June 13, 2021


Keep Fit & Healthy

12 Editor-Approved Moisturizers To Quench Thirsty Skin

4 min read

No matter how many times your Apple Watch reminds you to get up to refill your glass water bottle and do a lap around the office during the day, and regardless of whether you prefer the soft mouthfeel of Evian to the crisp neutrality of Poland Spring, the human body is, and always will be, composed of more than 50% water. Consuming ample H2O on a daily basis is so much more than just a bragging right; it is essential for sustaining life, for powering your brain (73% water), your muscles (79%), and, perhaps most importantly, your skin (a healthy 64%).

Moisturizer, then, is as crucial to your quality of life as a S’well bottle, or owning a Brita filter, or having a Smartwater sponsorship, like Jennifer Aniston. (Which is to say: great if you can swing it, but as long as you have access to clean drinking water, that’s all that really matters.) And, as with water varietals, there are countless different moisturizers on the market; some subtly different, others markedly so, at a wide range of price points, to suit nearly any taste.

So we tried tons of them, on all different skin types and with only the highest standards. (Consider us the water sommeliers of the skin-care world.) Ahead, the 12 formulas that really quenched our thirst — including the ones that emerged victorious in our latest Beauty Innovator Awards.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Moisturizer

Why choose between trendy non-dairy milks when you can have them all in one jar — and some you’ve never even heard of? Fig, oat, and argan milks paired with shea butter and squalane make for a rich, intensely nourishing vegan moisturizer that’s gentle enough for every skin type.

Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Moisturizer, $, available at Sephora

Ghost Democracy Lightweight Daily Face Moisturizer

No silicones, no essential oils, no drying alcohols, no added fragrance: This no-frills moisturizer strips back everything but the essentials, using probiotics, niacinamide, and oat seed extract to soothe and satisfy dry skin.

Ghost Democracy Clean Lightweight Daily Face Moisturizer, $, available at Verishop

Botanics Simply Calm Hydrating Face Cream for Stressed Skin

A rich yet fast-absorbing blend of shea butter, cannabis sativa seed oil, and aloe vera — for well under $20.

Botanics Simply Calm Hydrating Face Cream for Stressed Skin, $, available at Walgreens

Renée Rouleau Skin Recovery Lotion

This oil-free moisturizer soothes, destresses, and hydrates, like a 14-day stay at Canyon Ranch for highly sensitive, breakout-prone skin.

Renée Rouleau Skin Recovery Lotion, $, available at Renée Rouleau

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Exfoliating Moisturizer

“Exfoliating moisturizer” is an oxymoron. So is “minor miracle” and “terribly good” — and this dual-action formula is all of those things.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Exfoliating Moisturizer, $, available at DermStore

Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly

We can’t even with this gel, which locks in moisture without suffocating skin thanks to an unbelievably light formula even the oily-skinned will die over.

Clinique Dramatically Different™ Hydrating Jelly, $, available at Clinique

Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream

What’s luxurious but not overly rich, perfect for dry skin but not too heavy for oily skin, and gives you an otherworldly glow without highlighter? (That’s not a riddle — it’s just this cream.)

Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream, $, available at Sephora

Augustinus Bader The Cream

The luxe cream to end all luxe creams might smell like a damp wool blanket, but it feels like heaven and leaves skin looking like a million (clear, dewy) bucks.

Augustinus Bader The Cream, $, available at Violet Grey

Supergoop! Superscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 40

The hottest moisturizer on the shelf has everything: SPF 40, pollution protection, and long-lasting hydration to guarantee you have the softest skin at any of Stefon’s clubs.

Supergoop! Superscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 40, $, available at Nordstrom

Olay Regenerist Whip with Sunscreen SPF 25 Moisturizer

A moisturizer so beautifully soft and nourishing, it almost seems like a mistake that the price is so low… but we won’t tell anyone if you don’t.

Olay Olay Regenerist Whip with Sunscreen SPF 25 Moisturizer, $, available at CVS

RoC Retinol Correxion Max Daily Hydration Anti-Aging Crème

Most “anti-wrinkle” creams are hard on skin, as if to punish you for having wrinkles at all. This one, however, smooths and moisturizes — just like you and your laugh lines deserve.

RoC Retinol Correxion Max Daily Hydration Anti-Aging Crème, $, available at Amazon

Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream

There are a lot of things you can fake with the help of a few beauty products, but the plump, hydrated skin you get with regular use of this ceramide-rich moisturizer is the real deal.

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin™ Cream, $, available at Sephora

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

14 Pro-Approved Moisturizers For Sensitive Skin

Serum Is Better Than Moisturizer — Don’t @ Me

The Best Cheap Summer Moisturizers For Dewy Skin

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