You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a moisturizer for it to give you the results you’re after. (Read that again.) Your local drugstore is a treasure-trove of complexion-improving formulas. The proof: When asked, “What makes a good moisturizer?” Joshua Zeichner, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, concluded that it isn’t the money that you spend on it. Instead, it’s finding the right formula for your skin type.
He explains that moisturizers typically have three different ingredients: occlusives, which form a protective film on skin and lock in moisture, emollients (which he says “softens the outer layer and fill in cracks between rough skin cells”), and humectants (moisture-retainers). So finding a moisturizer with the right concentration of each of these ingredients for your skin type is totally possible at the drugstore. Ahead, our picks for the best drugstore moisturizers out there.
Dry Skin Cream
It’s Zeichner’s pick for dry skin. “It is rich in emollient and occlusive ingredients like petrolatum and fatty alcohols to soften and protect the skin,” he says. “Glycerin gives a plumping effect and can help minimize skin irritation.”
Intensive Moisture Facial Cream
Drench & Quench Moisturizer
This water-based moisturizer is Zeichner’s pick for all skin types—especially if you have combination or oily skin. “It has high levels of hyaluronic acid to pull in hydration to the skin,” he says. His pro tip: “Whenever you’re using a product with hyaluronic acid, apply it with damp fingertips to give it the water it needs to do its job.”
Hydro Boost Hydrating Water Gel Face Moisturizer
It’s a moisturizer for those who hate moisturizers. This water-based gel quickly absorbs and deeply hydrates skin without feeling heavy or greasy.
AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen, SPF 30
Spiked with SPF 30, this comfortable-wearing lotion will keep skin feeling silky soft and hydrated all day.
Retinol Correxion Max Daily Hydration Crème
If you’re looking to address visible signs of aging, opt for this multitasking formula. “This moisturizer does double-duty—improving skin hydration while also addressing wrinkles,” Zeichner says. “In addition to it’s moisturizing ingredients, it contains a stabilized form of retinol, which is a great option for people who are concerned with aging skin, fine lines and wrinkles.”
Deep Hydration Healthy Glow Daily Cream
Revive drab-looking skin with this pick, which contains niacinamide to help bring out your complexion’s radiance over time and hyaluronic acid (a.k.a. a moisture magnet).
Infused with squalane—which can help strengthen your skin barrier—this gel moisturizer will nourish skin and give it a juicy bounce.
Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Facial Moisturizer
Cap your night routine with this emollient cream, which uses retinol to help alleviate fine lines and hyperpigmentation.
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