Being one of the mandatory steps in any skincare routines, facial moisturizers are considered the staples to achieve plumped and healthy skin. Sadly, choosing the right face moisturizer for our skin can be more challenging than choosing the right watermelon for our mums. This is because as much as its name has suggested, being merely moisturizing is not what all a moisturizer does.
A moisturizer also works to tackle skin concerns such as skin ageing, skin dullness, skin sensitivity and even skin blemishes. It can appear in the form of a gel, a cream or a hybrid of the two!
With that being said, there are simply too many types of face moisturizers on the market to make one easily lose their way through. As such, in this article, we have come up with a list of the best face moisturizers - recommendations at different price points, targeting different skin types and skin problems.
Can you maintain a simple skincare routine that’s just as effective as a 10-step routine?
Having just a moisturiser to soothe and protect your skin is not enough. Essences are key to achieving healthy, glowing skin. That is why SK-II’s signature PITERA™Essence is their bestseller and a go-to for many who wish to keep their skincare routine easy.
To say that this product enjoys a cult following is quite an understatement. Adored by women worldwide, the SK-II PITERA™ Essence works to nourish, balance, and hydrate - exactly what you need to invest in for long-lasting results.
Its secret lies in its main ingredient - PITERA™, which 90% of the essence is formulated with.
Naturally derived from a proprietary fermentation process of a unique yeast strain, PITERA™ works to revitalise the skin for a healthy skin turnover quickly. Simply put, PITERA™ fortifies the skin barrier to help it reach its peak in health.
You see, our skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF) form a protective barrier that prevents external compounds from harming the skin. This barrier also helps to prevent dryness.
As PITERA™’s compounds are similar to our NMF, the ingredient is perfect and performs effortlessly to penetrate and immediately work on the skin. Another benefit of PITERA™ is that it also moderates the skin’s surface renewal cycle (to get rid of dead skin cells) and supports its health to boost protective functions. The results? Glowing and supple skin!
Details & Highlights:
Over 90% PITERA™; a natural bio-ingredient that has more than 50 micro-nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids and organic acids)
Fortifies the skin’s natural functions and protects it from dryness
Absorbs into the skin quickly for immediate hydration and soothing capabilities
Works to revitalise the skin for a healthy skin turnover quickly (Ex. remove dead skin cells for glowing skin)
Suitable for most skins including sensitive types.
It’s not hard to see why the SK-II PITERA™ Essence has so many admirers and repeated users. The beautiful and simple formula it has makes the essence easy to incorporate and complement whatever moisturiser you have.
After patting some SK-II PITERA™ essence into the skin, users see noticeably smoother and softer skin within the first few days of use, with visible improvements in skin tone, texture, radiance, and evenness continuing over time.
When it comes to protecting the skin, look into your choice of moisturiser.
SK-II’s award-winning R.N.A. Skin Power Airy Milky Lotion does not only protect the skin from dryness, it also powers up your skin’s radiance for healthy and youthful-looking skin.
The lightweight cream is quickly absorbed by your skin to improve suppleness and elasticity due to the inclusion of RNArchitect Complex. This Complex contains concentrated PITERA™ with hydrolyzed soy and yeast extracts that plump up the skin from within. Formulated together with Chlorella Extract, you can look forward to skin that’s hydrated and with reduced appearances of fine lines caused by dryness.
Containing a milky yet lightweight texture, the lotion provides an immediate effect of smooth, bouncy and glowing skin. Therefore, it is perfect for those who live in warmer, humid climates such as in Malaysia. Not only that, the lotion is also suitable for all skin types.
Details & Highlights:
Infused with RNArchitect Complex: PITERA™ concentrate that derives from hydrolyzed soy and yeast extracts to plump the skin
Provides a smooth, glowing and bouncy complexion
Reduces the appearance of dullness, micro lines and pores overall
Has a milky and lightweight texture that is suitable for warm, humid climates
Aside from achieving a smoother complex, many users found this product to have reduced dullness and improved complexion. Another noticeable effect was glowing skin, and that it actually works as a primer too and wears well under makeup.
