Best moisturiser for dry, oily, mature, and sensitive skin test reviews

Best moisturisers: We’ve tested 90+ moisturisers to discover which moisturiser best suits your skin

21st March 2023 | Author: Victoria Woollaston-Webber

Discover which moisturiser best suits your skin with our pick of the best moisturisers, creams and lotions that offer the most hydration and protection

The best moisturiser needs to tick a lot of boxes. It can’t be too greasy, it can’t be too thick. It shouldn’t cost the earth but it needs to contain certain ingredients to do your skin justice.

In summary, choosing which moisturiser best suits your skin is a minefield.

We recently started a series on TikTok in which we’re testing the hydration levels of different skincare products in a bid to find the best moisturisers, serums, toners and essences in the UK.

Below we’ve started listing the best moisturisers we’ve tested as part of this series and we’ll be adding to this as the tests continue and as the scores and leaderboard change.

We’re also taking requests from followers about what moisturisers, serums, essences and toners we should try next.

This skincare series is similar to the widescale foundation group test we started back in July and you can read more about that on our best foundation makeup page.

If you’re interested to learn more about how we test serums, jump straight to that section. We’re also tracking the scores for each of these products on a spreadsheet which you can find here, or by clicking the button below.


Best moisturiser at a glance

This list is due to change and evolve as more tests are completed. These are the top 10 best moisturisers as of February 2023. You can see the full list of all products ranked on our spreadsheet, and we’ve also started listing the best serums and best toners separately here. 


  1. Purito Deep Sea Water Cream: Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US)
  2. Simple Daily Hydrating Light Moisturiser: Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US)
  3. Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly: Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US)
  4. e.l.f Superhydrate Gel Moisturiser: Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US)
  5. CORSX Snail Mucin All-In-One-Cream: Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US) 
  6. The Ordinary Moisturising Factors and HA: Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US) 
  7. Good Molecules Silicon-Free Priming Moisturiser: Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US) 
  8. Face & Base Gel Priming Moisturiser: Buy now (UK)
  9. Johnson’s Baby Lotion: Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US)
  10. La Roche Posay Cicaplast B5 Spray: Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US)
  11. CeraVe Moisturising Lotion: Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US)



WANT TO KNOW MORE? Best BB cream | Best moisturiser | Best tinted moisturiser  | Best toner | Best primer | Best cleanserBest eye creamBest anti-ageing cream | Best hand cream| Best foot cream | Best face mask  | Best face exfoliator | Best face oil| Best serum| Best night cream | Best SPF | Best Vitamin C serum | Men’s skincare routine| Best stretch mark cream

Best moisturiser reviews

Below we’ve started reviewing the best moisturisers we’ve tested as part of our skincare group test and we’ll be adding to this list as the tests continue and as the scores and leaderboard change.

1. Purito Deep Sea Water Cream

£17.50 | Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US)

View the full TikTok video by clicking here

Purito Deep Sea Water Cream reviewPurito

After months of sitting at the top of our best moisturiser list, Simple’s Daily Hydrating Light Moisturiser has finally been usurped by Purito’s Deep Sea Water Cream.

In our hydration test, the Purito cream increased hydration on our hand by a staggering 13.2 points or 35%.

After an hour, this increase dropped slightly by 1.3 points but it still gave a total hydration increase of 11.9 points or 32.7%.

Even though it’s not as cheap as the Simple moisturiser – in fact, it costs £10.50 per 30ml versus just 55p for Simple’s version – this wasn’t enough to drop Purito’s overall score enough to stop it from taking the top spot.

Purito specialises in vegan, cruelty-free, and clean products, and in our Inci Decoder category, it achieved an INCI score of 10, an Irritation rating of 1, and a comedogenic rating of 3.

You can read more about what these scores mean by jumping to our how we test moisturisers section at the bottom of this page. You can also see how those scores compare to other moisturisers we’ve tested by going to the spreadsheet.

With a total score of 50.5 points, it wasn’t quite enough to be the most hydrating product we’ve tested. That accolade still goes to the Fenty Beauty Fat Water toner serum, which currently tops our best serum list.

Yet it is the most hydrating moisturiser we’ve used. It’s light on the skin, absorbs easily, and doesn’t feel greasy or heavy. We’re obsessed!

