The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Facial Moisturizer by Skin Type


“Moisture is the essence of wetness and wetness is the essence of beauty” – Derek Zoolander

Moisturizers prevent and treat dry skin. But that’s not all, they improve skin tone, protect sensitive skin, enhance your skin texture and mask imperfections. The principal function of moisturizers is to hold water in the outermost layers of the skin. They also act as a temporary barrier.

The moisturizer that’s best for you depends on many factors including your skin type, your age and whether you have any specific conditions such as acne. There are plenty of moisturizers available on the market, here’s helping to find the right moisturizer for you.

Why Use Moisturizer

Moisturizing your face will make your skin soft, smooth and all-plumped up.You can enjoy a more elastic and delicate skin, and moisturizers will keep your skin hydrated. It is highly important that you use moisturizer specifically made for your face and that contains SPF 15 sunscreen or higher. There are moisturizers available for men and women with different formulas too.

To get into the habit of moisturizing, you must apply it at the same time every day, such as after your shower or shave. Before moisturizing makes sure, you clean your face thoroughly with a mild cleanser. Avoid using harsh cleaners.

When your face is slightly damp apply the moisturizer gently using strokes upward. This action helps to get the moisture into the pores where it belongs. Your skin will absorb the moisture immediately and thoroughly within 5 to 10 minutes. Be sure to buy the moisturizer that is compatible with your skin type to enjoy younger-looking skin over time.

How to Determine Your Skin Type

Your type of skin depends on factors such as

  • The amount of water in your skin which affects comfort and elasticity
  • The oiliness of your skin which affects its softness and
  • The level of sensitivity

Be known that your skin can change over time. For example, youngsters are more likely than older folks to have a normal skin type.

Skin type # 1 Normal

Normal skin is neither too oily and not too dry. It has a good balance of small pores, moisture, and even tone. If you have normal skin, you’ll have few or no imperfections, no severe sensitivity, barely visible pores and a radiant complexion.

Skin type # 2 Combination

Your skin may be a blend of both dry and oily skin. You may find that your oily skin is concentrated in the T zone while your cheeks remain dry. Your skin is influenced by genetics and by puberty when oil glands increase their production of sebum. Your combination skin might have pores that look larger than normal, blackheads and shiny skin.

Skin type #3 Dry

Dry skin lacks natural moisture. A little oil is present to act as a barrier and to lock in moisture. Your dry skin may be the result of environmental stressors such as climate change and hydration-robbing cleansers. It may also be due to hormonal changes that come with aging.

If you have dry skin, you may have dull, rough complexion, almost invisible pores, red patches, less elastic skin and more visible lines. Your skin can peel, crack, become itchy and irritated or inflamed especially on the back of your arms, hands, and legs.

Skin type #4 Oily

The oily skin has an excess of sebum. You’ll have a greasy feel only a few hours after the shower, because of the oil buildup on your skin. If you have oily skin, you may have enlarged pores, dull or shiny thick complexion, blackheads, pimples, or other blemishes.

Your skin’s oiliness can change depending on the time of the year or the weather. Puberty, hormonal imbalances, stress, excess of humidity or heat can worsen your condition.

Skin type #5 Sensitive

Your sensitive skin may be prone to allergic reactions, breakouts, and redness. The other symptoms include itching, burning, and dryness. Try to find the triggers so you can avoid them. There are many possible reasons, but the allergic reactions are mostly in response to skin care products.


FDA Guidelines for Moisturizers

A good moisturizer contains no harmful ingredients and protects your skin. Don’t fall for price tags; it’s the ingredients that always matter. The FDA requires listing the ingredients on the label to enable customers to make informed purchasing decisions. To make an intelligent purchase, you must become ingredient- savvy.

Fragrance-free. It typically means that the product is free of synthetic scents.  Most fragrances are synthetic. They mask toxins that could contribute to skin reactions, allergies, and even cancer. The manufacturers don’t remove the natural aroma of the ingredients. So, you may smell some of the product’s natural scent such as olive oil or shea butter.

Unscented products. They might include a fragrance as well. Manufacturers may add additional synthetic fragrances to mask unpleasant chemical odors that may trigger allergic reactions. These masking fragrances contain phthalates.

Active ingredients. Active ingredients in moisturizers make the product what it’s intended to do. If your moisturizer can block UV rays, it may include titanium oxide acting as a principal sunscreen agent.

Inactive ingredients. They are in the product for three main reasons to deliver the active ingredients to the skin, to increase the shelf life and to make it feel and look nice.

Noncomedogenic. It means non-clogging or oil free. These products will break down excess oil, but won’t strip your skin of moisture.

Hypoallergenic. It refers to a product causing less allergic reactions in your skin. However, it doesn’t guarantee a stamp of safety. So, if you’ve had reactions from certain ingredients in the past, check the label for these substances.

Natural. Natural products contain ingredients that come from botanical sources and may or may not include chemicals.

Organic. Organic products have ingredients that claim to grow without pesticides, chemicals or artificial fertilizers. Unfortunately, the loose FDA guidelines make most products vulnerable to misleading labels and organic, and natural products are not necessarily any better.

Broad spectrum: Moisturizers that claim to be broad spectrum can block both UVB and UVA rays from the sun. If you don’t use a moisturizer that prevents sun’s rays, apply your moisturizer first, then follow it up with sunscreen.

Parabens: They are preservatives that give cosmetics a longer shelf life. The commonly used parabens in cosmetics are methylparaben, Propylparaben, and butylparaben. According to The Cosmetic Ingredient Review, these parabens are safe to use in cosmetic products at levels up to 25 percent. Research studies talk about the potential health risks of parabens indicating that they mimic estrogen which in turn could lead to cancer.