Due to its airy and lightweight texture, the moisturiser is suitable for all skin types including those with oily skin.
add_circleClean ingredients - free from fragrance, colourants and parabens
add_circle100% vegan, cruelty-free and hypoallergenic
add_circleContains 75% of lotus water extracts
add_circleQuick absorption into the skin without leaving a sticky finish
Rovectin is a Korean brand that makes its way to the skincare industry with a belief: “safe ingredients lead to beautiful skin and skincare is a journey”.
The Lotus Water Cream from the brand’s “Clean” skincare line is wonderful with its simple yet amazing ingredients and extra gentle formulation. Impressively, this product contains 75% of lotus water extract that helps in detoxifying the skin, controlling the sebum production and restoring the skin barrier.
This product establishes a water-cream consistency and bursts upon application, blanketing the skin with a hydrating layer. It lets the skin acquire a natural balance between oil and water which is ideal for people with combination skin.
Review: “My oily-combination skin feels fresh and comfortable with this water cream. Glad that I have purchased this item.” - Maria R.
remove_circleMight leave a weird tingling sensation at first upon application
remove_circleNot suitable for people that are allergic to silicones
remove_circleMight irritate super sensitive skin type
While this moisturizer is claimed to be for people with combination skin, we find that it also performs especially well on oily skin. This is because the product contains a high concentration of Cyclomethicone which guarantees a grease-free and non-sticky finish on the skin.
As opposed to the silicones used in many skincare products, Cyclomethicone is a more volatile type of silicone that is unlikely to trap the acne-triggering components in the skin. It allows the product to glide over smoothly on the skin as well as penetrate the active ingredients into the skin better.
The oil-absorbing system of this product promises to reduce skin oiliness and shininess, keeping oily skin happy throughout the day.
Review: “I can tell that my skin gets less greasy whenever I use this product. It has also improved my conditions with enlarged pores, blackheads and whiteheads. This product is (a) life-changer.” - laceie2345
remove_circleMight be too rich and greasy for hot weather
The reason why this moisturizer from Cerave is such a dry-skin saviour is that it contains a remarkable amount of the dry-skin superstars namely ceramides, glycerin and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients are not only incredible in retaining the skin moisture level but also in repairing and restoring the skin barrier.
Having a stronger skin barrier means having a more resilient skin that’s less prone to sensitivity and irritation. This moisturizer also penetrates the skin deeply from within, making sure of its efficacy so that skin flakiness is nowhere in sight. The cream is suitable for those with very dry skin as well.
Review:“This is such a bargain as I can use it on both my face and body! It works wonderfully in the winter when my skin gets dry and red. Absolutely my holy grail.” -emmacarol
add_circleCalms and heals irritated skin effectively
add_circleVegan and cruelty-free
add_circleFree from artificial fragrance
add_circleOptimum ph level (4.5-5.5)
Mugwort has been taking the centre stage these days in the K-beauty industry. Sounds muddy?Turns out, it is just as fascinating as it sounds. Not only is this botanical ingredient effective in killing acne-triggering bacterias, but is also superb in calming and healing the damaged skin cells.
With 73.5% of mugwort extracts, this I’m From Mugwort Cream is undoubtedly one of the best anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal goodies out there. Several types of leaf extracts and root extracts are also added into this product to serve the skin even more anti-inflammatory benefits. Acne-prone skin people are probably screaming at this point but we are not done with its merits yet.
The product is also packed with glycerin, allantoin, panthenol and shea butter which are all outstanding moisturizing and skin-protecting ingredients. It is no surprise that this moisturiser has earned itself a title of ‘cult-favourite’.
Review:“I always enjoy the mugwort line from I’m From and not once am I let down. This cream has made my skin (feel) much more comfortable and hydrated! I love it.” -Chen Xu
Rescuing stressed skin is what the Centella Gel Cream from iUnik goes after. Its ingredient list is so fabulous that it makes one stunned.
This moisturizer contains 70% of Centella Asiatica which is one of the best natural ingredients to soothe the skin and strengthen its barrier. Apart from that, it also comes with 10% of antimicrobial Tea Tree Leaf Water to treat skin itchiness.
Another notable ingredient of this product is Niacinamide which is proven to be not just a skin humectant but also a wrinkle fighter and a skin brightening agent. With its gel-like consistency, this product promises to not leave any discomfort on the skin.