Buy now from Sephora UK | Buy now from Walmart

2. Simple Daily Hydrating Light Moisturiser

£3.45Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US)

View the full TikTok video by clicking here

Simple Hydrating Moisturiser ReviewSimple

Despite being an avid Simple skincare user as a teenager, it fell out of favour for other brands that were seemingly en vogue.

However, if our hydration test is anything to go by, we’ve been sleeping on the Simple brand for too long.

Over the course of five minutes, this Simple Daily Hydrating Moisturiser increased the hydration of our skin by 6.6 percentage points, which is equivalent to a 23.5% rise.

This isn’t the highest hydration increase of the moisturisers we’ve tested, however, when all the other factors are taken into consideration it caused this Simple lotion to jump into the top spot. These other factors include the fact it’s super affordable – £3.45 for 125ml – and is fully vegan and cruelty-free.

It’s even PETA-approved.

As you’d expect for such a hydrating moisturiser, this lotion feels light on the skin and it absorbed quickly without too much rubbing of the skin.

It’s fragrance-free, and has been designed to be suitable for all skin types. Including sensitive skin.

Given the level of hydration for such a light lotion, too, we’d think that this moisturiser would be great for oily skin as well as dry. Plus it’s light enough for mature skin, too.

An all-around great product and the current leader in our hunt for the best moisturiser.

Buy now from Boots | Buy now from Amazon

3. Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly

£35 | Buy now

Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jellymamabella | mamabella

It takes a lot for a product to enter the top 10 in our best moisturiser list, let alone take a podium place. It’s even rarer when a product is on the pricey side yet Clinique has managed to do just that with its Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly.

It increased the hydration of our skin by 12 points or 43.8% after five minutes. This is the second-highest increase of any moisturiser tested, and higher than any serum too.

What’s more, the Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly continued to increase hydration by a further two points after an hour. Giving a total rise of 44.5%.

The reason it sits in third place in our best moisturiser list is because of its high price, and the fact it’s not a vegan brand.

Ingredient-wise, there are no “icky” ingredients in this moisturiser.

In fact, there are a couple of “superstar” and “goodie” ingredients in the form of glycerin, cucumber extract, and hyaluronic acid.

It also contains caffeine to bring dull skin to life and citric acid that acts as a gentle exfoliant to get rid of dead skin and debris.

This jelly is so lightweight, it feels closer to a serum in consistency than moisturiser and it feels cooling and soothing on our oily skin.

In summary, we’re huge fans of this moisturiser. It’s just a shame it costs so much.

FURTHER READING: Clinique Moisture Surge reviewClinique has a hidden page on its site offering Last Chance skincare and makeup sets at a third off

Buy now from Boots | Buy now from Walmart

4. e.l.f Superhydrate Gel Moisturiser

£12 | Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US)

View the full TikTok video by clicking here

elf superhydrate gel moisturiser reviewmamabella | mamabella

The latest product to enter the top five in our best moisturiser list is the e.l.f. Superhydrate Gel Moisturiser.

It increased the hydration levels of our skin by 11.5 points after five minutes – one of the highest percentage point increases of all the products we’ve tested. This is equivalent to a 30% increase.

Although it dropped hydration by 2.5 points after an hour, this still gave the Superhydrate gel moisturiser a rise of 9 points, or 25%, overall. Way above average.

It contains no “icky” ingredients and is vegan and cruelty-free, not to mention the fact it’s affordable.

In our experience, this is the best moisturiser we’ve tried on our oily skin. The gel formula feels lightweight and fresh and a little goes a long way.

It contains a plant-based squalane alongside snow mushroom, to add hydration; niacinamide to brighten, tone, and clarify; as well as Centella Asiatica and Vitamin E to protect, soothe and nourish the skin.

All for just £12!

Buy now from e.l.f Cosmetics | Buy now from e.l.f US

5. COSRX Snail Mucin All-in-One Cream

£27 | Buy now

View the full TikTok video by clicking here

COSRX Snail Mucin All In One Cream reviewCOSRX

COSRX’s Snail Mucin Essence topped our best face serum list for a long time and the All In One Cream from the same Snail Mucin range has jumped right up the leaderboard in our hunt for the best moisturiser.

In our test, the gel-like cream increased the hydration of our skin by more than 11 percentage points, which equates to a little over 30%.

