11 Best Hydrating Face Moisturizers in 2023
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Hydration is important, and your face needs plenty of it. Nourishment keeps the skin healthy, firm, and glowing. It also helps prevent visible signs of aging—like wrinkles, fine lines, and crow’s feet. If you’ve been washing your face but not moisturizing, your dehydrated skin is begging you to add some moisture to your routine.
We know there are plenty of options on the market for face moisturizers, lotions, and gels. But not all of them are created equally. Some of these products actually make your skin worse, so we’ve rounded up the 11 best hydrating face moisturizers in 2023 to make it easier for you to find the best product for you.
1. Blu Atlas Face Moisturizer
Blu Atlas, one of the best brands of the year, has one of the best hydrating face moisturizers to offer. The brand consistently offers the cleanest, vegan products available, whether shampoo, conditioner, face wash, or shaving cream. They truly never miss.
But we’re here to talk about Blu Atlas Face Moisturizer. This is a creamy, lightweight blend of enriching ingredients that will quench your skin. Packed with vitamins E and C, Mango seed butter aids the skin against UV rays, pollution, and other irritants.
Antioxidant-rich seaweed extract helps control your skin’s oil production and exfoliates away dead skin cells. This helps brighten and clear the skin, bringing to the surface brightness and radiance. Ascorbic acid, most commonly known as vitamin C, regulates the skin and adds youthfulness. Use this face moisturizer daily for clear, bright, and rejuvenated skin.
2. e.l.f. SuperHydrate Gel Moisturizer
Finding a face moisturizer that doles out the industry standard amount of hydration couldn’t be easier in this day and age. Every store that deals in personal care stocks a variety of moisturizers suited for all skin types. But what if you need something that provides a little bit—and by little, we mean a lot—more than the rest?
e.l.f. SuperHydrate Gel Moisturizer is just that product. This moisturizer has all the benefits of a luxury skin cream, but with the ultra-lightweight, super hydrating (hence the name), and affordable properties usually associated with gel-based products.
Niacinamide, centella asiatica, and vitamin E are the powerhouse ingredients that make up the base of this fast-absorbing moisturizer. Together they help lock in moisture faster—and for a longer duration—while also clarifying skin tone and uneven texture. Meanwhile, the infused squalane and snow mushroom work to plump skin to make it look more youthful, and to help improve its elasticity.
Another pro of this awesomely hydrating moisturizer from e.l.f. is that it is formulated to also work as a base for makeup application (which is probably to be expected from a makeup brand). And since it is designed to work underneath makeup, you can rightly assume that this gel is gentle on the skin.
Like all of e.l.f. ‘s products, this moisturizer is cruelty-free, vegan, and free from nasty harsh chemicals like phthalates, parabens, nonylphenol, ethoxylates, triclosan, and triclocarban. Additionally, if the gel isn’t for you, you can find a similar formulation in the brand’s Holy Hydration! Face Cream. If you want to go the extra mile, we recommend using SuperHydrate in the morning and your cream of choice at night.
3. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Face Moisturizer
Neutrogena isn’t just for acne-riddled teens. We, just like you, relied on Neutrogena throughout our youth to save us from blackheads, whiteheads, dandruff, flaky buildup, and just overall terrible skin. However, age isn’t the magical thing we thought it was when we were in high school.
Aging into your 20s and 30s may come with the slow, long goodbye to acne, but it will also come with a whole host of new skin problems. Yes, those nasty whiteheads that made you look like a cave troll may be gone, but they’re only to be replaced by wrinkles and crow’s feet that make you look like a bog witch.
So, who do you turn to for aid in this new, but familiar skincare fight? Well, Neutrogena of course. That’s right, after all this time, it is Neutrogena that will once again save the day.
Which product from the storied skincare brand can you now depend on? In that regard, it’ll be an old favorite. Hydro Boost Water Gel, the very same moisturizer trusted by those struggling their way through puberty skincare issues, is what will get you through the skincare issues that are in thanks to Father Time.
Not much has changed with Hydro Boost since you last used it. If anything, it’s just gotten better. This lightweight and fast-absorbing gel moisturizer is one of the best hydrating face moisturizers in 2023, just as it was ten years prior in 2013 (yes, that was ten years ago), due to its all-day hydration provided by its oil-free hyaluronic acid formula.
