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.
READ NEXT: How moisturiser actually works
Below we’ve picked the best moisturisers for oily, dry, combination and mature skin to help get you started and you can learn more about how moisturisers work in our science of moisturiser article. Then, if you need to pair it with a good foundation or BB cream, we’ve also got you covered with our best foundation and best BB cream lists.
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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Why we love it: World-renowned make up artist Charlotte Tilbury’s award-winning Magic Cream took 20 years to perfect and was designed to transform models’ skin.
That’s not to say that it won’t benefit the everyday user, however.
The cocktail of luxe ingredients plump, firm and reduce appearance of fine lines, giving a runway glow.
Complete with an SPF15, Magic Cream is loved by women all over the globe and is known to visibly reduce the signs of ageing.
It also works wonders as a primer underneath make up for those who wish to go for a lighter look.
Don’t be put off by its price, or its consistency because it may feel thick but as soon as it’s applied, it almost melts into your skin meaning you only need to use a small amount; a little goes a long way.
£11 | Buy now from Amazon
Why we love it: With creatine to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and help prevent the formation of fine lines, Nivea Q10 is a staple skincare must-have.
Complete with SPF15 and UVA/UVB protection, you can rest assured that Q10 will help to prevent sun-induced lines and redness, leaving the skin looking firm and hydrated for up to 24 hours.
£150 | Buy now from La Mer
Why we love it: The most luxurious, the richest, thickest and creamiest moisturiser around.
It’s soothing and satisfying and seeps into the depths of your skin, leaving it silky smooth, supple and glamorously radiant.
It costs a fortune but even the tiniest amount goes such a long way and the results feel phenomenal, especially for those with drier complexions.
Why we love it: We first experienced Benefit’s Total Moisture facial cream as part of a gift set and it’s recently become a contender for our favourite moisturiser. It has a very similar consistency to Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream, although we’d say it’s slighter thicker and creamier, and a small amount goes a really long way.
The official line is that it contains “provides concentrated hydration for a radiantly refreshed complexion” thanks to what Benefit calls its tri-radiance complex. This system has been developed to boost your skin’s water reserves and reinforce the moisture barrier to protect it from the elements and keep it hydrated from the inside.
While we can’t comment on the specifics of this science – we have no idea why it works – this facial cream left our skin feeling soft like silk. Benefit also recommends this moisturiser best suits dry, sensitive skin but we have oily skin and can vouch for the fact that it not only left our skin feeling like velvet immediately after being applied, but our skin was also far less oily as the day went on compared to how it normally is.
What’s more, it smells amazing – likely due to the use of mango butter, a natural plant-based emollient known to provide moisture.
Why we love it: This lightweight, skin-smoothing moisturiser rejuvenates skin and uses a combination of lactic acid and thyme extract to give lacklustre complexions a boost, dissolving dulling dead skin cells.
It has a fresh scent and doesn’t leave the skin feeling too heavy, meaning makeup can be applied soon after without having to wait around for it to soak into the skin.
Our only real negative is that it includes packaging that can get clogged after reuse.
£65 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
Why we love it: When it says whipped, it means whipped. This moisturiser from Drunk Elephant is silky smooth and refreshes dull and dry skin by restoring hydration and glow.
Created using a blend of six rare African oils, it slowly releases moisture throughout the day and night ensuring your skin remains balanced and healthy-looking without building up oil or looking greasy.
A small amount goes a long way and the container actually helps it to stay fresh without drying out if used over a long period of time.
£6.80 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
Why we love it: Formulated using multiple amino acids, fatty acids and hyaluronic acids, The Ordinary’s moisturiser helps to maintain the skin’s natural pH balance.
It’s gentle enough to be used day and night and specifically targets hydration and skin repair.
It’s not quite the right consistency to double up as a decent primer but The Ordinary claims it works best as the last step of skincare as a moisturiser before you even do your makeup or get into bed.
For the best pay off, use with a regime that includes other Ordinary products as the ingredients blend together giving optimal results. You can read more in The Ordinary Skincare Regimen guide.
£13 | Buy now from Beauty Bay
Why we love it: Perfect for skin that’s prone to oiliness and break-outs, Carbon Theory’s moisturiser is mattifying and offers a shine-free finish while rehydrating and protecting skin.
Using tea tree oils and cranberry extracts, it smells divine, helps to clear existing breakouts and reduces redness without feeling like it’s clogging your pores.
It glides over the face with a lightweight, silky texture and absorbs quickly.
Vitamin E works to protect against pollution.
Downsize is the bottle is small, so is used up quite quickly.
£18.70 | Buy now from Feelunique
Why we love it: Available in different formulas depending on your skin type – oily/combination or normal/dry – this award-winning moisturiser soothes, softens and conditions your skin for a natural, healthy-looking glow.
Instantly hydrates without leaving skin feeling oily for an instantly soft and smooth complexion.
Why we love it: If you suffer from breakouts, this is an absolute holy grail.
There’s something in Effaclar Duo that spots just hate.
It corrects and perfects any redness, irritation or lines.
Contains procerad which protects against redness or dark patches, piroctone olamine to combat bacteria and zinc targets and reduces sebum secretion, preventing the spread of spots and minimising chances of future breakouts.
When mixed with Effaclar’s toner and cleanser, this three-step programme visibly reduces break-outs and acne marks, while maintaining a hydrated base.
It also works a dream as a primer underneath light makeup.
Elly is a production journalist and sub-editor for a number of national newspapers and magazines including The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, and Woman and Woman’s Own magazine. A beauty-enthusiast, she loves travelling – especially to the States – reading and calligraphy