Perhaps your complexion feels tight and dry. Or oily. Sensitive. What about acne-prone, mature, or all of the above? The good news is there’s a moisturiser that’s just right for your skin type. Call it the matriarch of all skincare lotions and potions: moisturiser has been a mainstay in our beauty routines for decades. And while an array of serums, essences and mists have followed in its wake—and frequently stolen its limelight—when you find the best moisturiser for you, it truly usurps every other product in your arsenal.
How do I choose a moisturiser?
“Moisturising the skin maintains the integrity of the skin’s barrier function, and is vital for good skin health,” says skin health specialist and founder of Decree, Dr Anita Sturnham. “Your skin’s needs change on a day to day basis, with factors like stress, hormones, travel and lifestyle all impacting upon its hydration levels, leaving us prone to dryness. I recommend having two moisturisers—a light formulation and a richer one.” Getting to know your skin, what it likes and what it reacts to, is key to creating a skincare routine that will get the best out of your skin, so each morning work out whether it needs a rich or light moisturiser in order to help it function effectively.
Should I moisturise in the morning or night?
Both. Moisturiser seals, supports and protects the top layers of the skin, otherwise known as the epidermal barrier, so applying it both morning and night can make a huge difference to its quality and texture. “This barrier acts as a brick wall to stop the bad stuff, like bacteria and environmental stressors, getting in while stopping the good stuff, like moisture, from escaping.” Add to that the fact our barriers are pelted with different external aggressors, like UV rays, blue light, pollution and fluctuating temperatures, and you’ve got a wall that is weak and in need of reinforcement to mitigate moisture loss.
What is the best face moisturiser?
“To do all the above, the best face moisturiser will contain both humectant and emollient properties to support the skin. Ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid and squalane are brilliant ones to look out for,” says Sturnham. “Even if your skin is oily and often breaks out, it’s a myth that you should skip the moisturiser step. The key is just to ensure you are using a well-formulated product, which performs the protective function without clogging pores.” Sturnham suggests those who are really oily look for a water-based product in both a serum and a moisturiser. ‘Aqua, water, deionised water’ should be the top three ingredients on the label. Meanwhile, those with dryer skin types, should look to moisturisers that contain ceramides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid and urea.
What moisturisers do dermatologists recommend?
Look no further than CeraVe for an ultra affordable face moisturiser. Made in collaboration with dermatologists, all of its formulas contain the good stuff needed to keep every skin type healthy and strong – think ceramides, hyaluronic acid and patented MVE delivery technology, which helps the formula keep skin hydrated for longer. Dr Sam Bunting’s very own skincare range includes a Flawless Moisturiser which is non comedogenic and fragrance free and contains niacinamide to brighten and strengthen the skin barrier. Other brands that dermatologists recommend include La Roche-Posay (we love the Toleriane Sensitive Moisturiser), Medik8 and Skinceuticals. See below for recommendations for every skin type.
Best moisturisers for dry skin
When it comes to super dry skin, the temptation is always to slather on the thickest, most sumptuous cream to try and nourish the skin. But Sturnham says that isn’t necessarily the answer: “Often the thicker products are packed full of pore-clogging ingredients, including silicones, which are added to give you the feeling that your skin is smoother and silkier. Don’t get me wrong, silicones can also have huge protective benefits, but it’s important to do your research and select products with friendlier silicones such as cyclomethicone and dimethicone, as well as looking for naturally derived humectants and emollients.” Jojoba, candelilla and glycerin can provide intensive moisturisation without clogging.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Moisturiser
SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 Ceramide Lipid Cream
Best moisturisers to boost radiance
While the moisturiser’s main job is to deeply hydrate, nourish and lock serums and active ingredients into the skin, some of them also contain actives themselves and work hard to enhance the skin, brightening, evening and boosting luminosity while they’re at it.
Allies Of Skin Molecular Multi-Nutrient Day Cream
Caudalie Vinoperfect Dark Spot Correcting Glycolic Night Cream
Best moisturisers for combination skin
It’s a common conundrum: skin is dry on the cheeks and oily on the T-zone. Those with combination skin shouldn’t be afraid to use different moisturisers for different areas, to ensure all of the skin is being catered to.
Eau Thermale Avène Hydrance Aqua Cream-In-Gel
YSL Beauty Pure Shots Perfect Plumper Cream
Paula’s Choice Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturiser
The Inkey List Peptide Moisturizer
Best moisturisers for oily skin
“Even oily skin needs moisturising, as excess oils do not equate to effective skin hydration. Look for the term “non-comedogenic” (which means non-pore clogging) on the label, and ingredients like squalane, hyaluronic acid, phytoceramides and glycerin, because they won’t clog your pores,” explains Sturnham.
The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA
Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Anti-Brilliance
Waso Giga-Hydrating Rich Cream
Vichy PhytoSolution Double Correction Daily Care
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream
Best moisturisers for mature skin
As our skin barrier weakens with age, mature skin has more trouble holding onto moisture, so an effective moisturiser is essential.
Estée Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Night Intensive Restorative Crème
Dr Barbara Sturm Anti-Aging Face Cream
Clarins Extra-Firming Energy Glow Plus Complex Day Cream
Dior Capture Totale C.E.L.L. Energy Firming & Wrinkle-Correcting Cream
Lancôme Rénergie Multi-Lift Ultra Cream
Olay Total Effects 7 In 1 Anti-Ageing Moisturiser
Best moisturisers for sensitive skin
Your skin’s natural barrier is highly reactive and when compromised, takes time to repair.
Clarins Calm-Essentiel Soothing Emulsion
Bioderma Atoderm PP Ultra-Nourishing Balm
Tatcha Indigo Overnight Repair
Dermalogica Calm Water Gel
Etude House Soon Jung Hydro Barrier Cream
Best SPF moisturisers
A moisturiser that includes an SPF can add to your overall sun protection; however, keep in mind that a SPF in your moisturiser alone is not enough. Given our hot, humid and eternally sunny climes, you’ll be needing to reapply a separate broad-spectrum sunscreen every two hours or so.