moisturizer that is designed for acne prone and oily skin that is dry. It moisturizes without clogging pores and breakouts,” said Ramanadham. “It contains botanical extracts, vitamin E and algae extracts that nourishes and protects [the] skin without leaving it oiling or clogging pores.”

3. Elta PM Therapy Facial Moisturizer, $35

“Elta PM Lotion is a hydrating and lightweight but still an effective moisturizer with niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and ceramides,” said Levin.

Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 that’s anti-inflammatory and “increases ceramide content in the skin which is calming and important for the skin barrier,” Levin explained. “Hyaluronic acid is a natural sugar molecule that is found in our skin. It’s incredibly effective at holding water in the skin which is why it’s a go-to hero humectant ingredient.”

Lastly, “ceramides are like the mortar to skin cells which are like bricks and ensure a healthy skin barrier.”

It’s great for all skin types, especially for those struggling with acne since it’s free of oil, parabens, sulfates, fragrances and is cruelty-free and non-comedogenic.

Best Night Cream For Dry Skin

1. CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream, $18

Both Ramanadham and Sperling recommend this night cream. “The CeraVe Renewing Night Cream is formulated with peptides, hyaluronic acid and ceramides to deeply hydrate the skin while helping to renew the skin’s natural barrier overnight,” said Ramanadham.

It’s great for all skin types, non-greasy and designed to hydrate, refresh, soften and renew the look of tired, dry skin.

2. Algenist Genius Sleeping Collagen, $98

The Algenist Sleeping Collagen cream is definitely on the pricier side, but Powell thinks it’s worth investing in.

“Your skin repairs itself the most overnight while you are sleeping, so your nighttime routine is essential in keeping your skin in the best condition,” Powell said. “Algenist Sleeping Collagen is a rich cream packed full of ingredients like collagen and ceramides that boost hydration and repair the skin overnight. You will wake up with soft cushioned skin that appears more radiant and smooth.”

3. Pond’s Rejuveness Advanced Hydrating Night Cream, $10

“Pond’s Rejuveness Advanced Hydrating Night Cream is a great option for [nighttime] moisturizing while also delivering anti-aging benefits,” said King. “It’s formulated with vitamin B3 and retinol complex as well as glycerin and pro-ceramides to hydrate and support the skin barrier.”

The brand claims users will see visibly reduced fine lines and wrinkles as early as day one.

Best Face Oil or Serum For Dry Skin

1. Innisfree Green Tea Seed Intensive Hydrating Serum, $20

This Innisfree serum is an eye roll-on packaged product that comes highly recommended by Powell for those with dry skin.

“Serums are where you can pack the punch in treating concerns with your skin,” Powell said. “If you are sensitive, it’s best to stay away from synthetic fragrances as they can irritate sensitive skin.”

“Dry skin needs extra hydration, so I love the Innisfree Green Tea Seed Intensive Hydrating Serum as it provides immediate hydration and leaves the skin soft and glowing,” Powell said. “Use this product before your moisturizer for an added boost of hydration that keeps your skin soft and hydrated all day long.”

2. Isdin Flavo-C Ultraglican Serum, $38

Dr. Levin’s dry skin serum recommendation is the Isdin Flavo C. “It’s a clinically studied vitamin C moisturizing antioxidant serum with ultraglycans and hyaluronic acid to brighten the skin while improving fine lines and wrinkles.”

3. Kinship Oil Drops, $35

If you’re looking for a clean serum option, these drops from Kinship may be the way to go!

“I am loving Kinship brand oil drops,” said Lamb. “They are pretty amazing. It has a low ingredient count and traps in moisture. The product contains oil from the oat kernel, which really helps penetrate the skin to support the skin barrier.”

In addition to oat ceramides, this serum also includes Vitamin C ester (a form of Vitamin C that delivers radiance and glow) and what the brand calls the “Kin-Glo Complex,” which is a blend of essential omega fatty acids that soothe and restore the skin.

4. SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator, $120

Although it’s on the pricier side, Sperling is a big fan of this serum. “This moisturizing face serum is elegant and goes on nicely under makeup or at night before bed,” she said. “It’s very hydrating from the hyaluronic acid — which is found naturally in [your] skin. It’s safe for all skin types and great for anti-aging as it helps soften fine lines and wrinkles.”

Dr. Roxy Grawe, a board-certified plastic surgeon, is also a fan. “This is a lotion which actually has five different types of hyaluronic acid in it. Known to hold water, this hydrates your skin without causing acne,” she told The Post.

Grawe added that a little goes a long way and that the product has a gel-like consistency.

Best Face Mask For Dry Skin

1. Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Masque, $36

Image Skincare’s Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Masque is a great option for those who have dry skin and want to rejuvenate their skin with a mask.