At the time of writing, this is the highest percentage points increase of all of the products we’ve tested. It’s also the highest percentage increase in the moisturiser category.

Other products have scored higher, percentage-wise, but all of them have been serums or toner serums.

When all products are taken into consideration, the All In One Cream sits in fifth place overall.

The All In One Cream doesn’t quite take the top spot in our list of best moisturisers because it’s more expensive than the Simple Hydrating Lotion and it’s not fully vegan and cruelty-free.

Given the hydration and the lightweight nature of this cream, we’d say the All In One Cream would be particularly well-suited to oily skin as well as dry and mature skin.

A little also goes a long way so while it’s an expensive product, it could last you a while so it may end up being good value and a worthwhile investment.

FURTHER READING: The science of oily skin and how to get rid of it for good

Buy now from Boots | Buy now from Walmart

6. The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA

£6.80 | Buy now

View the full TikTok video by clicking here

The Ordinary HA Moisturising Factors reviewThe Ordinary

The Hyaluronic Acid serum from The Ordinary scored admirably in our hunt for the best face serum and now the brand’s Natural Moisturising Factors + HA cream has lived up to these high expectations.

Its description claims that this cream “offers immediate hydration” and our tests confirm this.

Going straight into the hydration-only charts at number six, this moisturiser not only increased the hydration of our skin by 5.6 percentage point (18%), but its affordable price and the fact it’s vegan and cruelty-free also means it ranks third overall. 

It’s not as cheap as the Simple lotion and didn’t hydrate quite as well as the COSRX Snail Mucin All-in-One cream.

However, judging by the fact so many people requested this as part of our best moisturiser group test, it suggests it will be a very popular, welcomed addition to the podium.

The cream itself feels this when it’s first applied but soon turns to a thin, almost lotion-style cream that is absorbed easily and quickly.

Leaving the skin feeling soft.

Deciem, the company that owns The Ordinary, describes Natural Moisturising Factors (NMF) as “elements that keep the outer layer of the skin protected and well-hydrated.”

This group consists of multiple amino acids, fatty acids, triglycerides, urea, ceramides, phospholipids, glycerin, saccharides, sodium PCA, hyaluronic acid and other compounds that are found naturally in the skin.

Buy now from Boots | Buy now from Walmart

7. Good Molecules Silicone-Free Priming Moisturiser

£9.80 | Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US)

Good Molecules Silicone-Free Priming Moisturiser Reviewmamabella | mamabella

Good Molecules has garnered an impressive reputation in the States and while it’s not currently directly available to buy in the UK, you can have its products shipped over for a small fee.

The reason it’s proved so popular is that it offers effective and simple formulas at affordable prices. Its Hyaluronic Acid serum currently sits in third place in our best serum list and following our hydration test, this Silicone-Free Priming Moisturiser has entered our best moisturiser list at #7.

It takes a lot to get into the top 10 because the rest of the products at the top of the table performed so well but after just five minutes, the hydration levels of our skin when using this Good Molecules moisturiser rose by 8.6 points (23%). After an hour, this dropped slightly but still ended on a high – 7.4 points up, or 20.6% overall.

Elsewhere, it scored well for being so affordable – 30ml of this moisturiser costs just £5.88 (converted from dollars) – and it scored the maximum 10 points in our INCI Decoder categories. This means that it contains no “icky” ingredients.

Elsewhere, none of its ingredients are listed as causing irritation, and two ingredients (Cetearyl Alcohol, and Glyceryl Stearate) have comedogenic ratings of 2 out 5. This means the risk of breakouts is low.

It should be noted that even though it contains alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol is very different from regular alcohol, which will appear on ingredient lists as Alcohol Denat. It doesn’t dry the skin, doesn’t cause irritation, and is what’s known as a “fatty alcohol” meaning it makes your skin feel soft and smooth.

As we said, it’s a shame this moisturiser isn’t available from a UK retailer. If you don’t want to pay the fees, or don’t want to wait for the product to ship from the US, then we also highly recommend our eighth-place moisturiser, Face & Base Gel Moisturiser (see below).

It’s almost identical in terms of ingredients, performance, and price.

