Best Face Forward

The 6 Best Moisturizers for Dry Skin


January 26, 2019 Style : Grooming By Photo by Chase Pellerin

If your skin is always dry, then it requires a specific kind of moisturizer. Obviously, any added moisture is beneficial, but your skin needs more than a light layer. It’s fragile by comparison, since it lacks the hydration needed to keep skin soft and youthful. Your sebum production and outermost skin layer are both compromised; in properly hydrated skin, these things generate and preserve moisture, and they defend the skin from age-progressing toxins and infectious germs.

So if you have dry skin, you need more than a standard-fare hydrating agent. You want something that minds your sensitivity, but that also boosts the elasticity and defensive properties of the skin. And if a dense moisturizer is too heavy for you to wear by day, then in the very least it should be applied before bed. If you do this, then stick with a lighter moisturizer by day, and layer some complexion-smoothing serum underneath.

Here are some of the hydrators that are specifically engineered for dry, sensitive skin. Whether you’re drier in specific seasons or are perennially parched, these are some of the best solutions.

Dr. Dennis Gross C + Collagen Deep Cream


Collagen-boosting amino acids soak into your face to brighten, moisturize, and smooth the skin. Dr. Dennis Gross’ formula is effective day and night, but is so precious that you ought just wear it at bedtime. (This is when it can do the most healing, calming, and smoothing.) The brand formulated its own Vitamin C complex (added to this cream) to prevent signs of aging, like dark spots and wrinkles, ideal if your skin is too sensitive for anti-aging prescriptions like retinol. Lastly, it uses a mix of oils like sunflower, rice bran, and japonica camellia to restore your skin’s defensive moisture barrier, bringing dry skin back to life.

Suki Care Balancing Facial Oil


Oils are often overlooked as moisturizers, since most discussion about skincare focuses on *removing* oil from the face. What that refers to is the excess sebum in your skin—that which clogs pores, along with grime buildup throughout the day. So, this opens the door to oil-based hydrators, which work wonders by daytime. (Pick something heavier for bedtime.) Suki’s quick-absorbing face oil is an excellent hydrator for dry skin thanks to the addition of calendula and lavender. The former promotes healing and nourishment, while the latter soothes irritation and prevents breakouts and dark spots. Lastly, jojoba and grape seed oils tighten the skin and boost long-term elasticity.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion SPF 30


If you prefer a lighter option by day, then you can bench a heavyweight cream for bedtime. Your morning substitute should include SPF, like Neutrogena’s SPF-30 water gel hydrating sunscreen. It shields the skin from both types of UV rays to prevent further irritation, aging, and dehydration. The formula is lightweight, classifying itself first as a sunscreen, though it’s every bit as effective as a deep-nourishing daytime moisturizer. In the very least, have it on hand for sunny days in the park or at the beach.

Baxter of California Super Shape Skin Recharge Cream


Baxter’s gel cream absorbs quickly into the skin, delivering instant hydration and firmess. It uses vigna leaf extract to smooth signs of aging, like wrinkles and fine lines. Then, apricot oil and soy proteins tighten and firm the skin, while a pinch of caffeine stimulates blood flow and keeps cells nourished. All of this promotes a smooth, soft complexion, geared specifically for men with sensitive or dry skin.

La Mer Creme de la Mer


This stuff is top-shelf. La Mer’s deep-hydrating cream uses the brand’s lightweight and trademarked Miracle Broth to restore elasticity and slough away dry skin. It swims into the skin with its soothing and nourishing extracts of algae and lime, plus oils of sesame, eucalyptus, alfalfa, sunflower, and sweet almond. Apply it to freshly cleansed skin before bed for the most magnified results, or the same by day if you want non-stop gold-medal nourishment.

Avene XeraCalm Cream


A dermatologist favorite, Avene’s moisturizer reduces itching and drying in under a week, and also claims to improve sleep quality by extension. This formula is free of additives like fragrance, soap, and preservatives, though its best quality is that it boosts the lipid production in your skin to soothe irritation, dryness, redness, and itching. It’s gentle enough to use on babies, so you know it’s safe on your face, too—even if you’re prone to eczema and dermatitis.

How to Take Care of Your Dry Skin

Everyone is susceptible to occasional dry skin, but people who live with it every day should follow these pro-tips to keep it healthy. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Newsletter Sign-Up
Get the best new products, deals,
and stories in your inbox daily.

By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy to receive email correspondence from us.