Promising Review: “Instantaneous calming effect. The product gets absorbed fast into my skin and its mild green tea scent is pretty acceptable. Overall, this product is worth the penny.” - Ada
There is a fine line between skin dryness and skin dehydration. Generally speaking, the former is due to the lack of oil and the later is due to the lack of water. This explains why people with oily skin can suffer from skin dehydration too. Skin dehydration, if not tackled immediately, will cause the skin to look dull and lose its elasticity in the long run. That’s also when the signs of ageing start emerging.
To quench the thirst of dehydrated skin, this 72-Hour moisturizer from Clinique might be just about right as it is truly the powerhouse of hydrators. Not to mention how glycerin appears to be the 4th ingredient on its ingredient list, this product also contains other effective skin humectants like sodium hyaluronate and trehalose to give the skin an extra hydration boost.
Besides the leaf extracts and the aloe water, it is also formulated with Thermus Thermophillus Ferment which is quite a rare find in skincare products. Essentially, this ferment helps to replenish the skin and restore skin firmness.
“This feels lightweight on my oily-combination skin and my problems with whitehead (were) significantly improved. This is my holy grail now!” -Eliz
remove_circleNot suitable for people who are looking for a high coverage makeup base.
The tinted moisturizer from Laura Mercier has always been one of the brand’s best sellers. It provides light coverage that is adequate to even out the skin tone and blur out the minor imperfections on the face.
As a tinted moisturizer, this product is surely extraordinary. Tamarind Seed extracts, Vitamin E, Vitamin C along with a unique blend of Macadamia and Kuku Seed oil are what make up its formulation. These ingredients cooperate to provide the skin long-lasting hydration and diminish the sign of fine lines caused by skin dryness.
Additionally, it comes with SPF30 to protect the skin from any harmful UV rays.
Promising Review:“This is now my daily essential. It has erased all the imperfections on my face, giving my face a natural glow!” -Shellsters72
Best rated, affordable moisturiser – great for all skin types
Formulated with Damask Roses, this moisturiser delivers soothing and moisturising effects to the deepest layers of the skin. Thanks to its lightweight and gel-like texture, the skin absorbs this moisturiser within seconds of application. Another plus point about this moisturiser is that it doesn’t leave the skin feeling sticky like some moisturisers do.
Besides, this formula provides a long-lasting moisture barrier that prevents transdermal water loss and allows you to look fresh throughout the day. To top it off, the gel comes in a 300ml tube and is made to suit all skin types; truly rose-infused goodness for everyone to enjoy.
“So far so good. I love the smell and it does moisturise my skin. Since i have dry and sensitive skin, i noticed the product doesn’t irritate my skin. It gives calmness and soothing my skin. I wear it together rose water toner. And it really help to sooth my skin. I love it!” – AFB
remove_circleNo noticeable result in terms of improving skin texture
remove_circleToo small in size
Nighttime is when the skin factory in our body starts repairing and mending the skin cells. To give the skin the gentlest care at night, this night moisturizer from Cetaphil is created with a bundle of skin-soothing and skin-relieving elements such as allantoin and panthenol.
The “water locks'' like glycerin, whereas the hyaluronic acid and ceramides incorporated into this product helps to prevent skin dehydration during the night. If that doesn’t sound good enough, this night cream also comes with a considerable amount of Niacinamide which is the old but gold skincare ingredient of all time.
“Third time purchasing this product! I reach for it every night. It has kept my oily skin moisturized and less prone to breakouts! This is my third purchase so far and I will continue to use this product.” -MaloAsh
remove_circleMay not be suitable for sensitive skin types, contains fragrances and parabens
It is never too early to start introducing anti-ageing products into our skincare regime. The Micro-sculpting Cream from Olay comprises Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin E and Amino Peptides. These are the elements that help in regenerating skin cells and promotes the production of collagen. After all, collagen is one of the most vital elements to ensure skin elasticity.
The moisturiser also contains a slight amount of Titanium Oxide which is a type of physical sunscreen that shields the skin against both UVA and UVB rays.
“This product is worth the money. It makes my skin tone look more even and my skin texture also appears firmer and smoother. I have tried out my other anti-ageing products but this works the best!” -cucina
remove_circleMight be too nourishing for combination and oily skin
When it comes to people who suffer from eczema, choosing a face moisturizer that actually works can be a painstaking process. Fret not, the Ultra Repair Cream from First Aid Beauty is coming to your rescue.
