Long before I became a beauty editor and discovered products like the It Cosmetics Anti-Aging Armour ($38, sephora.com) or the Stila Aquaglow Watercolor Blush ($26, birchbox.com), there was CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion ($11, amazon.com). I was a senior in college and a few days into my second stint of Accutane (a very strong oral acne medication that strips skin of moisture) when my face started peeling from dryness. Having taken the medication before, I knew what to expect and kept a name brand moisturizer in my purse for application throughout the day. After complaining to a friend about my situation, she praised a brand called CeraVe for changing her skin. Desperate for relief, I immediately went out and bought the hydrating cleanser and lotion—and haven’t stopped using it since. It cured my dry, scaly skin and eliminated the need to reapply throughout the day.
Yes, I’ve tried other products (it’s my job, after all!), but I always return to my tried-and-true. I use the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser ($13, amazon.com) in the morning and the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser ($12, amazon.com) at night to remove makeup. I follow both washes with the moisturizing lotion.
So why does this moisturizer work so well? The super creamy formula is made up of ceramides (a component that naturally occurs in the skin, but is depleted over time) that not only hydrate, but also help build up the protective barrier of the skin to lock in moisture. A special technology releases these ceramides throughout the day, which explains why you don’t feel dry again shortly after application. And though the formula is deeply hydrating, it’s also extremely lightweight—you don’t have to worry about a greasy face if you have oily skin. It’s also non-comedogenic (won’t clog your pores) and fragrance free, so it won’t irritate even the most sensitive skin types, including those prone to eczema or acne.
Since I discovered my “miracle product,” I tell everyone I can about it. My whole family has made the switch—including my husband! My most recent convert is Lindsey Murray, Real Simple’s assistant editor, who had this to say about it: “I have super sensitive eczema-prone skin, so it’s been a long haul trying to find a moisturizer that could tackle the dryness without irritating my skin. I think the biggest difference for me is the way my skin feels. In the past, my moisturizers felt soothing when I put them on, but that feeling went away five minutes later, and I was left with the same dry skin. Since I’ve started applying this, my skin feels so smooth all day. I noticed a difference almost immediately after applying.”
But probably the best thing of all is that you can buy the formula at any drugstore (this is especially handy if you forget to pack it when traveling), it’s a fraction of the cost of other fancy moisturizers, and the bottle is so big it’ll last you for months.
This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.