10 Best Moisturizers For Dry Skin Tested & Compared

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Running and other workouts have positive effects on the skin by carrying oxygen and nutrients to the skin. However, it sometimes isn’t the best for dry skin, especially in the cold and windy weather. It’s important to apply a good moisturizer before braving the outdoor elements in order to make sure skin is protected and hydrated.

A good moisturizer solves this problem by nourishing skin cells, penetrating deep into the skin’s layers to replenish cells. Many also contain SPF which protects skin from harmful rays, which can lead to more serious issues like malignant melanoma. Everyone should add a good moisturizer to their daily routine, but this is especially true for athletes and gym junkies. That’s because we often find ourselves washing our face post workout to get rid of sweat. This can dry out the skin. Put your best face forward and invest in the best moisturizers.

Last Updated: July 27, 2018
By Kelly Lowis:

This update introduces Bella Serata, an anti-aging moisturizer that is safe for all skin types. It is a great addition to the best moisturizers we could find. With this update you are sure to find a moistuirzer that is right for your skin type.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • All Day Hydration
  • Price: See Here
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
  • Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Anti-Aging Properties
  • Price: See Here
Bella Serata
  • Bella Serata
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Anti-aging ingredients
  • Price: See Here

 

10 Best Moisturizers for Dry Skin

 

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

Try Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel once, and you won’t have to try another moisturizer again. It really is that good. That’s because it’s super lightweight, not being overly creamy since it is a gel. But where it really delivers is on how fast users see and feel results as to how hydrated, smooth and naturally glowing their face becomes. Its formula features hyaluronic acid, is oil, fragrance and dye-free, and is made by a brand you can trust.
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Ingredients

The main ingredient in this option is its hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring polysaccharide that is a moisture-binding ingredient that adds hydration to the skin cells, as well as plumping and smoothing for a rejuvenated and fresh.

Other inactive ingredients include water, dimethicone, glycerin, Cetearyl, C13-14, and sodium hyaluronate.

Texture

This is a gel-based moisturizer that goes on like a cream. It is extremely lightweight, virtually weightless, and feels essentially like water being applied to the face. It dries quickly, leaving a slightly dewy look that isn’t too shiny or greasy.

Efficacy

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel works exceedingly well at hydrating the face, making it among the best for very dry skin, but also for all types of skin. Consumers can feel results after just one use, the skin feeling intense hydration that lasts all day long. It is oil-free and non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog the pores. This makes it great to wear alone or as a primer under makeup. The face is left feeling smooth and visually looks fresh.
Pros
  • Most effective at delivering all day hydration
  • Immediate results with a dewy and fresh feel
  • A little product foes a long way
  • Weightless formula
  • Water based, so not thick and creamy
Cons
  • Slightly pricey for a drugstore moisturizer
  • Doesn’t contain SPF

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream

This option has a moisture-binding formula to instantly hydrate, plump and lift surface cells. Along with keeping the skin moisturized thanks to its hyaluronic acid and amino-peptide complex II, it also prevents wrinkles and improves the texture and elasticity of the skin.
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Ingredients

Olay re-engineered this formula to now include amino-peptide complex II that works alongside ingredients like carob exact to provide anti-aging properties and rejuvenate skin cells. The hyaluronic acid adds water to the skin and keeps skin cells moisturized all day. It also contains niacinamide (vitamin B3) to further add to promoting healthy surface cells.

Texture

This is a rich cream moisturizer that is creamier than other options but still feels lightweight once applied. It firms and plums instantly without being tacky or sticky. It’s available in both scented fragrance-free options.

Efficacy

The amino-peptide complex and hyaluronic acid formula are powerful when it comes to performance, penetrating deep into the skin cells. As a result, the skin is immediately left looking plumper and hydrated. It also visibly reduces wrinkles with consistent use since the formula promotes anti-aging. But the disappearance of lines can be seen from day 1.
Pros
  • Instantly hydrates and reducing appearance of wrinkles
  • Best for anti-aging properties
  • Long-lasting; little product goes a long way
  • Available is drug stores
Cons
  • A but pricey for a drug store moisturizer

Bella Serata

Bella Serate is a revitalizing moisturizer that repairs damage done to the skin by UV rays. It has anti-aging ingredients to make you look younger, and prevent wrinkles. Safe for all skin types dry or oily, it will hydrate your skin to help clarify, and brighten your skin.
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Ingredients
Bella has Hyalauronic acid, and essential peptides that will help boost your body's natural collagen, and keep your skin silky smooth.