Buy now from Good Molecules

8. Face & Base Gel Priming Moisturiser

£15.99 | Buy now (UK)

View the full TikTok video by clicking here

Face and Base gel priming moisturiser reviewFace & Base

Face & Base is a new British brand on a mission to offer effective vegan, cruelty-free and clean skincare with “no BS.” At the moment it sells just one product but, judging by our best moisturiser tests, it’s an incredible debut called the Gel Priming Moisturiser.

In our hydration test, this moisturiser increased hydration by 7.9 percentage points (21.3%) after five minutes. An hour after application, this hydration dropped by 1.2 points but even with this reduction, hydration levels were still 18.6%.

It scored maximum points for being vegan and cruelty-free and at £16 RRP, or £9.59 for 30ml, it’s an affordable product, too.

Elsewhere, according to the INCI Decoder database, the Face & Base Gel Priming Moisturiser contains no “icky” ingredients.

In fact, the large majority of ingredients are labelled “goodies” or “superstars” and as a result, its ingredients have an Irritation rating of zero.

The Gel Priming Moisturiser does have a comedogenic rating of 2, due to the inclusion of the antioxidant olive oil (Olea Europaea) but we’ve not experienced any clogged pores or breakouts, on top of what we’d get normally with our adult acne, so we suggest taking this with a pinch of salt.

The ratings also depend on the amount of an ingredient used and without knowing the exact details, this is purely a guide.

And in terms of real-world use, this gel feels great on our oily skin. It absorbs easily and you only need a tiny amount to give your face a youthful glow that doesn’t feel greasy.

We’ve only been using it for two weeks, so we’re yet to see long-term differences yet but the brand has a lot of positive reviews so we’ll keep you posted.

Buy now from Boots

9. Johnson’s Baby Lotion

£14 | Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US)

View the full TikTok video by clicking here

Johnson's Baby Lotion reviewmamabella | mamabella

Our test of the Johnson’s Baby Lotion was actually inspired by our four-year-old, however, it performed so well it earned a spot in the top 10 of our best moisturiser list.

In our hydration test, the lotion increased hydration by 8.8 points (26.1%) – above average across our moisturiser tests. It lost points slightly because it contains fragrance, and a number of its ingredients rate poorly on the comedogenic scale.

For instance, it contains an emollient called Isopropyl Palmitate which has a comedogenic rating of 4 out of 5. This means it has a high chance of clogging pores and leading to breakouts.

It also contains coconut oil that comes with a lot of skin-softening and nourishing properties, but it also has a comedogenic rating of 4 out of 5.

In Johnson’s defense, this lotion is designed to soften baby skin and babies don’t have to worry about breakouts or comedones so this is only really applicable if you’re choosing to use the baby lotion as your main moisturiser.

On the plus side, Johnson’s Baby Lotion gained points for being so affordable – it costs just 15p per 30ml.

The lotion is super lightweight, easy to apply, and absorbs quickly, leaving no greasy or sticky residue behind. This makes it ideal for use on babies who don’t sit still but can also be beneficial to adults looking for a quick and simple addition to their skincare routine.

It’s particularly good for soothing dry, itchy, or irritated skin and is said to help regulate a baby’s body temperature, keeping them cool and comfortable during warmer months. A bonus for adults too!

Buy now from Boots | Buy now from Walmart

10. La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Spray

£14 | Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US)

View the full TikTok video by clicking here

La Roche Posay Cicplast B5 Spray reviewmamabella | mamabella

There is a growing number of products in the Cicaplast range from La Roche Posay and one of the newest is the B5 Spray. It concentrates the same formulation as the cream into a spray.

This makes it both easier to apply and more gentle and light on the skin.

The entire range is geared towards repairing damaged skin barriers, and soothing dry and cracked complexions.

It uses the brand’s own Thermal Spring Water alongside an ingredient called madecassoside, or tiger grass, which comes from the leaves of the Centella Asiatica plant.

This plant has been used for more than 2,000 years as a natural ingredient renowned for its healing and calming properties.

Other ingredients include glycerin and copper-manganese and the formula additionally has antibacterial properties making it great at protecting broken skin from infection and reducing the chances of acne inflammation, which can lead to scarring.

In our hunt for the best moisturiser, the La Roche Posay Cicaplast Spray increased hydration by a high 8.3 points or 22.7%.

This put it ahead of the SPF version of the original cream, as well as the standard cream options.

