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Until a year or so ago, I would never have described myself as having dry skin.
That was until, little flaking patches and the tingle of irritation when I washed my face forced me to admit otherwise.
While dry skin is a skin-type and long term concern caused by having less oil, skin can feel dry when it’s dehydrated and lacking in water. If you want to know more about the difference between dry and dehydrated skin, we’ve broken it down here.
What types of moisturiser are good for dry skin?
When it comes to finding a moisturiser you love, texture is key. If you don’t like how it feels, you won’t commit to using it long enough to see the results.
Love to pamper your skin? Try a rich overnight mask or luxe oil. Or, if you sit on the other side of the skincare camp, try lightweight gels that absorb quickly.
Key ingredients found in best moisturisers for dry skin
Not sure what you should be looking out for on the ingredients list? We’ve made decoding the back of the pack easy…
Essential fats, ceramides naturally make up 50% of our skin. They work a little bit like cement holding skin cells together to form a protective barrier. When they’re compromised, moisture can sneak out, and external aggressors like pollution can make their way in. Brands like Cerave and Curel us a combination of ceramides to restore balance to dry, distressed skin.
In its natural form, lanolin is secreted from the sebaceous glands of sheep. But stick with us. As an emollient, it’s purpose is to protect the wool by locking in moisture. Carrying the same function over into skincare, it keeps skin moisturised without clogging up pores.
Having long played a supporting role in our skincare, niacinamide is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Also known as vitamin B, it has a lot of perks, including the ability to reduce the appearance of pores and restore glow to lacklustre complexions. Even helping also helps skin to replenish its natural stock of ceramides too. But one of its biggest benefits is how compatible it is with other ingredients, especially important if you’re a lover or acids or retinol.
A hero hydrator with the ability to hold up to 1000 time’s its own weight in water, hyaluronic acid works by drawing moisture from the atmosphere. Sitting on the surface layers of skin, it works really quickly to plump and rehydrate thirsty complexions.
Best moisturisers for dry skin – tried and tested by a Beauty Editor
Best moisturiser for dry combination skin
Fresh and lightweight, my puffy morning face loves it when I slather this on.
Don’t let the thinness of the formula fool you, this is seriously hydrating using thermal spring water and vitamin E to leave skin soft and comfortable.
It sinks in nice and quickly, so you don’t have to wait long before applying make-up.
Best moisturiser for dry sensitive skin
Thankfully finding itself on my desk during a cold-spell, this has quickly become my dry skin saviour.
It’s creamy enough to feel luxe, but not so heavy that my make-up slides off. Forming a barrier on skin, it shields from both cold or dry air, locking in moisture.
All Votary products are nice and gentle, with a focus on natural ingredients, making them suitable for stressed-out, sensitive and acne prone skin.
Best moisturiser for dull, dry skin
A reformulation of their bestselling vitamin C moisturiser, this one uses shea butter to nourish.
Gliding on beautifully, this is a treat to use, making my skin look instantly perkier thanks to the illuminating peachy-hue.
The real attraction here is the vitamin C, working hard to even out skin tone and deliver glow. Proving you don’t have to compromise on other skincare concerns when dryness strikes.
Best moisturiser for very dry skin
Loved by everyone from Victoria Beckham to Rosie Huntington-Whitely, it’s easy to see how Weleda’s Original Skin Food gained cult status.
If you find that too heavy for use on your face, give the light version a whirl. It absorbs faster than its predecessor but still harnesses the same skin-soothing power thanks to calendula and chamomile extracts.
Use as your daily moisturiser or as a mask for a quick fix.
Best heavy moisturiser for dry skin
Designed to combat ‘flight face’ and bring skin back to life after a long haul trip, this is just as effective if you’ve got both feet on the ground.
Satisfyingly thick and creamy, warm the tube between your hands to make it malleable enough to spread onto skin.
Skin looks almost matte when it’s first applied, with the glow returning as it sinks in. There’s no reason why you can’t use it during the day, but the heavy texture lends itself better to night.
Best hydrating eye cream
Not strictly a moisturiser, but as the skin around our eyes is so thin, it needs a little extra TLC.
This is everything you want an eye cream to be – cooling, plumping and light enough that it won’t disrupt any eye make-up you apply afterwards.
It’s backed by impressive science too, using vitamins, antioxidants and peptides to hydrate.