If moisturizers confuse and overwhelm you, you're not alone. Even skincare snobs have a hard time keeping up with the amount of options available to them. There are balms, creams, and serums. There are ingredients like hyaluronic acid, adaptogens, oxygen, and an endless list of plant extracts that make it difficult to choose one formula over another.
Ultimately, a good moisturizer will provide and retain moisture in the outermost layer of the skin, which is the goal with this step in your skincare routine. But today's variety have been designed to do much more: prevent premature aging, undo signs of aging (wrinkles, worry lines, etc.), soothe anti-inflammatory skin conditions like acne, and even manage stress.
To cut through the noise, we scoured the earth for the latest and greatest in hydration.
Here are the best moisturizers to add to your dopp kit this year
If you buy into anything French, you’ll love Kos Paris. It’s a luxe line of environmentally-friendly products which focus on plant-based ingredients and are free of parabens and preservatives. Its Sérum Chamomile is well suited for those with sensitive skin, and uses chamomile and safflower oil to soothe and hydrate skin.
The Skincare Elitist
Crème de la Mer
La Mer x Mario Sorrenti
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La Mer is the holy grail of skincare snob flexes — its 8.4-ounce jar of Crème de la Mer moisturizing cream will run you $1,250. This two-ounce one, however, is considerably less but just as much of a flex, as this limited-edition jar uses photography from legendary fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti. But optics aside, what’s in the jar is equally as impressive. Beyond being one of the best moisturizers, this cream does an effective job at firming the skin and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
The Anti-Stress Snob
From Dr. Dennis Gross, the highly sought-after New York City dermatologist, this moisturizer combines the rich nutrients found in niacinamide (vitamin B3) and avocado with the healing properties of adaptogens (plants that help the body deal with stress). Beyond hydrating, this cream works to prevent skin issues related to stress, including redness, worry lines, and dullness.
The Haute Hippie
According to Josh Rosebrook, there’s a difference between hydrating your skin and moisturizing it. The former consists of adding “water” (the hydrating substance that actually penetrates the skin), while moisturizer is designed to seal it in. With that in mind, his Hydrating Accelerator acts as a sub-step in your moisturizing routine. Combining aloe water, jojoba oil, vitamin E, and many other antioxidant-rich ingredients, skin is hydrated and in a better state to absorb and transport the benefits of the moisturizer you'll use over it.
The Organic Approach
You may be tempted to skip moisturizing in warmer months, especially if you have oily skin. But this step is essential to an effective skincare routine because it hydrates and nourishes. This serum helps with brightening and correcting uneven skin tone (thanks, vitamin C) and boosts collagen production — who doesn’t want that? Pro tip: apply to beard hair to keep strands looking healthy.
The Beauty Insider's Pick
Started by SoCal-based Fenya Abramian — aka leading beauty vlogger Jackie Aina’s facialist — Guidance To Glow pretty much delivers on its name. Her Copper Complex Peptide uses hyaluronic acid, which retains moisture and plumps the skin, and copper, which helps with cell renewing and smoothing, making it one of the best moisturizers out there.
The Anti-Aging Obsessed
If you're concerned about hydration and anti-aging, you need to get acquainted with this moisturizer. Tatcha uses the finest ingredients from Japan that results in a silky, smooth nourishing cream. Ingredients include Uji Green Tea, the purest source of green tea; Okinawa Mozuku Algae, derived from Japan’s tropical islands and used to help the skin retain water; and Akita Rice, which is high in proteins.
The Medicine Cabinet Flex
From legendary brand Valmont, this moisturizer not only hydrates the skin, it protects it from environmental damage. Infused with oxygen (yes, really), this ingredient aids in cell production to fight against pollution and other aggravators that can lead to a dull complexion and premature signs of aging. Of note: the whipped cream texture of this face moisturizer is extra extravagant.
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