We’re increasingly seeking more spray products because they are quick and simple to apply, and they reduce the amount of pulling on the skin from massaging creams in.

They also reduce the need to use your fingers and potentially transfer bacteria from your fingers to your skin. And this is one of the best sprays we’ve tried!

Another good option is the Triple Hyaluronic Acid Serum spray from Beauty Pie. You can read more about it in our list of the best face serums.

Buy now from Lookfantastic | Buy now from Walmart

11. CeraVe Moisturising Lotion

£11 | Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US)

View the full TikTok video by clicking here

CeraVe Moisturising Lotion test and reviewmamabella | mamabella

In our best moisturiser test, the CeraVe Moisturising Lotion increased the hydration of our skin by 25%. That is, in just five minutes, the CeraVe lotion enhanced the hydration of the skin on our hand by a quarter.

Only serums and essences performed higher, which we’d expect because these are typically designed to penetrate deeper into your skin whereas moisturisers, instead, create a barrier to avoid hydration escaping.

Compared to the CeraVe Moisturising Cream, the lotion is thinner and absorbs more easily.

This makes it better suited as a daytime moisturiser, while the cream may better suit drier skin, or as an overnight moisturiser.

As you can read in our guide to the best CeraVe products, the brand was born out of a need to help repair the skin barrier – a key component in acne, eczema, psoriasis and other conditions.

It contains three essential ceramides, which are fatty acids and lipids found naturally in skin cells.

They’re important for retaining your skin’s moisture, and they help prevent the entry of germs into your body.

Although our skin generates ceramides naturally, their levels drop with age and can be impacted by environmental factors, leading to your skin suffering and deteriorating from a lack of protection.

FURTHER READING: The best CeraVe products for all your skincare concerns – from acne, wrinkles, bumpy skin and eczema

Buy now from Amazon UK | Buy now from Amazon US

Best moisturiser: Top 11-20

10. The Inkey List Omega Water Cream

£9.99 | Buy now

View the full TikTok video by clicking here

The Inkey List Omega Water Cream test reviewThe Inkey List

Further proof that you don’t need to spend a fortune on skincare to see results, the Omega Water Cream from The Inkey List increased our skin’s hydration by 11.7% in our best moisturiser test.

As you’d expect, given its name, this cream is runny and thin. This means it absorbs easily and doesn’t feel too heavy on the skin.

The Inkey List claims that its secret sauce is its ‘Omega Ceramide Complex’ which contains omegas 3, 6 and 9.

These work together to prevent water loss and boost the skin’s elasticity.

The hydration then comes from the fact it contains 5% glycerin.

Glycerin is a humectant or moisture magnet, that pulls hydration to the skin for the moisturiser to lock it in place.

This is why it’s important to apply this cream and others like it on damp or even wet skin.

This cream additionally contains niacinamide to help regulate oil production, reduce redness and prevent pimples.

You can read more about The Inkey List and see some of its other best products here.

FURTHER READING: Spotlight on The Inkey List: Affordable skincare and hair care that actually does as it promises


Buy now from Cult Beauty | Buy now from Amazon US

11. e.l.f Holy Hydration 

£12 | Buy now

elf holy hydration reviewe.

e.l.f is one of the best cheap makeup brands around but it also sells great skincare, including its Holy Hydration range.

Within the wider range, it sells a Holy Hydration eye cream, cleanser and cleansing balm, sleeping and lip mask and, the product we’ve tested in our hunt for the best moisturiser, the e.l.f. Holy Hydration Face Cream.

We tested the SPF, fragranced version and it increased hydration by 6.4 points or 18% after five minutes.

This hydration continued to increase by another point after an hour, which took the total percentage rise to 20%. As a result, this moisturiser jumped straight into the top 10.

This is due to the fact this cream contains hyaluronic acid as well as squalene and Vitamin B5.

It also contains niacinamide and peptides to help promote collagen and brighten skin tone.

The cream is thicker than we thought it would be and took a while to massage into the skin but it left a soft finish and didn’t feel as heavy as its consistency would suggest.

The fragrance is very light but if fragranced products irritate your skin, you can buy a fragrance-free version.

