On the list of no-brainer skincare products everyone should own, face moisturizer is near, if not the, top spot. Nearly everything we do and encounter impacts our skin. Extreme weather can throw off sebum production, either leaving our faces oily or desert dry. The food we eat can cause allergic reactions and acne. Genetics and hormonal changes can be responsible for all of the above. Considering all the possibilities, the least we can do is clean and nourish our skin to keep up with the joneses—extra points if you swear by sun protection and protective face masks, too.
Ultimately, choosing a face moisturizer is an individual experience. You’ll have to factor in your skin type, lifestyle choices, and personal preferences. We also can’t underestimate the importance of price point. Part of establishing a consistent skincare routine is making sure it’s something you can afford a repeat investment in. And while one may assume sticking with drugstore moisturizers means a loss of quality or effectiveness, that’s simply not true. Some of the most popular drugstore moisturizers—and there are a lot—boast just as many awards and positive reviews as the ones you’ll find in a department store with triple-digit price tags.
How We Found The Best Drugstore Moisturizers
So much so, that we pulled off something both new and seasoned skincare enthusiasts can appreciate: a definitive list of the best drugstore moisturizers. As always, we couldn’t pull this off without our tried-and-true, ultra-smart algorithm. In case you’re new here, it’s a proprietary tool that identifies products based on data that includes beauty editor reviews, expert recommendations, social media buzz, and more. Discover your next budget-friendly buy below.
Next up, check out the 10 Best Drugstore Body Lotions. Opening image: amazon.com
February 23, 2022
Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
WHAT IT DOES: Olay’s highly coveted red jar houses a moisturizer designed to deeply penetrate the skin with nourishing ingredients that hydrate and improve elasticity.
WHO IT’S FOR: Those concerned with signs of aging (fine lines and wrinkles) will appreciate the anti-aging formula that includes vitamin B3, an ingredient known for boosting cell turnover and removing dead skin.
Ponds Dry Skin Cream Facial Moisturizer
WHAT IT DOES: Pond’s Cold Cream is as classic as it gets, but don’t sleep on the brand’s moisturizer either. The ultra-thick texture, rich in occlusive ingredients, can be used for daily hydration and prepping the skin for makeup.
WHO IT’S FOR: Dry skin types will love the thick consistency and non-greasy finish.
Clean & Clear Essentials Dual Action Acne Facial Moisturizer
WHAT IT DOES: This Clean & Clear standout is an acne treatment and daily moisturizer, tackling breakouts and nourishing the skin in one fell swoop.
WHO IT’S FOR: This is a godsend for people with acne-prone skin, as the oil-free formula contains salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid that penetrates deep beneath the skin to remove debris.
Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer With Sunscreen
Best Highest SPF
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: Finally, a moisturizer with SPF 50. Here’s why that’s important: An SPF level of 30 allows about 3% of UVB rays to hit your skin, while an SPF level of 50 allows only about 2% of those rays through. While this seems like a small difference, the fact is that SPF 30 allows 50% more UV radiation to get to your skin.
ADDITIONAL DETAILS: Cetaphil’s Facial Moisturizer is both hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, meaning it’s one of the best moisturizers with SPF for sensitive skin on our list.
Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Face Moisturizer
WHAT IT DOES: Aveeno’s daily moisturizer is light enough to wear under makeup but looks just as radiant on a makeup-free face, thanks to natural-light diffusers that reflect light and distract from imperfections.
WHO IT’S FOR: The SPF-infused formula also tackles dark spots and uneven skin tone with a Total Soy Complex that's exclusive to the brand.
L'Oreal Paris Skincare Collagen Face Moisturizer
WHAT IT DOES: Moisture, or lack thereof, is a top concern for many. L’Oreal’s Collagen Face Moisturizer tackles that concern with a daily dose of natural collagen that not only hydrates, but helps fill in lines and wrinkles.
WHO IT’S FOR: Regular use of this fragrance-free moisturizer will increase elasticity in sensitive, aging skin.
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Facial Moisturizer
WHAT IT DOES: On its own, retinol can wreak havoc on the skin. But combined with a nourishing moisturizer, it can exfoliate and smooth the skin with almost no irritation. That’s why people love the blend of retinol, glycerin, vitamin B3, and other standout ingredients in Olay’s nighttime moisturizer.
WHO IT’S FOR: The form of vitamin B3 in this moisturizer is niacinamide, a water-soluble ingredient known for its brightening properties, a beneficial boost for those with uneven skin tone or texture.
CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
WHAT IT DOES: There’s no better feeling than swiping on a nourishing moisturizer just before bed. You doze off, hoping that it will work while you sleep—and also not end up on your pillowcase. Cerave’s PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is one of the few options to actually stay mess-free with an oil-free formula that feels lightweight but delivers ample moisture via moisture-binding hyaluronic acid and three essential ceramides.
WHO IT’S FOR: This is a suitable pick for all skin types, but it will appeal especially to those with oily skin because of the lightweight, non-greasy feel.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream Face Moisturizer
WHAT IT DOES: Neutrogena’s Hydro-Boost moisturizer is the equivalent of a tall glass of water for the complexion. The cooling gel-cream absorbs quickly into the skin, delivering moisture and restoring the skin’s barrier to keep it there.
WHO IT’S FOR: The hyaluronic acid-rich formula is an instant fix for ultra-dry skin.
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
WHAT IT DOES: What’s better than a twofer? A threefer, of course! CeraVe’s best-selling product is this multitasker that can be used as a face moisturizer, body cream, or hand lotion. In addition to ceramides and barrier-strengthening hyaluronic acid, the formula also has patented MVE Technology that gradually and continually releases ingredients throughout the day.
WHO IT’S FOR: With a co-sign from the National Eczema Association and input from dermatologists, this is a must-have for all skin types.
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