The Best Moisturizers for Every Skin Type
Normal Skin: Belif True Cream Aqua Bomb
Even if you have "normal" skin without any major concerns, it's still important to use a moisturizer, because you want to keep the skin balanced, intact, and hydrated, explains Papri Sarkar, M.D., a dermatologist in Brookline, MA.
"For the lucky people with this skin type, I recommend a basic cleanser and moisturizer so they can save the star ingredients for serums, acids, retinoids, or antioxidants," says Dr. Sarkar. "Many of those can be irritating, so a 'bland' but hydrating moisturizer that keeps skin intact is a good choice.
Belif's True Cream Aqua Bomb is one of her favorites. "It's relatively light, easy to apply, and won't pill under makeup if you use it during the day," she explains. ($38; belifusa.com)
Normal Skin: Youth to The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream
"Pretty much all skin types do well with the addition of hyaluronic acid," says Dr. Sarkar, and normal skin is no exception. "Hyaluronic acid is a natural sugar found in our body that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. It gives our skin structure and plumpness." (Here's more info on why hyaluronic acid is the easiest way to transform your skin instantly.)
While hyaluronic acid is great on its own (like in a serum, for example), using it in a moisturizer can give you even more bang for your buck. For a product packed with the stuff, try this kale, green tea, and spinach-infused moisturizer. ($48; youthtothepeople.com)
Acne Prone: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream
"For acne-prone skin, I recommend salicylic or lactic acid somewhere in your regimen," says Dr. Sarkar. "Both of these ingredients help to treat acne without being too harsh on the skin." Dr. Sarkar recommends finding a cleanser with these products and adding a richer moisturizer on top.
Sarkar likes Sunday Riley's Good Genes ($105; dermstore.com) as an acne-fighting serum with lactic acid, which can then be topped off with a richer product like Neutrogena's Hydro Cream Boost ($20; neutrogena.com), which is made from a quick-absorbing gel-cream formula that can help to combat any slight dryness caused by acids. (Related: 10 of the Best Gel Moisturizers for Oily Skin)
Acne Prone: CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM
"For people with open pimples on their skin, I also like them to look for products with ceramides to protect the skin," says Dr. Sarkar. "Ceramides are naturally found in the lipid layer of the skin and help to keep moisture in the skin." (Here, more on how ceramides work, and why you should use them.)
She especially likes CeraVe's AM lotion, which has SPF as an added bonus. ($13; amazon.com)
Dry: Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin
"Because some people with dry skin tend to have cracks or fissures, it's important to make sure that you aren't using something that can make that worse," says Dr. Sarkar. Once there are openings in the skin, it's more likely that you'll have a reaction to certain ingredients in skin-care products that you wouldn't normally have. Occlusives like petrolatum and shea butter, which help seal the cracks between the skin and prevent water from escaping, can be helpful, she explains.
"I love Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin cream for dry skin," says Dr. Sarkar. "It has glycerin, shea butter, and ceramides to combat dryness." ($48; sephora.com)
Dry: Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream
With plenty of glycerin (another one of Dr. Sarkar's favorite hydrating ingredients) and an ingredient called sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer, which is similar to hyaluronic acid but at a smaller molecular weight so it can penetrate skin more deeply, this rich moisturizer from a clean beauty brand is a great pick for dry, flaky skin. ($60; drunkelephant.com)
(FYI, here's what you need to know about the difference between clean and natural beauty products.)
Redness Prone: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
"Redness-prone skin tends to be reactive and sensitive," says Dr. Sarkar. In general, she opts for creams for those with red skin that's super dry, and gels for those with skin that's both acne-prone and red. Ceramides are also a good option for this skin type thanks to their calming properties, like CeraVe's Moisturizing Cream, she says. ($14; amazon.com)
Redness Prone: REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream
Oily or Combination: Simple Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream
"For oily or combination skin, I generally recommend moisturizers that still have hyaluronic acid or glycerin, but are gel-like or lighter," says Dr. Sarkar. Simple's gel moisturizer has glycerin, and it's fragrance-free for those who prefer to go au naturel. ($9; target.com)
Oily or Combination: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Daily Moisturizer for Oily Skin
For those looking for a mattifying option, this moisturizer should do the trick. Dr. Sarkar recommends applying an oil-friendly moisturizer all over, then dabbing a richer moisturizer in dry areas for those with combination skin types. ($32; dermstore.com)
Aging Concerns: Avène Rich Compensating Cream
A cream or oil with occlusives is best for those with aging concerns like fine lines or skin discoloration, especially if they're using a retinol, says Dr. Sarkar. "I very much like a cream that you add a few drops of moisturizing oil into and apply to the face after mixing together," she adds. But for an option that you don't need to add anything extra to she recommends Avène Compensating Cream, which contains shea butter, glycerin, beeswax, and oils. ($35; avene.com)
Aging Concerns: Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil
For those looking for anti-aging benefits, it's a good idea to opt for an oil-based moisturizer in place of a traditional one. This night oil contains retinol already built into the formula, so you can skip the serum beforehand. Its rich, oily texture helps to prevent dryness, while trans-retinoic acid ester (a gentler retinoid) reduces visible pores and fine lines. ($105; sephora.com)
(This product also contains blue tansy, a skin-care trend that's about to blow up your Instagram feed.)