Buy now from Boots | Buy now from Amazon

12. Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Gel Cream

£16.40 | Buy now

View the full TikTok video by clicking here

Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Gel Reviewmamabella | mamabella

Like with Etude House, we hadn’t heard of Isntree before a number of our TikTok followers asked to test the brand. And the most popular product request was the Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Gel Cream.

Isntree is a Korean beauty brand that specialises in using natural, functional ingredients that do as they promise in products that are manufactured and sold with sustainability at their core. In fact, its name is a portmanteau of “island”, “natural” and “tree.”

The Aqua Gel Cream contains five types of hyaluronic acid, which helps suck in moisture to the skin. It then has squalene from olive oil (to refine skin texture); aloe vera to soother irritation, and sodium PCA to prevent the skin from drying out.

As the name suggests, this cream has a light, gel texture which makes it particularly good for oily and combination skin. After all, oily skin still needs to be hydrated to prevent it producing even more sebum to overcompensate for the lack of moisture. It is also great for dry, and sensitive skin too. No mean feat.

In our hydration test, this gel cream increased the hydration levels of our skin by 4.6 percentage points (15.9%) after five minutes. It then rose a further 0.3 percentage points after an hour. This gave the gel a total hydration increase of 4.9 points or 14.5%.

This is a decent score, especially in our hunt for the best moisturiser, and it helped push the cream into the top 10. Knokcing Etude House’s Soon Jung 2x Barrier Cream out of the top 10 for the first time.

The Isntree Aqua Gel Cream gained the same overall score as e.l.f’s Holy Hydration. The e.l.f version is slightly cheaper, and its hydration increase was slightly higher. It lost points for having a couple of “icky” ingredients on the INCI Decoder database. It also contains Stearyl Heptanoate which has a comedogenic rating of 4. This means the ingredient has been linked with causing breakouts.

By comparison, Isntree’s gel has no “icky” ingredients, an irritation rating of 0, and a comedogenic rating of 1. These ratings apply to the ingredients rather than the formula as a whole, so they should be used as a guide only.

We bought the Isntree Aqua Gel Cream from YesStyle and if you want to buy it from this site, we have an exclusive mamabella discount code. Just type MAMABELLA at the checkout to get 10% off your order.

Buy from YesStyle UK | Buy from YesStyle US

13. Etude House Soon Jung 2x Barrier

£14.99 | Buy now

View the full TikTok video by clicking here

Soon Jung 2x Barrier Cream reviewmamabella | mamabella

Etude House wasn’t a brand we’d heard of before we began our hunt for the best moisturiser, yet after numerous people on TikTok requested its Soon Jung 2X Barrier Cream, we put it to the test.

It didn’t disappoint, jumping straight into the Top 10 and pushing one-time-leader Cetaphil Daily Hydration Lotion out of the leaderboard for the first time.

In our test, this Soon Jung cream increased the hydration of our skin by a very high 8.8 percentage points, or 24%, after five minutes. After an hour, this jumped a further point, giving a total rise of 9.8 points or 26%. It’s also affordable, coming in at £15.

Consistency-wise, it feels thick but is closer to a lotion than a cream. Plus it absorbs easily and doesn’t leave the skin feeling greasy or heavy.

In fact, our skin felt soft and looked glowy for hours after application. It’s also fragrance-free, which should reduce the chance of it irritating sensitive skin.

Despite all of these positives, the reason the Soon Jung Barrier Cream didn’t score higher is because it lost points for not being a fully vegan brand.

It also sells products in China, which means that while Etude House doesn’t test its products on animals directly, it allows the authorities it works with to do so. This means it also dropped points in the cruelty-free category.

We recently discovered a website called YesStyle that makes it easy, and cheap, to get hold of Japanese and Korean beauty in the UK, and the Soon Jung Barrier Cream is currently on offer for just a tenner.

Shipping takes about a week, which is less than ideal if you’re desperate for certain products but if you’re not, and can wait, we think it’s worth it. Plus, you can use the exclusive mamabella discount code: MAMABELLA to get 10% off your order.

Buy from YesStyle UK | Buy from YesStyle US

14. Byoma Moisturising Gel-Cream 

£11.99 | Buy now

View the full TikTok video by clicking here

Byoma Moisturising Gel-Cream reviewmamabella | mamabella

Byoma only came to life during the 2020 lockdown and it’s already gaining a cult following for its affordable, accessible skincare that’s designed to help repair our skin barrier.

