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?
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.)
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
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
Glo Skin Beauty Restorative Cream
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
Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Cream
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
Goodhabit Rescue Me Rest + Reset Mask & Moisturizer
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
CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion: Ultra Lightweight
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
Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Cell Revitalise Day Moisturizer
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
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
Lancôme Hydra Zen Glow Liquid Moisturizer
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
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream
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
PAYOT Hydra 24+ Gel-Crème Sorbet
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
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
Algenist Genius Collagen Calming Relief
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 Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream
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 Sensibio AR Cream
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.
Clinique Moisture Surge™ 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator
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.
The French Hydrator
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré
This cult-favorite cream is beloved by makeup artists and skincare addicts alike, and is perfect for dehydrated and sensitive skin. The Lait-Crème Concentré is rich enough for severely dry skin, but sinks beautifully into the face for a smooth, plumped finish.
The Crème de la Crème
La Mer Crème de la Mer Moisturizer
You can't talk about moisturizers without naming a cult classic: The Crème de la Mer Moisturizer, praised by the skin-obsessed and experts alike. It's thick and luxurious and leaves your skin as soft as a baby's bum. A little goes a long way, so savor every last drop of this spendy cream. For best results, try using this moisturizer as a night cream to wake up with the skin of your dreams.
Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer
The most annoying side effect of heavy moisturizers is a greasy residue on skin, which clogs pores and causes more problems than you started with. (Ugh.) But Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer is popular because it does just the opposite, leaving your skin smooth as a baby's.
The Catwalk Favorite
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream
Charlotte Tillbury's Magic Cream was so popular backstage at fashion shows that she eventually decided to sell the stuff. The thick cream goes on light and layers beautifully with other products. As for whether it really is magic? One editor tried it on a rough, red dry patch and it was gone within minutes.
The Skin Booster
Youth To The People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream
Sometimes natural is really better. Youth to the People's Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream contains natural extracts from Ashwagandha and Reishi as well as squalene. Together, they hydrate the skin without clogging pores, while also give the skin a refreshed appearance.
Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream
The thicker version of the brand's iconic moisturizer, Augustinus Bader's The Rich Cream is the key to many celebrities' glowy skin. For anyone living in a dry environment, or just needing a little extra hydration in the wintertime, this cream will get you there.
The Repair Cream
Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream
Smooth the appearance of fine lines and rough patches with Biossance's Squalane + Omega Repair Cream. It's free of fragrance and jam-packed with nourishing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, omega fatty acids, and shea butter, which are all super necessary for soft and supple skin. Plus, squalane draws in moisture for long-lasting hydration.
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream
Peter Thomas' Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream is30 percent hyaluronic acid cream, an ingredient that actually attracts water. The result is continuous hydration, leaving skin full, supple, and smooth.
Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar
A reformulation of the original "Hope in a Jar" from Philosophy, Renewed Hope In A Jar has an abundance of ingredients: alpha hydroxy acids, three forms of hyaluronate, plus an Asian fruit extract. Guaranteed to keep skin constantly glowing and shining, but not shiny.
Luxury Feel For A Drugstore Price
Olay Whip Fragrance-Free Moisturizer
Olay's Regenerist Whip Fragrance-Free Moisturizer is known for having anti-aging agents, like Amino-Peptide Complex II, that will plump skin from within and also functions as a primer for makeup. Think of it as a stellar hydrator that just happens to smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Taylore Glynn is the Beauty and Health Editor at Marie Claire, covering skincare, makeup, fragrance, wellness, and more. If you need her, she’s probably roasting a chicken, flying solo at the movies, or drinking a bad Negroni at JFK.
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