Moisturizers are an essential part of every daily skin care routine. They help lock in serums to make them even more effective, hydrate our skin for a better makeup application, and can even protect us from the sun's harmful rays. With so many options on the market, it can be hard to discern what the best daily moisturizer is for your skin type, but whether yours is dry or oily, combination or acne-prone, I've researched the best formula for each, which you'll find ahead.
The first and most important thing to consider when buying a daily moisturizer is how much it's protecting you from the natural world. The worst culprit of a damaged dermis is the sun, and if you're not wearing SPF every single day, then you're exposing your skin to UVA/UVB rays that could be the secret cause behind your redness, dryness, and/or long healing times for your acne and scarring. Additionally, when one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives, added daily protection makes a huge difference in not only keeping your skin clear and beautiful, but also quite literally keeping you out of harm's way.
The second crucial factor to keep in mind when deciding which moisturizer to buy is your skin type. If you have dry skin, you'll want a much creamier and more hydrating formula than someone with an oilier complexion; if you're combination or acne-prone, you'll want something non-comedogenic to keep your pores clear and your dermis happy; if you have a little more natural redness than most, maybe you'll want a tinted daily moisturizer for some added extra coverage. Everyone's skin needs something slightly different and personalized (although, anyone could do with some La Roche-Posay in their lives, which is why we've included not one, but TWO of their products in this list), so read on to find the best daily moisturizer to suit your skin's specific needs.
1. The All-Around Best Daily Moisturizer For Most Skin Types
La Roche-Posay Anthelios SX Daily Face Sunscreen Moisturizer, SPF 15
French pharmacy brand La Roche-Posay is known far and wide for its cult-classic SPF-inclusive products, and this daily moisturizer is no exception. It's a super-protectant formula that's able to filter out long and short-wave penetrative sun rays while somehow still managing to be fragrance- and oil-free, which means that this skin care favorite won't aggravate your dermis while it provides consistent 24-hour protection. This rich cream formulation is also perfect for providing moisture without being greasy — with or without makeup — so whether you're plagued with dryness, sensitivity, or too much oil, this product will probably work just fine or you.
2. The Best Daily Moisturizer For Oily Skin
Paula's Choice RESIST Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid, SPF 50
While a couple of the options on this list also work for oily skin, this product was formulated specifically for it — so if you don't want to take any risks, this is your safest bet. Plus, it has the highest SPF (50), making it a true hero product for oil-ridden complexions. This moisturizer/SPF combo from Paula's Choice is perfect for anyone whose T-zone turns into a hazard area June through September. I know that my number one concern when my skin is oily in the heat is the visibility of my pores — which always seem to grow 10 times their size during summer... how rude! But this miracle product has got you (and me) covered. Because it's a fluid formula instead of a cream-based one, you can count on it being grease-free and non-comedogenic. Its mattifying properties are perfect for giving the appearance of magically shrinking your pores and in fact, it's so great at both hydrating and taming greasy skin that when wearing it under foundation, you won't even need to prep with a primer; this moisturizer does all the work for you.
3. The Best Daily Moisturizer For Dry Skin
La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Riche Face Moisturizer, SPF 20
La Roche-Posay: the brand so nice, we named them twice. While the Anthelios daily sunscreen is an amazing choice for all skin types, we recognize that some skin is drier than others. That's where Hydraphase comes in. This product includes our hydration hero, hyaluronic acid, a naturally-occurring carbohydrate that can hold 1,000 times its weight in water and is the true holy grail ingredient when it comes to making sure that skin stays plump, moisturized, and hydrated all day long. This combination moisturizer/sun protectant is also free of parabens — which can irritate and dry out your skin — and is so light and non-greasy that you can layer on as much foundation as your heart desires without worrying about the product adhering to fine lines or dry patches.
4. The Best Daily Moisturizer For Acne-Prone And/Or Sensitive Skin (And My Personal Favorite)
Cetaphil Dermacontrol Facial Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin, SPF 30
Here we have my favorite daily moisturizer with SPF of all time: the Cetaphil Dermacontrol Moisturizer. While this product may feel a tad greasy when it goes on, it's surprisingly quick-absorbing, and within minutes, your skin is ready for a full application of makeup without running the risk of gaping pores or sweaty T-zones. This is another good option for oily skin, but it's formulated more for people who are also dealing with acne and hormonal breakouts. The formula is mattifying, paraben-/fragrance-free, and proven to reduce dryness and roughness in sensitive skin of all types across the board. As someone with combination, acne-prone, and eczema-ridden skin (phew, what a mouthful — imagine LIVING it), I use this product literally every single day to keep my face hydrated, soothed, and protected from the sun While this option may be the most budget-friendly, it's also a little bit difficult to find in drugstores because it's more of a specialty product than other moisturizers in Cetaphil's line, but thank god for Amazon, am I right?
5. The Best Tinted Moisturizer In A Universal Shade
Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer Protect + Perfect, SPF 47
In a post-Fenty beauty world, I think it's pretty egregious that shade ranges for products like foundations, concealers, and BB/CC creams provide so few options for people of color. Unfortunately, tinted moisturizers are no exception to this problem, so I made absolutely sure that the "universal shade" product in this article actually works across myriad skin tones and not just whiter shades of pale. And trust me, when this Josie Maran tinted moisturizer says universal, it means universal. This amazing moisturizer is formulated with the brand's signature hero ingredient, argan oil, which is perfect for repairing the skin's natural moisture barrier and protecting it from breakouts and greasiness. Because the formula is so thick, a little goes a long way; it's a perfect morning quick-fix to help you look fresh-faced without having to spend precious moments caking on the makeup. While this may be the most expensive option on this list, it's also got the highest SPF, so if you're more prone to sun damage than not, investing in this product could be the perfect skin-saver for you.
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