This is because a stronger skin barrier results in clearer, brighter skin.

What’s more, Byoma puts sustainability and ethics at its heart and all of its products are vegan, cruelty-free, while the packaging is made from fully recyclable 100% monomaterial plastic.

We’ve tested two products in the range as part of our TikTok skincare series – the Byoma Hydrating Serum, and the Byoma Moisturising Gel-Cream.

Both performed admirably, entering the top 10 immediately, but the Moisturising Gel-Cream scored particularly high.

Not only did it increase hydration by 4.7 points (14%) after five minutes, it continued to hydrate the skin over the course of an hour. Rising our skin’s hydration levels another 4.7 points, or 9.3 points overall.

This means that after an hour, our skin was 25% more hydrated than before. To put this into perspective, the average hour-long hydration rate currently sits at 8.4%.

This means Byoma tripled the performance of the average creams and lotions on our best moisturisers list. It then got extra points for its vegan and cruelty-free credentials, as well as for being affordable

Buy now from Boots | Buy now from Ulta

15. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

£16 | Buy now (UK) | Buy now (US)

View the full TikTok video by clicking here

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Creammamabella | mamabella

The First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream is formulated to comfort tired, itchy and flaky skin and is said to be “ideal for anyone who suffers from allergic eczema, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis.”

In our hydration test, it increased hydration by six percentage points after five minutes (19.4%) before dropping by 0.5 percentage points after an hour.

This still gave the cream a total hydration rise of 5.5 points (17%) and, given that this is quite a thick cream, was better than we expected.

This thickness comes from the fact it contains shea butter, oatmeal and dimethicone. Dimethicone is a silicone that helps smooth the skin but also creates a barrier that protects it from outside elements.

Elsewhere, ceramides help to repair the skin barrier and glycerin adds hydration.

First Aid Beauty promises that this cream is safe for use on sensitive skin on your face and body yet the INCI Decoder database lists a couple of potentially “icky” ingredients including eucalyptus.

Having done a bit of research around this, eucalyptus oil can cause problems when used in large amounts, or as a pure oil.

In this cream, it is used in small amounts (judging by how far down the ingredients list it is) so we’re confident that it shouldn’t be a concern.

That said, everyone’s skin is different so if you have particularly sensitive skin we advise doing a patch test or similar to make sure!

You can also get this cream in a relatively affordable tube so if you are worried, at least you can give it a go without spending a fortune.

Buy now from Lookfantastic | Buy now from Ulta

16. The Inkey List Peptide Moisturiser

£14.99 | Buy now

View the full TikTok video by clicking here

The Inkey List Peptide Moisturiser ReviewThe Inkey List


The Inkey List’s Peptide Moisturiser is one of the newest entries in our Best Moisturiser Top 10 and while it falls a little short, compared to The Inkey List Omega Water Cream, it performed well.

In our tests, it increased hydration by 4.7 points, or 16%, after five minutes before dropping slightly (2.5 points) after an hour.

This gave the Inkey List Peptide Moisturiser a total rise of 2.2 points or 7.5%.

If our scores were based on hydration alone, this would have put this moisturizer in 33rd place.

However, the fact it’s affordable, and it’s vegan and cruelty-free boosted its score, putting it in 9th place.

Elsewhere, the peptides in this moisturiser – which are small mighty amino acid chains – help support the production of collagen, which leaves skin looking firmer and younger.

They also support the skin’s moisture barrier, and even out skin tone.

If you want to know more about collagen and amino acids, check out our guides: What is collagen and what do the different types of collagen do for skin? and What are amino acids and what do they do to your skin?

Buy now from Sephora | Buy now from Walmart

17. Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion 

£12.99 | Buy now

View the full TikTok video by clicking here

Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion test and reviewCetpahil

We’ve had a number of requests for Cetaphil products on TikTok and the first one on the list to be tested was the Daily Hydrating Lotion.

In our test, it scored a highly impressive hydration increase of 7.8 percentage points, which is the equivalent of a 20.2% increase overall.

This makes it one of the most hydrating moisturisers we’ve tested to date, sitting just behind CeraVe’s Moisturising Lotion.

The reason it didn’t come in second place overall, however, is that The Inkey List’s Omega Water Cream is slightly cheaper – £9.99 versus £12.99.

