A fact of life: Moisturizing is a non-negotiable part of any skincare routine. But a downside that we run into too often—whether we're wearing makeup or not—is that pesky slick of sheen that catches the light in all the wrong places, or a formula that's so lightweight that it doesn't leave behind any benefits to mend your dry skin. When it comes to finding the perfect moisturizer formula for your skincare needs, there are so many factors to consider. You could be in the market for a hefty night cream to reset and hydrate your skin during beauty sleep. Or maybe you're looking for a moisturizer that hydrates without clogging your pores, contributing to unwanted oiliness, or causing annoying breakouts. Either way, keep your skincare standards high and don't settle for less—because, luckily, beauty editors are here to point you in the right direction.
So that you won't have to try every moisturizer in the saturated market, we did for you. Partly, well, because it's our job, but more importantly because we're on this quest for good skin with you. Ahead, the MC beauty team gets candid about the 10 face moisturizers we absolutely love, which are equal parts hydrating, glow-inducing and about to be your overactive sebaceous glands' worst nightmare.
"All the ingredients in this little-known moisturizer help keep my skin hydrated and incredibly smooth. The first time I tried this product, I was amazed and how fast the texture of my skin improved. It sinks into the skin very quickly, but the moisture it delivers lasts all day. When the world tunes in to how wonderful this cream is, I'm ready to say, 'Well I tried it first!'" —Tatjana Freund, Beauty Assistant
"Dr. Macrene Alexiades—a talented cosmetic dermatologist who studied medicine and genetics at Harvard and spent years developing skincare formulas for big beauty brands—really nailed it with this all-purpose moisturizer. The texture is spot on: It’s hydrating and rich but not greasy, and absorbs just quickly enough to leave skin a bit glowy without getting in the way of a seamless finish for makeup. A little goes a long way. I also take comfort in knowing that she’s crammed in as many powerhouse ingredients as humanly possible—resveratrol, red and blue algae, mushroom extract and yerba mate tea, to name just a few." — Ying Chu, Beauty & Health Director
"If you love to slather on hydration, this cream makes it easy. It's incredibly moisturizing but somehow never feels greasy. It leaves the skin looking and feeling smoothed out. It's rich enough to use as a night cream, but won't turn you into a dewy disco ball during the day. An added bonus? Makeup looks beautiful when applied on top of it." — TF
"This cream has been a staple in my skincare arsenal for a few years and it's a complete lifesaver for reducing excess oil on acne-prone skin. Not only does this luxurious water cream hydrate without leaving my skin feeling greasy, but the presence of Japanese wild rose extracts does wonders to refine the appearance of my large pores." — Chelsea Hall, Assistant Beauty and Fashion Editor
"This is my skincare stalwart. I use it all year round, just about every night—sometimes layered with a serum or two if I’m trying to refine texture or tackle some sun spots; other times solo when my skin is feeling a touch sensitive. It provides all the sensorial feels—the signature ocean-y La Mer scent, the fast-absorbing, lightweight texture that feels cool to the touch. It also provides the perfect amount of slip as a base for face rolling (I’m into this Refa S Carat roller which I got in Tokyo). A couple nights a week, I’ll apply, roll for 10 minutes, then leave any excess on my skin to absorb like a sleeping mask." — YC
This is my newest obsession. I've only been using this moisturizer for about two months, but the radiant results have been amazing. Because I've been sheltering in place, makeup just hasn't been on my radar. Instead, I've been focusing on fresh and glowing (not greasy) skin. This lightweight, water-locking formula does just that: hydrates, locks in moisture and leaves behind a shine-free glow. — CH
"I’ve waxed poetic about the power of this face cream for dark skin tones. This jar has singlehandedly transformed my skin—so yes, the price tag, which is a pretty penny, is hella worth it. I’ll never forget the day I was invited to a roundtable with Dr. Barbara Sturm and a room full of Black editors two years ago. She spoke openly about the science behind her skincare, and candidly answered all of our skeptical questions. I’ve been sold ever since and have told every brown woman in my life about its magic. The ingredients, which include botanical extracts like magnolia, and skin brighteners like lumicol and telovitin, all play their part to keep my complexion clear and radiant." — Maya Allen, Digital Beauty Editor
"In New York, I’m still sheltered in place due to COVID-19, which means the dull lighting in my apartment is not doing my isolated skin any justice. I’ve become newly obsessed with this gel-based, brightening moisturizer. It gives my skin the glowy fix it needs in the a.m. thanks to the potent dose of vitamin C. I’m always amazed after many mirror checks throughout the day and the long-lasting glow is still looking luminous as ever. Plus, the slight citrus scent reminds me of vacay—where I’d much rather be right now." — MA
"I used to layer on various serums, lotions and potions for long-haul flights (well, back when I was taking long-haul flights) in order to keep my skin from feeling like sandpaper for weeks following. Then facialist Joanna Czech told me that the only thing I need is Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream. She was right. After takeoff, I massage two pumps over my freshly cleansed face and neck (any excess goes to my cuticles) and come out the other side almost dewy, and never plagued with post-travel breakouts (a common trade-off with other extra rich treatments I’ve tried)."— YC
“Oh, how I could count the ways I love this moisturizer. I decided to take the plunge after watching one of my favorite influencers, Devon Lee Carlson, rave and rave about how refreshing this was on her skin and was curious if it was worth the hype. Classically, it was! When I apply the gel texture to my face, my skin feels reborn. I can’t decide if it’s the strong smell of citrus or the energy boost from the coffee and ginseng ingredients, but oh my, is it wonderful. Origins claim the moisturizer delivers 72-hours of oil-free hydration, but some days, the effects last even longer. I’d be lost without this orange container.” — Bianca Rodriguez, Digital Fellow
“I’ve been deeply obsessed with this moisturizer for so long that it’s basically become a personality trait. It emerges from the jar as a luxurious cream, but melts into an air-light gel the second it hits the skin, making it the most luxurious texture I’ve ever experienced. I consider it my instant fix: whether I’m waking up from a sodium-fueled Seamless extravaganza or trudging through the morning after barely any sleep at all, one application leaves my tired, dry skin looking revived and bouncy. And it doesn’t hurt that it smells like a Parisian flower market.” — Taylore Glynn, Associate Beauty & Health Editor
This moisturizer is marketed as a night cream, but I use it day and night. It’s slightly green tinted, which gets rid of any redness that I have on my face. It feels lightweight, but is intensely hydrating and my skin always feels softer after using it.— TF
"I find my skin needs change dramatically with the seasons and come summer, a light moisturizer goes a long way. Anything rich means makeup meltdown by noon. It’s why I keep going back to this genius serum sunblock hybrid from La Roche Posay—it’s rich with antioxidants, offers a nice, high SPF so I feel confident brown spots will be kept at bay, and offers the skin-smoothing properties of a primer so I can often skip foundation as well."— YC
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.