The 10 Best Facial Moisturizers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed


 Finding the right moisturizer is easier said than done—there are a lot of things to consider, and even more options to choose from. In short, the best facial moisturizer for you will moisturize your skin without causing irritation, causing unwanted breakouts, or turning your skin into an oily mess. Still, everyone has their own preferences, and when skin concerns and budget come into play, the search becomes more complicated.



Everyone deserves healthy, super soft skin. That's why we spent months testing the most popular facial moisturizers on the market, from tried-and-true drugstore staples to designer formulas that dermatologists love. 

To determine the best, we asked testers and Byrdie editors (each representing a range of skin tones, ages, textures, and concerns) to try a range of options. We considered each formula's consistency, how well it absorbed into the skin, and whether it delivered on its promise to address specific skin concerns. Then, we consulted three trusted skin experts—board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garchik and Dr. Harold Lancer and board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Jennifer Levin. The result: this curated list of moisturizers.



Best Overall Award: Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré 


A tube of the legendary Embryolisse Laid Crème Concentré is sold every five seconds worldwide, and after trying it during testing, we know why. This product cleanses, moisturizes, nourishes and protects skin on the face and body - and begs the question: "What can't this thing do?"



The formula, which has been a best-seller since the 1950s, contains a variety of natural active ingredients such as shea butter, beeswax, soy protein and aloe vera, all of which work together to combat skin problems such as dryness, irritation and redness. Pressing the tube produces wonderful whipped cream that melts on contact with your skin, which we experienced first hand. 

The brand recommends applying a small amount of product to clean, damp skin after cleansing to really lock in moisture and get the most out of the cream. This super-rich cream is a great example of an occlusive product that Levine says can soothe and moisturize skin. "These types of formulas create a protective film that locks moisture into the skin while keeping it soft and hydrated," she adds.



It's suitable for all skin types, but may be a little too thick for very oily or acne-prone skin types. 


Best Budget: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Gel Cream



Enriched with powerfully hydrating hyaluronic acid, this Neutrogena moisturizer is loved by dermatologists, editors, and testers. Even though this moisturizer is very lightweight (and non-comedogenic), it's rich and nourishing. It cools on contact with the skin and absorbs very quickly - a big plus if you're wearing foundation and concealer over it. 

Garshick explains that the formula is a great moisturizer for daily use because it combines the benefits of gel and cream, allowing it to absorb quickly while still providing long-lasting hydration.


This is a proven option that has been around for years and is very easy to obtain. Trade journalist Caitlyn Martyn swears by this moisturizer for her oily, acne-prone skin. "Ever since my dermatologist recommended this lightweight gel formula, I haven't looked back—and my skin has never looked better," she explains. 

"Plus, it's affordable so I don't have to skimp on product when applying it, and I don't look greasy even if I apply too much."



Our only criticism: the original recipe contains fragrance. However, for those who get easily offended, the brand offers a fragrance-free option. 

Best for: La Mer, Moisturizing Soft Cream


People often ask, "Does La Mer really work?" The answer is yes, it absolutely does. Creme de la Mer is the brand's flagship product, and fans of the brand's products continue to replenish its stock. The final product was developed over 12 years by an aerospace physicist who wanted to heal burns he suffered in a laboratory accident. Reduces fine lines and strengthens skin barrier. 

Despite the hefty price tag (we know, we know), the therapeutic benefits of this formula are unmatched. For longer wear, we recommend supplementing with another moisturizer.



Best for Oily Skin: Tatcha The Water Cream 

This non-comedogenic formula is a must-have for those with oily skin. Why? Well, it's lightweight (application feels like water splashing on your face) and effective, and we love that it leaves skin looking hydrated but not greasy. It absorbs quickly into the skin and won't pill or flake under makeup. This makes it perfect for daytime use and also very hydrating. It also works well with any nighttime skincare routine.




Garshick says the moisturizer is packed with antioxidants, such as the brand's own Hadasei-3 complex, which helps fight free radical damage, and Japanese wild rose extract, which is said to improve the appearance of pores and skin texture. "These ingredients, along with the addition of oil-controlling Japanese Leopard Lily, make this moisturizer a good, lightweight option for different skin types," she explains. 

Like other products from the brand, The Water Cream is free of parabens, mineral oil and sulfates. It contains highly hydrating botanicals like Japanese Leopard Lily and Wild Rose, along with plumping hyaluronic acid. From our first try and weeks of use, we've been impressed with how well the gel-cream soothes minor skin irritations with soothing ingredients like green tea and algae.




