The best moisturizers for dry skin, according to a beauty editor

Dry skin getting you down? Here's how to tackle it with the best moisturizers for dry skin.

best moisturizers for dry skin

Until a year or so ago, I would never have described myself as having dry skin.

Having always battled with hormone-fuelled breakouts and an on-going fight to get foundation to stay on my oily t-zone past lunchtime, the idea of my skin being dry felt a little silly.

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 moisturizer are good for dry skin?

When it comes to finding a moisturizer you love, the 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 moisturizers 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…

Ceramides

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 use a combination of ceramides to restore balance to dry, distressed skin.

Lanolin

In its natural form, lanolin is secreted from the sebaceous glands of sheep. But stick with us. As an emollient, its purpose is to protect the wool by locking in moisture. Carrying the same function over into skincare, it keeps skin moisturized without clogging up pores.

Niacinamide

Having long played a supporting role in our skincare, niacinamide is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Also known as vitamin B, it has many perks, including reducing the appearance of pores and restoring the glow to lackluster 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 of acids or retinol.

Hyaluronic acid

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 moisturizers for dry skin – tried and tested by a Beauty Editor

Best moisturizers 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.

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Avène Hydrance AQUA-GEL 3-in-1 Moisturizer

The Avène Hydrance AQUA-GEL is the perfect everyday moisturizer with 3-in-1 care.

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Best moisturizer 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.

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Votary Super Seed Nutrient Cream

Votary’s very first cream is aimed at fragile and sensitive skin.

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Best moisturizer for dull, dry skin

A reformulation of their bestselling vitamin C moisturizer, 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.

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Ole Henriksen C-Rush Brightening Double Crème

This indulgently rich hydrator glides on like silk to instantly illuminate and deliver an energizing burst of moisture.

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Best moisturizer 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 it as your daily moisturizer or as a mask for a quick fix.

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Weleda Skin Food Light

Skin Food Light brings immediate comfort to dry skin.

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£5.96

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Best heavy moisturizer 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 the 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.

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Lano Face Base Leave-On Recovery Mask

A must for your next carry-on essentials list, Lanolips' Face Base Aussie Flyer Recovery Mask is a potent leave on-mask that reboots dull, dry skin.

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Best hydrating eye cream

Not strictly a moisturizer, 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 afterward.

It’s backed by impressive science too, using vitamins, antioxidants, and peptides to hydrate.

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Environ Youth EssentiA Vita-Peptide Eye Gel

Environ’s Vita Peptide Eye Gel is technically advanced and fast-absorbing to assist in improving the appearance of fine lines around the eyes.

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£57

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