4. CETAPHIL Daily Oil-Free Hydrating Lotion
Even if you’re one of the lucky few—emphasis on few—that don’t need a daily skincare routine in order to have effortlessly flawless skin (really, really jealous), chances are that you’ve still heard of Cetaphil. For everyone else that relies on products to stay looking their age, Cetaphil has been a mainstay in our routines for a good while now.
If you haven’t used Cetaphil outside of the free samples doled out by dermatologists, we recommend you give them another chance, because you won’t regret it. Our favorite offering from the dermatologist-recommended brand is their classic Daily Oil-Free Hydrating Lotion.
This wonderful moisturizer was specially developed for those with extra sensitive skin and/or those with a combination of dry and oily problem areas. Therefore, you can expect an ultra-lightweight lotion that instantly hydrates and locks in moisture to protect skin from dryness for up to 24 hours.
Like most great skincare products, Cetaphil blends this moisturizer with hyaluronic acid. It may have acid in the name, but it is extra gentle on the skin and provides an insane amount of hydration all while being non-greasy and non-comedogenic.
Unlike most skincare products, Cetaphil goes the extra mile in their clinical tests. They enlist real dermatologists and skin care professionals to ensure their formulations are effective, yet non-irritating to those with combination and sensitive skin types. That dedication to the consumer is just one reason why we think Cetaphil makes one of the best hydrating face moisturizers in 2023.
5. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Matte Moisturizer
Prepare what’s ailing your skin for trouble, and make it double! To protect your skin from devastation, and to unite all pores under one foundation! With La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Matte Moisturizer, your skin can now be the very best like no one’s ever was.
La Roche-Posay is a drug store luxury and has arguably the best value out of all mid-range to higher-end skincare products on the market. Don’t believe us? Well, consider this hydrating face moisturizer exhibit A.
Like all of the brand’s products in their Toleriane line, the Double Repair Matte Moisturizer is formulated with minimalistic ingredients that were carefully selected to be safe for use on even the most sensitive skin. This lightweight gel moisturizer is oil-free and provides all-day-long hydration without the shine normally associated with face lotions and gels. So, oily skin folks, rejoice as your savior can now be found at Walgreens.
If you have sensitive skin, you’ll appreciate the dermatologist-developed ingredients that include ceramide and niacinamide. Together, they work to repair your skin’s natural moisture barrier even after just one use. Over time, you can expect more naturally hydrated skin with even less effort.
All products in La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane line are allergy-tested, fragrance-free, paraben-free, and suitable for all skin types, and when used together with each other you don’t have to worry about any bad reactions. So, what are you waiting for? Go catch them all!
6. The Inkey List Peptide Moisturizer
We don’t know if it is “Ink-ey” or “One-key,” and at this point, we’re too afraid to ask. Regardless, we love their products, and think more than just beauty guru fans and influencers should be aware of them.
Our favorite product from the brand is the 1nkey List Peptide Moisturizer. This is a daily moisturizer that is formulated with a proprietary dual peptide formula designed to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while also working to balance your skin’s natural oil levels to prevent dry skin and overly oily skin. Additionally, those dual peptides support collagen production over time, which leaves skin looking younger and more radiant.
On top of that, you can expect even more powerful ingredients aside from the peptides. A blend of two percent Royal Epigen P5 helps smooth out skin tone and works to delay the aging of skin cells. Additionally, a whole host of other ingredients are infused in to make sure this moisturizer is compatible with other products in your skincare routine, such as hyaluronic acid serum.
7. Hero Cosmetics Clear Collective Clarifying Prebiotic Moisturizer
If you ever woke up in the morning to get ready and looked in the mirror only to realize that overnight a pimple sprouted higher than Jack and the Beanstalk, then you are probably already aware of Mighty Patch pimple patches (or the dime-a-dozen knock offs).
Hero Cosmetics, the brand behind the original Mighty Patches, also has a slew of other skincare products well worth your time. Our favorite, which just so happens to be one of the best hydrating face moisturizers on the market, is the Clear Collective Clarifying Prebiotic Moisturizer. This pore-purifying daily moisturizer energizes your skin’s natural ability to self-regulate its oil and bacteria production.
Yes, you read that right, oil and bacteria production. Your skin naturally produces good oils and good bacteria that often get cleansed away with the bad oils and bad bacteria. Hero Cosmetics corrects that mistake with this moisturizer. Instead of getting rid of them, it utilizes them in the fight against acne, dry skin, and rough texture.