This moisturizer contains Colloidal Oatmeal which works incredibly in treating eczema-prone skin. It is also formulated with a good amount of skin-soothing and antioxidant ingredients such as White Tea extract and Licorice Root extract.
Additionally, shea butter, glycerin and ceramide are also integrated into this product to help keep the skin moisturized and plumped throughout the day. With its alcohol-free and artificial-ingredients-free formula, needless to say, this cream is the solution to not only eczema-prone skin but also sensitive skin.
Promising Review: “Ever since I started using this cream, my skin has gone through a dramatic transformation. I used to suffer from severe eczema but now my skin is looking so much smoother and clearer.” -Marissa
add_circleDoes not cause flare ups for acne prone skin
remove_circleMight produce some white cast due to sunscreen element
Cerave definitely takes the crown when it comes to the best moisturizer with sun protection. Its AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with SPF30 contains both physical and chemical sunscreens to guard the skin from UVA and UVB rays.
Zinc Oxide which is the active ingredient used in this product is considered as one of the most powerful guardians against the Sun. It is proven to be non-irritating thus, suitable to even the sensitive skin type.
Besides the sunscreen goodness, this moisturizer also contains 3 different types of ceramides to lock water and trap moisture in the skin. However, do note that this product tends to leave a white cast upon application.
“This product is the saviour to my super dry skin. I reach for it almost daily these days whenever I need the sun protection” -hayleyice2c
add_circleArtificial fragrance and preservative-free
add_circleOrganic ingredients used
add_circleVegan and cruelty-free
add_circleEczema-prone skin friendly
add_circleDry and sensitive skin friendly
remove_circleAvailable in a small size only
remove_circleNo noticeable skin transformation
remove_circleNot the best bargain
The skincare philosophy of The Body Shop is pretty straightforward: “pamper the skin with natural, organic ingredients and stand firmly against animal testing.”
This Soothing Day Cream from the brand’s “Aloe” skincare line is formulated with Aloe Leaf juice from Mexico which targets to safeguard the sensitive skin. Besides delivering the skin the calming benefits, it also aids in treating skin rashes and eczema thanks to its Oat Kernel extracts.
Additionally, lightweight texture is not only kind to the skin but also allows the skin to breathe.
Promising Review:“While I have pretty sensitive skin that reacts to products every now and then, it has been doing fairly well with this moisturizer. I’d certainly make my purchase again.” -EvRose
It is no secret that retinol is the passport to a youthful face but let’s be honest, retinol is a hard-to-handle ingredient against skin that isn’t used to it. This is why Neutrogena has introduced its Accelerated Retinol SA Formula into its Retinol Repair Regenerating Cream.
The formula consists of not only retinol but also Myrtus Communis leaf extract and hyaluronic acid. This special blend allows the retinol to be slowly yet effectively released into the skin thus minimising the chances of skin irritation.
The formula might leave a warm sensation upon application but such sensation goes away soon after. It is suggested to use this product during the night for the best results.
“I have quite sensitive skin but this retinol cream hasn’t irritated my skin. I have also noticed that my skin appears firmer several days into this product.” -Kris Ash
add_circleSuitable on all skin types including oily skin
add_circleImproves skin texture
add_circlePerfect in keeping the skin hydrated overnight
add_circlePerfect for winter
remove_circleFragile glass packaging
The Squalane Facial Oil from Indie Lee contains nothing but squalane. Squalane is an incredible collagen booster that helps in improving skin firmness and reducing the annoying fine lines. Despite being an oil, it is proven to not clog the pores and be oily-skin friendly.
Indie Lee’s squalane oil is olive-derived and is neither thick nor heavy. It is ideal for a nighttime skincare routine to keep the skin supple all night. The moisturiser is particularly fantastic in retaining skin moisture level and treating skin dehydration. Many reviewers have also expressed how this product has eased their skin redness.
Promising Review:“I have oily skin and I used to suffer from frequent skin irritation and breakouts. However, ever since I started using this product, my face has been acne-free. This oil always leaves my skin feeling nourished and trust me, it doesn’t slip!” -Natasha
Skincare has got no double standard. This moisturizing lotion from Clinique targets to treat men’s thicker skin with its lightweight yet hydrating formula. It contains stearic acid, glycerin and sodium hyaluronate that hold water in the skin, making sure that the skin is provided with sufficient hydration all day.