The Inkey List is also vegan and cruelty-free. Cetaphil is vegan and the brand itself is cruelty-free, however, because it sells its products in China, it isn’t Leaping Bunny-approved. This is because China still tests the products it imports on animals.

Cetaphil calls itself a gentle skincare brand and its product range has been formulated specifically to address the five key signs of sensitive skin. These include dryness, irritation, roughness, tightness and a damaged skin barrier.

When our skin barrier is damaged, it can’t retain moisture as well as it should. Nor can it prevent irritants from getting in.

Cetaphil uses ingredients such as glycerine and shea butter to keep the skin hydrated, soft and supple alongside vitamins that help nourish the skin and repair its barrier.

This hydrating lotion is the thinnest, lightest of the lot. It has a gel-like consistency which is absorbed easily. As its name suggests, this makes it suitable for daily use.

Don’t let the fact this lotion is marketed at people with sensitive skin put you off if you don’t have sensitive skin. All skin needs hydration and gentle repair – even oily skin – and this is an affordable, effective and lightweight option.

Buy now from Boots | Buy now from Walmart

How we test moisturisers

For each best moisturiser test, we use a device called the Mili Pure to record the moisture level of the skin on our hands before washing them. We then apply each moisturiser, serum, and essence onto the damp skin.

After five minutes we take a second hydration reading. We then wait an hour and take a third and final reading.

The reason we do these tests on our hand is because we have adult acne. The oil and hydration levels on our face can vary significantly and this could skew the results. We’re aware this isn’t perfect, because the products are made for our face, however, given that the hydration levels of our hands are more consistent, we feel this is a fairer way to do the tests.

To then determine which is the best moisturiser (serum/essence etc), we highlight the price of each product (per 30ml), whether or not it’s vegan and cruelty-free, and we note down the five-minute and hour-long hydration changes. All of these figures are added to our Skincare Group Test spreadsheet. The total score is then established by adding all of the categories together, before subtracting the price.

More recently, we added three new columns – INCI score, Irritation Rating, and Comedogenic Rating. We explain more about the scoring system behind these columns and the wider spreadsheet below.

Best moisturiser: Scoring methodology

To determine a product’s total score, which determines where it sits on the leaderboard, we add together the points in the Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Hydration Percentage, and INCI Score categories. We then subtract the price per 30ml, and the Irritation and Comedone Rating scores.

  • Price: This is the recommended retail price (RRP) for the product in question
  • Price (per 30ml): Based on the RRP, we determine the price of the product in question, per 30ml
  • Vegan: Fully vegan brands score 10. Brands that offer vegan products but aren’t fully vegan score 5. Brands with no vegan options score 0.
  • Cruelty-free: Cruelty-free brands score 10. Brands that don’t test on animals, but who partner with organisations or countries that do, score 5. Brands that offer no assurances about animal testing score 0.
  • Hydration points: The percentage point difference between the baseline hydration test, and the five-minute hydration test.
  • Hydration percentage: The percentage difference between the baseline hydration test, and the five-minute hydration test.
  • INCI score: Using the INCI Decoder website, we determine how many of the ingredients in a product’s formula are considered to be “icky” or worse. A product with no “icky” ingredients scores 100%, which we convert to a score of 10. A product with 10 ingredients and two of them are “icky” means the product is 20% “icky” and 80% “good.” The 80% is then converted to a score of 8.
  • Irritation Rating: All ingredients listed on the INCI Decoder website come with an irritation score, out of 5. The score for this category is taken from the highest-rated ingredient.
  • Comedogenic Rating: All ingredients listed on the INCI Decoder website also come with a comedogenic rating, out of 5. The score for this category is taken from the highest-rated ingredient.

Note: Please take the Irritation and Comedogenic ratings with a pinch of salt. The rating can change depending on the amount of that particular ingredient being used. For example, if an ingredient has an irritation rating of 5 but only features in trace amounts in the product in question, the chances of it causing irritation are lower than the rating would suggest. This should be used as a guide only. You can find out more about this here.

You can separately learn more about how moisturisers work in our science of moisturiser article. Alternatively, if you’re looking to save some money and don’t want to fork out for three different products, there might be something of interest in our best tinted moisturiser list as a handful of our favourites tick all the boxes.



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