The 7 Best Lightweight Moisturizers


If you hate the feeling of rich, heavy face creams, it's time to get familiar with the best lightweight moisturizers. Regardless of your skin type or formula preference — whether you breakout easily, have extremely sensitive skin, or favor moisturizers with sunscreen already built in — you're guaranteed to find a great, lightweight moisturizer that suits your individual needs, below.

That said, shopping for a moisturizer can be a confusing process; after all, there are so many out there. So, I got in touch with two experts to help figure out the process: Dr. Yoram Harth, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and Medical Director of MDacne, and Dr. Meghan Feely, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in New Jersey and New York City who serves as a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai’s Department of Dermatology.

If your skin tends to be oily, look for lightweight moisturizers that are oil-free, suggests Dr. Harth. "A moisturizer that is marked 'oil-free,' or 'non-comedogenic' will usually be lighter and better for people with normal, oily, and acne-prone skin," he says. Lotions are typically lighter than creams or oils, and many people with oily skin prefer gel-based moisturizers, which feel featherlight going on and absorb in a flash.

If your skin is dry or has dry areas, that doesn’t mean you can’t use a lightweight moisturizer, but a creamier formula may be preferable, and you'll want to seek out effective hydrating ingredients. "Patients should look for products containing 'ceramides' and 'humectants,'" suggests Dr. Feely. "Ceramides are a component of our skin's lipid bilayer that makes the skin 'waterproof,' [to help retain] moisture, and humectants attract moisture to our skin," she explains.

Below, check out seven of the best lightweight moisturizers that, once absorbed, feel like nothing on your skin.


The Best Lightweight Drugstore Moisturizer For Most Skin Types

This skin-quenching, gel-based moisturizer from L'Oréal boasts hydrating and oil-reducing benefits, leaving your skin with a glowing, non-greasy finish. The nearly weightless, oil-free formula contains aloe and hyaluronic acid, a humectant that attracts moisture, and feels refreshing and lightweight upon application. It's a great choice for just about any skin type, and it's affordable, to boot. What more could you want?


The Best Lightweight Moisturizer With SPF For Most Skin Types

From drugstore-favorite brand CeraVe, this is a highly effective moisturizer/sunscreen duo that works for most skin types, thanks to its noncomedogenic, oil-free, barrier-strengthening formula. It has a surprisingly lightweight feel for a sunscreen, and it won't leave a white, chalky residue behind. The formula is enriched with good-for-skin ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid, while it leaves out fragrance, so it'll even work on complexions that tend to be more sensitive.


The Best Lightweight Moisturizer For Oily, Congested, Or Redness-Prone Skin

Sarah Kugelman is a long-time beauty-industry insider who founded Skyn Iceland when stress caused her serious health problems. Now, her vegan, cruelty-free brand's entire focus is on caring for stressed-out skin using innovative, and, whenever possible, naturally-derived ingredients. The Antidote Cooling Daily Lotion, for example, contains jojoba oil, Icelandic kelp, and white willow bark (a naturally occurring form of salicylic acid) to nourish skin prone to redness, breakouts, and congestion. The "cooling" in the name comes from a mint derivative that provides a cooling and refreshing sensation upon application, which helps calm irritation and redness. This product will perk you (and your skin) up on even the gloomiest of days.


The Best Lightweight Moisturizer With SPF For Acne-Prone Skin

It can be hard to find a good moisturizer with sunscreen that works for acne-prone skin types — but that's where this moisturizer from Murad comes in. It provides lightweight, quick-absorbing, and long-lasting moisture to skin, as well as broad spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection with an SPF of 30 PA+++. Additionally, it gives skin a fresh, renewed appearance thanks to the kombucha (a black tea ferment) in the formula, and it also helps control oil and reduce breakouts.

Reviewers with acne-prone skin swear by this product. One commented, "I have intensely acne prone skin and this is the only moisturizer/ sunscreen I use for my face. Amazingly lightweight and never clogs my pores. Helps offset the dryness from the acne spot treatment gels phenomenally."


The Best Lightweight Moisturizer For Dry Skin

Just because you have dry skin doesn't mean you necessarily desire a heavy moisturizer, but all too often the lightweight formulas don't provide the hydration dry skin requires. Enter the Bliss Drench & Quench Cream-To-Water Hydrator, a delightful blend of soothing and moisturizing ingredients like vitamin C, milk thistle, and chamomile. As it works to strengthen your skin's natural protective barrier over time, it'll also leave your face feeling soft and refreshed.

Pro tip: leave this moisturizer in the fridge to enhance the refreshing sensation.


The Best Lightweight Moisturizer For Very Sensitive Skin

This Mustela Soothing Moisturizing Cream is safe enough for newborns, so you know you can trust it with your sensitive skin. It's a lightweight, fragrance-free formula made with 97% natural ingredients, most notably avocado perseose, which works to protect delicate skin of any age. The formula absorbs quickly and deeply, leaving skin feeling hydrated, but not greasy in the slightest. It's a gentle, no-fuss choice that the whole family will love using.


The Best Lightweight Moisturizer For Sensitive Combination Skin

It can be tricky to find products that work for combination skin, but even more so when it's also sensitive. Thankfully, there's this lightweight moisturizer from French-pharmacy favorite brand, Avène — a go-to for people with sensitive, finicky skin. A key ingredient is the brand's own thermal spring water, which has been providing skin with soothing and reparative benefits since it was discovered in France hundreds of years ago. Avène's moisturizer also delivers a mattifying effect, thanks to the sebum-absorbent capsules in the formula, which help absorb excess oil. That means that while it hydrates the drier parts of your skin, it'll keep the oilier areas looking shine-free.

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently of Bustle's editorial and sales departments.


Dr. Yoram Harth, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and Medical Director of MDacne.

Dr. Meghan Feely, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor at Mount Sinai’s Department of Dermatology.