“This mask is soothing, anti-aging, hydrating and is great for all skin types, including dry and dehydrated skin. I recommend using it once a week. It smells great and leaves the skin looking and feeling refreshed,” said Sperling.

2. Kora Organics Noni Glow Sleeping Mask, $48

Dr. Mariana Vergara, a cosmetic dermatologist, is a big fan of face masks and recommends the Kora Organics Noni Glow Sleeping Mask for those with dry skin.

“This mask hydrates, smooths and plumps the skin. It contains silver ear mushroom, coconut milk, caviar lime and Kakadu plum extract,” Vergara told The Post. “Silver ear helps bind hyaluronic acid to your skin to deeply hydrate. Coconut Milk is a source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acid that balances dryness and improves the skin barrier protection which decreases inflammation in the skin. It also contains antioxidants like vitamin C which protects the skin from oxidative stress.”

3. SK-II Facial Treatment Mask, 10 Sheets for $98, originally $135

“SK-II’s Facial Treatment mask is a splurge-worthy mask that hydrates and moisturizes the skin,” said Ramanadham. “It contains a blend of vitamins and amino acids that soften the skin’s surface and improves skin tone. It also contains salicylic acid but can be used in any skin type and not only improves dryness but can be used for hyperpigmentation and acne-prone skin.”

Amazon is currently discounting the brand’s 10-pack mask set by almost 30% off.

4. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating 100% Hydrogel Mask, $4

Dr. Levin recommends these Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating 100% Hydrogel Sheet Masks because they’re loaded with hyaluronic acid (which we know gives tons of moisture to the skin!) and sold at a great price point.

5. Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Mask, $95

“If you want to splurge and feel like you just left the spa, try Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Mask for an at-home treatment,” said Powell. “This luxurious mask should be applied all over the face and neck and left on for 15 to 20 minutes.”

After rinsing off this mask, Powell says you’ll truly feel like you just left the spa. “You can also leave on overnight for added hydration treatment,” she recommended.

According to Sephora, it delivers thirst-quenching hydration and features Tremella mushroom to lock in moisture and an Australian coastal flower blend that provides natural sources of antioxidants, ellagic acid and ferulic acid to brighten, even skin tone and minimize the look of redness.

Best Drugstore Moisturizer for Dry Skin

1. CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion, $10

While there are plenty of high-end products you can buy to help give your dry skin moisture, you don’t always have to spend a ton of cash to get the job done. Ramanadham’s drugstore recommendation is the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion.

“You can’t go wrong with CeraVe products and this lotion will not disappoint,” said Ramanadham. “It contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid. It’s lightweight, non-greasy, fragrance-free and non-comedogenic.”

2. Cetaphil Deep Hydration Healthy Glow Daily Cream, $23

Cetaphil’s Healthy Glow Dailey Cream is another great budget-friendly option.

“Cetaphil Healthy Glow Daily Cream is a great moisturizer for dry skin,” said Powell. “It penetrates and hydrates even the most sensitive skin and leaves the skin soft and supple. This is by far the best intense moisturizing cream [if you’re on a budget} and you can grab it at most major drugstores.” 

3. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, $16+

Powell describes First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream “like a drink of water for your skin.”

“This is another amazing cream for dry skin and while it’s not sold at drugstores, it is priced the same as drug store products,” Powell explained. “This cream absorbs immediately into the skin with no added fragrance, so it’s perfect for both men and women that lack hydration. You will be left with hydrated skin that doesn’t feel sticky or greasy.”

3. Versed Skin Soak Rich Moisture Cream, $18

Celebrity esthetician Candace Marino highly recommends the Versed Skin Soak Rich Moisture Cream for those not wanting to spend a ton of money.

“This cream is enriched with algae extract, vitamin E and squalene to help replenish the moisture level of the skin,” said Marino. “It nourishes and hydrates the skin and is rich in texture but not greasy. The texture is ultra-luxe and at the [inexpensive] price point, I don’t think you can do better.”

3. Vanicream Moisturizing Cream, $13, original price: $16

The Vanicream Moisturizing Cream is another recommendation from Powell that can be used on both the face and body.

“It’s an amazing cream that provides instant hydration without leaving your skin feeling oily. Its affordable price point makes this lotion even more appealing, but believe me, it doesn’t lack quality results,” Powell said. “It’s formulated without many common skin irritants so it is often recommended by dermatologists and great for sensitive skin.”

I like Vanicream {because] it’s formulated without fragrance, fragrance masker, formaldehydes or formaldehyde releasers,” added Lamb. It’s really a fantastic choice when you want something non-allergic.”

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