Texture

This moisturizer is non-greasy, and it only takes your body minutes to absorb it. So you can literally put it on, wait five minutes or so, and then apply your makeup if you wanted to. I will add this lotion is more advertised for women, but there is no reason men can't use this product as well. Especially since it is fragrance free.

Efficacy

Bella Serata increases skins hydration, and is designed to create smoother, softer, well toned skin. Consumers seem to love this product and it is easy to see why when it has everything you need all in one, at a decent price. It has age defying ingredients in it and when used daily it will get rid of wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots. By boosting your natural collage to make you skin tighter and stronger.
Pros

Safe for all skin types

Non-greasy, and dries quickly

Anti-aging ingredients

Fragrance free

Not too expensive

Cons

Doesn't contain any sunscreen in it it will only help repair damage from UV rays.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture for Combination Skin

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture for Combination Skin
Great for combination skin, this option moisturizes the dry areas while controlling the shine in the oily areas. It’s light, and oil-free, and not greasy. It leaves the skin soft and feeling great, and best of all is sold for an adorable price, making this one of the best drugstore moisturizers.
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Ingredients

Hypoallergenic and fragrance, alcohol and oil-free, this option features a special formula for combination skin. It does not include hyaluronic acid but does feature SPF protection that helps prevent signs of a aging caused by the sun.

Ingredients include water, glycerin, stearyl alcohol, dimethacrylate, Methylparaben, and other inactive ingredients.

Texture

This is one of the most lightweight options on this list. It is a cream, but goes smoothly and isn’t thick. It is sheer and doesn’t leave the face looking shiny. It also won’t clog pores. Instead, the face is left feeling silky smooth. It is great for wearing alone or under makeup.

Efficacy

This is the best option for a consumer with combination skin. It hydrates dry areas impressively well, without making more oily areas like the T-zone look greasy. It provides all hydration, needing just one pump of the product to cover the entire face and neck area. It won’t cause breakouts, great for those with acne-prone skin. It’s great for sensitive skin as well and absorbs and dries quickly.
Pros
  • Affordable, yet reliable brand
  • Best for combo skin
  • All day hydration
  • Non-greasy formula
  • Lightweight
  • Available in drug stores
Cons
  • Not the best for normal skin

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense UV

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense UV
This daily moisturizer is appropriate for all kinds of skin types, but ideal for those with very dry to dry skins, providing all-day hydration and repairing the skin’s moisture barrier over time with consistent use. It is a lightweight, gel-creme that is oil-free and feels great on.
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Ingredients

Active ingredients in Hydraphase Intense UV includes Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, as well as other inactive ingredients like dimethicone and spring water that has antioxidants. This moisturizer is paraben free, making it a good options for those with sensitive skin. It also has fragmented hyaluronic acid that quickly absorbs into the skin for an immediate plumping effect that penetrates deep to hydrate and keeps the skin hydrated all day. It also is equipped with SPF 20 to serve as sunscreen and protect against sun damage on the skin.

Texture

Slightly creamy, but still lightweight, this moisturizer is lightweight and non-greasy. It actually feels refreshing when applying, and leaves the skin smooth. After applying, it leaves a slight “glow.” It doesn’t make the face look oily, but more like a replenished skin look at is slightly moist.

