The question is: which one do you go for? Do you crave a hit of hyaluronic, do you want it souped up with some extra SPF. Do you prefer your nighttime face brew to be infused with some extra antioxidants? Everyone's skin concerns will differ slightly, so it's worth working out what your skin loves to sip on. This may change seasonally or in response to your hormones).
Next, work out what texture suits you best. If you err on the side of oily, stick to a really light lotion or something gel-based. If your skin is quite dry, consider a generous slather of something thicker.
Not only will the right moisturiser hydrate and refresh skin with some well-chosen active ingredients, it can make sure the serums, acids and mists you applied beforehand are maximised. Every step prior to your face cream can be made practically redundant if you forget to ‘lock it all in’ with a healthy slick of your favourite lotion to cushion your skin. Add to this the fact that, your makeup won’t sit as seamlessly unless you deal with those dry patches first.
Ready to find your perfect moisturiser match? We’ve trawled the beauty aisles, talked to the experts and tested tons of creams to bring you the ultimate round-up of best moisturisers – from beauty editor cult favourites to celebrity-approved buys and under-the-radar gems your skin will love.
Here are the best moisturisers that really, truly do the job.
1. Best one-step beauty routine moisturiser
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream : Formulated to hold moisture in the upper layers of your skin, this keeps things hydrated for much longer than most, but without any greasiness. If you're a 'one product and go' sort of person, make it this.
2. Best award-winning moisturiser
Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream : When 100,000 women vote for this cream as their absolute favourite moisturiser, you know it's pretty damn good. This creamy, whipped moisturiser promises to give skin an instant and sustained hydration without ever feeling heavy or greasy. Infused with a blend of six antioxidant-rich African oils to heal and renew; plantain extract to promote firmness, density and elasticity whilst evening skin tone; fermented green tea to combat ageing and inflammation and moisture-boosting sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer to hydrate, smooth fine lines and wrinkles and stimulate collagen formation. In fact, it's so popular that Mecca Cosmetics hailed it the best moisturiser ever in their beauty awards.
3. Best moisturiser for young skin
Origins GinZing Ultra-Hydrating Energy Boosting Cream : This not only revives and adds a glow to dull skin, but it also smells like chocolate orange, which makes it our number one of 'creams to use on a hangover'. Especially great for late-teens and early-20s.
4. Best hydrating moisturiser
Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly : This goopy jelly goodness just became a best-seller on ASOS in the moisturiser category. It was one of two, alongside its sister, Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Moisturiser. The see-through skin-slurping moisturiser penetrates faster than doughnuts disappear in the office, and locks in that moisture all damn day. Having only launched in August 2018, it seems the good word has definitely gotten out.
5. Best anti-ageing moisturiser
Shiseido Benefiance Wrinkle Smoothing Cream : You can always rely on Shiseido to deliver cutting-edge skincare technology in the most luxurious of ways and the new Benefiance range is no different. It *casually* uses the principles of neuroscience to improve skin cells' ability to communicate, optimising the benefits of each nourishing and age-defying ingredient.
6. Best lifting moisturiser
Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream : If you're after a cream that works damn hard to hydrate and hold your skin firm, this silky slice of heaven is ready to start right away. Lacklustre skin that's looking (dare we say) a little old, has a high chance of instant satisfaction.
7. Best moisturiser for winter skin
Weleda Skin Food : Tons of celebrities swear by this green tub of goodness. Victoria Beckham loves to use it as a hand cream and Julia Roberts slathers the rich, buttery balm from top-to-toe. The online reviews don't lie either, with five stars all round, hailing it as a 'harsh weather lifesaver'. No wonder one is sold every 23 seconds.
8. Best antioxidant moisturiser
Estee Lauder DayWear : Tick off your SPF and pollution protection in one handy application. Full of antioxidants, this day cream hydrates whilst shielding your skin from the elements.
9. Best lightweight moisturiser
Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream with Super 7 Complex : Every now and again, a truly great skincare product comes along and we savour every last scrap. This face cream from natural-based brand, Fresh, is one of them. Packed with botanical ingredients and vitamins, it has a lightweight, dewy texture, a seriously quenching conclusion and the scent of early morning dewdrops on freshly formed leaves.