Best for Mature Skin: SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 

Chances are you've heard of SkinCeuticals' legendary moisturizer. If not, allow us to introduce you to it. Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 Moisturizer has an optimal ratio of lipids - 2% pure ceramides, 4% natural cholesterol and 2% fatty acids - making this anti-aging cream one of the best on the market .


 
This lipid blend is designed to restore skin's essential lipids lost due to natural aging or environmental influences (or both). We fell in love with how silky smooth our skin felt after just one use, and the fact that it looked brighter and plumper was just the icing on the cake. 

This formula is perfect for mature skin (or anyone concerned about aging), and it's also a welcome addition to any skincare routine, no matter your age. Garshick calls it "a great option for restoring moisture and strengthening the skin's natural barrier," which we know weakens as we age, leading to dryness and a lack of suppleness.

"This moisturizer effectively restores oil molecules, making skin appear more hydrated and smooth," she says. "This is also a good choice for people who use retinoids, as it hydrates the skin well and helps the skin tolerate the ingredient." 

Best for Combination Skin: Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream
Speaking of moisturizers, another well-known name: Augustinus Bader's Plumping Cream is one of our favorites. Professor Augustinus Bader developed this unique cream containing Trigger Factor Complex or TFC8 (also known as a combination of natural amino acids, vitamins and synthetic molecules) which provides our stem cells with everything they need to regenerate. 

Simply put, it allows the skin to repair itself.

The moisturizer may seem a bit thick at first and once applied to the skin, it may appear a bit shiny. 

But it absorbs well into the skin over time. Just think about the amount you are applying for, which may be the case anyway given the higher price.


Best for Dry Skin: Dr. Barbara Sturm Plumping Cream
PhD. Barbara Sturm knows what it takes to have great skin—after all, the German beauty doctor is known for her vampire facials and celebrity skin therapist. When she launched her namesake skincare line in 2014, it quickly became a fan favorite, and this cream is no exception. 

The formula contains a nourishing blend of antioxidants (like vitamin E and purslane), cell-renewing skullcap extract and rich oils to provide long-lasting hydration.

Like several other products on this list, it's a bit thick, so those prone to shine may want to skip it.
Best for All Skin Types: Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Ceramide Replenishing Moisturizer

Drunk Elephant's best-selling moisturizer is both hydrating and non-greasy, giving you a matte finish with just a hint of shine. 

The blend of African oils and plant lipids such as ceramides and phytosphingosine takes time to absorb. So, let it sit before applying other skin care products or starting makeup.

After long-term testing, we added Lala Retro Moisturizer to our regular skincare range and gave it five stars for its fragrance-free and silicone-free formula, which is suitable for most skin types. We noticed our skin was more elastic after using it. It’s rare to find a moisturizer that has all the nourishing benefits of a rich formula without weighing down the skin and causing congestion. 

 Best for Barrier Repair: Caudalie Premier Cru Skin Barrier Rich Moisturizer
This impressive formula is great if you have a weak skin barrier. Not sure if you have one? Disruption of the core function of the skin barrier can manifest itself in a variety of ways, whether it is itchy, dry or dull skin, or more extreme conditions such as skin infections or dermatoses. 

Delayed wound healing. We love this shea butter and ceramide-rich moisturizer because it deeply nourishes skin and promotes a happier (and healthier) moisture barrier. After using it, we were smitten with the formula's luxurious buttery feel—which explains why it's a more expensive formula—and how quickly it saturated our skin with moisture.

We recommend using this cream at night for a few reasons: First, it's a little heavier, so it might be too much to use during the day. Secondly, there’s nothing better than waking up to baby-soft skin in the morning. 

We love how soothing and buttery-soft this formula feels, so it's no surprise that it's an amazing solution for dry spots and irritation.

Best Soothing: Innisfree Green Tea Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer
If your skin is stressed and irritated, it's best to treat it with a streamlined skincare routine paired with a soothing moisturizer, like this one from Innisfree . 

The formula contains five forms of hyaluronic acid to boost hydration, as well as the brand's Green Tea Tribiotics to help strengthen skin's moisture barrier. Additionally, squalane and ceramides lock in moisture by forming an impenetrable protective barrier. In terms of consistency, the moisturizer feels light on the skin but is actually a bit thick, which makes sense considering the gel-cream combo. 

It doesn't feel like it's weighing down the skin, but it's not.It's impossible to ignore entirely - it's the perfect in-between.

Our only criticism is that it has a scent that some people find very pleasant, but those who are very sensitive to fragrances may want to skip this and opt for a fragrance-free product.
Read More
Previous Post Next Post