Efficacy

This option does a great job at plumping the skin immediately after application thanks to its hyaluronic acid. The skin is left feeling hydrated right after putting on, and this feeling lasts all day. Surprisingly, acne spots tend to fade when using this product, so expect clear and glowing skin. This makes it a great option for those who often battle breakouts or who have oily, as well as very dry skin.
Pros
  • Super hydrating
  • Comes with SPF 20
  • Paraben free
Cons
  • Container makes it hard to end product out when it’s almost finished

Clinique Moisture Surge Intense

Clinique Moisture Surge Intense
This gel-cream moisturizer made for very dry to combination skin works exceedingly well at replenishing the skin and making the skin look healthy and feel smooth. It helps to repair the skin’s moisture barrier while keeping environmental irritants out.
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Ingredients

With ingredients like whey protein, love fruit extract, aloe leaf extract, caffeine and water, Clinique Moisture Surge Intense deeply nourishes the skin and hydrates the skin. As a result, even the most dry,cracked and flaky skin is left feel silky smooth. Other inactive ingredients include citric acid, peg-8, palmitoyl hezapepetide-12, butylene glycol and sucrose just to name a few.

Texture

This formula consists of a gel-cream texture. That makes it not as thick as creamy moisturizers, with the gel giving it more of a water feel to it when hitting the face. With that said there is some creaminess to it, which helps to allow for it to go only smoothly. It also dries quickly and is not sticky.

Efficacy

It’s recommended to use the Clinique moisturizer twice a day, in the morning and at night after cleaning the face as part of a daily routine. But just one use leave the skin looking fresh, plump and hydrated. It leaves the skin glowing without looking oily or shiny. It doesn’t cause breakouts and quickly combats dry patches, ideal for the winter or those with eczema.
Pros
  • Leaves the skin glowing and provides 24-hour hydrations
  • Skin is left smooth without looking shiny
  • Best for those with very dry skin
  • A little product goes a long way
Cons
  • A little on the pricier side for a moisturizer
  • Jar is a bit small, even though not a lot of product is needed

Curel Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer

Curel Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer
Add this moisturizer as the final step after the shower help heal and prevent dry skin. The user must apply when still wet on freshly showered skin as it aids in moisture renovation while restores the skin’s ceramide. It is dermatologist approved and has the National Eczema Association seal of acceptance.
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Ingredients

Curel Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer features ceramides complex that repairs the moisture barrier while hydrating the skin, treating dryness and replenishing the skin’s natural ceramide levels. Other ingredients include shea butter, orange peel oil, eucalyptus leak extract, and other nonactive ingredients.


Texture

This is probably the most unique option on this list because of how it works. This is a wet skin moisturizer, which means its designed to be applied when the skin is wet post-shower. Instead of feeling like a creamy, thick lotion it has a thinner texture that is more like a cleanser or soap than a lotion. It is non-greasy and fragrance-free.

Efficacy


This option is extremely effective because of its delivery method. It’s designed to be applied post-shower when the press is open. This means the product immediately gets absorbed into the skin to penetrate deep into the cells to hydrate. This product is dermatologist recommended and helps treat dry and cracking skin as a result of eczema.
Pros
  • Unique water activated moisturize with ceramide comlex
  • Performs well at treating dry skin
  • Hydrates the entire body
  • Great for those with eczema
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • Can be harsh for those with sensitive skin
  • Too thin consistency means not as hydrating or soft to touch skin

RoC Multi Correxion 5-In-1 Daily Moisturizer

RoC Multi Correxion 5-In-1 Daily Moisturizer
Moisturizing and protecting against harmful sun rays, this option has SPF 30 sunscreen. It reduces discoloration and wrinkles and improves the skin’s elasticity. This product is a 5-in-1 lotion, great for those who want to take proper care of their skin with just one simple step. Plus it works great for the face, neck and chest.
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Ingredients

This moisturizer features four main active ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, and Octocrylene. It includes the company’s HEXING technology to aid in firming the skin, evening skin tone, and preventing wrinkles and fine lines. This tech is made of a molecule that acts directly at cells to help reverse the signs of aging.

Texture

This is a lightweight formula that leaves the skin soft and smooth. It absorbs well and is great for wearing underneath makeup without feeling like the pores are clogged. It isn’t oily and won’t irritate or cause redness to the skin.

