A Hyper-Specific Guide To The Best Drugstore Moisturizers For Dry Skin Of All Kinds


There are certain beauty products that warrant spending a lot of money on: serums, chemical exfoliators, face masks; foundation and lipsticks. But here's a secret: when it comes to moisturizers, drugstore formulas typically work just as well as their prestige counterparts. At the end of the day, the hydrating ingredients found in most face creams are the same. The rest of the time, you're likely just paying for brand names and packaging. So when it comes to finding the best drugstore moisturizers for dry skin, you're in luck. There are countless formulas to choose from that don't cost a ton of money and are just as effective as most fancy brands.

Though you can find tons of great skin care products in independent pharmacies and the Whole Foods beauty aisle, Amazon has an even bigger selection of typically hard-to-find drugstore moisturizers. You can get your hands on amazing, low-cost formulas from clean beauty companies and French pharmacy brands that you probably wouldn't be able to buy at your local corner store, for example.

When shopping for a face cream for dry skin specifically, it's all about hydration. Cream formulas will be preferable to gels, since they tend to be less moisturizing. Sulfates, which can be both irritating and drying, are a major no-no for dehydrated skin. Also, I tend to think it wise to steer clear of synthetic fragrances, no matter your skin type. With products you're slathering on your face daily, the cleaner, the better — and luckily, drugstore brands have gotten the hint, with more gentle, non-toxic moisturizers available at accessible price points than ever. Because of my strict criteria, all of the options on this list are suitable for sensitive, reaction-prone skin.

Below, eight of the best drugstore face creams for dry skin.


The Best Under-$10 Drugstore Moisturizer For Dry Skin

Though rich creams and oil-based lotions are typically the better choice for dry skin, this half-cream, half-gel from Simple is the exception. Made with dry, dehydrated skin in mind, this formula packs a serious punch of moisture, with water and glycerin (a humectant that helps your skin retain moisture) being the first two ingredients on its list. Because it's a lightweight gel cream, those who hate the feeling of thick, heavy lotions will particularly enjoy this non-greasy, non-sticky moisturizer — and of course, being under $10, you really can't beat the price. Free of sulfates and synthetic fragrance, it absorbs beautifully into skin and leaves it looking dewy and refreshed.


The Best Drugstore Moisturizer With SPF

If you enjoy a two-in-one product that can work as both your daily sunscreen and moisturizer, La Roche-Posay's Toleriane Double Repair formula is my top pick. Made with dry, sensitive skin in mind, this oil-free, non-comedogenic face cream contains an SPF of 30, which is the recommended degree of sun protection from the American Academy of Dermatology. The Allure Best of Beauty award-winning formula contains a host of ingredients that are incredible for dry skin: ceramide-3, glycerin, and the brand's signature prebiotic thermal water, which soothes inflammation and restores troubled skin. It also contains niacinamide, which is great for evening out skin tone and texture. Altogether, this formula will also help restore your skin's natural moisture barrier, which tends to be compromised in dry, sensitive skin types. Add this to your daily regimen ASAP.


The Best All-Natural Drugstore Moisturizer For Dry Skin

One of my personal favorite moisturizers is this day cream from clean beauty brand Weleda. It's the perfect texture for dry skin types who want something creamy and moisturizing, but not as rich as something like a cold cream or night cream. The key ingredients here are (fair trade) iris root, a natural skin-balancer, glycerin, that ever-important humectant we talked about, jojoba seed oil, which is both deeply nourishing and hydrating, and cocoa butter, shea butter, and witch hazel — all natural, all botanically-sourced. It provides all-day hydration, wears wonderfully under makeup, and is NATRUE-certified, to boot.


The Best Drugstore Moisturizer For Dry, Sensitive Skin

French pharmacy brand Avène, one of the most trusted brands for sensitive skin, makes almost too many amazing products to count — but their Skin Recovery Cream for dry, irritated skin is particularly good. It soothes, repairs, protects, and rebalances dry skin that's troubled, hypersensitive, or inflamed — so it'd be a great choice for someone with rosacea, for example. Standout ingredients include glycerin, plant-based squalane — an emollient that softens, moisturizes, and soothes skin — and Parcerine, a patented active ingredient that reduces redness and restores the skin's natural protective barrier. And, like all of Avène's products, it contains their signature thermal water, which has been used for centuries for its restorative properties. It's made in a completely sterile production environment so there's no chance for unwanted reactions or irritation, and it's hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and free of fragrance, soap, gluten, soy, parbens, and preservatives.


The Best Drugstore Moisturizer For Very Dry Skin

Another amazing moisturizer from Avène, their Rich Compensating Cream is one of the best choices for extra dry skin out there. Though it's rich, it somehow manages to still be lightweight and non-greasy, so you don't have to worry about it clogging your pores. Like their Skin Recovery cream, two above, it contains glycerin and the brand's own thermal water — but it also contains a unique, deeply-moisturizing complex made of ceramides, plant sterols, and fatty acids, which help your skin retain moisture longer and also strengthen your natural protective barrier. If you have particularly dry skin or are looking for a richer cream to transition to for winter, this is the stuff for you.


The Best Drugstore Night Cream For Dry Skin

Getting into the heavier-duty stuff: here's a rich night cream from CeraVe that's loaded with hyaluronic acid, a hero ingredient that's famous for being able to hold 1,000 times its weight in water. It also contains ceramides, which are essential to maintaining a healthy moisture barrier, as well as niacinamide and the brand's own peptide complex that softens skin while you sleep. An Amazon best-seller, this is also one of the most highly-recommended drugstore night creams around (you'll see it on most best-of lists everywhere from The Strategist to Byrdie). It's deeply nourishing but non-comedogenic and uses a unique time-release formula to keep skin moisturized for up to 24 hours.


The Best Drugstore Moisturizer For Eczema

If you have dry skin that's prone to eczema, consider this your new miracle cream. Awarded a certification of acceptance by the National Eczema Association, Vanicream's skin cream is free of all common irritants that are known to exacerbate eczema symptoms and provoke flare-ups, like sulfates, lanolin, synthetic additives, and fragrance. But because eczema-prone skin also requires intense nourishment, it does that, too. The formula helps maintain healthy moisture levels; relieves itchiness; reduces redness; and hydrates severely dry, flaking skin. It comes in a huge 1-pound bottle with a convenient pump dispenser, so you can share it without worrying about germs. And, you can use it everywhere — from on your face and body to your hands and feet.


The Best Drugstore Moisturizer For Face & Body

Looking for something to keep both your face and body moisturized? CeraVe's Moisturizing Cream comes in a 19-ounce bottle and deeply nourishes dried-out skin, whether it's on your cheeks or elbows. Like their night cream, it contains intensely moisturizing hyaluronic acid and ceramides, as well as time-release technology for 24-hour hydration. It's fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, so it shouldn't provoke irritation or cause breakouts.

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