Phthalates: You can find phthalates in a wide variety of products ranging from lotions, deodorants, fragrances to toys and food packaging. They are known to be endocrine disruptors and link up to increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls and congenital reproductive disabilities in males and females.

Different Kinds of Moisturizers

Humectants: They carry ingredients that draw water from the inner layer of the skin to the outer layers which are usually drier. If you include them in face moisturizers, humectants can hydrate your skin by even drawing water from the environment.

Emollients: Ingredients like petroleum jelly or silicones, seal existing moisture into the skin to prevent further loss of moisture. They have unique properties which make your skin soft and smooth. Emollients can be water based or oil based. They have their use in oil-free moisturizers as well as non-comedogenic moisturizer products.

Both these ingredients help you achieve a soft and supple skin. The best facial moisturizing creams will contain various quantities of both these ingredients. However, emollients have a comedogenic effect.

Facial Moisturizers for Every Skin Type (product recommendations)

Moisturizers for Oily Skin

Look for a lightweight lotion that is oil-free, has botanical extracts and is of a lightweight consistency. An oil-free moisturizer will be your best bet to balance your skin’s oil levels because the oily skin becomes dehydrated and produces more oil.

Avoid scrubbing, over exfoliating or using products that could potentially dry your skin. Check out for these key ingredients: lemongrass, vitamin C, and willow bark extract. Find the one that your skin is comfortable. Clay as an ingredient absorbs oil, especially in the T-zone.

Product recommendations:

  • The Body Shop Seaweed Mattifying Day Cream
  • Pinks Boutique Lemongrass and Camellia Moisturizer
  • Clean Clear Skin Balancing Moisturizer
  • Nivea Visage Oil-Free Moisturizing Day Cream

Moisturizers for Dry Skin

Choose a heavier oil-based moisturizer to restore moisture to your dry skin. Go in for creams that keep your skin hydrated during winters and dry environment. Greater oil content enhances better absorption through the skin barriers to hydrate the tissue.

For dry skin, the best moisturizer will contain humectants to draw in moisture from the environment. When you’re suffering from dry skin, your biggest concern is not to seal moisture in with an emollient face cream. But first to add much moisture to your dehydrated cells as possible.

Then you think about locking in the moisture, so it stays in your skin cells longer. An oil based face moisturizer that is thick and heavy will create a thick layer of moisture. The other anti-aging ingredients nourish the skin on your face continuously throughout the day.

Product recommendations:

  • Andalou Naturals Purple Carrot + C Luminous Night Cream
  • The Body Shop Oils of Life Revitalizing Sleeping Cream
  • Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Deep Moisture Balm

Moisturizers for Combination Skin

Finding the best facial moisturizer for combination skin may be tricky because different areas in your face call for various moisturizers. Try using a heavier cream on your cheeks and an oil-free formula on the T- zone. You can also treat the oily areas in your face with a moisturizer that gets rid of acne.

Product recommendations:

Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin

The best facial moisturizer for your skin type is the one that avoids fragrances or other non-essential ingredients. Sensitive skin calls for something gentle, paraben-free and hypoallergenic.

Face moisturizers that mainly contain acids can be irritating to your sensitive skin. It’s wise to stay away from moisturizers that act as subtle face exfoliators as well. Go in for moisturizers that contain chamomile and aloe, to soothe the skin and give it the nutrients to rebuild itself.

Product recommendations:

  • Olay Complete Care Fluid for Sensitive Skin
  •  The Body Shop Aloe Soothing Day Cream
  • SkinCeuticals Redness Neutralizer

Moisturizers for Normal Skin

If you have healthy skin, the best face moisturizer would be that maintains your current skin health without clogging the pores. Go in for oil-free moisturizer that is water based and has a light non-greasy feel. Cyclomethicone or Acetyl alcohol give light moisture to healthy skin without comedogenic effects.

Product recommendations:

  • Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream
  • Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer

Moisturizers for Acne –prone Skin

There are specific acne-fighting products out there that enhances your skin clarity. Benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria that cause blemishes while salicylic acid slows the shedding of cells, to prevent pores from clogging. Experts advise you to use these products as spot treatments and to use oil-free light moisturizers daily because heavy creams can block pores and cause more concern.

Product recommendations:

Anti-aging Moisturizers

 “Adding peptides, retinol, and antioxidants to your routine are great things to keep in mind when considering anti-aging benefits,” Dr. Bruce Katz of Juva Skin in NYC tells A good moisturizer will plump up your sagging skin. You can go in for over the counter vitamin A cream, vitamin C serum, and alpha or beta hydroxyl acids. They usually work at night, renews your skin faster and makes your skin firmer.

Product recommendations:

  • Dr. Dennis Gross C+ Collagen Deep Cream
  • Murad City Skin Overnight Detox Moisturizer
  • Garnier Nutritioniste Ultra-Lift Firming Moisture Cream


Applying your moisturizer is an art. Use approximately a quarter sized amount, for the upper half, start from the center of your face, then move outwards and up. Again, use a quarter pea sized moisturizer for your nose and rub it evenly over your entire face.

Make sure that the cream gets into your fine lines, by swirling it in using circular motions. Use your ring finger and do it gently to prevent tugging or tearing your delicate skin.

When you apply your anti-aging moisturizer, don’t just stop it near your jawline. Apply your moisturizer to your neck and even hands. Using the perfect moisturizer for your skin boosts hydration, prevents dullness and provides you moisture protection all through the day.

What’s your skin type and favorite moisturizer? Tell us about it in our comments section below.



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