Clear Collective contains zero fragrances and no irritating ingredients, but that’s not all. It is also free of petroleum, parabens, fragrance, artificial colors, silicones, and mineral oils to ensure it is suitable and safe for all skin types.
If you have acne, struggle with oil buildup, or are just looking for an innovative new moisturizer, then you can’t go wrong with what Hero Cosmetics has to offer.
8. MARLOWE. No. 123 Men’s Facial Moisturizer
Men, we know shopping for personal care products is easier now than it ever has been. Gone are the days of only having the option of whatever Old Spice product you could find at the supermarket. In this new era, men have it just as easy as women when it comes to finding suitable products to take care of their skin.
However, this new frontier in men’s skincare is a double-edged sword. Back when there were very few products to choose from, decisions on what product to put on your face made themselves. Now, with millions of products geared toward your hard-earned money, decisions sometimes take weeks—if not months.
The good news? Well, enter Marlowe. As a brand forged in the fire of 2010s startup culture, and as one that found success through the pits of social media, it is safe to say they know what men want, and what they want is simplicity.
All of Marlowe’s products are simply named and cataloged with a number. That way all you have to do is remember the number on the bottle the next time you go to Target for a restock.
However, our favorite thing about Marlowe is that they apply this same no-frills ethos to their formulations as well. Take their No.123 Facial Moisturizer for instance. This lightweight daily moisturizer is formulated with aloe vera leaf juice, willow bark, deep sea algae extracts, citrus for scent, and good ol’ fashioned water.
Yep, that’s the opposite of complexity if we’ve ever seen it.
9. Paula’s Choice SKIN RECOVERY Replenishing Moisturizer
If you struggle with deciding what skincare products to use in your routine as much as we do, then we recommend Paula’s Choice. No more trials and tribulations of testing out what products will work together without irritating your skin while still being effective. Instead, just trust what Paula chooses.
We rarely recommend just using products from one brand, since there are so many good options out there in the realm of skincare, but with Paula’s Choice, we make an exception. Together, their products excel when combined with other products across their various lines such as Boost, Clinical, Exfoliate, Resist, Defense, Balancing, Clear, Mask, and more. As you can tell, no brand makes it as easy when developing a skincare routine as Paula’s Choice does.
One of our favorites from the brand is from their Recovery line. Paula’s Choice Replenishing Moisturizer harnesses the power of naturally occurring antioxidants, emollients, and anti-aging peptides to create a skin-quenching daily moisturizer that evens out skin tone, minimizes wrinkles, calms irritation, repairs damage, and minimizes signs of aging.
This moisturizer accomplishes such a feat thanks to plant-derived oils and antioxidants known for their ability to smooth, brighten, and even out skin naturally. Even if your skin is dry, oily, sensitive, red, acne prone, blemished, dull, or a combination of all of the above, this moisturizer can help set your skin straight.
If you read that and didn’t immediately add all of their products to your cart, then we don’t know what else to say besides all of Paula’s Choice formulas are science-backed to combat anything from wrinkles to breakouts, all without using skin irritants found in harsh chemicals.
We bet that last part sealed the deal, huh?
10. Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Moisturizing Face Sunscreen Lotion
Aveeno is a pioneer of personal care products. As one of the very first brands to come to market in a post-war economy in 1945, they were able to utilize the scale of mass production used for war and apply that to skincare and haircare. Before Aveeno, most personal care products were homegrown, and we literally mean homegrown.
Back then, you couldn’t just go to the grocery store and pick up face moisturizer. You had to either special order it from the Sears Roebuck catalog, live in a major city with a haberdasher that even knew what skincare products were, or make one yourself. And for most people, it was usually the latter.
With Aveeno, that was all in the past. Thanks to them, products like their original Soothing Bath Treatment, were made available in most cities where one could find the newly fangled supermarket. Over time, their suite of products grew to include items that wouldn’t be too unfamiliar to us today, and for the first time in history, people could readily find personal care products tailored to them without making it in their kitchen sink.
Aveeno’s greatness isn’t just due to their contributions to personal care during the mid-century—on the contrary—they’re still at it and better than ever. Our favorite from the brand is something of a rarity. The Protect + Hydrate Moisturizing Face Sunscreen Lotion is formulated with broad spectrum SPF 60 that not only protects your skin from UV damage, but also keeps it hydrated all day long.
11. Dermalogica Intensive Moisture Balance
Dermalogica is a brand that we think deserves everyone’s attention. Most skincare brands on the market today came to fruition through more simple means, like as an accidental byproduct from another brand in a large conglomerate’s portfolio of companies. Or through more devious means, like creating a problem and selling a solution (looking at you, deodorant and antiperspirant).