Cucumber extract is also added into the product to further soothe and calm the skin. To note, this moisturizer is claimed to be more suitable for people with dry and normal skin types.
Promising Review:“This product has performed pretty well on my skin, will continue to purchase.” -Ryan
With today's air quality and the many things we do that tortures our skin such as standing out in the sun too long without sun protection, you're technically speeding your skin's ageing process. As the skin lacks moisture, the more apparent fine lines and wrinkles will be, just like how clothes wrinkle easily when dry but not wet.
By using moisturisers, you incorporate a good amount of moisture that your skin may be lacking due to your surroundings. So, should you use moisturize every day? Yes, it's very important to do so if you want to protect your skin. Might we add that many brands incorporate several skin-friendly ingredients into moisturisers such as aloe vera due to its healing and cooling properties on the skin!
Here are many more benefits of using moisturisers everyday:
Fine lines look less obvious
Healthy and glowing complexion
Plumper, younger-looking skin
Prevent the feeling of tightness (or any discomfort from dry skin)
Makeup applies flawlessly
Maintain the condition of your skin (such as preventing bad breakouts)
How to use moisturisers?
As stated, moisturisers might seem simple enough. However, unbeknownst to us, it’s equally as simple to apply them wrong, ultimately rendering them ineffective.
Hence, there’s no harm in learning how to apply moisturisers better; and this goes for those of us who are already applying them correctly as well. In fact, it’s surprising how a few small tweaks are all it takes to acquire bigger results. Check out these 8 tips/hacks to get the most out of your moisturising routine:
Use it at the right time
You’re gonna want to lock your moisturiser in as best as possible and the easiest way to do this is to apply your moisturiser when your skin is still moist. This is best achieved after showering or washing your face, when your skin is freshly moist after drying with a towel.
Apply it on your neck too
Moisturising is helpful to avoid premature ageing. Hence, don’t just stop at your face when applying facial moisturisers, extend it past your jawline to your neck too! However, bear in mind that while facial moisturisers can target wrinkles and dark spots in ways that body lotion can’t, it is alright to use facial moisturisers on your body but never in reverse as body lotions can irritate the face and clog pores.
Try one with SPF
We can never emphasise sun care enough. If you find yourself constantly in a rush in the mornings, opt for a moisturiser with broad spectrum SPF. This will help to prevent signs of premature aging such as dark spots and wrinkles - providing you with not just hydration, but protection too.
Mix facial oil with your moisturiser
In a hot and humid country like Malaysia, it’s easy for the environment to cause our skin to be dull and dry. Combat this by mixing facial oil with your moisturiser for a hydration boost. Trust us, your skin will thank you for it.
Mix an illuminator into your moisturiser
Breathe life into your skin by mixing a drop of illuminator into your moisturiser - a little goes a long way. The results? A nice glow and brighter complexion!
Apply in upward strokes
As you age, you’ll find that your skin starts to sag and get dragged downwards in ways that are not very appealing. If this is the case, apply your moisturiser in upward strokes. While it might not reverse the effects of aging, the technique increases circulation and helps your skin to absorb more product.
Layer it correctly
One of the easiest ways to ensure that you are getting the most out of your skincare routine is by making sure that you are layering your products correctly. With the exception of sunscreen which should always be applied last, start with products that have thinner consistency before moving to thicker ones.
Use a hydrating spray
Up your hydration by using a facial mist! These are extremely easy to take on-the-go with you. Apart from adding to your skin’s hydration, a quick spritz also goes miles to re-set your makeup - keeping you looking fresh all day.
Hydration is key!
While moisturisers are important to help protect your skin's natural oil content from dehydration, it is not enough to do the job. Remember that skin cells are made up of water and therefore, it is as important to hydrate by drinking enough water as it is to moisturise.
Drinking water keeps your skin from turning dry, tight and flaky. In other words, it preserves your skin's resilience, consequently protecting it from wrinkles. So the next time you get lazy to carry your bottle of water out with you, just think about the billions of skin cells on your body that will thank you for properly hydrating!