Efficacy

Major results are not seen overnight, but consistently using this product for as little as four weeks yields major results, especially when it comes to treating fine lines and preventing wrinkles. The best part is this moisturizer treats in the skin in 5 ways. This includes hydrating dry skin, improving radiance, restoring elasticity, treating wrinkles and brightening dark spots and discolorations. It works extremely well for treating discolorations. It also is great for use on the neck, making it a versatile product for slowing down signs of aging.
Pros
  • 5-in-1 moisturizer for a versatile product
  • Contains SPF 30
  • Great at treating wrinkles
Cons
  • Contains slight fragrance

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin
This daily moisturizing lotion is among the best for dry skin thanks to its active natural colloidal oatmeal that locks in moisture to restore the skin’s natural pH. It acts as a skin protectant, nourishing and soothing the skin.
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Ingredients

This option is great for those looking for natural ingredients at a drug store price. It includes colloidal oatmeal as its main “Active Naturals” ingredient, used to restore the skin’s pH and maintain the moisture barrier of the skin. Other nutrients include proteins, B6, thiamine, enzymes, lipids and antioxidants to combat dry skin.

Texture

This moisturizer feels nice and smooth on the skin without being greasy. Ut can feel a bit sticky after it dries, which is it’s only downside.

Efficacy

This product works well at keeping the skin hydrated all day without needing to reapply. It’s also great on other dry areas like the elbows and hands, especially in the cold and brutal winters. It treats cracked skin, leaving it silky and smooth with consistent use. The oatmeal really is credited for making the skin very soft. It performs well for a drugstore product.
Pros
  • Non-greasy formula
  • Lots of hydration ingredients
  • Dermatologist recommended brand
  • Drug store, affordable price
Cons
  • Bland smell
  • Can cause irritation for those with wheat allergies
  • Pump stops working well the less product the bottles features

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
This moisturizing cream features ceramides and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and helps the skin retain its natural moisture. It has a patenting MVE controlled-release technology to provide all-day hydration. It’s great for those with normal to dry skin even those with eczema is oil-free and hypoallergenic.
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Ingredients

This moisturizer has all the essential ceramides including ceramide 1, 3 and 6-11, the lipids that bind together with protective cells in the outer layer of the skin to restore and maintain its natural protective barrier. Its other main ingredients is hyaluronic acid for retention of the skin’s natural moisture.

Texture

This cream is non-greasy, so there is no oily look after application. It is a bit thicker in texture than other options but dries very fast after applying. It also doesn’t leave that thick lotion feel.

Efficacy

This moisturizer is developed with dermatologists, and also dermatologists recommended based on its effectiveness. The combo of ingredients results in hydration all day with just one use. It features the company’s patented MultiVesicular Emulsion technology that slowly delivers the ingredients into the skin over time, so it continuously is working all day to hydrate. It’s gentle on the skin, causing no irritation, and great for those with eczema.
Pros
  • Features three ceramides for hydration
  • All day hydration with slow release of ingredients
  • Not thick or heavy on the skin
  • Dries quickly
  • Great for the whole body
Cons
  • Some may breakout with acne
  • Better used on body than face

 

The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation

The best moisturizers for dry skin should perform well at hydrating the skin at its very least. But there are so many products on the market that it can be hard to tell which really do work. This includes both drugstore and higher end products.

Moisturizers often have other positive skin features such as sunscreen, anti-aging, and wrinkle treatment. While these are great bonus features, combating dry skin should be its main selling point.

To determine which are the best at doing exactly this, we used a set criteria that is detailed below.

Quality: Consumers don’t want to buy a product that contains harsh chemicals, and other bad ingredients, especially since it will be applied to the face. What ingredients does this option contain? The most popular ingredient for treating dry skin is hyaluronic acid. The best moisturizes commonly feature this ingredient, as well as other vitamins to plump and add moisture to the skin cells. It’s important that the product doesn’t cause any skin irritations, and is suitable for those with sensitive skin. Bring an option suitable for eczema is also a good indicator that it performs well against combating dry skin.

Consistency: The consistency of a product mainly is based on personal preference. Is the option cream or gel-based? What is the pros and cons of each? Just because creams are thicker than gels doesn’t mean that the product is heavy. Gels typically feel more like water being applied to the skin, which often leaves a dewy look.