10. Best anti-ageing moisturiser for sensitive skin
Zelens Marine Complex Deep Restorative Cream : Using a host of ocean dwelling ingredients, this is one of the best active but gentle creams on the market. Powerful stuff that even the most sensitive of skinned can use. Feels lovely and cool on application too.
11. Best-kept-secret moisturiser
Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre Nourishing Moisturiser : A best-seller since the 1950s and celeb secret weapon (we're looking at you Khloe Kardashian), this simple and soothing lotion is great for dry, oil, sensitive, troubled, young or old skin. A proper all-rounder for £13? We'll take 5 please.
12. Best lightweight gel moisturiser
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturiser : Effectively a giant glass of water for thirsty skin, the refreshing water-gel consistency contains a hyaluronic gel matrix that thoroughly moisturises skin and keeps it hydrated throughout the day. It’s lightweight, silky and perfect for layering under makeup.
13. Best drugstore moisturiser
CeraVe PM Cream Facial Moisturiser : The cult US drugstore brand has finally come to the UK, so you can now get your hands on the wallet-friendly moisturiser than many a blemish-free, hydrated American face swears by. Yee-haw!
14. Best beauty-editor-approved moisturiser
Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream : If your skin is feeling Sahara-like, give it a monsoon of a moisturiser like this one. Light and slippy, give it a minute to sink in then reap the benefits of super intense hydration. A bestseller and Beauty Ed's fave for a reason.
15. Best calming moisturiser
Avene Hydrance Optimal Riche : If you're feeling inflamed, itchy or just in need of a good watering, give this stuff a go. Calming, soothing and hydrating, use it on sensitive patches, post-sun or just when the daily grind has sucked the life out of your skin.
16. Best science-led formula
ReVive Moisturizing Renewal Cream : Created by a renowned plastic surgeon who realised more and more potential patients just needed to improve their skincare rather than go under the knife, this stuff is super science-y, resulting in mega results. Amazing for mature or stressed skin, it plumps, smooths, firms and brightens. And all while you sleep.
17. Makeup artists’ favourite moisturiser
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream : We find this a bit heavy for a daily moisturiser. But for priming pre-makeup, evening out a patchy complexion or instantly feigning you've had 8 hours sleep? Nothing beats it. Keep it in your desk drawer for any last minute meetings or surprise hot dates.
18. Best budget moisturiser
The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream : This might have been your first-ever skincare purchase as a pre-teen, but there's no reason it shouldn't be your last, too. Buttery soft, non-irritating and packed full of goodness it's a no brainer. Especially for the price.
19. Best pampering moisturiser
By Terry Baume de Rose Face Cream : Man this stuff smells good... powdery, floral, a bit Grandma-ish, but in a lovely nostalgic way. It's also soothing and smoothing, and velvety to the touch. But mainly it smells lush. (Unless you don't like rose, in which case it's probably not the one for you.)
20. Best retinol moisturiser
Baebody Retinol Moisturiser : When a moisturiser receives over 3,000 positive reviews online and becomes Amazon Prime's most in-demand cream, you know it's good. Baebody Retinol Moisturiser promises to fight the signs of ageing (that'll be the retinol), to leave skin soft, smooth and glowy. It targets everything from wrinkles and uneven skin tone to dark spots and dryness. If that wasn't enough, it'll help beat discoloration, sun damage and even work as an acne treatment. Talk about a multi-tasker.
21. Best moisturiser for a DIY facial
Sisley Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream : Sisley's much-loved Black Rose oil and face mask now have a cousin in the form of this non-greasy, hydrating face cream. Use it as part of an at-home facial, or an everyday treat if budget allows. Smells freakin' delicious.
22. Best luxury moisturiser
La Mer Moisturising Cream : The original super cream, and one we'll always come back to. Full of a secret 'Miracle Broth' it even things, brightens things, betters things. Being a traditional cream, it's luscious and rich and a teeny-tiny bit goes a long way. Which basically makes it a bargain. Almost.
23. Best nourishing moisturiser
Votary Super Seed Nutrient Cream : Their Super Seed Oil has been a skincare hero since its launch, harnessing the soothing and rebuilding properties of natural ingredients such chia and rosehip without the strong scents of essential oil based products. This cream version is perfect for those with an aversion to (or just plain scared of) oils.