Redness, scaly patches, and itching are the hallmarks of uncomfortably dry skin. There's nothing more annoying and uncomfortable than a cracked visage. And a steamy summer can make it worse—have you seen what an air conditioner can do to some plump, hydrated cheeks? That's why it's crucial to find a face moisturizer that soothes your dry skin with a hit of hydration before you step out the door. Whether you battle with eczema, simply have a dry or combination skin type, or can't step away from your apartment's A.C., the right moisturizer will provide your skin with the TLC it needs in the moisture department. And in the fall and winter months, it's even more important to find the right hydrating moisturizer. Cold, dry air only exacerbates the skin's dehydration.
What ingredients should I look for?
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While on the hunt for a hydrating moisturizer to add to your daily regimen, be sure to look for a formula loaded with plenty of antioxidants and emollients. These two ingredients are ideal for dry skin because they're active enough to strengthen your skin's moisture barrier, yet lightweight enough to not leave behind an oily, pore-clogging residue.
So which hydrating moisturizer should I use?
Whether your skin is sensitive, acne-prone, or you're looking to also treat fine lines. there's a moisturizer just for you. The hydrating moisturizers on this list that will save you from flaky, dry, lizard-skin nightmares. (And once your skin is back to its former glory? Check out our editors' favorite all-round moisturizers for all skin types.)
Not just for your face, this whipped formula promises hydration and healing for all patches of dry, parched skin. Filled with oatmeal, shea butter, and several antioxidants (including licorice root and white tea extracts), Ultra Repair Cream is a dream for those with sensitive skin and safe for all members of the household to use, even kids.
The Emergency Contact
You left that air conditioner blasting next to your face last night, didn't you? Well, we did, at least. When things are dire and you feel dryer than the Sahara, the clinical-strength Glo Restorative Cream will instantly hydrate and plump up a red, parched face.
The Dermatologist Favorite
For anyone locked in a continuous battle against dehydration, Cetaphil's Rich Hydrating Cream, beloved by dermatologists, might just be the answers to your prayers. If you've tried everything to no avail, keeping it simple with this cream might be the key. Perfectly suited for sensitive skin, this moisturizer is a staple.
The Nighttime Nourisher
The body best heals itself during sleep, and that includes a stressed, dehydrated complexion. Use the Rescue Me Moisturizer as your regular night cream after the rest of your routine, or if you're looking extra red and irritated, lather it on like a mask for extra moisture.
The Drugstore Star
The CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion is the most pleasantly basic of effective moisturizers. There's nothing fancy about it, but that's fine with us because it works and leaves skin quenched. Plus, it layers like a dream.
The British Export
The secret to the restorative Cell Revitalise Day Moisturizer from across the pond is probiotics, which help balance a complexion that feels—and looks—out of whack.
The Next Cult Classic
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel counts purified hyaluronic acid and olive extract as its primary ingredients. It hydrates skin instantly—absorbing quickly without any oily residue—while also keeping it that way for 48 hours.
The Morning Pick-Me-Up
Just because you've got dry skin doesn't mean you always must use a thicker formula. This airy, gel-like Hydra Zen Glow Liquid sinks right into skin and uses hyaluronic acid to imbue much needed moisture back into your parched visage. Added bonus: it's perfect for under makeup in the A.M..
An Oldie, But Goodie
The Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream is the perfect everyday moisturizer for wintertime. The formula is thick enough to keep your skin hydrated, but not too heavy to wear under makeup. A great option for hydration without grease, it's a classic for a reason.
The Dewy Export
Francophiles, assemble. This French girl go-to, the Payot Hydra Gel-Crème Sorbet, has a bouncy texture that helps skin drink in its hydrating ingredients, and will leave your complexion looking plumper than ever.
The Gold Pick
Tatcha Water Cream is nutrient-rich, using powerful and pure Japanese botanicals like wild rose and leopard lily to improve skin's texture and control oil production. (The brand is beloved by celebrities including Meghan Markle.) But forget all that—this nourishing lotion offers up an added glow from some 23k gold. Gold! In a moisturizer!
The Skincare Stress Ball
Dryness is a major cause of redness, which is a red flag (hah!) that signals that your moisture barrier is probably compromised. Alguronic acid in Algenist Genius Collagen Calming Relief helps plump up fine lines and hydrate, while calendula soothes a compromised complexion.
The Calming Agent
Fresh’s Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream comes in the form of a cooling gel. If you suffer from flakiness and irritation, reach for this rosewater-infused gel to calm your skin. Aside from the invigorating scent, your skin will thank you for the soothing sensation this cream provides that'll put your pores in their most relaxed state.
The Redness Eraser
Bioderma's Sensibio AR Cream is an anti-redness moisturizer that targets inflammation. Dry skin and rosacea are treated with the most soothing of oils and skin-repairing ingredients, so you don't have to double up on the green concealer before you head off to work.
This gel-cream hybrid promises skin will be as moisturized at the end of the day as it was at the beginning. It boasts 72 hours of hydration—even after washing your face. How? Clinique's Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator is packed with ingredients including caffeine, hyaluronic acid, and activated aloe water.