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Your Top Four Picks For Best Facial Moisturizer

Illustration by Fruzsina Kuhári
Illustration by Fruzsina Kuhári

Searching for the perfect moisturizer is damn near impossible. Long gone are the days when a moisturizer was merely a moisturizer. We’ve entered the golden age of tinted, SPF-laden, facial creams infused with essential oils. It’s nearly impossible to differentiate between what you need and what you’ve been cajoled into needing. But don’t despair! Monday’s facial moisturizer co-op graced us with over 233 recommendations, which we whittled down to five. From your mother’s vanity to the aisles of Duane Reade, these are essential to any angel-soft skincare routine.



Illustration for article titled Your Top Four Picks For Best Facial Moisturizer

If lotions never work on you, then CeraVe probably does work on you. It’s the holy grail for ladies with rash-prone, itchy, and perennially blotchy skin. But here’s the conundrum—The daytime is a broad spectrum SPF, while the nighttime cream provides superior moisture, so which do you choose? Here’s what one reader recommends: Mix in a few drops of rosehip seed oil into the daytime version and—voilá—it has the superior moisture of the nighttime version, but with an added SPF.

I’ve used it for about six months now with no breakouts or other weird issues. I will say that some here are talking about the AM/PM versions (which you can see here: and here:) and those both broke me out in a bad way into a little red rash of bumps all over my face. I also had a really hard time applying foundation over the AM moisturizer—the sunblock was a little too blocky, I think. I have tried and I have tried and I cannot use them.

I now just stick with the tub which is found at Walgreens/Target/most grocery stores. I also like to put it on to damp skin—it has hyaluronic acid in it which helps draw moisture into the skin and I like to think that applying it on wet skin helps make my skin even “plumper” and softer, but that could jus be all in my head. I will also say that this moisturizer dries into a really matte finish and actually doesn’t feel that moisturizing after you apply it—so it’s great under make-up and good for oily skins, too. It’s deceptive that way—at first I felt like my dry skin needed something (much) more since I’m used to greasy, heavier moisturizers...but after using it every night for about a month I can definitely tell that it’s helping my poor skin. I’ve tried super expensive moisturizers and all the cheapies—this is the only one I’ve found that doesn’t make my skin freak out. Love it.

- hirisejeansandjellybeans

Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion

Illustration for article titled Your Top Four Picks For Best Facial Moisturizer

My grandmother bought this for me at Nordstorm’s the week before 8th grade commenced and honestly, it was probably the only good thing to happen to me throughout middle school. Clinique’s Dramatically Different Lotion is a cult classic, handed down through the matriarchal lines of petal soft-skinned women.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. More commonly known as “the yellow one.” Oil free and keeps my weird, oily t-zone and desert dry cheeks hydrated. I used to snag the little sample bottles from my Mum’s free gift bag when I was younger. Tried some other brands with spf and anti-aging stuff built in, too heavy-feeling. The yellow stuff or GTFO.


Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturizer

Illustration for article titled Your Top Four Picks For Best Facial Moisturizer

Neutrogena oil-free moisturizer is a drugstore staple. Does it inspire the heated devotion of Clinique’s yellow goo? Never. But, it’s oil-free and you can buy it at a supermarket. And, sometimes, that’s all you really need.

I am 43 and still oily as heck. Except where I’m dry! This is my favorite stuff (that I can actually afford to buy).

-many bells down is a grinch

Tip: I had to buy the generic WalMart version of this one day in desperation and it is a decent substitute for about half the cost.

- coolbreeze

Paula’s Choice

Illustration for article titled Your Top Four Picks For Best Facial Moisturizer

Let’s face it: The beauty world is a harrowing, confusing cesspool. $2 lotions are consistently hawked for $72 and Jennifer Aniston is a “hair scientist” for Living Proof. Paula’s Choice is a goddamned light in the tunnel. Everything is made in America, non-irritating, and consumer tested. I’m not surprised at your outpouring of adoration:

I’ve become such a Paula’s Choice convert over the past year. I’ve yet to try anything PC I don’t love, and I appreciate the fact super legitimate science goes into every single product. I’ve become so distrustful of a lot of popular brands after realizing how critical things like packaging and pH are for maintaining a product’s effectiveness. - Soygibivily

I have horrible skin - red, dry, prone to break-outs. But just this morning I looked in the mirror with relief. Thanks Paula! But one product REALLY made me break-out. The anti-redness exfoliating solution. Oh my - it turned back all of the progress I made after switching to her products. Luckily I stopped using it, and now have better skin. Not perfect, but definitely better. - Marciamarciamarcia


Finally, it’s time to vote! Choose your allegiances carefully:


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