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As a beauty editor with several years of editorial experience, I’ll be the first one to tell you: invest in your winter moisturizer. Unlike face washes that you rinse away after a few seconds, face moisturizers stay on the skin until your next cleanse — and my Best Tested picks are working overtime to banish dryness and flakes this winter and beyond.
I’ve lived across the country — humid Miami, blustery San Francisco, and frigid New York — and have seen my skin go from oily to combination during the harsh winter season. In an effort to soften and hydrate my skin, I’ve tried dozens of winter face moisturizers in the name of editorial integrity. I can confidently say these six picks have all done wonders for my skin during colder months — and I’m excited for you to also experience their amazing skin benefits. Keep scrolling for my quick guide to all things winter face moisturizers filled with pro tips from board-certified dermatologists.
Best Winter Moisturizers, Tested and Reviewed
Best Overall: Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream
Most Amazon Reviews: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
Best of Celeb Beauty: Le Domaine Luxury Face Cream
Best for Oily, Combination, and Acne-Prone Skin: PCA SKIN Hydrating Collagen Cream
Best Budget: Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré
Best Refillable Moisturizer: Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream
What to Consider
In our guides to the best face masks for dry skin and drugstore face moisturizers, I tapped several board-certified dermatologists, about the best ingredients for moisture, and here’s a quick highlight reel you can skim:
Emollients, including ceramides, and plant-derived rosehip and argan oils, create a protective layer that soothes and hydrates.
Occlusives, like squalane, beeswax, fatty acids, olive oil, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, and lanolin, bind water to the skin.
Your Skin Type and Formulation
Did you know that face moisturizers are available in gel, lotion, and cream forms? Your skin type will determine the best formulation for your hydration needs. Here’s a quick refresher:
Normal, Dry, and Mature Skin Types
In the previously mentioned drugstore face moisturizer guide, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D., advises dryer skin types to opt for winter moisturizers that are creams because they’re typically oil-based. They are also practical because the thicker consistency is more hydrating than lotions and gels.
Oily, Combination, and Acne-Prone Skin Types
As for my fellow oily-skin readers, the pros agree it’s all about relatively lighter-weight hydration. Lotions, gels, and hybrid gel-lotions are our best move because they’re oil-free and hydrate without congesting pores, which can lead to blackheads and zits.
How We Chose
As previously mentioned, these are products I personally have tested and use regularly. Before slathering on these winter moisturizers day and night, I considered the above-mentioned pro-tips, with extra emphasis on the ingredients to ensure they actually hydrate my skin.
Additionally, I considered their texture and feel, because who doesn’t want a luxurious beauty product? I’ve been using some of these products for over a year, so I considered the immediate and long-term results they provided. I’ve worn them on their own and layered them with other skin care products, like serums and sunscreens, mixed them with my favorite foundations to DIY a tinted moisturizer for no-makeup makeup days, and sported these moisturizers before, during, and after long flights.
The Rich Cream
Ugh, I know. I didn’t want my best overall pick to be expensive, but TBH, this winter face moisturizer is worth the price tag. Based on my testing experience, it’s the most hydrating winter face moisturizer on this list, making it the clear winner for the best overall distinction.
This best-in-class cream contains Augustinus Bader’s signature ingredient called TFC8. The powerful anti-aging ingredient also prevents and treats current lines and wrinkles.
Its thick and decadent texture deeply hydrates, softens, plumps, and smoothens my skin. Speaking of, my skin texture and pores look better, and my complexion is luminous whenever I apply this winter face moisturizer.
As a bonus for any fellow Succession fans out there: I spotted a bottle of the brand’s signature blue-and-bronze container on the bathroom counter of our number-one boy aka the real eldest son, Kendall Logan Roy.
If you’re looking for a solid winter moisturizer but are shopping on a budget, then you have to order the number one Amazon bestselling face moisturizer: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. Not only is it Amazon Climate Pledge-Friendly, but the unscented face cream works to improve the skin barrier. It’s fragrance-free, so those with sensitive skin and noses won’t have to worry about irritation or discomfort.
