Not all moisturizers are created equal. If you have dry skin, you know this. While some formulas are made to be light, the best moisturizers for dry skin need to be able take on the harshest of conditions: subzero temperatures, overactive radiators, and genetics that refuse to make your complexion look dewy no matter how much lemon water you chug. Even if your skin is oily and prone to breakouts, it can still be dehydrated—leaving your face feeling dry, tight, and flaky. (Speaking from experience, you probably notice it mostly on your cheeks, which is where our faces have fewer oil glands.)
Sound familiar? In that case, you’ll want a face moisturizer that works overtime with hydrating ingredients or moisture-retaining lipids. Still, that’s a huge list of options to narrow down, so here’s a helpful place to start.
How to Chose a Face Moisturizer for Dry Skin
First thing’s first, to find the right formula, you’ll need to know this: Is your skin dry or dehydrated? It’s actually easier to determine than it sounds. Does your face usually feel oily (especially in your T-zone), but look dull and tight in certain spots (like your cheeks)? It’s likely your skin is dehydrated, meaning it needs more hydration (water) and is still producing oil. Whereas, if it’s dry and tight all over—so much so that you feel like you need to reapply moisturizer throughout the day—that’s a good sign you’ve got dry skin, something people with eczema or psoriasis know well. This will help you figure out what kind of consistency you’ll need in a face moisturizer. Dry skin types will want a rich, thick cream, while oily/dehydrated types will benefit from a lighter gel-cream.
Next up: check the ingredients. The best moisturizers for dry skin should contain hydrating powerhouses: Squalane, B vitamins, glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid (the top derm-recommended ingredient for dry skin) are all key words to look out for. If you’re extremely sensitive, avoid potential irritants like alcohol (which can dry out your skin further) as well as additives like fragrances and sulfates.
That’s obviously a lot to consider when you’re standing in an aisle full of face creams, so let us do the heavy lifting for you. We asked Glamour staffers to share which moisturizers changed the game for them. Consider this our hydration Haul of Fame.