However, Dermalogica was started in 1986 by the International Dermal Institute with one goal in mind, to be the skincare line for those who struggle with skincare ailments that require special care such as dermatitis and chronic eczema.
Before brands like Dermalogica, if you had skincare problems you had one option available to you: see a dermatologist. Not everyone has the time, or money, to see a dermatologist about everything that may be plaguing their skin. Now, you can try out at-home daily treatments with products like the Intensive Moisture Balance.
This advanced moisturizer was formulated to restore your skin’s natural lipid balance in order to strengthen its moisture barrier which works to hydrate your skin throughout the day. By nourishing your skin’s microbiome, instead of just stripping it all away, Dermalogica creates an optimal environment for their skincare products to work at their maximum efficiency. Thus, your skin can flourish without the high cost of a dermatologist or skin therapist.
Skin Hydration 101
Just like your body needs water to stay healthy, your skin needs hydration too. Drinking water definitely keeps your skin glowing and youthful, but you also need to use specific products to keep your skin functioning.
That’s where face moisturizers come in. These are specific products that add hydration, nourishment, and hydration to the skin. When your skin is dehydrated, it gets flaky and irritated, so facial moisturizers help alleviate that.
When washing your face, it is vital to be gentle. Your skin has a delicate barrier that protects it from damage and excessive scrubbing can mess with that balance. Use gentle, circular motions when washing your face, and avoid using brushes or scrubbers. Your hands work the best and won’t cause as much damage.
After cleansing your skin, gently pat your face dry with a towel. Depending on your skin type, you may want to opt for a soft, microfiber towel, but, generally, any towel will do. Don’t rub or drag the towel around your face because this will cause redness and irritation.
Once your skin is dry, apply your face moisturizer evenly throughout your face. If there are certain areas of your face that are drier—like the inner corners of your lips—add more product there.
Before adding any other skincare products or makeup, allow the moisturizer to absorb into the skin for at least 30 seconds (but preferably a minute). This ensures that your skin is getting the full benefits of the product and will keep your skin hydrated all day long.
If your skin is still dry, even with consistent use, you may want to add peptides and collagen to your routine. Some people prefer to take oral supplements, but you can also use gels or serums. No matter which option you choose, make sure you are consistent with the application method.
Be mindful of the other products you’re using on your face. Certain ingredients—like sulfates, alcohol, and fragrances—can dry out the skin. Look at the ingredient labels for face washes, serums, makeup, and sunscreen. Avoid using other ingredients that you know will dehydrate your skin.
For an added boost of moisture each week, use face masks. There are plenty of hydrating face masks on the market that offer impressive results. If your skin is more sensitive, use a sheet mask. But if you have normal skin, you can likely use a peel face mask. Leave the face mask on for 10-15 minutes, allowing the ingredients to gently nourish and hydrate the skin. When finished, rinse your face and follow up with your face moisturizer.
The Best Ingredients for Hydration
Not all ingredients are created equally, and some may dry out your skin even more. Be sure to pay attention to the ingredient list when buying products to ensure you are getting the most hydrating ingredients.
Aloe vera is naturally derived from plants. It’s soothing, cooling, and hydrating. Aloe vera is great to use on sunburnt skin since its cooling effects help numb the burn. It’s also a great moisturizer thanks to its high water content. If you have exceptionally dry or sensitive skin, you can use aloe all over your face and body for nourishment and moisturization.
Coconut oil is not just for your hair; it’s also a great moisturizer for your face. Since coconut oil is clean and natural, it’s great to use on any skin type. You only need a small amount of product because a little goes a long way with coconut oil. You can even blend coconut oil with other ingredients to make your own moisturizer.
You have probably seen hyaluronic acid in many products. It’s everywhere and for good reason. Hyaluronic acid helps your skin to retain moisture—think of it like a sponge. Each time you use hyaluronic acid, your skin will absorb and retain water more easily, which keeps it hydrated longer. This ingredient can take some time to get used to, so use it sparingly as you allow your skin to adjust.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is great at absorbing excess oil and balancing out the skin, but it also helps keep the skin nourished. It tones the skin and clears away dirt, grime, and impurities that are lodged in the pores. Because too much oil can throw your skin off track—and even cause patchiness in some spots—tea tree oil helps to balance your face overall.
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