Efficacy: How well does this product really work at hydrating and preventing dry skin? At its core, the product needs to deliver when it comes to moisturizing. Having all day hydration is also key so that the consumer doesn’t need to reapply often.

Value: Is it worth the price tag? There are both drugstore and higher end brands on the list. Sometimes a drugstore product can outshine a more pricey option. Then there are other times that the consumer gets what they pay for when it comes to other fancy features like reducing wrinkles and improving skin elasticity.

Other Important Factors To Consider

Performance and price point are among the two most important criteria to look at when shopping around for the best moisturizers. But these aren’t the only things that matter.

Skin Type

While all these moisturizes treat and prevent dry skin, a consumer’s skin type plays a major role in how the product works. It’s important to read the label to make sure the product is suited for skin type such as combination skin, very dry, or oily. Combination skin options typically work well at hydrating dry areas without creating excess shine, and oils for the T-zone problem areas. Options for oily skin may cause more dryness for those with already dry skin. Before purchasing any moisturizer, make sure to know the right skin type to avoid irritations or under-performance.

More Than Just For Dry Skin

Everyone should use moisturizer, even if they don’t have dry skin. That’s because the skin’s moisture barrier is constantly being broken down by factors like dehydration, sun, pollution, sweat and dirt. Moisturizer can prevent developing wrinkles or may winkles appear to look worst. The skin can also look dull, and dry without having any on.

Using a product that contains hyaluronic acid is a great way to add moisture to the skin, repair the moisture barrier and prevent dryness.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid is a carbohydrate molecule that naturally occurs in our bodies. It is found in our connective tissue, as well as in our skin. Popular in skincare products such as moisturizer, hyaluronic acid delivers moisture to the skin. It can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water and works by grading and holding moisture that is absorbed through the skin.

Usage and Side Effects

Moisturizer is best used after washing the face with a cleanser, and while still damp. Those with very dry skin may wish to reapply during the day, as well as follow a bedtime routine post face wash with an application.

Keep in mind that some options work differently across different skin types and sensitivity levels. Some products may irritate some and not others. Those with sensitive skin should look for an option made specifically for sensitive skin. If a moisturizer causes redness, itching or irritation, stop using immediately.

FAQ

Q: Can you use a moisturizer with acne?

A: Yes, it is safe to use moisturizer even when there is acne present. Moisturizing the skin can actually prevent acne since moistened skin loosens sebum built up inside pores.

Q: Can you use face moisturizer on the body?

A: Yes, you can as long as it doesn’t irritate the skin. Moisturizers are commonly used on the face and neck. There are also options made specifically for the entire body.

Q: How often should I apply moisturizer for dry skin?

A: It should be applied daily to clean damp skin in the morning, as well as at nighttime for severely dry skin

Q: What are symptoms of dry skin?

A: Very common in the winter, dry skin cracks, flakes, feels tight, rough and looks dull.

Q: What ingredients should be avoided in skincare products for dry skin?

A: Never use options with alcohol, and do not over exfoliate. Pick out products made specifically for dry skin.

Q: How fast can I see results when treating dry skin with moisturizer?

A: This depends on the product, with some seeing significant results after one application. Use daily to see results.

Sources

  1. Peter Jaret , Exercise for Healthy Skin, Informational Health Website,
  2. Denise Schipani , Save Your Skin, Running Website, May 03, 2012
  3. Aveeno, Active Naturals , Company website,
  4. Roc, Hexinol: The Basics, Company website,
  5. WebMD, HYALURONIC ACID, Informational Health Website,
  6. Cassie Shortsleeve, This Is What Happens to Your Skin on a Run, Beauty Website, Sep 20, 2016
  7. Samantha Escobar, 7 Bad Things That Happen When You Don't Moisturize Your Face, Informational Website, Apr 04, 2018
  8. Clinique, Ingredient to Know Youthful Skin Secret: Hyaluronic Acid, Comapny Website,
  9. Christina Pander , Skin Moisturizer Basics, Informational Website,
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