In the hierarchy of skin care, moisturizing is arguably the most important step of all, which can put a lot of pressure on choosing the right face cream. But it's actually a relatively straightforward task. The first thing to do is decide upon the the
type of moisturizer you're after: do you want a daily moisturizer with SPF, a lightweight hydrating lotion, or a luxuriously rich night cream? After that, it all comes down to skin type. Depending on whether your skin runs oily or dry, or is sensitive or acne-prone, the definition of the best face cream for women will vary. Ahead, a broken-down guide that makes shopping for your top skin care staple easy.
Before choosing a new moisturizer, there are a few crucial things to remember. Oily and/or acne-prone skin types will always want to choose an oil-free formula so as not to further clog your pores, while those with dry skin should lean toward something that's heavy in hydrating and barrier-strengthening ingredients, like hyaluronic acid and ceramides. Sensitive skin types should stay away from common irritants and allergens, like alcohol and synthetic fragrance (and if you find most skin care products make your face look angry and red, go see a dermatologist to find out if there's a specific ingredient to which you're allergic). As long as you're armed with these key tips, you should have no trouble picking out a face cream that works for your skin.
Scroll on to discover the
best daily moisturizers (with and without SPF) and night creams for every woman.
Best Moisturizer: Dry/Sensitive Skin
Created by a doctor to treat the most sensitive skin conditions, like eczema and dermatitis, this Korean moisturizer is loaded with nourishing, strengthening, and anti-inflammatory ingredients that work to soothe skin and restore its natural protective barrier. The
Atopalm Intensive Moisturizing Cream locks in moisture for long-lasting hydration, while phytosterols and allantoin help reduce redness and calm irritation in the immediate. Because of its repairing abilities, it's also a great choice for post-procedure skin.
Though it does contain a hint of fragrance (albeit at the very end of the ingredients list), sensitive-skinned reviewers have reported no irritation with this product; what's more, it's free of just about every other known irritant, including propylene glycol. That said, if you have a known sensitivity to fragrance, try
Atopalm's 130 Plus Concentrated Intensive Facial Moisturizer instead.
Best Moisturizer: Oily/Acne-Prone Skin
This French pharmacy face cream is a cult-favorite among oily skin types for its mattifying and skin-refining abilities. In addition to keeping skin hydrated,
La Roche-Posay's Effaclar Mat moisturizer uses a blend of innovative beauty technologies and ingredients to regulate oil production, minimize shine, tighten pores, and even out skin tone. The oil-free and non-comedogenic formula doubles as an excellent makeup base, and there's even a touch of salicylic acid in the formula to help keep breakouts at bay. Anyone who hates heavy face creams will love how, as soon as it's absorbed, it disappears into skin, leaving behind no greasy residue whatsoever. Instead, expect a smooth, matte complexion all day long.
Best Moisturizer With SPF: Dry Skin
If you're looking for a face cream that offers serious sun protection, this
UV facial sunscreen from derm-favorite brand EltaMD is a top-notch choice. Fragrance-free and formulated with dry, sensitive, and post-procedure skin in mind, this moisturizing sunscreen uses hyaluronic acid to keep skin hydrated and soft. Zinc oxide provides mineral sun protection with an SPF of 30, while antioxidants help fight off free radical damage. The formula is lightweight, non-greasy, and non-comedogenic, so it won't clog pores or aggravate breakouts.
Best Moisturizer With SPF: Oily/Acne-Prone Skin
It's tough to find a moisturizing sunscreen that's not only oil-free, but oil-controlling, too. That's what makes
Murad's Oil and Pore Control Mattifier Broad Spectrum SPF 45 worth the splurge for oily, acne-prone skin types. The moisturizer works to mattify skin, soak up oil, and reduce the appearance of pores for, according to the brand, up to 10 hours. Pores will become smoother and less noticeable, while skin will stay hydrated and shine-free throughout the day. The nice, high SPF of 45 is a rare feature, too, and with a PA++++ rating, it also provides an impressive amount of protection against UVA rays.
Best Night Cream: Dry/Sensitive Skin
A moisturizer doesn't have to be marketed as a night cream to be used at night; you'll just want to look for something on the richer side. Case in point? The
riche version of Avene's Skin Recovery Cream. Formulated without fragrance, alcohol, parabens, or preservatives, this moisturizer works to hydrate and soothe dry, irritated skin. Like all of Avène's products, it contains the brand's signature thermal spring water at the top of the ingredients list, which has naturally restorative properties.
Manufactured in a completely sterile environment using only a handful of select skin-safe ingredients, this face cream, along with the regular
Skin Recovery Cream, are among the safest moisturizers for sensitive skin on the market; each one is even packaged in an airtight bottle that prevents contamination from allergens and bacteria.
Best Night Cream: Oily/Acne-Prone Skin
The Body Shop Tea Tree Night Lotion uses, you guessed it, tea tree, which has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, to regulate oil production, fight off breakouts, and fade the appearance of current blemishes as you sleep. It has a lightweight, gel-lotion consistency that never feels greasy, and you can even use it to treat breakouts on your back and chest.
An Under $10 Pick For All Skin Types
If you're looking for an affordable, no-frills moisturizer that gets the job done,
Simple's Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream is a solid choice for most skin types. It's packed with hydrating ingredients that work to restore moisture in dry skin, while oily skin types will appreciate the oil-free gel-cream formula. The moisturizer leaves out most common chemical irritants, like artificial fragrance and dyes, so it's safe for use on sensitive skin — unless you have an allergy to propylene glycol, in which case it's best to steer clear. Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.