You can't have a good skin day without a good moisturizer. Of everything you can do for you skin, finding the perfect moisturizer for your skin type should be at the top of your list. Luckily, the drugstore is chock-full of amazing options that won't break the bank. Now you can save your hard-earned dollars and protect your skin from the things that keep it dry, flaky, or irritated—like pollution, bitter winter temperatures, or your apartment's radiator that pumps hot, dry air onto your face 24 hours a day.
What should a good moisturizer do?
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Have you ever looked in the mirror and realized you're having a really good skin day? Your skin is plump, maybe a little glowy, and overall looks calm. That's how a good moisturizer should make your skin feel. Before you incorporate a slew of serums, toners, and face masks into your routine, your mainstay should be a good face moisturizer.
Do I need multiple different moisturizers?
Most experts will tell you that you need a moisturizer for the daytime and another, heavier option at night. The formulations of these will vary based upon your specific skin types. If you have super dry skin, for instance, you'll want to slather on a rich, balm-like moisturizer at night. But, if your skin is oilier or acne-prone, a gel-cream hybrid might be better for you. It takes trial and error, and maybe a trip to the dermatologist to figure out what your skin needs. You might even need to swap your moisturizers as the seasons change: what might be just right in the winter will be too heavy in the summer, and vice versa.
Luckily, all of the options on this list retail for under $30—some are even priced at under $10—so you can find the perfect one that works for you. Most of the moisturizers on this list can work for day or nighttime use, too, so you can rest easy knowing that you won't make a mistake. They've all either been tested by a Marie Claire editor or come highly recommended via literally thousands of glowing reviews. Keep scrolling to shop the best picks.
The Fan Favorite
This moisturizer has it all. It's priced at only $8 and is infused with aloe and vitamin E for maximum hydration. Several of the 3,000-plus five-star reviews on Amazon mentioned that it feels like water on the skin and works for all skin types.
Most Moisturizing Gel
Speaking of moisturizers that feel like a splash of water on the skin, this pick from Neutrogena does just that. It works for oily skin, yes, but also makes my own super-dry skin feel perfectly hydrated, too.
Best With Ceramides
CeraVe's AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is made with ceramides, which help protect the skin's barrier as you wear it. It also has SPF 30—but don't give up on your regular sunscreen just yet.
Best Sculpting Cream
Vitamin B3 and hyaluronic acid from Olay make this moisturizer a must-buy. The inclusion of niacinamide helps to lock in moisture and reduce the look of wrinkles.
Best Oil-Free Pick
If you loved this moisturizer in middle school, it's time to pull it out again. It's one of the top-selling moisturizers on Amazon for a reason; it has over 24 thousand five-star reviews. Some reviewers claim that it's helped with fading their dark spots over time.
Best K-Beauty Option
This cult-favorite skin cream is made with 92 percent snail mucin. Don't freak out—that's a good thing. It helps build and maintain a healthy skin barrier over time.
The French Girl Favorite
La Roche-Posay is on the pricier end of the drugstore spectrum, but it's worth it. It's formulated for all skin types and includes ceramides and niacinamide for a smooth, even finish that promises 48-hour moisturization.
It's no secret that retinol is the secret to great-looking skin. But, incorporating it into your rotation can feel daunting (we've all heard about the flaking and the redness that comes along with the ingredient), but this moisturizer from Neutrogena is a great way to add it into your routine and, if you're a longtime retinol user, keep it up.
Best for Radiance
If you have slightly dry or combination skin, look no further than this option from Aveeno. It's great under makeup and includes SPF 15 for a touch of added protection.
Best for Oily SKin
This lightweight gel cream soothes oily skin with aloe and green tea. Use it in the daytime to keep skin calm throughout the day.
Best For Sensitive SKin
Sensitive skin friends, this cream is for you. It's a thicker formula that includes prebiotic oat that nourishes inflamed skin for 24 hours.
The Super Dry Skin Fix
If winter skin has got you down, layer on a touch of Weleda Skin Food. It's a super rich formula that includes rosemary, chamomile, and pansy extracts. Apply at night for more luminous, rejuvenated skin in the morning.
The Cult Favorite
This moisturizer from Embryolisse doubles as a moisturizer and a makeup primer. It's been a makeup artist secret for years now and is beginning to bubble to the surface on TikTok.
My mom gave me this cream when I was a pre-teen, and I still incorporate it into my routine in the winter. It's dermatologist-tested and won't clog your pores; instead, it will protect it against harsh weather.
Best Clean Option
Jessica Alba's brand, Honest Beauty has a few winning products in its lineup, and this cream is one of them. The Hyaluronic acid in this vegan formula keeps skin feeling and looking plump over time.
Best with VItamin C
Haven't found a vitamin C serum that you love? Try this moisturizer that features a clinical-grade Vitamin C that gradually boosts your skin's natural elasticity.
Best Whipped Cream
How luxe does a whipped face cream sound? This one from Soap & Glory has the dreamiest texture ever, and includes ceramides, shea butter, and vitamin B5 to nourish skin from the inside and out.
Best Line-Filling Cream
This lightweight overnight cream absorbs into the skin quickly and leaves it looking hydrated to the max. It's also loaded with collagen, a protein that helps protect your skin and keeps it from sagging or looking deflated over time.
Julia Marzovilla is the E-Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she covers everything from the latest beauty and fashion launches and sales to celebrity outfits and news. She also creates shopping guides that span every vertical on the site. Prior to joining the Marie Claire team, she contributed similar shopping stories to sites such as Bustle, InStyle, The Zoe Report, Who What Wear, and STYLECASTER. In her spare time, Julia can be found creating shopping guides for all of her friends, spending too much money on yet another pair of black boots, and cooking in her far-too-small kitchen.
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