Instead, this rich face moisturizer is infused with barrier-restoring ingredients, like glycerin, ceramide, and hyaluronic acid. It’s also the only option on this list that earned a National Eczema Association seal of approval, indicating it won’t irritate eczema-prone skin.
And I can’t highlight CeraVe’s impressive 4.8-star average rating from more than 124,470 Amazon reviews without sharing a glowing 5-star testimonial.
“I love this moisturizer! I have ultra-sensitive skin and many products cause my eyelids to swell and sting. This cream is light, basically no scent, and I can use [it] on [the] face as well as [the] body with no greasy texture and also no dry patches later. Had used Neutrogena hydro boost for years, but I feel CeraVe moisturizes better. Highly recommend,” says a reviewer.
Luxury Face Cream
Pssst: In case you haven’t heard, Brad Pitt’s skincare line is now on Amazon — and you need one of everything. But if you can only treat yourself to a single product, opt for this skin-perfecting winter moisturizer.
Pitt has two face creams, but this one is richer, making it perfect for the upcoming cold weather season. The whipped face cream has a subtle grape scent that will leave your complexion moisturized, smooth, and plump all day long.
Luxury Face Cream’s superstar ingredients are ProGR3 and GSM10, a proprietary blend of grape antioxidants that help with anti-aging and rebalancing the skin. It also targets lines and wrinkles, and I find it helps calm my skin on weekends when I wear retinol.
Given Pitt’s star power, it’s only natural his acting peers are also fans of the brand, including Lupita Nyong’o, Gwenyth Paltrow, and Lily Gladstone, who is starting opposite Leo Dicaprio in the Martin Scorsese-helmed Killers of the Flower Moon. Unproblematic king Andrew Garfield is also a fan of the line.
Hydrating Collagen Cream
I previously named this one of the best collagen face creams in the game — and for good reason. In addition to collagen, it combines shea butter, sweet almond fruit extract, and olive fruit oil, to instantly transform my dull, dry skin into a soft, plump, and luminous complexion.
I see the biggest difference when I use this face cream during the fall and winter seasons, which is especially helpful living in New York. But just because it’s hydrating doesn’t mean it’s made for drier skin types: Those with combination and oily skin like myself will also appreciate that this cream won’t congest pores and cause acne and blackheads.
Dermstore and Amazon reviewers are also keen on slathering on this trusty winter face moisturizer. “I like this; however, it is definitely a winter moisturizer for me. It is heavier but NOT shiny or greasy. I am 48 and have combo skin. I use it also when my skin needs a little deeper moisture. A must if you are vacationing west, like in Colorado, where the air is extremely dry,” says a five-star Amazon reviewer.
Celebrity makeup artists, our readers, and I cannot get enough of this light and freshly scented winter face moisturizer. No, really — our readers absolutely adore Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré and bought so many during Amazon Prime Day that it was among our top five most-sold products.
So why is Lait-Crème Concentré so epic and deserving of a spot on this list?! Well, for starters, it can be used in six different ways, including as a face moisturizer, makeup primer, cleansing milk, sensitive skin face mask, aftershave, and even as an after-sun treatment.
It’s also loaded with incredibly hydrating ingredients derms know and love, like shea butter, soy proteins, and aloe vera. Wait, you thought aloe was just an effective sunburn treatment? Not quite. Aloe vera contains humectants that bind moisture to the skin, making it an incredibly hydrating and soothing skin healer.
I’m obsessed with all things Charlotte Tilbury — and recently named her iconic Magic Cream one of the best night creams and anti-pollution products available. I’ve been using Magic Cream on and off for almost 4 years, and find its texture, scent, and fast absorption are incredible for hydrating my skin during harsh NYC winters.
And I am not the only fan: Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Marcus, M.D., previously told me this incredibly hydrating face cream is a winner because of its effective ingredients.
“Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream contains vitamins C and E, which have both been shown to be reduced in the skin after exposure to pollution. This formula also contains hydrating hyaluronic acid, which helps to reinforce the skin barrier, which in turn helps [the] skin to resist damaging pollutants,” Marcus said.
If you want to enjoy Magic Cream but need something less hydrating, use the new Magic Water Cream that’s designed for oily and combination skin types. I’ve tried and loved mine so much, I named it one of the best new beauty products for fall.
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