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What's The Best Moisturizer For Your Skin Type?

What's The Best Moisturizer For Your Skin Type?

How do you know your moisturizer is ‘the one’ – not too thick, not too thin, not too oily, but just about right? Well, it’s not rocket science, you just need to a) understand your skin type and b) know your way around a few choice ingredients. Let’s get on that.

Moisturizing is a fundamental part of any successful skincare regime. Every day you cleanse, perhaps you tone (or not!), you treat your skin with an eye cream and serum, then you moisturize and, in the mornings, finish with sunscreen. Because that’s the kind of skincare pro you are. And we love you for that.

But just how much do you know about what’s inside your moisturizer? And are all those ingredients really doing the best they can for your skin type or maybe, just maybe, is your moisturizer a tad shy of your skin’s true needs?

To help you find the correct moisturizer, first you need to know your skin type.

The best way to do this is to study your skin in the mirror, when it’s completely free of makeup or skincare products. Cleanse your face with a mild formulation like Soothing Cleansing Milk, then gently pat it dry with a clean, cotton towel and leave it be. After about an hour, examine your skin and touch it with clean hands to discover how it looks and feels.

Does it feel tight, itchy and look a little flaky in places? Then it’s DRY. Does it look shiny and feel greasy to the touch? Then it’s OILY. Is it a mixture of the two; dry and tight in areas, and greasy in others? Then it’s COMBINATION. And finally, does it feel pretty darn great all over, with no dryness or oiliness? Then you have NORMAL skin. And we’re not jealous at all. Honestly.

It’s also worth noting that other issues you may think are your skin type, are not. Sensitive skin for example, can be dry OR oily. And the same goes for acne-prone skin. This means that anything other than dry, normal, oily and combination is a skin condition, rather than a type, usually as a result of factors like aging, your hormones, elevated stress or the products you put on your skin.

OK, so now you know how to determine your skin type, let’s have a look at your moisturizing besties shall we?

Dry Skin

If you have dry skin, moisturizer is arguably the most important product for you to get right. After all, the very definition of dry skin is the lack of natural sebum (oil) which is so important for keeping skin soft, supple and moisturized.

So what should your skin be soaking up? Well, the key for you is to use gentle products that are rich and buttery to strengthen and fortify your barrier function and help your skin retain moisture while stopping irritants from breaking through. Heavier formulations that contain occlusive ingredients are your true friends because these create a seal over the top of your skin, substituting for your lack of sebum and locking in hydration.

Look out for things like shea butter, coconut oil, ceramides, glycerin and olive oil  – and, of course, avoid anything that’s going to cause further dryness such as synthetic fragrances, harsh alcohols and parabens.

Try: Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer


Oily Skin

If you have oily skin it’s tempting to want to skip moisturizer altogether. Massive mistake. When you fail to moisturize oily skin, your sebaceous glands think your skin is dry so they go into overdrive, producing even more sebum to compensate for the moisturization which is lacking. The result? Way too much oil that can build up in your pores if you’re not careful, causing potential breakouts.

The key for moisturizing oily skin types is to keep it light by looking for thinner formulations like lotions and gels. You want to avoid heavy, occlusive ingredients like butters and heavy oils because these trap oil into the skin making it feel greasy and sticky. Instead, go big on humectants to add hydration (think hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and glycerin) and combine these with gentle emollients to seal in moisture without blocking your pores. Jojoba oil is a great emollient that's noncomedogenic and ideal for oily skin types.

Try: Firming Collagen Day Lotion

Combination Skin

Looking after combination skin can feel like an impossible task. If you concentrate on the dry areas are you going to make the oily ones even oilier? And vice versa? Some people swear by using two separate moisturizers to target the different areas of their face – one light, gel-based formula for the t-zone and a richer, oil-based cream for drier areas. But this is a real effort. Not to mention crazy expensive.

Similar to oily skin types, a better (and cheaper!) option is to go for a noncomedogenic moisturizer that contains humectants to draw water into the skin and emollients to lock it there. Avoid harsh ingredients which could upset the balance of your skin and go all-in on antioxidants like vitamin C and green tea to help protect your skin from environmental damage.

And if you find this isn’t quite enough to moisturize your dry areas? Keep it light in the daytime and amp it up overnight with a rich, nourishing night cream like our Vitamin C Deep Hydration Night Cream.

Try: Renewing Longevity Moisturizing Cream

Normal Skin

If your barefaced skin shows zero signs of dryness or oiliness then you seriously hit the skin jackpot because you’re graced with normal, balanced skin. This is the type of skin everyone else would die for because it’s able to maintain just the right level of moisture. But this doesn’t mean you should neglect it – dehydration, temporary oiliness and breakouts can still hit you at any time. And of course, skin is always going to age, whatever your skin type, but especially if you don’t look after it properly and protect it from the daily perils of UV radiation, pollution and friends.

Normal skin can get away with most moisturizing formulations, but make sure yours contains ingredients that draw in water and hold it there. Vitamin E is great for that. And if you really want to up the ante, look for active ingredients that offer your skin so much more. Retinol, for example, works great in moisturizers and is awesome for normal, aging skin because it works at a deep, cellular level to improve collagen and encourage turnover.

Try: Retinol Moisturizer

Tips For Getting The Most From Your Moisturizer

Now you know what to look for, here’s how to apply your product for the best results, every time…

1. Apply moisturizer to damp skin

Your skin needs plenty of hydration to remain healthy so maximize all that free water from cleansing or toning by moisturizing your face while it’s still a little damp.

2. Moisturize AFTER applying serum

If serum plays a major role in your routine, apply this while your skin is still damp, then leave it for a minute or so before applying moisturizer last. Serums have a smaller molecular size than moisturizers which means they sink in super fast. However, this does mean they have to be applied before moisturizer, otherwise they won’t get through to the surface of your skin.

3. Use the correct amount

Piling oceans of moisturizer onto your face and neck won’t make it work better, it’ll just overload your skin. Instead, use a small amount as instructed on the label and if you feel it’s too moisturizing, or not moisturizing enough, you’re using the wrong formulation. Simple as.

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Georgia Gould

Georgia Gould

Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.